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Title: The British Expedition to the Crimea
Author: Russell, William Howard, Sir
Language: English
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                          BRITISH EXPEDITION

                                TO THE



                     WILLIAM HOWARD RUSSELL, LL.D.

                       _NEW AND REVISED EDITION_

                          WITH MAPS AND PLANS

                       GEORGE ROUTLEDGE AND SONS

                         THE BROADWAY, LUDGATE
                     NEW YORK: 416, BROOME STREET

              |           THE INDIAN MUTINY.          |
              |                                       |
              | In crown 8vo, cloth, price 7_s._ 6_d._|
              |                                       |
              |           MY DIARY IN INDIA,          |
              |                                       |
              |          _In the Year 1858-9_.        |
              |                                       |
              |                   BY                  |
              |                                       |
              |      WILLIAM HOWARD RUSSELL, LL.D.    |
              |                                       |



The interest excited by the events of the Campaign in the Crimea has not
died away. Many years, indeed, must elapse ere the recital of the
details of that great struggle, its glories, and its disasters, cease to
revive the emotions of joy or grief with which a contemporary generation
regarded the sublime efforts of their countrymen. As records on which
the future history of the war must be founded, none can be more valuable
than letters written from the scene, read by the light documents, such
as those which will shortly be made public, can throw upon them.[1]
There may be misconception respecting the nature of the motives by which
statesmen and leaders of armies are governed, but there can be no
mistake as to what they _do_; and, although one cannot always ascertain
the reasons which determine their outward conduct, their acts are
recorded in historical memoranda not to be disputed or denied. For the
first time in modern days the commanders of armies have been compelled
to give to the world an exposition of the considerations by which they
were actuated during a war, in which much of the sufferings of our
troops was imputed to their ignorance, mismanagement, and apathy. They
were not obliged to adopt that course by the orders of their superiors,
but by the pressure of public opinion; and that pressure became so great
that each, as he felt himself subjected to its influence, endeavoured to
escape from it by throwing the blame on the shoulders of his
colleagues, or on a military scapegoat, known as "the system." As each
in self-defence flourished his pen or his tongue against his brother, he
made sad rents in the mantle of official responsibility and secrecy.
Even in Russia the press, to its own astonishment, was called on to
expound the merits of captains and explain grand strategical operations;
and the public there, read in the official organs of their Government
very much the same kind of matter as our British public in the evidence
given before the Chelsea Commissioners. Much of what was hidden has been
revealed. We know more than we did; but we never shall know all.

I avail myself of a brief leisure to revise, for the first time, letters
written under very difficult circumstances, and to re-write those
portions of them which relate to the most critical actions of the war.
From the day the Guards landed in Malta down to the fall of Sebastopol,
and the virtual conclusion of the war, I had but one short interval of
repose. I was with the first detachment of the British army which set
foot on Turkish soil, and it was my good fortune to land with the first
at Scutari, at Varna, and at Old Fort, to be present at Alma, Balaklava,
Inkerman, to accompany the Kertch and the Kinburn expeditions, and to
witness every great event of the siege--the assaults on Sebastopol, and
the battle of the Tchernaya. It was my still greater good fortune to be
able to leave the Crimea with the last detachment of our army. My
sincere desire is, to tell the truth, as far as I knew it, respecting
all I have witnessed. I had no alternative but to write fully, freely,
fearlessly, for that was my _duty_, and to the best of my knowledge and
ability it was fulfilled. There have been many emendations, and many
versions of incidents in the war, sent to me from various hands--many
now cold forever--of which I have made use, but the work is chiefly
based on the letters which, by permission of the proprietors of the
_Times_, I was allowed to place in a new form before the public.


_July, 1858._


For several years the "History of the British Expedition to the Crimea,"
founded on the "Letters from the Crimea of the _Times_ Correspondent,"
has been out of print, and the publishers have been unable to execute
orders continually arriving for copies of the work. At the present
moment the interest of the public in what is called the Eastern Question
has been revived very forcibly, and the policy of this country in
entering upon the war of 1854, has been much discussed in the Press and
in Parliament. "Bulgaria,"[2] in which the allied armies failed to
discover the misery or discontent which might, at the time, have been
found in Ireland or Italy, is now the scene of "atrocities," the
accounts of which are exercising a powerful influence on the passions
and the judgment of the country, and the balance of public opinion is
fast inclining against the Turk, for whom we made so many sacrifices,
and who proved that he was a valiant soldier and a faithful and patient
ally. The Treaty of Paris has been torn up, the pieces have been thrown
in our faces, and a powerful party in England is taking, in 1876,
energetic action to promote the objects which we so strenuously resisted
in 1854. "Qui facit per alium facit per se." Prince Gortschakoff must be
very grateful for effective help where Count Nesselrode encountered the
most intense hostility. He finds "sympathy" as strong as gunpowder, and
sees a chance of securing the spoils of war without the cost of fighting
for them. Since 1854-6 the map of Europe has undergone changes almost as
great as those temporary alterations which endured with the success of
the First French Empire, and these apparently are but the signs and
tokens of changes to come, of which no man can forecast the extent and

The British fleet is once more in Besika Bay, but there is now no allied
squadron by its side. No British minister ventures to say that our fleet
is stationed there to protect the integrity of Turkey. If the record of
what Great Britain did in her haste twenty-two years ago be of any use
in causing her to reflect on the consequences of a violent reaction now,
the publication of this revised edition of the "History of the
Expedition to the Crimea," may not be quite inopportune.


TEMPLE, _August, 1876_.

     _Note._--_In addition to the despatches relating to the landing in
     the Crimea, the battles of the Alma, Balaklava, Inkerman, and the
     Tchernaya, the assaults on the place, &c., there will be found in
     the present edition the text of the most important clauses of the
     Treaty of Paris in 1856, the correspondence between Prince
     Gortschakoff and Lord Granville on the denunciation of the Treaty
     in 1870, &c._
























     Causes of the quarrel--Influence of the
     press--Preparations--Departure from England--Malta--Warnings.

The causes of the last war with Russia, overwhelmed by verbiage, and
wrapped up in coatings of protocols and dispatches, at the time are now
patent to the world. The independence of Turkey was menaced by the Czar,
but France and England would have cared little if Turkey had been a
power whose fate could affect in no degree the commerce or the
reputation of the allies. France, ever jealous of her prestige, was
anxious to uphold the power of a nation and a name which, to the
oriental, represents the force, intelligence, and civilization of
Europe. England, with a growing commerce in the Levant, and with a
prodigious empire nearer to the rising sun, could not permit the one to
be absorbed and the other to be threatened by a most aggressive and
ambitious state. With Russia, and France by her side, she had not
hesitated to inflict a wound on the independence of Turkey which had
been growing deeper every day. But when insatiable Russia, impatient of
the slowness of the process, sought to rend the wounds of the dying man,
England felt bound to stay her hands, and to prop the falling throne of
the Sultan.

Although England had nothing to do with the quarrels of the Greek and
Latin Churches, she could not be indifferent to the results of the
struggle. If Russia had been permitted to exercise a protectorate over
the Greek subjects of the Porte, and to hold as material guarantee the
provinces of the Danube, she would be the mistress of the Bosphorus, the
Dardanelles, and even the Mediterranean. France would have seen her
moral weight in the East destroyed. England would have been severed from
her Indian Empire, and menaced in the outposts of her naval power. All
Christian States have now a right to protect the Christian subjects of
the Porte; and in proportion as the latter increase in intelligence,
wealth, and numbers, the hold of the Osmanli on Europe will relax. The
sick man is not yet dead, but his heirs and administrators are counting
their share of his worldly goods, and are preparing for the suit which
must follow his demise. Whatever might have been the considerations and
pretences which actuated our statesmen, the people of England entered,
with honesty of purpose and singleness of heart, upon the conflict with
the sole object of averting a blow aimed at an old friend. To that end
they devoted their treasure, and in that cause they freely shed their

Conscious of their integrity, the nation began the war with as much
spirit and energy as they continued it with calm resolution and manly
self-reliance. Their rulers were lifted up by the popular wave, and
carried further than they listed. The vessel of the State was nearly
dashed to pieces by the great surge, and our dislocated battalions,
swept together and called an army, were suddenly plunged into the
realities of war. But the British soldier is ready to meet mortal foes.
What he cannot resist are the cruel strokes of neglect and
mal-administration. In the excitement caused by the news of victory the
heart's pulse of the nation was almost frozen by a bitter cry of
distress from the heights of Sebastopol. Then followed accounts of
horrors which revived the memories of the most disgraceful episodes in
our military history. Men who remembered Walcheren sought in vain for a
parallel to the wretchedness and mortality in our army. The press,
faithful to its mission, threw a full light on scenes three thousand
miles from our shores, and sustained the nation by its counsels. "Had it
not been for the English press," said an Austrian officer of high rank,
"I know not what would have become of the English army. Ministers in
Parliament denied that it suffered, and therefore Parliament would not
have helped it. The French papers represented it as suffering, but
neither hoping nor enduring. Europe heard that Marshal St. Arnaud won
the Alma, and that the English, aided by French guns, late in the day,
swarmed up the heights when their allies had won the battle. We should
have known only of Inkerman as a victory gained by the French coming to
the aid of surprised and discomfited Englishmen, and of the assaults on
Sebastopol as disgraceful and abortive, but your press, in a thousand
translations, told us the truth all over Europe, and enabled us to
appreciate your valour, your discipline, your _élan_, your courage and
patience, and taught us to feel that even in misfortune the English army
was noble and magnificent."


The press upheld the Ministry in its efforts to remedy the effects of an
unwise and unreasoning parsimony, prepared the public mind for the
subversion of an effete system, encouraged the nation in the moment of
depression by recitals of the deeds of our countrymen, elevated the
condition and self-respect of the soldiery, and whilst celebrating with
myriad tongues the feats of the combatants in the ranks, with all the
fire of Tyrtæus, but with greater power and happier results, denounced
the men responsible for huge disasters--"told the truth and feared
not"--carried the people to the battlefield--placed them beside their
bleeding comrades--spoke of fame to the dying and of hope to those who
lived--and by its magic power spanned great seas and continents, and
bade England and her army in the Crimea endure, fight, and conquer

The army saved, resuscitated, and raised to a place which it never
occupied till recently in the estimation of the country, has much for
which to thank the press. Had its deeds and sufferings never been known
except through the medium of frigid dispatches, it would have stood in a
very different position this day, not only abroad but at home. But
gratitude is not a virtue of corporations. It is rare enough to find it
in individuals; and, although the press has permission to exhaust
laudation and flattery, its censure is resented as impertinence. From
the departure of our first battalions till the close of the war, there
were occasions on which the shortcomings of great departments and the
inefficiency of extemporary arrangements were exposed beyond denial or
explanation; and if the optimist is satisfied they were the inevitable
consequences of all human organization, the mass of mankind will seek to
provide against their recurrence and to obviate their results. With all
their hopes, the people at the outset were little prepared for the costs
and disasters of war. They fondly believed they were a military power,
because they possessed invincible battalions of brave men, officered by
gallant, high-spirited gentlemen, who, for the most part, regarded with
dislike the calling, and disdained the knowledge, of the mere
"professional" soldier. There were no reserves to take the place of
those dauntless legions which melted in the crucible of battle, and left
a void which time alone could fill. When the Guards[3] left London, on
22nd February, 1854, those who saw them march off to the railway
station, unaccustomed to the sight of large bodies of men, and impressed
by the bearing of those stalwart soldiers, might be pardoned if they
supposed the household troops could encounter a world in arms. As they
were the first British regiments which left England for the East, as
they bore a grand part worthy of their name in the earlier, most trying,
and most glorious period of our struggles, their voyage possesses a
certain interest which entitles it to be retained in this revised
history; and with some few alterations, it is presented to the reader.

Their cheers--re-echoed from Alma and Inkerman--bear now a glorious
significance, the "_morituri te salutant_" of devoted soldiers addressed
to their sorrowing country.

"They will never go farther than Malta!"--Such was the general feeling
and expression at the time. It was supposed that the very news of their
arrival in Malta would check the hordes of Russia, and shake the iron
will which broke ere it would bend. To that march, in less than one
year, there was a terrible antithesis. A handful of weary men--wasted
and worn and ragged--crept slowly down from the plateau of Inkerman
where their comrades lay thick in frequent graves, and sought the
cheerless shelter of the hills of Balaklava. They had fought and had
sickened and died till that proud brigade had nearly ceased to exist.

The swarm of red-coats which after a day of marching, of excitement, of
leave-taking, and cheering, buzzed over the _Orinoco_, _Ripon_,
_Manilla_, in Southampton Docks, was hived at last in hammock or
blanket, while the vessels rode quietly in the waters of the Solent.
Fourteen inches is man-of-war allowance, but eighteen inches were
allowed for the Guards. On the following morning, February 23rd, the
steamers weighed and sailed. The _Ripon_ was off by 7 o'clock A.M.,
followed by the _Manilla_ and the _Orinoco_. They were soon bowling
along with a fresh N.W. breeze in the channel.

Good domestic beef, sea-pudding, and excellent bread, with pea-soup
every second day, formed substantial pieces of resistance to the best
appetites. Half a gill of rum to two of water was served out once a day
to each man. On the first day Tom Firelock was rather too liberal to his
brother Jack Tar. On the next occasion, the ponderous Sergeant-Major of
the Grenadiers presided over the grog-tub, and delivered the order, "Men
served--two steps to the front, and swallow!" The men were not

The second day the long swell of Biscay began to tell on the Guards. The
figure-heads of the ships plunged deep, and the heads of the soldiers
hung despondingly over gunwale, portsill, stay, and mess-tin, as their
bodies bobbed to and fro. At night they brightened up, and when the
bugle sounded at nine o'clock, nearly all were able to crawl into their
hammocks for sleep. On Saturday the speed of the vessels was increased
from nine-and-a-half to ten knots per hour; and the little _Manilla_ was
left by the large paddle-wheel steamers far away. On Sunday all the men
had recovered; and when, at half-past ten, the ship's company and troops
were mustered for prayers, they looked as fresh as could be expected
under the circumstances;--in fact, as the day advanced, they became
lively, and the sense of joyfulness for release from the clutches of
their enemy was so strong that in reply to a stentorian demand for
"three cheers for the jolly old whale!" they cheered a grampus which
blew alongside.


On Tuesday the _Ripon_ passed Tarifa, at fifty minutes past five A.M.,
and anchored in the quarantine ground of Gibraltar to coal half-an-hour
afterwards. In consequence of the quarantine regulations there was no
communication with the shore, but the soldiers lined the walls, H.M.S.
_Cruiser_ manned yards, and as the _Ripon_ steamed off at half-past
three P.M., after taking on board coals, tents and tent-poles, they gave
three hearty cheers, which were replied to with goodwill. On Thursday a
target painted like a Russian soldier was run up for practice. The
_Orinoco_ reached Malta on Sunday morning at ten A.M., and the _Ripon_
on Saturday night soon after twelve o'clock. The Coldstreams were
disembarked in the course of the day, and the Grenadiers were all ashore
ere Monday evening, to the delight of the Maltese, who made a harvest
from the excursions of the "plenty big men" to and from the town.

The _Manilla_ arrived at Malta on the morning of March 7th, after a run
of eighteen days from Southampton. The men left their floating prisons
only to relinquish comfort and to "rough it." One regiment was left
without coals, another had no lights or candles, another suffered from
cold under canvas, in some cases short commons tried the patience of the
men, and forage was not to be had for the officers' horses. Acting on
the old formula when transports took eight weeks to Malta, the Admiralty
supplied steamers which make the passage in as many days with eight
weeks' "medical comforts." By a rigid order, the officers were debarred
from bringing more than 90lb. weight of baggage. Many of them omitted
beds, canteen and mess traps, and were horror-stricken when they were
politely invited to pitch their tents and "make themselves comfortable"
on the ravelins, outside Valetta.

The arrival of the _Himalaya_ before midnight on the same day, after a
run of seven days and three hours from Plymouth, with upwards of 1,500
men on board, afforded good proof of our transport resources. Ordinary
troop-ships would have taken at least six weeks, and of course it would
have cost the Government a proportionate sum for their maintenance,
while they were wasting precious moments, fighting against head winds.
The only inconvenience attendant on this great celerity is, that many
human creatures, with the usual appetites of the species, are rapidly
collected upon one spot, and supplies can scarcely be procured to meet
the demand. The increase of meat-consuming animals at Malta nearly
produced the effects of a famine; there were only four hundred head of
cattle left in the island and its dependencies, and with a population of
120,000--with the Brigade of Guards and 11 Regiments in garrison, and
three frigates to feed, it may easily be imagined that the Commissariat
were severely taxed to provide for this influx.

The _Simoom_, with the Scots Fusileer Guards, sixteen days from
Portsmouth, reached Malta on the 18th of March. The troops were
disembarked the following day, in excellent order. A pile of low
buildings running along the edge of the Quarantine Harbour, with
abundance of casements, sheltered terraces, piazzas, and large arched
rooms, was soon completely filled. The men in spite of the local
derangements caused on their arrival by "liberty" carousing in acid wine
and fiery brandy, enjoyed good health, though the average of disease was
rather augmented by the results of an imprudent use of the time allowed
to them in London, to bid good-bye to their friends.

For the three last weeks in March, Valetta was like a fair. Money
circulated briskly. Every tradesman was busy, and the pressure of demand
raised the cost of supply. Saddlers, tinmen, outfitters, tailors,
shoemakers, cutlers, increased their charges till they attained the
West-End scale. Boatmen and the amphibious harpies who prey upon the
traveller reaped a copper and silver harvest of great weight. It must,
however, be said of Malta boatmen, that they are a hardworking, patient,
and honest race; the latter adjective is applied comparatively, and not
absolutely. They would set our Portsmouth or Southampton boatmen an
example rather to be wondered at than followed. The vendors of oranges,
dates, olives, apples, and street luxuries of all kinds, enjoyed a full
share of public favour; and (a proof of the fine digestive apparatus of
our soldiery) their lavish enjoyment of these delicacies was unattended
by physical suffering. A thirsty private, after munching the ends of
Minié cartridges for an hour on the hot rocks at the seaside, would send
to the rear and buy four or five oranges for a penny. He ate them all,
trifled with an apple or two afterwards, and, duty over, rushed across
the harbour or strutted off to Valetta. A cool _café_, shining out on
the street with its tarnished gilding and mirrors more radiant than all
the taps of all our country inns put together, invited him to enter, and
a quantity of alcoholic stimulus was supplied, at the small charge of
one penny, quite sufficient to encourage him to spend two-pence more on
the same stuff, till he was rendered insensible to all sublunary cares,
and brought to a state which was certain to induce him to the attention
of the guard and to a raging headache. "I can live like a duke here--I
can smoke my cigar, and drink my glass of wine, and what could a duke do
more?" But the cigar made by very dirty manufacturers, who might be seen
sitting out in the streets compounding them of the leaves of plants and
saliva was villanous; and the wine endured much after it had left
Sicily. As to the brandy and spirits, they were simply abominable, but
the men were soon "choked off" when they found that indulgence in them
was followed by punishment worse than that of the black hole or barrack
confinement. The biscuit mills were baking 30,000lb. of biscuit per day.
Bills posted in every street for "parties desirous of joining the
commissariat department, under the orders of Commissary-General Filder,
about to proceed with the force to the East, as temporary clerks,
assistant store-keepers, interpreters," to "freely apply to Assistant
Commissary-General Strickland;" had this significant addition,--"those
conversant with English, Italian, modern Greek, and Turkish languages,
or the Lingua-Franca of the East will be preferred." Warlike mechanics,
armourers, farriers, wheelwrights, waggon-equipment and harness-makers,
were in request.

[Sidenote: WARNINGS.]

As might naturally be expected where so great a demand, horses were
scarcely to be obtained. To Tunis the contagion of high prices spread
from Malta, and the Moors asked £25 and £30 for the veriest bundles of
skin and bone that were ever fastened together by muscle and pluck. Our
allies began to show themselves. The _Christophe Colomb_, steam-sloop,
towing the _Mistral_, a small sailing transport, laden with 27 soldiers'
and 40 officers' horses arrived in Malta Harbour on the night of the
7th, and ran into the Grand Harbour at six A.M. the following morning.
On board were Lieutenant-General Canrobert, and his Chef d'État; Major
Lieutenant-General Martimprey, 45 officers, 800 soldiers, 150 horses.
Their reception was most enthusiastic. The French Generals were lodged
at the Palace, and their soldiers were fêted in every tavern. Reviews
were held in their honour, and the air rang with the friendly shouts and
answering cheers of "natural enemies".

In a few days after the arrival of the Guards, it became plain that the
Allies were to proceed to Turkey, and that hostilities were inevitable.
On the 28th March war was declared, but the preparations for it showed
that the Government had looked upon war as certain some time previously.

Every exertion was made by the authorities to enable the expedition to
take the field. General Ferguson and Admiral Houston Stewart received
the expression of the Duke of Newcastle's satisfaction at the manner in
which they co-operated in making "the extensive preparations for the
reception of the expeditionary force, which could only have been
successfully carried on by the absence of needless departmental
etiquette,"--a virtue which has been expected to become more common
after this official laudation. This expression of satisfaction was well
deserved by both these gallant officers, and Sir W. Reid emulated them
in his exertions to secure the comfort of the troops. The Admiral early
and late worked with his usual energy. He had a _modus operandi_ of
making the conditional mood mean the imperative. Soldiers were stowed
away in sailors' barracks and penned up in hammocks under its potent
influence; and ships were cleared of their freight, or laden with a
fresh one, with extraordinary facility.

It was at this time that in a letter to the _Times_ I wrote as
follows:--"With our men well clothed, well fed, well housed (whether in
camp or town does not much matter), and well attended to, there is
little to fear. They were all in the best possible spirits, and fit to
go anywhere, and perhaps to do anything. But inaction might bring
listlessness and despondency, and in their train follows disease. What
is most to be feared in an encampment is an enemy that musket and
bayonet cannot meet or repel. Of this the records of the Russo-Turkish
campaign of 1828-9, in which 80,000 men perished by 'plague, pestilence,
and famine,' afford a fearful lesson, and let those who have the
interests of the army at heart just turn to Moltke's history of that
miserable invasion, and they will grudge no expense, and spare no
precaution, to avoid, as far as human skill can do it, a repetition of
such horrors. Let us have plenty of doctors. Let us have an overwhelming
army of medical men to combat disease. Let us have a staff--full and
strong--of young and active and experienced men. Do not suffer our
soldiers to be killed by antiquated imbecility. Do not hand them over to
the mercies of ignorant etiquette and effete seniority, but give the
sick every chance which skill, energy, and abundance of the best
specifics can afford them. The heads of departments may rest assured
that the country will grudge no expense on this point, nor on any other
connected with the interest and efficiency of the _corps d'élite_ which
England has sent from her shores.[4] There were three first-class
staff-surgeons at Constantinople--Messrs. Dumbreck Linton, and
Mitchell. At Malta there were--Dr. Burrell, at the head of the
department; Dr. Alexander, Dr. Tice, Mr. Smith, and a great accession
was expected every day."

The commissariat department appeared to be daily more efficient, and
every possible effort was made to secure proper supplies for the troops.
This, however, was a matter that could be best tested in the field.

On Tuesday, the 28th of March, the _Montezuma_, and the _Albatross_ with
Chasseurs, Zouaves, and horses, arrived in the Great Harbour. The Zouave
was then an object of curiosity. The quarters of the men were not by any
means so good as our own. A considerable number had to sleep on deck,
and in rain or sea-way they must have been wet. Their kit seemed very
light. The officers did not carry many necessaries, and the average
weight of their luggage was not more than 50lb. They were all in the
highest spirits, and looked forward eagerly to their first brush in
company with the English.

Sir George Brown and staff arrived on the 29th in the _Valetta_. The 2nd
Battalion Rifle Brigade, the advance of the Light Division, which Sir
George Brown was to command, embarked on board the _Golden Fleece_. On
the 30th, Sir John Burgoyne arrived from Constantinople in the

The _Pluton_ and another vessel arrived with Zouaves and the usual
freight of horses the same day, and the streets were full of scarlet and
blue uniforms walking arm and arm together in uncommunicative
friendliness, their conversation being carried on by signs, such as
pointing to their throats and stomachs, to express the primitive
sensations of hunger and thirst. The French sailed the following day for

When the declaration of war reached Malta, the excitement was
indescribable. Crowds assembled on the shores of the harbours and lined
the quays and landing-places, the crash of music drowned in the
enthusiastic cheers of the soldiers cheering their comrades as the
vessels glided along, the cheers from one fort being taken up by the
troops in the others, and as joyously responded to from those on board.


     Departure of the first portion of the British Expedition from
     Malta--Sea passage--Classical Antiquities--Caught in a
     Levanter--The Dardanelles--Gallipoli--Gallipoli described--Turkish
     Architecture--Superiority of the French arrangements--Close
     shaving, tight stocking, and light marching.


Whilst the French were rapidly moving to Gallipoli, the English were
losing the prestige which might have been earned by a first appearance
on the stage, as well as the substantial advantages of an occupation of
the town. But on 30th March Sir George Brown and Staff, the 2nd
Battalion of the Rifle Brigade, under Lt. Colonel Lawrence, Colonel
Victor, R.E., Captain Gibb, R.E., and two companies of Sappers, embarked
in the _Golden Fleece_, and a cabin having been placed at my disposal, I
embarked and sailed with them for Gallipoli, at five A.M. on 31st.

An early fisherman, a boatman in the Great Harbour, solitary sentinels
perched here and there on the long lines of white bastions, were the
only persons who saw the departure of the advanced guard of the only
British expedition that has ever sailed to the land of the Moslem since
the days of the great Plantagenet. The morning was dark and overcast.
The Mediterranean assumed an indigo colour, stippled with patches of
white foam, as heavy squalls of wind and drenching rain flew over its
surface. The showers were tropical in their vehemence and suddenness.
Nothing was visible except some wretched-looking gulls flapping in our
wake hour after hour in the hope of unintentional contributions from the
ship, and two or three dilapidated coasters running as hard as they
could for the dangerous shelter of the land. Jason himself and his crew
could scarcely have looked more uncomfortable than the men, though there
was small resemblance indeed between the cruiser in which he took his
passage and the _Golden Fleece_. "It all comes of sailing on a Friday,"
said a grumbling forecastle Jack.

The anticipations of the tarry prophet were not fully justified. Towards
evening the sky cleared, the fine sharp edge of the great circle of
waters of which we were the black murky centre, revealed itself, and the
sun rushed out of his coat of _cumuli_, all bright and fervent, and sank
to rest in a sea of fire. Even the gulls brightened up and began to look
comfortable, and the sails of the flying craft, far away on the verge of
the landscape, shone white. The soldiers dried their coats, and tried to
forget sloppy decks and limited exercise ground, and night closed round
the ship with peace and hilarity on her wings. As the moon rose a wonder
appeared in the heavens--"a blazing comet with a fiery tail," which
covered five or six degrees of the horizon, and shone through the deep
blue above. Here was the old world-known omen of war and troubles! Many
as they gazed felt the influence of ancient tales and associated the
lurid apparition with the convulsion impending over Europe, though Mr.
Hind and Professor Airy and Sir J. South might have proved to
demonstration that the comet aforesaid was born or baptized in space
hundreds of centuries before Prince Menschikoff was thought of.

At last the comet was lost in the moon's light, and the gazers put out
their cigars, forgot their philosophy and their fears, and went to bed.
The next day, Saturday (1st April), passed as most days do at sea in
smooth weather. The men ate and drank, and walked on deck till they were
able to eat and drink again, and so on till bed time. Curious little
brown owls, as if determined to keep up the traditions of the
neighbourhood, flew on board, and were caught in the rigging. They
seemed to come right from the land of Minerva. In the course of the day
small birds fluttered on the yards, masts, and bulwarks, plumed their
jaded wings, and after a short rest launched themselves once more
across the bosom of the deep. Some were common titlarks, others greyish
buntings, others yellow and black fellows. Three of the owls and a
titlark were at once introduced to each other in a cage, and the ship's
cat was thrown in by way of making an _impromptu_ "happy family." The
result rather increased one's admiration for the itinerant zoologist of
Trafalgar-square and Waterloo Bridge, inasmuch as pussy obstinately
refused to hold any communication with the owls--they seemed in turn to
hate each other--and all evinced determined animosity towards the
unfortunate titlark, which speedily languished and died.

This and the following day there was a head wind. No land appeared, and
the only object to be seen was a French paddle-wheel steamer with troops
on board and a transport in tow, which was conjectured to be one of
those that had left Malta some days previously. After dinner, when the
band had ceased playing, the Sappers assembled on the quarter-deck, and
sang glees excellently well, while the Rifles had a select band of vocal
performers of their own of comic and sentimental songs. Some of these,
_à propos_ of the expedition, were rather hard on the Guards and their
bearskins. At daylight the coast was visible N. by E.--a heavy cloudlike
line resting on the grey water. It was the Morea--the old land of the
Messenians. If not greatly changed, it is wonderful what attractions it
could have had for the Spartans. A more barren-looking coast one need
not wish to see. It is like a section of the west coast of Sutherland in
winter. The mountains--cold, rocky, barren ridges of land--culminate in
snow-covered peaks, and the numerous villages of white cabins or houses
dotting the declivity towards the sea did not relieve the place of an
air of savage primitiveness, which little consorted with its ancient
fame. About 9.40 A.M. we passed Cape Matapan, which concentrated in
itself all the rude characteristics of the surrounding coast. We passed
between the Morea and Cerigo. One could not help wondering what on earth
could have possessed Venus to select such a wretched rock for her island
home. Verily the poets have much to answer for. Not the boldest would
have dared to fly into ecstasies about the terrestrial landing-place of
Venus had he once beheld the same. The fact is, the place is like
Ireland's Eye, pulled out and expanded. Although the whole reputation of
the Cape was not sustained by our annihilation, the sea showed every
inclination to be troublesome, and the wind began to rise.

After breakfast the men were mustered, and the captain read prayers.
When prayers were over, we had a proof that the Greeks were tolerably
right about the weather. Even bolder boatmen than the ancients might
fear the heavy squalls off these snowy headlands, which gave a bad idea
of sunny Greece in early spring. Their writers represented the
performance of a voyage round Capes Matapan and Malea as attended with
danger; and, if the best of triremes was caught in the breeze
encountered by the _Golden Fleece_ hereabouts, the crew would never have
been troubled to hang up a votive tablet to their preserving deity.


From 10 o'clock till 3.30 P.M. the ship ran along the diameter of the
semicircle between the two Capes which mark the southern extremities of
Greece. Cape Malea, or St. Angelo, is just such another bluff,
mountainous, and desolate headland as Cape Matapan, and is not so
civilized-looking, for there are no villages visible near it. However,
in a hole on its south-east face resides a Greek hermit, who must have
enormous opportunities for improving his mind, if Zimmerman be at all
trustworthy. He is not quite lost to the calls of nature, and has a
great tenderness for ships' biscuit. He generally hoists a little flag
when a vessel passes near, and is often gratified by a supply of
hard-bake. Had we wished to administer to his luxuries we could not have
done so, for the wind off this angle rushed at us with fury, and the
instant we rounded it we saw the sea broken into crests of foam making
right at our bows. The old mariners were not without warranty when they
advised "him who doubled Cape Malea to forget his home." We had got
right into the Etesian wind--one of those violent Levanters which the
learned among us said ought to be the Euroclydon which drove St. Paul to
Malta. Sheltered as we were to eastward by clusters of little islands,
the sea got up and rolled in confused wedges towards the ship. She
behaved nobly, but with her small auxiliary steam power she could
scarcely hold her own. We were driven away to leeward, and did not make
much headway. The gusts came down furiously between all kinds of
classical islands, which we could not make out, for our Maltese pilot
got frightened, and revealed the important secret that he did not know
one of them from the other. The men bore up well against their
Euroclydon, and emulated the conduct of the ship. Night came upon us,
labouring in black jolting seas, dashing them into white spray, and
running away into dangerous unknown parts. It passed songless, dark, and
uncomfortable: much was the suffering in the hermetically sealed cells
in which our officers "reposed" and grumbled at fortune.

At daylight next morning, Falconero was north, and Milo south. The
clouds were black and low, the sea white and high, and the junction
between them on the far horizon of a broken and promiscuous character.
The good steamer had run thirty miles to leeward of her course, making
not the smallest progress. Grey islets with foam flying over them lay
around indistinctly seen through the driving vapour from the Ægean. To
mistrust of the pilot fear of accident was added, so the helm was put
up, and we wore ship at 6.30 A.M. in a heavy sea-way. A screw-steamer
was seen on our port quarter plunging through the heavy sea, and we made
her out to be the _Cape of Good Hope_. She followed our example. The
gale increased till 8 A.M.; the sailors considered it deserved to be
called "stormy, with heavy squalls." The heavy sea on our starboard
quarter, as we approached Malea, caused the ship to roll heavily; the
men could only hold on by tight grip, and they and their officers were
well drenched by great lumbering water louts, who tossed themselves in
over the bulwarks. At 3.30 P.M., the ship cast anchor in Vatika Bay, in
twenty fathoms. A French steamer and brig lay close in the shore. We
cheered them vigorously, but the men could not hear us. Some time
afterwards the _Cape of Good Hope_ and a French screw-steamer also ran
in and anchored near us. This little flotilla alarmed the inhabitants,
for the few who were fishing in boats fled to shore, and we saw a great
effervescence at a distant village. No doubt the apparition in the bay
of a force flying the tricolor and the union-jack frightened the people.
They could be seen running to and fro along the shore like ants when
their nest is stirred.

At dusk our bands played, and the mountains of the Morea, for the first
time since they rose from the sea, echoed the strains of "God save the
Queen." Our vocalists assembled, and sang glees or vigorous choruses,
and the night passed pleasantly in smooth water on an even keel. The
people lighted bonfires upon the hills, but the lights soon died out. At
six o'clock on Tuesday morning the _Golden Fleece_ left Vatika Bay, and
passed Poulo Bello at 10.45 A.M. The Greek coast trending away to the
left, showed in rugged masses of mountains capped by snowy peaks, and
occasionally the towns--clusters of white specks on the dark purple of
the hills--were visible; and before evening, the ship having run safely
through all the terrors of the Ægean and its islands, bore away for the
entrance to the Dardanelles. At 2 A.M. on Wednesday morning, however, it
began to blow furiously again, the wind springing up as if "Æolus had
just opened and put on fresh hands at the bellows," to use the nautical
simile. The breeze, however, went down in a few hours, with the same
rapidity with which it rose. Smooth seas greeted the ship as she steamed
by Mitylene. On the left lay the entrance to the Gulf of
Athens--Euboea was on our left hand--Tenedos was before us--on our
right rose the snowy heights of Mount Ida--and the Troad (atrociously
and unforgivably like the "Bog of Allen!") lay stretching its brown
folds, dotted with rare tumuli, from the sea to the mountain side for
leagues away. Athos (said to be ninety miles distant) stood between us
and the setting sun--a pyramid of purple cloud bathed in golden light;
and the _Leander_ frigate showed her number and went right away in the
very waters that lay between Sestos and Abydos, past the shadow of the
giant mountain, stretching away on our port beam. As the vessel entered
the portals of the Dardanelles, and rushed swiftly up between its dark
banks, the sentinels on the forts and along the ridges challenged
loudly--shouting to each other to be on the alert--the band of the
Rifles all the while playing the latest fashionable polkas, or making
the rocks acquainted with "Rule Britannia," and "God save the Queen."

At 9.30 P.M., our ship passed the Castles of the Dardanelles. She was
not stopped nor fired at, but the sentinels screeched horribly and
showed lights, and seemed to execute a convulsive _pas_ of fright or
valour on the rocks. The only reply was the calm sounding of second post
on the bugles--the first time that the blast of English light infantry
trumpets broke the silence of those antique shores.[5]

[Sidenote: GALLIPOLI.]

After midnight we arrived at Gallipoli, and anchored. No one took the
slightest notice of us, nor was any communication made with shore. When
the _Golden Fleece_ arrived there was no pilot to show her where to
anchor, and it was nearly an hour ere she ran out her cable in nineteen
fathoms water. No one came off, for it was after midnight, and there was
something depressing in this silent reception of the first British army
that ever landed on the shores of these straits.

When morning came we only felt sorry that nature had made Gallipoli, a
desirable place for us to land at. The tricolor was floating right and
left, and the blue coats of the French were well marked on shore, the
long lines of bullock-carts stealing along the strand towards their camp
making it evident that they were taking care of themselves.

Take some hundreds of dilapidated farms, outhouses, a lot of rickety
tenements of Holywell-street, Wych-street, and the Borough--catch up,
wherever you can, any of the seedy, cracked, shutterless structures of
planks and tiles to be seen in our cathedral towns--carry off odd sheds
and stalls from Billingsgate, add to them a selection of the huts along
the Thames between London-bridge and Greenwich--bring them, then, all
together to the European side of the Straits of the Dardanelles, and
having pitched on a bare round hill sloping away to the water's edge, on
the most exposed portion of the coast, with scarcely tree or shrub,
tumble them "higgledy piggledy" on its declivity, in such wise that the
lines of the streets may follow on a large scale the lines of a bookworm
through some old tome--let the roadways be very narrow, of irregular
breadth, varying according to the bulgings and projections of the
houses, and paved with large round slippery stones, painful and
hazardous to walk upon--here and there borrow a dirty gutter from a back
street in Boulogne--let the houses lean across to each other so that the
tiles meet, or a plank thrown across forms a sort of "passage" or
arcade--steal some of the popular monuments of London, the shafts of
national testimonials, a half dozen of Irish Round Towers--surround
these with a light gallery about twelve feet from the top, put on a
large extinguisher-shaped roof, paint them white, and having thus made
them into minarets, clap them down into the maze of buildings--then let
fall big stones all over the place--plant little windmills with
odd-looking sails on the crests of the hill over the town--transport the
ruins of a feudal fortress from Northern Italy, and put it into the
centre of the town, with a flanking tower at the water's edge--erect a
few wooden cribs by the waterside to serve as _café_, custom-house, and
government stores--and, when you have done this, you have to all
appearance imitated the process by which Gallipoli was created. The
receipt, if tried, will be found to answer beyond belief.

To fill up the scene, however, you must catch a number of the biggest
breeched, longest bearded, dirtiest, and stateliest old Turks to be had
at any price in the Ottoman empire; provide them with pipes, keep them
smoking all day on wooden stages or platforms about two feet from the
ground, everywhere by the water's edge or up the main streets, in the
shops of the bazaar which is one of the "passages" or arcades already
described; see that they have no slippers on, nothing but stout woollen
hose, their foot gear being left on the ground, shawl turbans (one or
two being green, for the real descendant of the Prophet), flowing
fur-lined coats, and bright-hued sashes, in which are to be stuck
silver-sheathed yataghans and ornamented Damascus pistols; don't let
them move more than their eyes, or express any emotion at the sight of
anything except an English lady; then gather a noisy crowd of fez-capped
Greeks in baggy blue breeches, smart jackets, sashes, and rich vests--of
soberly-dressed Armenians--of keen-looking Jews, with flashing eyes--of
Chasseurs de Vincennes, Zouaves, British riflemen, _vivandières_,
Sappers and Miners, Nubian slaves, Camel-drivers, Commissaries and
Sailors, and direct them in streams round the little islets on which the
smoking Turks are harboured, and you will populate the place.

It will be observed that women are not mentioned in this description,
but children were not by any means wanting--on the contrary, there was a
glut of them, in the Greek quarter particularly, and now and then a
bundle of clothes, in yellow leather boots, covered at the top with a
piece of white linen, might be seen moving about, which you will do well
to believe contained a woman neither young nor pretty. Dogs, so large,
savage, tailless, hairy, and curiously-shaped, that Wombwell could make
a fortune out of them if aided by any clever zoological nomenclator,
prowled along the shore and walked through the shallow water, in which
stood bullocks and buffaloes, French steamers and transports, with the
tricolor flying, and the paddlebox boats full of troops on their way to
land--a solitary English steamer, with the red ensign, at anchor in the
bay--and Greek polaccas, with their beautiful white sails and trim rig,
flying down the straits, which are here about three and a half miles
broad, so that the villages on the rich swelling hills of the Asia Minor
side are plainly visible,--must be added, and then the picture will be
tolerably complete.

In truth, Gallipoli is a wretched place--picturesque to a degree, but,
like all picturesque things or places, horribly uncomfortable. The
breadth of the Dardanelles is about five miles opposite the town, but
the Asiatic and the European coasts run towards each other just ere the
Straits expand into the Sea of Marmora. The country behind the town is
hilly, and at the time of our arrival had not recovered from the effects
of the late very severe weather, being covered with patches of snow.
Gallipoli is situated on the narrowest portion of the tongue of land or
peninsula which, running between the Gulf of Saros on the west and the
Dardanelles on the east, forms the western side of the strait. An army
encamped here commands the Ægean and the Sea of Marmora, and can be
marched northwards to the Balkan, or sent across to Asia or up to
Constantinople with equal facility.


As the crow flies, it is about 120 miles from Constantinople across the
Sea of Marmora. If the capital were in danger, troops could be sent
there in a few days, and our army and fleet effectually commanded the
Dardanelles and the entrance to the Sea of Marmora, and made it a _mare
clausum_. Enos, a small town, on a spit of land opposite the mouth of
the Maritza, on the coast of Turkey to the north-east of Samothrace, was
surveyed and examined for an encampment by French and English engineers.
It is obvious that if some daring Muscovite general forcing the passage
across the Danube were to beat the Turks and cross the western ridges of
the Balkans, he might advance southwards with very little hindrance to
the Ægean; and a dashing march to the south-east would bring his troops
to the western shore of the Dardanelles. An army at Gallipoli could
check such a movement, if it ever entered into the head of any one to
attempt to put it in practice.

Early on the morning after the arrival of the _Golden Fleece_ a boat
came off with two commissariat officers, Turner and Bartlett, and an
interpreter. The consul had gone up the Dardanelles to look for us. The
General desired to send for the Consul, but the only vessel available
was a small Turkish Imperial steamer. The Consul's dragoman, a
grand-looking Israelite, was ready to go, but the engineer had just
managed to break his leg. He requested the loan of our engineer, as no
one could be found to undertake the care of the steamer's engines.

After breakfast, Lieutenant-General Brown, Colonel Sullivan, Captain
Hallewell, and Captain Whitmore, started to visit the Pasha of
Adrianople (Rustum Pasha), who was sent here to facilitate the
arrangements and debarkation of the troops. On their return, about
half-past two o'clock, Lieutenant-General Canrobert came on board the
vessel, and was received by the Lieutenant-General. The visit lasted an
hour, and was marked at its close with greater cordiality, if possible,
than at the commencement.

In the evening the Consul, Mr. Calvert, came on board, when it turned
out that no instructions whatever had been sent to prepare for the
reception of the force, except that two commissariat officers, without
interpreters or staff, had been dispatched to the town a few days before
the troops landed. These officers could not speak the language. However,
the English Consul was a man of energy. Mr. Calvert went to the Turkish
Governor, and succeeded in having half of the quarters in the town
reserved. Next day he visited and marked off the houses; but the French
authorities said they had made a mistake as to the portion of the town
they had handed over to him. They had the Turkish part of the town close
to the water, with an honest and favourable population; the English had
the Greek quarter, further up the hill, and perhaps the healthier, and a
population which hated them bitterly.

Sir George Brown arrived on Wednesday, the 5th of April, but it was
midday on Saturday the 8th, ere the troops were landed and sent to their
quarters. The force consisted of only some thousand and odd men, and it
had to lie idle for two days and a half watching the seagulls, or with
half averted eye regarding the ceaseless activity of the French, the
daily arrival of their steamers, the rapid transmission of their men to
shore. On our side not a British pendant was afloat in the harbour! Well
might a Turkish boatman ask, "Oh, why is this? Oh, why is this,
Chelebee? By the beard of the Prophet, for the sake of your father's
father, tell me, O English Lord, how is it? The French infidels have got
one, two, three, four, five, six, seven ships, with fierce little
soldiers; the English infidels, who say they can defile the graves of
these French (may Heaven avert it!), and who are big as the giants of
Asli, have only one big ship. Do they tell lies?" (Such was the
translation given to me of my interesting waterman's address.)

The troops were disembarked in the course of the day, and marched out to
encamp, eight miles and a half north of Gallipoli, at a place called
Bulair. The camp was occupied by the Rifles and Sappers and Miners,
within three miles of the village. It was seated on a gentle slope of
the ridge which runs along the isthmus, and commanded a view of the Gulf
of Saros, but the Sea of Marmora was not visible. Sanitary and certain
other considerations may have rendered it advisable not to select this
village itself, or some point closer to it, as the position for the
camp; but the isthmus was narrower at Bulair, could be more easily
defended, would not have required so much time or labour to put it into
a good state of defence, and appeared to be better adapted for an army
as regards shelter and water than the position chosen. Bulair is ten and
a half miles from Gallipoli, so the camp was about seven and a half from
the port at which its supplies were landed, and where its reinforcements


On Thursday there was a general hunt for quarters through the town. The
General got a very fine place in a _beau quartier_, with a view of an
old Turk on a counter looking at his toes in perpetual perspective. The
consul, attended by the dragoman and a train of lodging seekers, went
from house to house; but it was not till the eye had got accustomed to
the general style of the buildings and fittings that any of them seemed
willing to accept the places offered them. The hall door, which is an
antiquated concern--not affording any particular resistance to the air
to speak of--opens on an apartment with clay walls about ten feet high,
and of the length and breadth of the whole house. It is garnished with
the odds and ends of the domestic deity--empty barrels, casks of
home-made wine, buckets, baskets, &c. At one side a rough staircase,
creaking at every step, conducts one to a saloon on the first floor.
This is of the plainest possible appearance. On the sides are stuck
prints of the "Nicolaus ho basileus," of the Virgin and Child, and
engravings from Jerusalem. The Greeks are iconoclasts, and hate images,
but they adore pictures. A yellow Jonah in a crimson whale with fiery
entrails is a favourite subject, and doubtless bears some allegorical
meaning to their own position in Turkey. From this saloon open the two
or three rooms of the house--the kitchen, the divan, and the principal
bedroom. There is no furniture. The floors are covered with matting, but
with the exception of the cushions on the raised platform round the wall
of the room (about eighteen inches from the floor), there is nothing
else in the rooms offered for general competition to the public. Above
are dark attics. In such a lodging as this, in the house of the widow
Papadoulos, was I at last established to do the best I could without
servant or equipment.

Water was some way off, and I might have been seen stalking up the
street with as much dignity as was compatible with carrying a sheep's
liver on a stick in one hand, some lard in the other, and a loaf of
black bread under my arm back from market. There was not a pound of
butter in the whole country, meat was very scarce, fowls impossible; but
the country wine was fair enough, and eggs were not so rare as might be
imagined from the want of poultry.

While our sick men had not a mattress to lie down upon, and were without
blankets, the French were well provided for. No medical comforts were
forwarded from Malta,--and so when a poor fellow was sinking the doctor
had to go to the General's and get a bottle of wine for him. The
hospital sergeant was sent out with a sovereign to buy coffee, sugar,
and other things of the kind for the sick, but he could not get them, as
no change was to be had in the place. In the French hospital everything
requisite was nicely made up in small packages and marked with labels,
so that what was wanted might be procured in a minute.

The French _Commandant de Place_ posted a tariff of all articles which
the men were likely to want on the walls of the town, and regulated the
exchanges like a local Rothschild. A Zouave wanted a fowl; he saw one in
the hand of an itinerant poultry merchant, and he at once seized the
bird, and giving the proprietor a franc--the tariff price--walked off
with the prize. The Englishman, on the contrary, more considerate and
less protected, was left to make hard bargains, and generally paid
twenty or twenty-five per cent. more than his ally. These Zouaves were
first-rate foragers. They might be seen in all directions, laden with
eggs, meat, fish, vegetables (onions), and other good things, while our
fellows could get nothing. Sometimes a servant was sent out to cater for
breakfast or dinner: he returned with the usual "Me and the Colonel's
servant has been all over the town, and can get nothing but eggs and
onions, Sir;" and lo! round the corner appeared a red-breeched Zouave or
Chasseur, a bottle of wine under his left arm, half a lamb under the
other, and poultry, fish, and other luxuries dangling round him. "I'm
sure I don't know how these French manages it, Sir," said the
crestfallen Mercury, retiring to cook the eggs.

The French established a _restaurant_ for their officers, and at the
"Auberge de l'Armée Expeditionnaire," close to General Bosquet's
quarters, one could get a dinner which, after the black bread and eggs
of the domestic hearth, appeared worthy of Philippe.

There seemed to be a general impression among the French soldiers that
it would be some time ere they left Gallipoli or the Chersonese. They
were in military occupation of the place. The tricolor floated from the
old tower of Gallipoli. The _café_ had been turned into an
office--_Direction du Port et Commissariat de la Marine_. French
soldiers patrolled the town at night, and kept the soldiery of both
armies in order; of course, we sent out a patrol also, but the
regulations of the place were directly organized at the French
head-quarters, and even the miserable house which served as our _Trois
Frères_, or London Tavern, and where one could get a morsel of meat and
a draught of country wine for dinner, was under their control. A notice
on the walls of this _Restaurant de l'Armée Auxiliaire_ informed the
public that, _par ordre de la police Française_, no person would be
admitted after seven o'clock in the evening. In spite of their strict
regulations there was a good deal of drunkenness among the French
soldiery, though perhaps it was not in excess of our proportion,
considering the numbers of both armies. They had _fourgons_ for the
commissariat, and all through their quarter of the town one might see
the best houses occupied by their officers. On one door was inscribed
_Magasin des Liquides_, on another _Magasin des Distributions_. M.
l'Aumonier de l'Armée Française resides on one side of the street;
l'Intendant Général, &c., on the other. Opposite the commissariat stores
a score or two of sturdy Turks worked away at neat little hand-mills
marked _Moulin de Café--Subsistence Militaire_. _No. A._, _Compagnie
B._, &c., and roasting the beans in large rotatory ovens; the place
selected for the operation being a burial-ground, the turbaned
tombstones of which seemed to frown severely on the degenerate posterity
of the Osmanli. In fact, the French appear to have acted uniformly on
the sentiment conveyed in the phrase of one of their officers, in reply
to a remark about the veneration in which the Turks hold the remains of
the dead--"_Mais il faut rectifier tous ces préjuges et barbarismes!_"

The greatest cordiality existed between the chiefs of the armies. Sir
George Brown and some of his staff dined one day with General Canrobert;
another day with General Martimprey; another day the drowsy shores of
the Dardanelles were awakened by the thunders of the French cannon
saluting him as he went on board Admiral Bruat's flagship to accept the
hospitalities of the naval commander; and then on alternate days the
dull old alleys of Gallipoli were brightened up by an apparition of
these officers and their staffs in full uniform, clanking their spurs
and jingling their sabres over the excruciating rocks which form the
pavement as they proceeded on their way to the humble quarters of "Sir
Brown," to sit at return banquets.

The natives preferred the French uniform to ours. In their sight there
can be no more effeminate object than a warrior in a shell jacket, with
closely-shaven chin and lip and cropped whiskers. He looks, in fact,
like one of their dancing troops, and cuts a sorry figure beside a great
Gaul in his blazing red pantaloons and padded frock, epaulettes, beard
_d'Afrique_, and well-twisted moustache. The pashas think much of our
men, but they are not struck with our officers. The French made an
impression quite the reverse. The Turks could see nothing in the men,
except that they thought the Zouaves and Chasseurs Indigènes
dashing-looking fellows; but they considered their officers superior to
ours in all but exact discipline. One day, as a man of the 4th was
standing quietly before the door of the English Consulate, with a horse
belonging to an officer of his regiment, some drunken French soldiers
came reeling up the street; one of them kicked the horse, and caused it
to rear violently; and, not content with doing so, struck it on the
head as he passed. Several French officers witnessed this scene, and one
of them exclaimed, "Why did not you cut the brigand over the head with
your whip when he struck the horse?" The Englishman was not a master of
languages, and did not understand the question. When it was explained to
him, he said with the most sovereign contempt, "Lord forbid I'd touch
sich a poor drunken little baste of a crayture as that!"


The Turkish Commission had a troublesome time of it. All kinds of
impossible requisitions were made to them every moment. Osman Bey, Eman
Bey, and Kabouli Effendi, formed the martyred triumvirate, who were kept
in a state of unnatural activity and excitement by the constant demands
of the officers of the allied armies for all conceivable stores,
luxuries, and necessaries for the troops, as well as for other things
over which they had no control. One man had a complaint against an
unknown Frenchman for beating his servant--another wanted them to get
lodgings for him--a third wished them to send a cavass with self and
friends on a shooting excursion--in fact, very unreasonable and absurd
requests were made to these poor gentlemen, who could scarcely get
through their legitimate work, in spite of the aid of numberless pipes
and cups of coffee. One of the medical officers went to make a
requisition for hospital accommodation, and got through the business
very well. When it was over, the President descended from the divan. In
the height of his delusions respecting Oriental magnificence and
splendour, led away by reminiscences of "Tales of the Genii" and the
"Arabian Nights," the reader must not imagine that this divan was
covered with cloth of gold, or glittering with precious stones. It was
clad in a garb of honest Manchester print, with those remarkable birds
of prey or pleasure, in green and yellow plumage, depicted thereupon,
familiar to us from our earliest days. The council chamber was a room of
lath and plaster, with whitewashed walls; its sole furniture a carpet in
the centre, the raised platform or divan round its sides, and a few
chairs for the Franks. The President advanced gravely to the great
Hakim, and through the interpreter made him acquainted with particulars
of a toothache, for which he desired a remedy. The doctor insinuated
that His Highness must have had a cold in the head, from which the
symptoms had arisen, and the diagnosis was thought so wonderful it was
communicated to the other members of the Council, and produced a marked
sensation. When he had ordered a simple prescription he was consulted by
the other members in turn: one had a sore chin, the other had weak eyes;
and the knowledge evinced by the doctor of these complaints excited
great admiration and confidence, so that he departed, after giving some
simple prescriptions, amid marks of much esteem and respect.

Djemel Pasha, who commanded the pashalic of the Dardanelles, was a very
enlightened Turk, and possessed a fund of information and a grasp of
intellect not at all common among his countrymen, even in the most
exalted stations. He was busily engaged on a work on the constitution of
Turkey, in which he proposed to remodel the existing state of things
completely. He had been much struck by the notion of an hereditary
aristocracy, which he considered very suitable for Turkey, and was
fascinated by our armorial bearings and mottoes, as he thought them
calculated to make members of a family act in such a way as to sustain
the reputation of their ancestors. Talking of the intended visit of the
Sultan to Adrianople, he said, one day, that it was mere folly. If the
Sultan went as his martial ancestors--surrounded by his generals--to
take the command of his armies and share the privations of his soldiers,
he granted it would be productive of good, and inflame the ardour of his
soldiery; but it would produce no beneficial result to visit Adrianople
with a crowded Court, and would only lead to a vast outlay of money in
repairing the old palace for his reception, and in conveying his
officers of State, his harem, and his horses and carriages to a city
which had ceased to be fit for an imperial residence. He was very much
of the opinion of General Canrobert, who, at the close of a splendid
reception by the pashas, at Constantinople, in which pipes mounted with
diamonds and begemmed coffee-cups were handed about by a numerous
retinue, said, "I am much obliged by your attention, but you will
forgive me for saying I should be much better pleased if all these
diamonds and gold were turned into money to pay your troops, and if you
sent away all these servants of yours, except two or three, to fight
against your enemy!" Djemel Pasha declared there could be no good in
tanzimats or in new laws, unless steps were taken to carry them out and
administer them. The pashas in distant provinces would never give them
effect until they were forced to do so, and therefore it will be
necessary, in his opinion, to have the ambassadors of the great Powers
admitted as members of the Turkish Council of State for some years, in
order that these reforms may be productive of good. The Koran he
considered as little suitable to be the basis and textbook of civil law
now in Turkey, as the Old Testament would be in England. It will be long
indeed ere the doctrines of this enlightened Turk prevail among his
countrymen, and when they do the Osmanlis will have ceased to be a
nation. The prejudices of the true believers were but little shaken by
these events. The genuine old green-turbaned Turk viewed our
intervention with suspicion, and attributed our polluting presence on
his soil to interested motives, which aim at the overthrow of the Faith.
This was seen in their leaden eyes as they fell on one through the
clouds of tobacco-smoke from the _khans_ or _cafés_. You are still a
giaour, whom Mahomet has forced into his service, but care must be taken
that you do not gain any advantage at the hands of the faithful.

In the English general orders the greatest stress was laid on treating
the Turks with proper respect, and both officers and men were strictly
enjoined to pay every deference to "the most ancient and faithful of our
allies." The soldiers appeared to act in strict conformity with the
spirit of these instructions. They bought everything they wanted, but on
going for a walk into the country one might see the fields dotted by
stragglers from the French camp, tearing up hedgestakes, vines, and
sticks for fuel, and looking out generally with eyes wide open for the
_pot à feu_.


With the exception of the _vivandières_, the French brought no women
whatever with them. The Malta authorities had the egregious folly to
send out ninety-seven women in the "Georgiana" to this desolate and
miserable place, where men were hard set to live. This indiscretion was
not repeated.

The camps in the neighbourhood of Gallipoli extended every day, and with
the augmentation of the allied forces, the privations to which the men
were exposed became greater, the inefficiency of our arrangements more
evident, and the comparative excellence of the French commissariat
administration more striking. Amid the multitude of complaints which met
the ear from every side, the most prominent were charges against the
British commissariat; but the officers at Gallipoli were not to blame.
The persons really culpable were those who sent them out without a
proper staff, and without the smallest foresight. Early and late these
officers might be seen toiling amid a set of apathetic Turks and stupid
araba drivers, trying in vain to make bargains and give orders in the
language of signs, or aided by interpreters who understood neither the
language of the contractor nor contractee. And then the officers of a
newly-arrived regiment rushed on shore, demanded bullock-carts for the
luggage, guides, interpreters, rations, &c., till the unfortunate
commissary became quite bewildered. There were only four commissary
officers, Turner, Bartlett, Thompson, and Smith, and they were obliged
to get on as well as they could with the natives.

The worst thing was the want of comforts for the sick. Many of the men
labouring under diseases contracted at Malta were obliged to camp in the
cold, with only one blanket, as there was no provision for them at the
temporary hospital. Mr. Alexander succeeded in getting hold of some
hundreds of blankets by taking on himself the responsibility of giving a
receipt for them, and taking them off the hands of the commanding
officer of one of the regiments from Malta. This responsibility is a
horrid bugbear, but no man is worth his salt who does not boldly incur
it whenever he thinks the service is to be benefited thereby. It would
be lucky if more people had a supply of desirable recklessness, and
things would have gone on much better.

Regiments arrived daily, and encamped near the town. The 4th, 28th,
50th, 93rd, and 2nd Battalion Rifle Brigade were stationed between
Bulair and Gallipoli. The 33rd, 41st, 49th, 77th, and 88th, lay in
Scutari or in the adjoining barracks.

The French poured in their troops. Towards the end of April they had
22,000 men in the neighbourhood of Gallipoli, and the narrow streets
were almost impassable. The Zouaves, from their picturesque costume,
quite threw our men in the shade--all but their heads and shoulders,
which rose in unmistakable broadness above the fez caps of their Gallic
allies. Even the Zouaves yielded the prize of effectiveness to the
Chasseurs Indigènes, or French Sepoys. These troops wore a white turban,
loose powder-blue jackets, faced and slashed with yellow, embroidered
vests with red sashes, and blue breeches extremely wide and loose, so
that they looked like kilts, falling to the knees, where they were
confined by a band; the calf of the leg encased in greaves of yellow
leather with black stripes; and white gaiters, falling from the ankle
over the shoe.

Long strings of camels laden with skins of wine, raki, and corn, might
be seen stalking along the dusty roads and filing through the dingy
bazaar, and wild-looking countrymen with droves of little shaggy ponies
trooped in hour after hour to sell the produce they carried and the
beasts that bore it. Instead of piastres, they began to demand lire,
shillings, pounds, and Napoleons, and displayed ingenuity in the art of
selling horses and doctoring them that would have done honour to
Yorkshiremen. The coarse brown bread of the country was to be had at the
bakers' shops early in the morning by those who were not so fortunate as
to have rations, and after a little preparatory disgust was not quite
uneatable. Wine, formerly two or three piastres (4_d._ or 5_d._) a
bottle, soon sold for 1_s._ 6_d._ or 2_s._ Meat was bad and dear, the
beef being very like coarse mahogany; the mutton was rather better, but
very lean. Eggs were becoming scarce and dear, in consequence of the
razzias of the army on the producing powers. Milk was an article of the
highest luxury, and only to be seen on the tables of the great; and the
sole attempt at butter was rancid lard packed in strong-smelling
camel's-hair bags. It was really wonderful that no Englishman had
sufficient enterprise to go out to Gallipoli with a stock of creature
comforts and camp necessaries. One man set up a shop, at which bad
foreign beer was sold as English ale at 1_s._ 6_d._ a bottle; a hard
little old Yankee ham fetched about 20_s._; brandy was very dear,
scarce, and bad; bacon was not to be had, except by great good fortune
and large outlay; and Dutch cheeses were selling at 8_s._ each. A stock
of saddlery would have been at once bought up at very remunerating rates
to the importer; and there was scarcely an article of common use in
England which could not have been disposed of at a very considerable

[Sidenote: CLOSE SHAVING.]

As change was very scarce, there was great difficulty in obtaining
articles of small value, and a sum of 19_s._ was occasionally made up in
piastres, half-piastres, gold pieces of 5, 10, 20, and 50 piastres each,
francs, soldi, lire, halfpence, sixpences, and zwanzigers, collected at
several shops up and down the street. Let the reader imagine Mr. John
Robinson, Patrick Casey, or Saunders Macpherson of Her Majesty's 50th
Regiment, suddenly plunged into such a mass of cheats and sharpers, who
combine the avidity of the Jew with the subtlety of the Greek, and
trying to purchase some little article of necessity or luxury with his
well-saved sovereign, and he can guess how he would suffer. "I expect at
last they'll give me a handful of wafers for a sovereign," said a
disconsolate sapper one day, as he gazed on the dirty equivalent for a
piece of English gold which he had received from an Israelite. Towards
evening, when raki and wine had done their work, the crowds became more
social and turbulent, and English and French might be seen engaged in
assisting each other to preserve the perpendicular, or toiling off to
their camps laden with bags of coffee, sugar, and rice, and large
bottles of wine. At sunset patrols cleared the streets, taking up any
intoxicated stragglers they might find there or in the _cafés_, and when
the brief twilight had passed away the whole town was left in silence
and in darkness, except when the barking and yelping of the innumerable
dogs which infested it woke up the echoes, and now and then the
challenge of a distant sentry or the trumpet-calls of the camp fell on
the ear.

The Lieutenant-General was determined to secure efficiency according to
the light that was in him. If Sir George Brown had his way, Rowland,
Oldridge, and the whole race of bears'-grease manufacturers and pomade
merchants would have scant grace and no profit. His hatred of hair
amounted to almost a mania. "Where there is hair there is dirt, and
where there is dirt there will be disease." That was an axiom on which
was founded a vigorous war against all capillary adornments. Stocks were
ordered to be kept up, stiff as ever. The General would not allow the
little black pouches hitherto worn on the belt by officers. They are
supposed to carry no pockets, and are not to open their shell jackets;
and the question they ask is, "Does the General think we are to have no
money?" But the order which gave the greatest dissatisfaction was that
each officer must carry his own tent. They were warned to provide mules
for that purpose, and to carry their baggage, but mules were not to be
had at any price. For close shaving, tight stocking, and light marching,
Lieut.-General Sir George Brown was not to be excelled. A kinder man to
the soldiers, or one who looked more to their rights, never lived, and
no "but" need be added to this praise.


     Works at Bulair--Scutari--Return to Gallipoli--French
     Troops--Intricate Monetary Arrangements--The Turkish
     Commissions--Army Chaplains--Fire in a Turkish Town--Prevalence of
     High Winds at Gallipoli--Arrival of Lord Raglan at
     Gallipoli--Review of French Troops--Greek Apathy and Turkish

Whilst part of the army was engaged on the works at Bulair, arrangements
were made for the reception of English regiments in the Bosphorus. On
the 13th of April the _Himalaya_ arrived with the 33rd Regiment (Colonel
Blake) and the 41st Regiment (Colonel Adams) on board, and anchored off
Gallipoli; Sir George Brown ordered her off to Scutari after a short
delay, and as I was miserably lodged at Gallipoli, I took a passage on
board. On the 15th (Good Friday) she arrived in the midst of a
snow-storm, and moored at the Asiatic side of the Bosphorus. These
regiments were the first that landed at Scutari--a place about to
acquire a sad notoriety as the head-quarters of death and sickness, and
a happier interest as the scene of the labours of Florence Nightingale
and her sisters. The day was bitterly cold; Constantinople and Pera,
black-looking and desolate, contrasted with the white hills behind them,
covered with deep snow; and the Asiatic mountains in the distance had an
Alpine wintry aspect, which gave a shock to our notions of an Oriental
spring. The barracks were given up to the men just as they had been left
by the Turkish troops, and were inhabited by legions of fleas, and less
active but more nauseous insects. It was late in the day when the
regiment arrived at quarters, and several officers lay for the night in
the guard-room, which had an open brasier of charcoal to keep warmth in
it. All night we could scarcely sleep, and at dawn we began to receive
visits from Turks, who were kind enough to see if they could relieve us
of anything they thought we did not want.

A fire broke out at Gallipoli on the morning of Saturday, the 22nd of
April. The previous Friday was the Good Friday of the Greeks, and they
kept it as is their wont on a great festival, staying up late and
feasting and revelling. It was late, therefore--about 9 o'clock in the
morning--when, in the middle of a comfortable sleep, we were awakened by
Assistant-Surgeon Irwin, of the 28th, who slept in a den in the next
room with Captain Mansell, of the same regiment, rushing in and
exclaiming--"Get up! get up! Alexander's house is on fire!" The house in
which the principal medical officer lived was on the other side of the
street, about three houses lower down. Flames were issuing through the
windows of Papa Zonani's residence, and the Greek population were gazing
idly on while those who lived on either side were removing their effects
as rapidly as possible. The Turks stroked their beards, and considered
that the will of God was directly concerned in the destruction of the
premises, while the Greeks wrung their hands, and did nothing further.
The Major in his excitement dashed his hand through a pane of glass, and
shouted out, "Get up and bundle out your things, or we're done for." A
jump out of bed and a rush at the few spare articles of clothing lying
about followed, and then commenced a rapid flight down stairs into a
garden of onions and garlic at the rear of the house, which seemed
especially formed as a refuge for us. There were in the house Mr. Irwin,
of the 28th, Captain Mansell, of the 28th, Major Collingwood Dickson,
R.A., two soldiers of the 28th, servants of the officers, an old woman,
several children, cocks, hens, &c., immediately a secession of _lares_
and _penates_ to this land of refuge began; beds, coats, trunks,
portmanteaus, boxes, were hurled down the stairs, and fierce struggles
took place for precedence in the narrow passage, while the old lady and
the children howled dismally as they flew about with pipkins and
spinning-reels and inexplicable chattels.


In the midst of all our confusion a heavy tramp was heard in the
street--the door of our house was burst open, and in rushed a body of
French infantry, shouting out, "Cassez tous, cassez tous; il faut
abattre la maison!" However, it was explained to them that this
necessity was not absolute, and that it would be much better for them to
devote themselves to saving our property. They at once assented, and
rushing on the various things in the room, transported them with
incredible rapidity into the garden. Their comrades outside were as
energetic as demons. They mounted on the roofs of the houses next to the
burning mansion, smashed in the tiles, destroyed the walls, and left
them a mass of ruins in as little time as it takes me to write these
lines. They saved the quarter of the town, for there was but little
water, and the few small hand-engines were of no service. The marines
and sailors of the _Jean Bart_ and _Montebello_ were landed very

The Doctor's house and two others, as well as the greater part of the
hospital, were destroyed. Several of the French soldiers were hurt
severely, but no lives were lost. There was no pillage, owing to the
vigilance of the French guards. The only mischief, beyond the
destruction of property in the houses, the loss of twenty pounds' worth
of Dr. Alexander's effects, and the fright, was that we were compelled
to take refuge in a tent pitched in the onion-garden at the back of the
cabin, which would have formed a very agreeable residence for an
enthusiastic entomologist, but was by no means agreeable, on those cold
and windy nights, to unscientific individuals.

On the same day Sir De Lacy Evans and staff, in the _City of London_,
passed, after a short delay, on their way to Scutari, to form the Second
Division. On the 23rd the _Emperor Nicholas_ passed Gallipoli early in
the morning, with Sir Richard England on board, on his way to
Constantinople, to take the command of the Third Division. Later in the
day the _Trent_, with the 23rd Regiment; the _Tonning_, with Brigadiers
Sir C. Campbell and Pennefather; and the _Medway_, with the 95th
Regiment, arrived, and after a short delay proceeded northwards to
Scutari. Eyre, who arrived in the _Tonning_, was at once secured by Sir
George Brown, who had been anxiously waiting to catch a brigadier. He
set to work to drill his men with energy a day or two after his arrival.
The 44th (to whom the General paid a compliment on their efficient
condition), the 28th, and 4th, were under arms daily at 5-1/2 A.M., and
they thought themselves lucky if they got released after three hours'
drill and marching. The Brigadier was always at the camp soon after

Æolus must have taken his abode somewhere in the neighbourhood of
Gallipoli since he removed his Court from Lipari. The unseasonable
rapidity with which he opens his bags, and the violence with which he
sends forth the sharpest and most truculent of all the winds to sweep
over the hills around this miserable spot, would satisfy Juno in her
most indignant mood if the place were a Trojan colony. The extraordinary
suddenness of these changes and the excessive variations of temperature
were very trying to the men in camp, but the average of illness and
disease was rather below that of most camps in ordinary circumstances.
The sun rises, perchance, from behind the hills of Asia Minor without a
cloud to mar his splendour; the Sea of Marmora, bounded by the faint
blue lines of the highlands of Asia and the distinctive sweep of the
European coast, spreads out towards the north-west like a sheet of
burnished silver; the Dardanelles flows swiftly between the contracted
channel as smoothly as the Thames in summer time by the pleasant meads
of Chertsey. There is a rich sylvan look about the scenery, for at a
distance the hills around Lampsaki, across the straits, appear to be
dotted with verdant lawns and plantations; and the outline of the high
grounds, rising tier after tier till they are capped by the lofty range
which stretches along the background from Ida in the Troad, is subdued
and regular.

The villages built in the recesses of the hills and in the little bays
and creeks of the straits, surrounded by all the enchantment of
distance, look clean and picturesque, the dark groves of cypress casting
into bright relief the whitewash of the houses and the tall shafts of
minarets standing out gracefully from the confused mass of roofs,
gables, masts, yards, and sails by the seaside. Further south the coasts
close in abruptly, and the straits are like a long Highland loch. The
land around Gallipoli on the European side of the straits is more bleak
and more level. Indeed, for miles around the town (except towards the
south, where there is a very small table-land with patches of trees),
and all the way across to the Gulf of Saros, the country very much
resembles the downs about Brighton. It is nearly as destitute of wood or
plantations. The soil, which is light, but deep and rather sandy,
produces excellent crops, but bears no trees, except a few figs and
olives. The vines, which are planted in rows, not trailed as in Italy,
are abundant, and the grape yields a rich, full, and generous wine,
which is highly esteemed. Into the soil, which is just scratched up by
ploughs rather inferior to those described by Virgil 1800 years ago, the
dejected rayahs are busied throwing the corn and barley seed; and as the
slow steers or huge lumbering buffaloes pace along the furrows, they are
followed by a stately army of storks, which march gravely at the very
heels of beast and ploughman, and engage themselves busily in destroying
the grubs and larvæ. On all the heights around glisten the white tents
of French or English, and here and there the eye rests upon their
serrated lines on the slope of some pleasant valley, or lights on the
encampment of some detached party posted in a recess of the hills. Faint
clouds of dust, through which may be seen the glistening of steel and
dark masses of uniform, blur the landscape here and there, and betray
the march of troops along the sandy roads, which are exactly like those
worn by the tramp of men and horses through Chobham-common, and had
neither fence, boundary-metal, nor drainage.

[Sidenote: WORKS AT BULAIR.]

In a moment the whole scene changes. A violent storm of wind rushes over
the face of the sea and straits, lashing them into fury, and sending the
Turkish boats flying with drooping peaks to the shelter of the
shore--the coast is obscured by masses of black clouds, which burst into
torrents of rain resembling tropical water-spouts. The French men-of-war
in the bay send down top masts, the merchantmen run out cable and let go
another anchor; the rayahs plod across the fields, and crouch in holes
and corners till the storm abates; and the luckless troops on their
march are covered with mud by the action of the rain. In such times as
these canvas is a sorry shelter--the pegs draw from the loose soil, and
let in wind and rain. On Saturday, the 29th of April, tents were blown
down by such a storm in all directions. In the two English camps about
twenty were down at the same time, and exposed the men to all the
drenching rain. Lady Errol, who was living with her husband in the Rifle
Camp, had to crawl from under the dripping canvas in most sorry plight.

Prince Jerome Napoleon arrived on the 30th. The town was shaken by the
Imperial salute of 101 guns from each of the five French line-of-battle
ships. He left the ship for the shore in a storm of wind, under a
similar salute, which frightened the Greeks out of their lives. Next
Sunday, Prince Napoleon, General Canrobert, and the _état major_
reviewed the French troops, and the English General and staff attended
upon the occasion.

Lord Raglan, accompanied by Lord de Ros, Quartermaster-General, and
staff, Mr. Burrell, Dr. Tice, &c., arrived May 2nd, at noon, on board
the _Emeu_. He proceeded to General Brown's quarters, and they had a
long interview. Lord Raglan visited Admiral Bruat on board his
flag-ship, and sailed the same night for the Bosphorus and for Scutari.

The works at the intrenched camp at Bulair progressed with such speed
that our portion of them was at this time expected to be finished by the
middle of May. The emulation between the French and English troops at
the diggings was immense, and at the same time most good-humoured. The
lines were about seven miles long, and about two and three-quarters or
three miles were executed by our men. They were simple field works,
running along the crest of a natural ridge, from the Gulf of Saros to
the Sea of Marmora. They consisted of a trench seven feet deep; the
bottom, from scarp to counterscarp, six feet broad; the top thirteen
feet broad. There was then a berm of three feet wide, above which was
the parapet of earthwork (to be revetted in due course) of five feet
thick, a banquette three feet six inches broad, and a slope inside of
one in two.

The spectator who selects a high point of land on the undulating country
round Brighton, and looks across the valley below, might form a
tolerable idea of the terrain around Gallipoli. Crossing the hills in
all directions, and piercing the ravines between them, the dark masses
of French infantry advancing from their numerous encampments might at
the period referred to be seen formed for miles around on every sloping
plateau. The shrill trumpets of the Zouaves were frequently heard
sounding a wild and eccentric march, and these fierce-looking soldiers
of Africa, burnt brown by constant exposure to the sun, with beards
which easily distinguish them from the native Arabs, came rushing past,
for their pace is so quick that it fully justifies the term. The open
collars of their coats allow free play to the lungs; the easy jacket,
the loose trouser, and the well-supported ankle, constitute the _beau
ideal_ of a soldier's dress; their firelocks and the brasses of their
swords and bayonets are polished to a nicety. Each man was then fully
equipped for the field, with great-coat strapped over his knapsack,
canteen by his side, a billhook, hatchet, or cooking-tin fastened over
all. In the rear, mounted on a packhorse, followed a vivandière, in the
uniform of the regiment, with natty little panniers and neatly-polished
barrels of diminutive size dangling over the saddle; and then came a
sumpter-mule, with two wooden boxes fastened to the pack, containing
small creature comforts for the officers. The word was given to
halt--stand at ease--pile arms. In a moment the whole regiment seemed
disorganized. The men scattered far and wide over the fields collecting
sticks and brushwood, and it appeared incredible that they could have
gathered all the piles of brambles and dried wood and leaves which they
deposited in the rear of the lines from the country that looked so bare.
The officers gathered in groups, lighted cigars, chatted and laughed, or
sat on the ground while their coffee was being boiled.

The moment the halt took place, off came the boxes from the mule--a
little portable table was set up--knives, forks, glasses and cups were
laid out--a capacious coffee-tin was put upon three stones over a heap
of bramble, and in three minutes each officer could take a cup of this
refreshing drink after his hot march, with a biscuit and morsel of
cheese, and a chasse of brandy afterwards. The men were equally alert in
providing themselves with their favourite beverage. In a very short
space of time two or three hundred little camp-fires were lighted,
sending up tiny columns of smoke, and coffee-tins were boiling, and the
busy brisk vivandière, with a smile for every one, and a joke or box on
the ear for a favourite vieux moustache, passed along through the blaze,
and filled out tiny cups of Cognac to the thirsty soldiers. Pipes of
every conceivable variety of shape were lighted, and a hum and bustle
rose up from the animated scene, so rich in ever-shifting combinations
of form and colour that Maclise might have looked on it with wonder and
despair. Regiment after regiment came up on the flanks of the Zouaves,
halted, and repeated the process, the only remarkable corps being the
Indigènes, or native Zouaves, dressed exactly the same as the French,
except that jackets, trousers, and vest are of a bright powder blue,
trimmed with yellow, and their turbans, or the folds of linen round the
fez, are of pure white.


In an hour or so the crest of the hill, which extended in undulating
folds for two or three miles, was covered by battalions of infantry, and
they might be seen toiling up the opposite ridge, till nothing was
visible from one extremity to the other but the broken lines of these
stalwart battalions. There was a ready, dashing, serviceable look about
the men that justified the remark of one of the captains--"We are ready
as we stand to go on to St. Petersburg this instant." There was a
vivacity, so to speak, about the appearance of the troops which caught
the eye at once. The air of reality about this review distinguished it
from sham fights and field-days, and all holiday demonstrations of the
kind. Before twelve o'clock there were about 20,000 troops on the
opposite ridges of hills--an excellently-appointed train of artillery of
nine-pounder guns, with appointments complete, being stationed in the
valley below. The columns, taken lineally, extended upwards of eight
miles. Strange as such a spectacle must have been to Turks and Greeks,
there was scarcely a native on the ground. Whether fear or apathy kept
them away, it is impossible to say; but Gallipoli, with its 15,000
inhabitants, sent not a soul to gaze upon the splendid spectacle. If
Horace be right, the Gallipolitans have indeed discovered the secret of
the only true happiness. They absolutely revel in the most voluptuous
indulgence of the _nil admirari_. While six or seven French men-of-war
were anchored in their waters, while frigates and steamers and
line-of-battle ships kept passing up and down in continuous streams,
waking the echoes of the Dardanelles with endless salutes, not a being
ever came down to glance at the scene. The old crones sat knitting in
their dingy hovels; the men, i.e., the Greeks, slouched about the
corners in their baggy breeches, and the pretty and dirty little
children continued their games without showing the smallest sign of
curiosity, though a whole fleet was blazing away its thunder in an
Imperial welcome within a few yards of them.

As for the Turks, they sat so obstinately on their shelves and smoked
their apathetic pipes so pertinaciously--they were so determined in
resenting the impulses of curiosity--that one's fingers were perpetually
itching to indulge in the luxury of giving them a slap in the face, and
it was all but impossible to resist the impulse of trying what effect a
kick would have had in disturbing such irritating equanimity. There were
no Chobham crowds to break the uniformity of the lines of military, but
great numbers of the English soldiery, in their Sunday costume, turned
out and "assisted" at the ceremony. Shortly before twelve o'clock, a
brilliant staff--it did indeed literally blaze in gold and silver, brass
and polished steel, as the hot sun played on rich uniforms and
accoutrements--was visible coming up the valley from the direction of
the town. They were preceded by four vedettes, French dragoons with
brazen helmets and leopard-skin mountings; the various staff officers in
advance; then Prince Napoleon, in the uniform of a Lieutenant-General,
and General Canrobert, in full dress and covered with orders, on one
side, and Sir George Brown on the other, both somewhat in the rear. The
effect of the _cortége_ as it swept past, the vision of prancing horses
and gorgeous caparisons, of dancing plumes, of gold and silver lace, of
hussar, dragoon, artillery, rifle, Zouave, spahi, lancer, of officers of
all arms, dressed with that eye to effect which in France is very just
as long as men are on horseback, was wonderful. It flashed by like some
grand procession of the stage, if one can so degrade its power and
reality by the comparison. It was not gratifying to an Englishman to
observe the red coatee and cocked hat; the gold epaulettes and twist of
the British officers looked very ill amid all the variety of costume in
which the French indulged, nor was it without reason that the latter
complained they could not tell which was the general or which the
captain by their uniforms.

As the vedettes came in view the drums of each regiment rolled, the
trumpets and bugles sounded, and all the men who had been scattered over
the ground in disorderly multitudes came running in from all sides, and
dressed up, unpiled arms, and with great celerity fell into lines three
deep, with bands, _vivandières_, mules, and smoking fires hastily
extinguished in the rear. When General Canrobert reached the first
regiment he raised his cocked hat, and shouted lustily, "_Vive
l'Empereur_." The officers repeated the cry, and three times it ran
along the line of the regiment. The band struck up, the men presented
arms, and the Prince rode past bowing and raising his hat in
acknowledgment, and again the band, out of compliment to the English
General, played "God save the Queen."

Soon after daybreak on the 6th of May, the Rifle Brigade, the 50th
Regiment, and the 93rd Regiment, forming the working brigade of Bulair,
struck tents. At the same time the 4th, 28th, and 44th Regiments, at the
Soulari encampment, about two miles from the town of Gallipoli,
proceeded towards Bulair, to take up the quarters vacated by the other
brigade. The mass of baggage was enormous. The trains of buffalo and
bullock carts, of pack-horses, and mules, and of led horses, which filed
along the road to Gallipoli, seemed sufficient for the army of Xerxes.
For seven or eight miles the teams of country carts, piled up with beds
and trunks, and soldiers' wives and tents, were almost unbroken; now and
then an overladen mule tumbled down, or a wheel came off, and the whole
line of march became a confused struggle of angry men and goaded cattle.
It so happened that two French battalions were moving out to fresh
quarters (they change their camps once a fortnight), and it became
perceptible at a glance that, _pro rata_, they carried much less
_impedimenta_ than our regiments. There is considerable difficulty in
accounting for this; because without a complete knowledge of the
internal economy of both armies comparison would be difficult; but the
absence of women--the small kit of the officers, as well as the size of
the tents, went far to account for it. Frenchmen live in uniform, while
no British soldier is quite happy without mufti. He must have his
wide-awake and shooting jacket, and dressing gown, and evening dress,
and a tub of some sort or other, a variety of gay shirting, pictorial
and figurative, while the Gaul does very well without them.


     Mishaps--Omar Pasha's Plans--Preparations for a Move--Lord
     Raglan--Jew and Armenian Money-changers--Review of the English
     Forces--Off to Varna.

[Sidenote: THE GUARDS' CAMP.]

The Duke of Cambridge arrived in the _Caradoc_ at 3 P.M. on Tuesday, the
6th. Marshal St. Arnaud arrived at Gallipoli on Sunday, the 7th of May.
On May 9th, the Rifle Brigade and 93rd Regiment left Gallipoli for
Scutari. Sir George Brown and staff also departed, leaving the force
encamped under the command of Sir Richard England, with Brigadiers Sir
J. Campbell and Eyre; Major Colborne and Captain Hallewell, Deputy
Assistant Quarter-Master-Generals; Colonel Doyle, Assistant
Adjutant-General; Brigade-Major Hope; Brigade-Major Wood, &c. In a few
days I bade good-bye to Gallipoli, and proceeded to Scutari, where I
remained in quarters for some days, but finally took up my abode at
Messurir Hotel, in Pera, and awaited the course of events.

In a book called "Letters from Head-Quarters," newspaper correspondents
are censured because they had the audacity to ask the commissariat for
tents and rations. Concerning the application to head-quarters, it may
be as well to state that it was made in consequence of directions from
home, for the Government ordered that the accommodation which is seldom
refused to gentlemen who may accompany in any recognized capacity the
course of armies in the field should be afforded to the correspondents
of the London journals. I called on Lord Raglan before he left Scutari,
because I was requested to do so. Whilst waiting till his lordship could
see me, the correspondent of a London morning journal came into the
ante-room, and told me he was on the same errand as myself. "Lord Raglan
being very much engaged," I was asked by one of the officers in waiting
to see Colonel Steele, and on stating the object of my visit to the
military secretary, he assured me that it could not be acceded to,
whereupon I made my bow and withdrew without any further observation. A
few days afterwards I received permission to draw rations from the
commissariat, by order of the Secretary of State.

On a slope rising up from the water's edge, close to Lord Raglan's
quarters, the camp of the brigade of Guards was pitched; a kind of
ravine, about a quarter of a mile wide, divided it from the plateau and
valley at the back of the barracks, in which were pitched the camps of
the other regiments, and of the Light Division. Clumps of tall shady
trees were scattered here and there down towards the water's edge, under
which a horde of sutlers had erected sheds of canvas and plank for the
sale of provisions, spirits, and wines, combined with a more wholesome
traffic in cakes, Turkish sweetmeats, lemonade, and sherbet. The
proprietors were nearly all Smyrniotes or Greeks from Pera, not bearing
the highest character in the world. The regular canteens established
within the lines were kept by a better class of people, under the
_surveillance_ of the military authorities.

Syces, with horses for sale, rode about at full speed through the lanes
and pathways leading to the camp; the steeds they bestrode were bony
animals with mouths like a vice, stuffed out with grass and green food,
and not worth a tithe of the prices asked for them. All this scene, so
full of picturesque animation--these files of snowy tents sweeping away
tier after tier over hillock and meadow, till they were bounded by the
solemn black outlines of the forest of cypress--these patches of men at
drill here and there all over the plain--these steadier and larger
columns at parade--this constant play and glitter of bayonet and
accoutrement as the numerous sentries wheeled on their beaten
tracks--this confused crowd of araba drivers, match-sellers, fruit and
cigar and tobacco vendors, of hamals or porters, of horse-dealers and
gaily-dressed rogues, and rapparees of all nations, disappeared in a few
hours, and left no trace behind, except the barren circle which marked
where the tent once stood, and the plain all seared and scorched by the
camp-fires. What became of the mushroom tribe which had started as it
were from the ground to supply the wants of the soldiery it would be
difficult to say, and not very interesting to inquire.

Among the most amusing specimens of the race must be reckoned the Jew
and Armenian money-changers--squalid, lean, and hungry-looking
fellows--whose turbans and ragged gabardines were ostentatiously dirty
and poverty-stricken,--who prowled about the camp with an eternal
raven-croak of "I say, John, change de monnish--change de monnish,"
relieved occasionally by a sly tinkle of a leathern purse well filled
with dollars and small Turkish coin. They evaded the vigilance of the
sentries, and startled officers half asleep in the heat of the sun, by
the apparition of their skinny hands and yellow visages within the tent,
and the cuckoo-cry, "I say, John, change de monnish." Their appearance
was the greatest compliment that could be paid to the national
character. The oldest Turk had never seen one of them near a native
camp, and the tradition of ages affirmed that where soldiers come the
race disappeared. Indeed, they only showed at the English camp in the
sun-time. They were a sort of day-ghost which vanished at the approach
of darkness, and the croak and the jingle were silent, and they spirited
themselves gently away ere twilight, and where they lived no man could
tell. Any one who has seen Vernet's picture, at Versailles, of the
taking of Abd-el-Kader's Smala, will at once recognize the type of these
people in the wonderful figure of the Jew who is flying with his
treasure from the grasp of the French swordsman.

A fleet of thirty transports was anchored off the barracks. The Sappers
were engaged fitting up horse-boxes on board the transports. The Sea of
Marmora was covered with the white sails of transports and store-ships,
making way against the current, and the little wharf and landing-place
at Scutari were alive with men loading boats with provisions or
munitions of war.


In strange contrast to all this life and activity, the natives idled on
the shore, scarcely raising their heads to look at what was passing
around them; or taking a very unobtrusive and contemplative interest in
the labours of the soldiery, as they watched them from their
smoking-perches in front of the _cafés_ of the town, or of the sutlers'
booths pitched along the shore. Lord Raglan's quarters seemed to be an
especial resort for them. The house, a low wooden building two stories
high, very clean, and neatly painted and matted within, was situated on
the beach, about three-quarters of a mile from the barrack. In front was
a tolerably spacious courtyard, with high walls, well provided with
little stone boxes for the sparrows and swallows to build in, and inside
this court led horses and chargers, belonging to the aides and officers
on duty, might be seen pacing about. Directly opposite to the entrance
of the court was a wooded knoll, with a few gravestones peering above
the rich grass; and a Turkish fountain, in front of a group of
pine-trees, usually surrounded by water-carriers, was in the foreground.

Groups of Turks, Greeks, and Armenians, each distinct, were to be seen
reclining at the foot of these trees, gazing listlessly into the
courtyard, while they carried on monosyllabic conversations at long
intervals between puffs of smoke. The beach, which somewhat resembled
that at Folkestone at high water, was bounded by a tolerable road, a
favourite walk of the women and children of Chalcedon and the suburbs
beyond it; but these animated bundles of bright-coloured clothing
scarcely deigned to look at the men in uniforms, or to turn their heads
at the jingle of sword and spur. In the stagnant water which ripples
almost imperceptibly on the shore there floated all forms of nastiness
and corruption, which the prowling dogs, standing leg-deep as they wade
about in search of offal, cannot destroy. The smell from the shore was
noisome, but a few yards out from the fringe of buoyant cats, dogs,
birds, straw, sticks--in fact, of all sorts of abominable flotsam and
jetsam, which bob about on the pebbles unceasingly--the water is
exquisitely clear. The slaughter-houses for the troops, erected by the
seaside, did not contribute, as may readily be imagined, to the
cleanliness of this filthy beach, or the wholesomeness of the

The disposition of the British army was as follows:--At Scutari, the
Guards, three battalions, the 7th, 19th, 23rd, 30th, 33rd, 41st, 47th,
49th, 77th, 88th, 93rd, 95th, and Rifle Brigade; at Gallipoli the 1st
Royals, 4th, 29th, 38th, 44th and 50th; in all about 22,000 men. Our
cavalry consisted of Lord Lucan, his aides-de-camp, and a few staff
officers, who were awaiting the arrival of the force to which they were
attached. The artillery which had arrived was not in a very efficient
condition, owing to the loss of horses on the passage out. It was while
our army was in this state that we heard of the march of the Russians
upon Silistria, and their advance from the Dobrudscha along the banks of
the Danube. Lord de Ros was dispatched to Varna, and had an interview
with Omar Pasha, who impressed upon him the necessity of an advance on
the part of the allies into Bulgaria. The Russian army on the right bank
of the Danube, with their left resting on Kostendje, and their right on
Rassova, covering their front with clouds of Cossack plunderers, were
within twelve miles of Silistria, and their light cavalry swept all the
northern portions of Bulgaria, and threatened to cut off the

On the 17th of May, a state dinner was given to the Duke of Cambridge by
the Sultan, at which it was said that Marshal St. Arnaud made an
allusion to a third Power which would join France and England in the
struggle. The Austrian Ambassador, who was present, did not utter any
expression of opinion upon the subject.

A tremendous storm broke over the camp on the night of the 18th of May.
Two officers of the 93rd, Lieutenant W. L. Macnish and Ensign R. Crowe,
set out from the barracks, about nine o'clock, to go to the encampment
of their regiments. The distance was about a third of a mile. Just
outside the barrack-wall was a small gully, at the bottom of which there
is usually a few inches of water, so narrow that a child might step
across. As they were groping along they suddenly plunged into the
current, now far beyond their depth. Mr. Crowe managed to scramble up
the bank, but his calls to his companion were unanswered. Mr. Macnish's
body was discovered in the ditch a few days later, and was interred by
the regiment.

On the same night Lord Raglan, in the _Caradoc_, Marshal St. Arnaud and
staff, in the _Berthollet_, and Riza Pasha, Minister of War, and Mehemet
Kiprisli Pasha, Minister of the Interior, in the steam-frigate
_Cheh-Per_, sailed for Varna to hold a council of war with Omar Pasha,
Admirals Hamelin and Dundas. Omar Pasha was anxious for the arrival of
an Anglo-French army to occupy the country between Varna and Shumla, and
to feel their way in advance of that line, so as to menace the Russians
from Chernavoda to Kostendje, while he endangered their right flank by
pushing a large force on Bucharest. He placed great reliance on the
position of Varna. A general at the head of a large army, who kept his
own counsel, could, according to the ideas he then expressed, paralyse
the whole Russian invasion, when once he had got his men into the
neighbourhood of this place, aided, as he must be, by the fleets. Omar
Pasha declared that his plans were known to the Russians in twenty-four
hours after he mentioned them. Presuming that the officer in command had
a close mouth, according to Omar Pasha, a moral and physical strength
might be found in the position almost irresistible. He might from that
point move on Shumla, and on the passes of the Balkan, with equal ease;
he could attack the right flank or the left flank of the Russians, or,
by landing in their rear, covered by the fleet, he might break up their
position in front of the Danube, and frustrate all their plans of
campaign. With similar facility he could have sent an army across to the
Asiatic shores of the Black Sea, to aid the Turkish army, or to attack
the forces of the Caucasus, or could direct his attention to the Crimea,
so as to make an attempt on Sebastopol.

The allied Generals visited Pravadi and Shumla, and inspected the
Turkish army, which numbered about 40,000 men, many of whom were sick.
On the evening of their visit, Omar Pasha received dispatches announcing
that 70,000 Russians, under Paskiewitch, had commenced the bombardment
of Silistria.

On the 23rd Lord Raglan returned from Varna to Scutari. It would appear
that Omar Pasha had succeeded in convincing the allied generals that it
would be desirable to effect a concentration of their forces between
Varna and Shumla.

It was decided that Omar Pasha should concentrate in front of Shumla,
and that the English and French should move their disposable forces to
his assistance. On the return of the Generals arrangements for moving
from Scutari were pushed forward with great vigour.


On the 23rd of May, the generals of brigade received instructions to
prepare for active operations; and transports were detached from the
fleet to proceed up the Black Sea with stores on the evening of the same

At a quarter to eleven o'clock on the 24th of May, all the regiments in
barrack and camp were paraded separately, and afterwards marched to the
ridge which bounded one side of the shallow but broad ravine that
separated the Brigade of Guards from the other brigades. The total force
on the ground consisted of about 15,000 men.

The Guards were ordered to appear on parade without--Muskets?--No.
Coatees?--No. Epaulettes?--No. Cartouch-boxes?--No. Boots?--No. In fact,
Her Majesty's Guards were actually commanded to parade "WITHOUT STOCKS!"
to celebrate Her Majesty's birthday.

At twelve o'clock, Lord Raglan and staff, to the number of thirty or
forty, appeared on the ground. Lord Raglan having ridden slowly along
the line, wheeled round and took his post in front of the centre
regiment. After a short pause, just as the guns of the _Niger_ were
heard thundering out a royal salute from the Bosphorus, the bands struck
up the national air again, and down at once fell the colours of every
regiment drooping to the ground. The thing was well done, and the effect
of these thirty-two masses of richly dyed silk encrusted with the names
of great victories, falling so suddenly to the earth as if struck down
by one blow, was very fine. In another minute a shout of "God save the
Queen" ran from the Rifles on the left to the Guards on the right, and
three tremendous cheers, gathering force as they rolled on with
accumulated strength from regiment after regiment, made the very air
ring, the ears tingle, and the heart throb.

After the cheering died away the march past began. The Guards marched
magnificently. The Highlanders were scarcely a whit inferior, and their
pipes and dress created a sensation among the Greeks, who are fond of
calling them Scotch Albanians, and comparing them to the Klephtic
tribes, among whom pipes and kilts still flourish.

Games--racing in sacks, leaping, running, &c., and cricket, and other
manly sports--occupied the men in the afternoon, in spite of the heat of
the day. In the evening, a handsome obelisk, erected in the centre of
the Guards' camp, and crowned with laurel, was surrounded by fireworks.

The apathy of the Turks was astonishing. Though Scutari, with its
population of 100,000 souls, was within a mile and a half, it did not
appear that half a dozen people had been added to the usual crowd of
camp followers who attend on such occasions. The Greeks were more
numerous; Pera sent over a fair share of foreigners, all dressed in the
newest Paris fashions.

Vessels were sent up to Varna daily with stores; but we were not
prepared to take the field. There was great want of saddlery,
pack-saddles, saddle-bags, and matters of that kind, and the officers
found that their portmanteaus were utterly useless. If John Bull could
only have seen the evil effects of strangling the services in times of
peace by ill-judged parsimony, he would not for the future listen so
readily to the counsellors who tell him that it is economy to tighten
his purse-strings round the neck of army and navy. Who was the wise man
who warned us in time of peace that we should pay dearly for shutting
our eyes to the possibility of war, and who preached in vain to us about
our want of baggage, and pontoon trains, and our locomotive
deficiencies? No outlay, however prodigal, can atone for the effects of
a griping penuriousness, and all the gold in the Treasury cannot produce
at command those great qualities in administrative and executive
departments which are the fruits of experience alone. A soldier, an
artilleryman, a commissariat officer, cannot be created suddenly, not
even with profuse expenditure in the attempt. It would be a great
national blessing if all our political economists could, at this time,
have been caught and enlisted in the army at Scutari for a month or so,
or even if they could have been provided with temporary commissions,
till they had obtained some practical knowledge of the results of their


     Departure of the Light Division--Scenery of the Bosphorus--The
     Black Sea--Varna--Encampment at Aladyn--Bulgarian Cart-drivers--The


On Sunday, the 28th of May, Sir George Brown left the barracks at
Scutari, and proceeded to Varna in the _Banshee_. Before his departure
orders were issued that the men belonging to the Light Division under
his command should embark early the following morning--the baggage to be
on board at six o'clock, the men at nine o'clock. At daylight on the
29th of May the _réveillé_ woke up the camp of the Light Division, and
the regiments were ready for inspection at five o'clock. The Light
Division, which was destined to play an important part in this campaign,
and whose highest glory was to emulate the successes of the famous
legion of the Peninsula whose name they bore, consisted of the following
regiments:--The 7th Fusileers, the 23rd Fusileers, the 19th Foot, the
33rd or Wellington's Regiment, the 77th Foot, the 88th Connaught
Rangers, and the Rifle Brigade, 2nd Battalion. They formed in front of
their tents, and after a rapid inspection were ordered to strike tents.
In a moment or two file after file of canvas cones collapsed and fell to
the earth, the poles were unspliced and packed up, the canvas rolled up
and placed in layers on bullock carts, the various articles of
regimental baggage collected into the same vehicles,--ants in a swarm
could not have been more active and bustling than the men; they formed
into masses, broke up again, moved in single files in little companies,
in broken groups all over the ground, while the araba drivers looked
stupidly on, exhibiting the most perfect indifference to the
appropriation of their carts, and evidently regarding the Giaours as
unpleasant demons, by whose preternatural energies they were to be
agitated and perturbed as punishment for their sins. It would seem,
indeed, very difficult to re-form this shifting, diffusive crowd of
red-coats into the steady columns which were drawn up so rigidly a short
time previously along the canvas walls, now fluttering in the dust or
packed helplessly in bales. Their labours were, however, decisive, and
in some half-hour or so they had transformed the scene completely, and
had left nothing behind them but the bare circles of baked earth,
marking where tents had stood, the blackened spot where once the
camp-fires blazed, tethering sticks, and a curious _débris_ of jam-pots,
preserved meat cases, bottles, sweetmeat boxes, sardine tins, broken
delf, bones of fowl and ham, pomatum pots, and tobacco pipes.

A few words of command running through the toiling crowd--some blasts on
the bugle--and the regiments got together, steady and solid, with long
lines of bullock carts and buffalo arabas drawn up between them, and
commenced their march over the sandy slopes which led to the sea. There
lay the fleet of transports, anchored with their attendant steamers in
long lines, as close inshore as they could approach with safety. The
_Vesuvius_, steam sloop, Commander Powell, the _Simoom_ and the _Megæra_
troop ships (screw-steamers), sent in their boats to aid those of the
merchantmen and steamers in embarking the men and baggage, and Admiral
Boxer, aided by Captain Christie, Commander Powell, and Lieutenant
Rundle, R.N., superintended the arrangements for stowing away and
getting on board the little army, which consisted of about 6,500 men.
The morning was fine, but hot. The men were in excellent spirits, and as
they marched over the dusty plain to the landing-places, they were
greeted with repeated peals of cheering from the regiments of the other
division. The order and regularity with which they were got on board the
boats, and the safety and celerity with which they were
embarked--baggage, horses, women, and stores--were creditable to the
authorities, and to the discipline and good order of the men themselves,
both officers and privates.

No voyager or artist can do justice to the scenery of the Bosphorus. It
has much the character of a Norwegian fiord. Perhaps the rounded outline
of the hills, the light rich green of the vegetation, the luxuriance of
tree and flower and herbage, make it resemble more closely the banks of
Killarney or Windermere. The waters escaping from the Black Sea, in one
part compressed by swelling hillocks to a breadth of little more than a
mile, at another expanding into a sheet of four times that breadth, run
for thirteen miles in a blue flood, like the Rhone as it issues from the
Lake of Geneva, till they mingle with the Sea of Marmora, passing in
their course beautiful groupings of wood and dale, ravine and hill-side,
covered with the profusest carpeting of leaf and blade. Kiosk and
pleasure-ground, embrasured bastion and loopholed curtain, gay garden,
villa, mosque, and mansion, decorate the banks in unbroken lines from
the foot of the forts which command the entrance up to the crowning
glory of the scene, where the imperial city of Constantine, rising in
many-coloured terraces from the verge of the Golden Horn, confuses the
eye with masses of foliage, red roofs, divers-hued walls, and gables,
surmounted by a frieze of snow-white minarets with golden summits, and
by the symmetrical sweep of St. Sophia. The hills strike abruptly
upwards to heights varying from 200 feet to 600 feet, and are bounded at
the foot by quays, which run along the European side, almost without
interruption, from Pera to Bujukderé, about five miles from the Black
Sea. These quays are also very numerous on the Asiatic side.

The villages by the water-side are so close together, that Pera may be
said to extend from Tophané to the forts beyond Bujukderé. The
residences of the pashas, the imperial palaces of the Sultan, and the
retreats of opulence, lined these favoured shores; and as the stranger
passes on, in steamer or caique, he may catch a view of some hoary pasha
or ex-governor sitting cross-legged in his garden or verandah, smoking
away, and each looking so like the other that they might all pass for
brothers. The windows of one portion of these houses are mostly closely
latticed and fastened, but here and there a bright flash of a yellow or
red robe shows the harem is not untenanted. These dwellings succeed each
other the whole length of the Bosphorus, quite as numerously as the
houses on the road from Hyde Park Corner to Hammersmith; and at places
such as Therapia and Bujukderé they are dense enough to form large
villages, provided with hotels, shops, _cafés_, and lodging-houses. The
Turks delight in going up in their caiques to some of these places, and
sitting out on the platforms over the water, while the chibouque or
narghile confers on them a zoophytic happiness; and the greatest object
of Turkish ambition is to enjoy the pleasures of a kiosk on the
Bosphorus. The waters abound in fish, and droves of porpoises and
dolphins disport in myriads on its surface, plashing and playing about,
as with easy roll they cleave their way against its rapid flood, or
gambolling about in the plenitude of their strength and security, till a
sword-fish takes a dig at them, and sets them off curvetting and
snorting like sea-horses. Hawks, kites, buzzards, and sea eagles are
numerous, and large flocks of a kind of gregarious petrel of a dusky
hue, with whitish breasts, called by the French _âmes damneés_, which
are believed never to rest, keep flying up and down close to the water.

Amidst such scenery the expeditionary flotilla began its voyage at
eleven o'clock. It consisted of two steamers for staff officers and
horses, seven steamers for troops and chargers, one for 300 pack horses,
four sailing transports for horse artillery, and two transports for
commissariat animals. Off Tophané, frigates, some of them double-banked,
displayed the red flag with the silver crescent moon and star of the
Ottoman Porte. They were lying idly at rest there, and might have been
much better employed, if not at Kavarna Bay, certainly in cruising about
the Greek Archipelago.

[Sidenote: VARNA.]

It was five o'clock ere the last steamer which had to wait for the
transports got under weigh again, and night had set in before they
reached the entrance of the Black Sea. As they passed the forts (which
are pretty frequent towards the Euxine), the sentries yelled out strange
challenges and burned blue lights, and blue lights answered from our
vessels in return; so that at times the whole of the scene put one in
mind of a grand fairy spectacle; and it did not require any great
stretch of the imagination to believe that the trees were the work of
Grieve--that Stanfield had dashed in the waters and ships--that the
forts were of pasteboard, and the clouds of gauze lighted up by a
property man--while those moustachioed soldiers, with red fez caps or
tarbouches, eccentric blue coats and breeches, and white belts, might
fairly pass for Surrey supernumeraries. Out went the blue lights!--we
were all left as blind as owls at noontide; but our eyes recovered, the
stars at last began to twinkle, two lights shone, or rather bleared
hazily on either bow--they marked the opening of the Bosphorus into the
Euxine. We shot past them, and a farewell challenge and another blue
halo showed the sentries were wide-awake. We were in the Black Sea, and,
lo! sea and sky and land were at once shut out from us! A fog, a
drifting, clammy, nasty mist, bluish-white, and cold and raw, fell down
upon us like a shroud, obscured the stars and all the lights of heaven,
and stole with a slug-like pace down yard and mast and stays, stuck to
the face and beard, rendered the deck dark as a graveyard, and forced us
all down to a rubber and coffee. This was genuine Black Sea weather.

Later in the night we passed through a fleet which we took to be Turkish
men-of-war, but it was impossible to make them out, and but for the
blockade of their ports these vessels might have been Russians.[6] In
the morning the same haze continued drifting about and hugging the land;
but once it rose and disclosed a steamer in shore, with a transport cast
off hovering about it, just as a hen watches a chicken. The _Vesuvius_
fired a gun, and after some time the steamer managed to take the
transport in tow again, and proceeded to rejoin the squadron. We
subsequently found it was the _Megæra_. The line of land was marked by a
bank of white clouds, and the edge of the sea horizon was equally

The bulk of the convoy arrived and cast anchor in Varna Bay before the
evening, and the disembarkation of the troops was conducted with such
admirable celerity, that they were landed as fast as the vessels came
in. Large boats had been provided for the purpose, and the French and
English men-of-war lent their launches and cutters to tow and carry, in
addition to those furnished by the merchantmen. The Rifles marched off
to their temporary camp under canvas, about a mile away. The 88th
Connaught Rangers followed, and on our arrival, the bay was alive with
boats full of red-coats. The various regiments cheered tremendously as
vessel after vessel arrived, but they met with no response from the
Turkish troops.

With difficulty I succeeded in getting a very poor lodging in the house
of an Armenian dragoman, who forces himself on the staff of the English
consulate, and, in company with several officers, remained there for
several days, living and eating after the Armenian fashion by day, and
"pigging" in some very lively "divans" at night, till my horses and
servants arrived, when I proceeded to Aladyn. In consequence of
instructions from home, Mr. Filder gave orders for the issue of rations
for self, servants, and horses.


Varna is such a town as only could have been devised by a nomadic race
aping the habits of civilized nations. If the lanes are not so
ill-paved, so rugged, and so painful to the pedestrian as those of
Gallipoli; if they are not so crooked and jagged and tortuous; if they
are not so complicated and fantastically devious, it is only because
nature has set the efforts of man at defiance, and has forbidden the
Turk to render a town built upon a surface nearly level as unpleasant to
perambulate as one founded on a hill-side. After a course of 100
miles,--by shores which remind you, when they can be seen through fogs
and vapours, of the coast of Devonshire, and which stretch away on the
western side of the Black Sea in undulating folds of greensward rising
one above the other, or swell into hilly peaks, all covered with fine
verdure, and natural plantations of the densest foliage, so that the
scenery has a park-like and cultivated air, which is only belied by the
search of the telescope,--the vessel bound to Varna rounds a promontory
of moderate height on the left, and passing by an earthen fort perched
on the summit, anchors in a semicircular bay about a mile and a half in
length and two miles across, on the northern side of which is situated
the town, so well known by its important relations with the history of
the struggles between Russia and the Porte, and by its siege in 1829.
The bay shoals up to the beach, at the apex of the semicircle formed by
its shores, and the land is so low at that point that the fresh waters
from the neighbouring hills form a large lake, which extends for many
miles through the marsh lands and plains which run westward towards
Shumla. Varna is built on a slightly elevated bank of sand on the verge
of the sea, of such varying height that in some places the base of the
wall around it is on a level with the water, and at others stand twenty
or thirty feet above it. Below this bank are a series of plains inland,
which spread all round the town till they are lost in the hills, which,
dipping into the sea in an abrupt promontory on the north-east side,
rise in terraces to the height of 700 or 800 feet at the distance of
three miles from the town, and stretch away to the westward to meet the
corresponding chain of hills on the southern extremities of the bay,
thus enclosing the lake and plains between in a sort of natural wall,
which is like all the rest of the country, covered with brushwood and
small trees. A stone wall of ten feet high, painted white, and
loopholed, is built all round the place; and some detached batteries,
well provided with heavy guns, but not of much pretension as works of
defence, have been erected in advance of the walls on the land side. On
the sea-face four batteries are erected provided with heavy guns
also--two of them of earthwork and gabions, the other two built with
stone parapets and embrasures. Peering above these walls, in an
irregular jungle of red-tiled roofs, are the houses of the place, with
a few minarets towering from the mosques above them. The angles of the
work are irregular, but in most instances the walls are so constructed
as to admit of a fair amount of flanking fire on an assaulting force.
Nevertheless, a portion of the inner side of the bay, and other parts
are equally accessible to the fire of batteries on the trifling hillocks
around the town. The houses of the town are built of wood; it contains
about 12,000 or 14,000 inhabitants, but there is more bustle, and
animation, and life in the smallest hamlet in Dorsetshire, than here,
unless one goes down to the landing place, or visits the bazaar, where
the inhabitants flock for pleasure or business.

General Canrobert and staff reached Varna on the morning of the 2nd of
June. He landed about mid-day, and after an extempore levee of the
French officers on the beach, proceeded to call on Sir George Brown. The
first thing they did when their Sappers arrived at Varna, before the
English came up, was to break a gateway through the town wall, on its
sea-face, to allow troops and provisions to be landed and sent off
without a long detour. This proceeding drove the Pasha of the place
almost deranged, and he died soon afterwards.

The cavalry sent by Omar Pasha was of infinite service in transporting
provisions, horses, and cattle. The latter were wretchedly small and
lean. A strong man could lift one of the beasts, and there was not so
much meat on one of them as on a good English sheep. Food was good
enough, and plentiful; a fowl could be had for seven piastres--1_s._
2_d._; bread and meat were about the same price as in London; a turkey
could be procured for half-a-crown; wine was dear, and not good; spirits
as cheap as they were bad. Omar Pasha prohibited the export of grain
from all the ports of Roumelia.

Owing to the exertions of Omar Pasha, and the activity of the
commissariat, the quantity of open and covered arabas, or bullock and
buffalo carts, which had been collected, was nearly sufficient for the
wants of the First Division. There was a small army of hairy,
wild-looking drivers stalking about the place, admiring the beauties of
Varna, spear or buffalo goad in hand.

The British camp was at first pitched on a plain, covered with scrub and
clumps of sweet-brier, about a mile from the town, and half a mile from
the fresh-water lake. The water of the lake, however, was not good for
drinking--it abounded in animalculæ, not to mention enormous
leeches--and the men had to go to the fountains and wells near the town
to fill their canteens and cooking-tins.

Admirals Dundas and Hamelin came into the bay in order that they might
assist at the conferences. A new pasha also arrived, who was supposed to
be better fitted to the exigencies of the times than his predecessor.

At three o'clock on Monday, June 5th, the Light Division of the army,
consisting of the 7th, 19th, 23rd, 33rd, 77th and 88th Regiments, and
the Second Battalion of Rifle Brigade, with part of the 8th Hussars, the
17th Lancers, and four guns attached, commenced its march from the
encampment at Varna, on their way to their new encampment at Aladyn
between Kojuk and Devna (called in some of the maps Dewnos). The
infantry halted on a plain about nine miles and a half from the town of
Varna, close to a fresh-water lake, but the cavalry and artillery
continued their march, and pitched tents about eighteen miles from
Varna, the route being through a rich and fertile country, perfectly
deserted and lifeless--not a house, not a human creature to be seen
along the whole line of march.

When once the traveller left the sandy plain and flat meadow lands which
sweep westward for two or three miles from Varna, he passed through a
succession of fine landscapes, with a waving outline of hills, which he
could see on all sides above the thick mass of scrub or cover, pierced
by the road, or rather the track, made by horsemen and araba drivers.
Never were tents pitched in a more lovely spot. When the morning sun had
risen it was scarcely possible for one to imagine himself far from
England. At the other side of the lake which waters the meadows beneath
the hill on which the camp was placed, was a range of high ground, so
finely wooded, with such verdant sheets of short crisp grass between the
clumps of forest timber, that every one who saw it at once exclaimed,
"Surely there must be a fine mansion somewhere among those trees!"

The camp was pitched on a dry, sandy table-land. On the right-hand side
the artillery (Captain Levinge's troop), the small-arm and ammunition
train (Captain Anderson), and the rocket carriages, caissons, artillery
horses, &c., had their quarters. The valley between them and the
table-land on which the camp was situated was unoccupied. On the
left-hand side, on a beautiful spot overlooking the lake, at a
considerable elevation, was the little camp of the commissariat,
surrounded by carts and araba drivers, flocks of sheep and goats, and
cattle, and vast piles of bread and corn. The Rifle camp was placed at
the distance of 300 yards from the commissariat camp, on the slope of
the table-land, and commanded a beautiful view of the lakes and of the
surrounding country; and the 7th, 19th, 23rd, 33rd, 77th, and 88th
Regiments were encamped close together, so that the lines of canvas were
almost unbroken, from one extremity to the other. Brigadier-General
Airey and staff, and Drs. Alexander, Tice, and Jameson, had pitched
their tents in a meadow close by some trees at the upper end of the
encampment. Brigadier Buller's marquee was close to the lines of his
brigade. Captain Gordon, R.E., the Rev. Mr. Egan, and Captain Halliwell,
had formed a little encampment of their own in a valley a little further
on, which is formed by two spurs of land, covered with the thickest
foliage and brushwood--hazels, clematis, wild vines, birch, and
creeper,--and near at hand were the tents of the Sappers and Miners. The
cavalry were stationed about nine miles further on, close to the village
of Devna.

[Sidenote: ALADYN.]

In front of the Rifle camp was a rural burial-ground, long abandoned,
probably because there were not many people left to die in the district.
It was of the rudest kind. No sculptured stone, not even a scratch of a
chisel, distinguished one resting-place from another, but a block of
unhewn granite was placed at each grave, and the Sappers and Miners, who
were a most utilitarian corps, selected some of the largest and best of
them to serve in the construction of their bridge over one of the narrow
channels which join lake to lake. These same Sappers had hard work of it
in building this bridge. The 10th company who laboured at it, worked
entirely naked and up to their breasts in water for one whole day. It is
no wonder that a few of them suffered from fever in consequence.

The open country was finely diversified, with abundance of wood and
water all around, within easy distance of the route. Long lines of
storks flew overhead or held solemn reviews among the frogs in the
meadows. As for the latter, they were innumerable, and their concerts by
day and night would delight the classical scholar who remembered his
Aristophanes, and who could test the accuracy of the chorus. Eagles
soared overhead, looking out for dead horses; and vultures, kites, and
huge buzzards scoured the plains in quest of vermin, hares, or
partridges. Beautiful orioles, a blaze of green and yellow, gaudy
woodpeckers, apiasters, jays, and grosbeaks, shrieked and chattered
among the bushes, while the nightingale poured forth a flood of
plaintive melody, aided by a lovely little warbler in a black cap and
red waistcoat with bluish facings, who darted about after the flies, and
who, when he had caught and eaten one, lighted on a twig and expressed
his satisfaction in a gush of exquisite music. Blackbirds and thrushes
joined in the chorus, and birds of all sorts flitted around in
multitudes. The commonest bird of all was the dove, and he was found so
good to eat, that his cooing was often abruptly terminated by a dose of
No. 6.

On the first morning of my visit, as I rode from the camp, a large
snake, about eight feet long and as thick as my arm, wriggled across the
path; my horse plunged violently when he saw him, but the snake went
leisurely and with great difficulty across the sandy road; when he
gained the grass, however, he turned his head round, and darted out a
little spiteful-looking tongue with great quickness. A Turk behind drew
a long barrelled pistol, and was adjusting his aim, when with the
quickness of lightning the snake darted into the thicket, and though
four of us rode our horses through the cover, we could not find him. He
was of a dark green, mottled with white, had a large head of a lighter
hue, and protuberant, bright eyes. Jackals were said to abound, but
probably the wild dogs were mistaken for them. There were traditions in
camp concerning roe deer in the hill forests, and the sportsmen found
out the tracks of wild boars through the neighbouring hills. Huge carp
abounded in the lake; and very fine perch, enormous bream, and pike
might be had for the taking, but tackle, rods and lines were very scarce
in camp. There were no trout in these waters, but perch and pike took
large flies very freely, whenever the angler could get through the weeds
and marshy borders to take a cast for them.

But where are the natives all this time?--come, here is one driving an
araba--let us stop and look at him. He is a stout, well-made, and
handsome man, with finely-shaped features and large dark eyes; but for
all this there is a dull, dejected look about him which rivets the
attention. There is no speculation in the orbs which gaze on you, half
in dread half in wonder; and if there should be a cavass or armed Turk
with you, the poor wretch dare not take his look away for a moment, lest
he should meet the ready lash, or provoke some arbitrary act of
violence. His head is covered with a cap of black sheepskin, with the
wool on, beneath which falls a mass of tangled hair, which unites with
beard, and whisker, and moustache in forming a rugged mat about the
lower part of the face. A jacket made of coarse brown cloth hangs
loosely from the shoulders, leaving visible the breast, burnt almost
black by exposure to the sun. Underneath the jacket is a kind of vest,
which is confined round the waist by several folds of a shawl or sash,
in which are stuck a yataghan or knife, and a reed pipe-stick. The
breeches are made of very rudely-manufactured cloth, wide above and
gathered in at the knee; and the lower part of the leg is protected by
rags, tied round with bits of old string, which put one in mind of the
Italian bandit, _à la_ Wallack, in a state of extreme dilapidation and

If you could speak with this poor Bulgarian, you would find his mind as
waste as the land around you. He is a Christian after a fashion, but he
puts far more faith in charms, in amulets, and in an uncleanly priest
and a certain saint of his village, than in prayer or works. He believes
the Turks are his natural masters; that he must endure meekly what they
please to inflict, and that between him and Heaven there is only one
power and one man strong enough to save him from the most cruel
outrages, or to withstand the sovereign sway of the Osmanli--and that
power is Russia, and that man is the Czar. His whole fortune is that
wretched cart, which he regards as a triumph of construction; and he has
driven those lean, fierce-eyed buffaloes many a mile, from some distant
village, in the hope of being employed by the commissariat, who offer
him what seems to him to be the most munificent remuneration of 3_s._
4_d._ a day for the services of himself, his beasts, and araba. His food
is coarse brown bread, or a mess of rice and grease, flavoured with
garlic, the odour of which has penetrated his very bones, and spreads in
vapour around him. His drink is water, and now and then an intoxicating
draught of bad raki or sour country wine. In that abject figure you look
in vain for the dash of Thracian blood, or seek the descendant of the
Roman legionary. From whatever race he springs, the Bulgarian peasant
hereabouts is the veriest slave that ever tyranny created, and as he
walks slowly away with downcast eyes and stooping head, by the side of
his cart, the hardest heart must be touched with pity at his mute
dejection, and hate the people and the rule that have ground him to the


Let the reader imagine he is riding in Bulgaria any hot eventide in
June, 1854; he will pass many a group of such poor fellows as these. A
few miles before him, after leaving Varna, he will catch glimpses of
English hill-tents through the trees on a beautiful knoll, running down
towards the rich marshes at the head of the lake, which he has kept on
his left all the way. Let us water our horses, for the place is yet some
way off. Now and then encountering English travellers going to pester
Omar Pasha at Shumla, or returning proudly from having done so, we at
last draw towards the camp. The report of a gun rings through the woods
and covers, and an honest English shout of "What have you hit, Jack?"
or, "By Jove, he's off!" from among the bushes, shows that Ensign Brown
or Captain Johnson is busy in the pursuit of the sports of the field.
Private Smith, of the Rifle Brigade, with a goose in each hand, is
stalking homewards from the hamlet by the lake-side. Mr. Flynn, of the
Connaught Rangers, a little the worse for raki, is carrying a lamb on
his shoulders, which he is soothing with sentimental ditties; and
Sergeant Macgregor, of the 7th, and Sergeant Aprice, of the 23rd Welsh
Fusileers, are gravely discussing a difficult point of theology on a
knoll in front of you. Men in fatigue-frocks laden with bundles of
sticks or corn, or swathes of fresh grass, are met at every step; and by
the stream-side, half hidden by the bushes, there is a rural laundry,
whence come snatches of song, mingled with the familiar sounds of
washing and lines of fluttering linen, attesting the energies of the
British laundress under the most unfavourable circumstances. In a short
time the stranger arrives at a mass of araba carts drawn up along the
road, through which he threads his way with difficulty, and just as he
tops the last hill the tents of the Light Division, stretching their
snowy canvas in regular lines up the slope of the opposite side, come
into view.

The people of England, who had looked with complacency on the reduction
of expenditure in all branches of our warlike establishments, ought not
to have been surprised at finding the movements of our army hampered by
the results of an injudicious economy. A commissariat officer is not
made in a day, nor can the most lavish expenditure effect the work of
years, or atone for the want of experience. The hardest-working treasury
clerk had necessarily much to learn ere he could become an efficient
commissariat officer, in a country which our old campaigners declare to
be the most difficult they ever were in for procuring supplies. Let
those who have any recollections of Chobham, just imagine that famous
encampment to be placed about ten miles from the sea, in the midst of a
country utterly deserted by the inhabitants, the railways from London
stopped up, the supplies by the cart or wagon cut off, corn scarcely
procurable, carriages impossible, and the only communication between the
camp and port carried on by means of buffalo and bullock arabas,
travelling about one mile and a half an hour, and they will be able to
form some faint idea of the difficulties experienced by those who had to
procure the requisite necessaries for the expeditionary forces. To give
the reader a notion of the requirements of such a body as an
expeditionary army of 25,000 men, it may be stated that not less than
13,000 horses and mules would be required for the conveyance of their
ammunition, baggage, and stores in the field.

The movements of the troops were often delayed on account of want of
transport. Buffalo and bullock carts, and their drivers, vanished into
thin air in the space of a night. A Bulgarian is a human being after
all. A Pasha's cavass might tear him away from "his young barbarians all
at play;" but when he had received a few three-and-eightpences a day,
off he started the moment the eye of the guard was removed, and, taking
unknown paths and mountain roadways, sought again the miserable home
from which he had been taken.

The people were so shy, it was impossible to establish friendly
relations with them. The inhabitants of the Bulgarian village of Aladyn,
close to the camp at the borders of the lake, abandoned their houses
altogether. Not one living creature remained out of the 350 or 400
people who were there on our arrival. Their houses were left wide open,
and such of their household goods as they could not remove, and a few
cocks and hens that could not be caught, were all that was left behind.
The cause generally assigned for this exodus was the violence of a few
ruffians on two or three occasions, coupled with groundless apprehension
of further outrages--others said it was because we established our
slaughter-houses there. Certainly the smell was abominable. Diarrhoea
broke out in the camp soon after my arrival, and continued to haunt us
all during the summer. Much of this increase of disease must be
attributed to the use of the red wine of the country, sold at the
canteens of the camp; but, as the men could get nothing else, they
thought it was better to drink than the water of the place. There were
loud complaints from officers and men from this score, and especially on
account of the porter and ale they were promised not being dealt out to
them; and the blame was laid, as a matter of course, on the shoulders of
Sir George Brown. While the men of the light division lay outside Varna
they were furnished with porter; but on moving further off they were
deprived of it, and the reasons given for the deprivation were various,
but the result was manifest. The men heard that the soldiers of the
other divisions near Varna got their pint of porter a day, and that they
should be dissatisfied at this distinction is not surprising. A draught
of good porter, with the thermometer at 93° or 95° in the shade, would
be a luxury which a "thirsty soul" in London could never understand. It
was evident that some wholesome drink ought to have been provided for
the men, to preserve them from the attacks of sickness in a climate
where the heat was so great and the supply of pure water inadequate.
Many of the officers rode into Varna, bought salt, tobacco, tea, and
spirits, and brought it out in the saddle-bags, either to distribute
gratuitously or at cost price to their men. This was an immense boon,
particularly as the men, except servants on leave, were not allowed to
go into Varna. A small stock of preserved potatoes was sent out, but it
was soon exhausted.


After I had been a few days at Aladyn, I rode down to Varna, and was
astonished at the change which the place had undergone. Old blind side
walls had been broken down, and shops opened, in which not only
necessaries, but even luxuries, could be purchased; the streets, once
so dull and silent, re-echoed the laughter and rattle of dominoes in the
newly-established _cafés_. Wine merchants and sutlers from Algiers,
Oran, Constantine, Marseilles, Toulon, had set up booths and shops, at
which liqueurs, spirits, and French and country wines, could be
purchased at prices not intolerably high. The natives had followed the
example. Strings of German sausages, of dried tongues, of wiry hams, of
bottles of pickles, hung from the rafters of an old Turkish khan, which
but a few days before was the abode of nothing but unseemly insects; and
an empty storehouse was turned into a nicely whitewashed and gaily
painted "Restaurant de l'Armée d'Orient pour Messieurs les Officiers et
Sous-officiers." The names of the streets, according to a Gallic
nomenclature, printed in black on neat deal slips, were fixed to the
walls, so that one could find his way from place to place without going
through the erratic wanderings which generally mark the stranger's
progress through a Turkish town. One lane was named the Rue Ibrahim,
another Rue de l'Hôpital, a third Rue Yusuf; the principal lane was
termed the Corso, the next was Rue des Postes Françaises; and, as all
these names were very convenient, and had a meaning attached to them, no
sneering ought to deter one from confessing that the French manage these
things better than we do. Did any one want to find General Canrobert? He
had but to ask the first Frenchman he met and he would tell him to go up
the Corso, turn to the right, by the end of the Rue de l'Hôpital, and
there was the name of the General painted in large letters over the door
of his quarters. The French post-office and the French hospital were
sufficiently indicated by the names of the streets. Where at this period
was the English post-office? No one knew. Where did the English general
live? No one knew. Where was the hospital for sick soldiers? No one

On the 12th, the 5th Dragoon Guards, which left Cork on the 28th of May,
were landed from the _Himalaya_. The French from Gallipoli had already
approached the lower Balkans. Lord Raglan was confined for some days to
his quarters at Scutari by illness. The Duke of Cambridge and his staff
landed on the 14th of June, and with him came the Brigade of Guards.

The disembarkation of the Guards was effected, and with a rapidity and
comfort which conferred great credit on the officers. The French
assisted with the most hearty goodwill. Of their own accord the men of
the Artillery and the Chasseurs came down to the beach, helped to load
buffalo carts, and to thump the drivers, to push the natives out of the
way, to show the road, and, in fact, to make themselves generally


     Camp life--Good news from Silistria--Forces in and near
     Varna--Egyptian troops--Omar Pasha visits the camp--Bono,
     Johnny--Affair at Giurgevo--The Black Virgin--Levies from
     India--Council of War--Ominous signs.

The fraternity established between the French and English troops became
daily more affectionate, and individual friendships soon sprang up, all
the closer, perhaps, for a squabble now and then, which ended in the
_redintegratio amoris_; but it was evident that it did not answer to let
the troops of the two nations mingle indiscriminately in crowded
market-places, and we were well satisfied that we were in advance
towards the Danube. From all I could see, I was convinced of the
sagacity of the opinion of Marshal St. Arnaud, who objected to the march
of the English Dragoons through France on their way to the East.

On Saturday, the 24th of June, a Tatar with an escort rode past the camp
by the Shumla road, at full speed for Varna, and, on arriving there,
repaired to the quarters of Marshal St. Arnaud and Lord Raglan, with
dispatches from Omar Pasha. The two commanders-in-chief held a
conference, at which several of the French and English generals were
present, and on the same evening two steamers left the port of Varna
with dispatches, one for Constantinople, and the other for the Admirals
at Baltschik. On the previous Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday the noise
of a distant cannonade had been heard at intervals by the outlying
pickets in the direction of Silistria, and hypothesis and conjecture
were busy hatching _canards_, which flew about the tents in ever-varying
plumage and form. But on Saturday the great fact was known in Varna, and
soon travelled out here, that the siege of Silistra was raised, and that
the Russians were in full retreat from the scene of their
discomfiture--so precipitately that their route could not be
ascertained. A reconnaissance was ordered to be undertaken by Lord
Cardigan by Yeni Bazaar and to the eastward of Shumla, towards Hadschi
Oghlu, to ascertain if the enemy had retreated across the Danube.


On the 24th Prince Napoleon arrived, to take the command of his
division, and was received with the usual salute of 101 guns from each
French man-of-war in harbour. Our vessels paid him the more modest
compliment of one royal salute, and hoisting the French imperial ensign.
On the same day a part of the 50th Regiment, and detachments of the rest
of the Gallipoli division, under Sir R. England, arrived in Varna, and
some of the baggage of Adams's brigade, as well as detachments of the
41st, 55th, and 95th Regiments. Portions of several French regiments
also landed. The plain round Varna, for three miles, was covered with
tents. Grass, herbage, and shrubs disappeared, and the fields were
turned into an expanse of sand, ploughed up by araba wheels, and the
feet of oxen and horses, and covered with towns of canvas. There could
not have been less than 40,000 men encamped around the place, including
French, English, Egyptians, and Turks, and the town itself was choked in
every street with soldiery. More than 300 vessels were at anchor in the
bay, in readiness to sail at a moment's notice. Upwards of 500 carts
came in from the Turkish army to carry stores and provisions towards
Shumla and the Danube.

A review of about 8,000 Turco-Egyptian troops was held on the plain
behind Varna, on the day the Tatar brought the news of the raising of
the Siege of Silistria. The men, who were dressed in clean white
trousers, blue frocks, and green jackets, looked well, in spite of their
ill-shod feet and ragged jerkins; but their manoeuvres were carelessly
performed and done in a listless manner. Physically the soldiers were
square-built, bow-legged men, of fair average height, with fierce, eager
eyes, and handsome features. A number of negroes, of savage aspect, were
among the Egyptian contingent, and some of their best regiments did not
disdain the command of Nubian eunuchs. Some of these Egyptians were
mutilated in the hands, and had deprived themselves of their thumbs or
fore-fingers--a useless attempt to escape conscription altogether. The
French and English officers did not form a high opinion of anything but
the raw material of which the troops were composed,--a raw material
which, like everything else in Turkey, had been spoilt as much as
possible by the genius of mal-administration. Behind stone walls,
defending a breach, or in a sortie, the Osmanli, with his courage,
fanaticism, and disregard of death, which he considers indeed as his
passport to heaven, may repel organized European troops; but no one who
sees the slow, cautious, and confused evolutions of the Turks, their
straggling advance and march, their shaky squares and wavering columns,
can believe they could long stand against a regular army in the open

Their file firing was anything but good, and a spattering of musketry
was kept up from rank to rank long after the general discharge had
ceased. The men had all polished musket-barrels, in imitation of the
French, and their arms appeared to be kept in a most creditable order.
The Egyptian field-pieces, six and nine-pounder guns of brass, were
beautifully clean and neat, and the carriages, though rather heavy,
were, perhaps, well suited to the country. The gunners seemed to
understand their business thoroughly, and the carriages shone with
scrubbing, varnish, and fresh paint; the men alone were dirty. They
retired to their tents very little fatigued, and partook of very
excellent rations, beef and mutton made into pilaff, and lard or grease
in lieu of butter. Their tents were just as commodious and as good as
our own, but they put more men into each than we were in the habit of

On the 30th of June the bulk of the British troops quitted their
original position at Varna. The Light Division, under Sir George Brown,
left their quarters on the plateau near Aladyn, and marched to Devna,
about eight and a half or nine miles off; on that day, and on Saturday
morning, the First Division, under his Royal Highness the Duke of
Cambridge, marched from their encampment outside Varna, and pitched
their tents on the plateau of Aladyn, with their left flank resting on
the ground which had just been abandoned by the Rifle Brigade, and their
right extending to the plains lately used by the Light Division as
parading and drill ground.

Sickness and diarrhoea in the camp were greatly on the decline; sore
lips were common, principally from exposure to the sun. The Duke's
Division seemed to grow beards with impunity. His Royal Highness, who
lived out close to his division under canvas, having abandoned his
quarters in Varna within a few days after he got into them, had his
men's parades and field-days before nine o'clock. The brigadiers
preferred the hours between nine and noon, under the impression that the
sun was not so powerful then, on account of the forenoon breezes, as it
was earlier in the morning. We had a thunderstorm almost every day, and
very grateful it was, for the temperature was always lowered ten or
twelve degrees by the rain and electrical discharges. The commissariat
were doing their duty manfully. The quality of the meat was really very
good, though the doctors thought a pound a day was not enough for each
man in such a climate, especially as the meat was rather deficient in
nutritious quality.


On the 3rd of July, news arrived that Omar Pasha was on his way from
Silistria to Varna, and might be expected in an hour. The Turkish
infantry on the plains below were observed to fall in, and draw up in
front of their tents. About two o'clock a faint streak of dust rose over
the white lines of the road winding far in the distance over the hills
which lie towards Shumla, and through the glass could be discerned two
travelling carriages, with a small escort of horse, moving rapidly
towards the village of Devna, and the whole of the staff hastened to pay
their respects to Omar Pasha, who mounted his horse, and attended by his
suite and followers, rode up the hill towards the camp, in the front of
which the division was drawn up in line. The _coup d'oeil_ was
magnificent. The blue outlines of the distant hills, over which played
the heavy shadows of rapidly-gathering thunder-clouds--the green sweep
of the valley below dotted with tents, and marked here and there with
black masses of Turkish infantry--the arid banks of sand, and grey
cliffs, displaying every variety of light and shadow--and then the crest
of the hill, along which for a mile shone the bayonets of the British
infantry, topped by the canvas walls behind them--formed a spectacle
worth coming far to see. Omar Pasha was dressed with neatness and
simplicity--no order but the Star of the Medjidji glittered on his
breast, and his close-fitting blue frock-coat displayed no ornament
beyond a plain gold shoulder-strap and gilt buttons. He wore the fez
cap, which showed to advantage the clear, well-marked lines of his calm
and resolute face, embrowned by exposure to wind and weather for many a
year of a soldier's life, and the hue of which was well contrasted with
his snow-white whiskers. In the rude and rather sensual mouth, with
compressed thick lips, were traceable, if physiognomy have truth,
enormous firmness and resolution. The chin, full and square, evinced the
same qualities, which might also be discerned in the general form of the
head. Those who remember the statue of Radetsky, at the Great
Exhibition, will understand what this means. All the rougher features,
the coarse nose, and the slight prominence of the cheek-bones, were more
than redeemed by the quick, penetrating, and expressive eye, full of
quiet courage and genius, and by the calm though rather stubborn brow,
marked by lines of thought, rising above the thick shaggy eyebrow. In
person he appeared to be rather below than above the ordinary height;
but his horse, a well-trained grey, was not so tall as the English
chargers beside him, and he may really be more than five feet seven or
eight. His figure was light, spare, and active, and his seat on
horseback, though too Turkish for our notions of equestrian propriety,
was firm and easy. He wore white gloves and neat boots, and altogether
would have passed muster very well in the ring at Hyde-park as a
well-appointed quiet gentleman. His staff were by no means so well
turned out, but the few hussars of the escort were stout,
soldierlike-looking fellows. One of them led a strong chestnut Arab,
which was the Pasha's battle charger.

As he rode by the troops presented arms, and when he had reached the end
of the line they broke into column, advanced and performed some simple
field-day manoeuvres, to the great delight of the Pasha. As the men
moved off after exercising for about three-quarters of an hour, the
cavalry came up at full trot, and at once riveted the attention of the
Pasha. There were one and a half squadron of the 17th Lancers, a troop
of the 8th, and a troop of the 11th Hussars. The artillery horses and
dragoon horses were out at water. About six o'clock, after reviewing the
Turks in the plain, he drove on to Varna. Sir George Brown returned soon
after from a forty-mile ride through the rain, and rode over to see the
Brigadier. He was much disappointed at not being in time to receive Omar

For some days 3,000 Bashi-Bazouks and Militia were encamped close to our
cavalry camp, and every day performed irregular evolutions in the plains
below, and made the night hideous with their yells and challenges. On
Wednesday, the 5th of July, to the great relief of all their neighbours,
our friends moved off to Varna, with great flourishing of lances,
swords, and trumpets, headed by ragged red banners, there to be placed
under the mild rule of General Yusuf, the famous Algerine commander, who
had tamed so many of the wild tribes of the desert to the French yoke.
In all the villages about tales were told of the violence of these
ruffians--they were true types of the Mussulman "soldiery" as they are
yet to be found in Asia, and as they would have been, perhaps, even in
the camp, if the eye of Europe had not been upon them. A common practice
among them during their march through this very district was to take
away the sons and young children of the miserable Bulgarians, and demand
a ransom. A poor widow's only son was carried off by them. They put a
price on his head she could not pay. She told the chief of the party
so, and offered all she had to give to the scoundrel, but he would not
accept the sum; and she had never seen her son since. One would have
thought that General Yusuf was the very man to get these gentry into
order; but the result proved that he was unable to subdue their settled
habits of irregularity. Omar Pasha did great good by a little wholesome
severity. He seized on whole hordes of them, took their horses and
accoutrements, and sent them off to be enlisted by compulsory levy into
the armies of the faithful as foot soldiers.

Their camp, just outside the town, was worth a journey to see. Their
tents were all pitched regularly, instead of being thrown down
higgledy-piggledy all over the ground, and their horses (nearly all
stallions--such neighing and kicking, and biting and fighting as goes on
among them all day!) were neatly tethered in lines, like those of
regular cavalry. There were about 3,000 of these wild cavaliers, and it
would have been difficult to find more picturesque-looking scoundrels,
if the world was picked for them from Scinde to Mexico. Many of them
were splendid-looking fellows, with fine sinewy legs, beautifully
proportioned, muscular arms, and noble, well-set heads, of the true
Caucasian mould; others were hideous negroes from Nubia, or lean,
malignant-looking Arabs, with sinister eyes and hungry aspect; and some
were dirty Marabouts, fanatics from Mecca, inflamed by the influence of
their Hadj, or pilgrimage. They were divided into five regiments, and
each man was paid a franc a-day by the French authorities. For this
reason many of our Bashis "bolted" from Colonel Beatson and the English
officers, and joined the French. Colonel Beatson had no money to pay
them, and, indeed, it was not very clear that he had the sanction, or at
all events the approbation, of Lord Raglan, whatever countenance he may
have received from the home authorities. As Omar Pasha moved northwards,
and left a larger extent of ground between his army and the Allies
without military occupation, these wild and reckless men, deserting from
both Beatson and Yusuf, became more and more troublesome, and began to
indulge in their old habits of violence and plunder.

[Sidenote: BONO, JOHNNY!]

Omar Pasha left Varna early on Thursday, the 6th of July, and, on
arriving at Aladyn, found the Duke of Cambridge's Division ready to
receive him. He expressed his admiration at the magnificent appearance
of the Guards and Highlanders, and after the review he retired with His
Royal Highness the Duke to his tent, where he remained for some time,
and partook of some refreshment. About two o'clock Omar Pasha's
travelling carriages, escorted by Turkish cavalry, appeared in sight of
our camp. The Pasha was received by Lord Raglan, Sir George Brown,
Brigadier-General Scarlett, the Brigadiers of Division. After a time the
5th Dragoon Guards went past in splendid order, and then the two troops
of Royal Horse Artillery and the battery, which did just what they are
wont to do when his Royal Highness Saxe-some-place-or-other visits
Woolwich, moving like one man, wheeling as if men, horses, and guns
formed part of one machine, sweeping the plain with the force and
almost the speed of steam engines, unlimbering guns, taking them to
pieces, putting them together, and vanishing in columns of dust. They
came by at a trot, which was gradually quickened into a dashing gallop,
so that the six-pound and nine-pound guns, and carriages, and tumbrils,
went hopping and bounding over the sward. A charge in line, which shook
the very earth as men and horses flew past like a whirlwind, wreathed in
clouds of dust, particularly excited the Pasha's admiration, and he is
reported to have said, "With one such regiment as that I would ride over
and grind into the earth four Russian regiments at least." He was
particularly struck by the stature of the men, and the size and fine
condition of the horses, both dragoon and artillery; but these things
did not lead him away from examining into the more important question of
their efficiency, and he looked closely at accoutrements, weapons, and
carriages. At his request Sir George Brown called a dragoon, and made
him take off his helmet. The Pasha examined it minutely, had the white
cover taken off, and requested that the man should be asked whether it
was comfortable or not. The inspection was over at half-past three
o'clock, to the great delight of the men; and Omar Pasha, who repeatedly
expressed his gratification and delight at the spectacle, retired with
the Generals to Sir George Brown's quarters, and in the course of the
evening renewed his journey to Shumla.

There was one phrase which served as the universal exponent of peace,
goodwill, praise, and satisfaction between the natives and the soldiery.
Its origin cannot be exactly determined, but it probably arose from the
habit of our men at Malta in addressing every native as "Johnny." At
Gallipoli the soldiers persisted in applying the same word to Turk and
Greek, and at length Turk and Greek began to apply it to ourselves, so
that stately generals and pompous colonels, as they stalked down the
bazaar, heard themselves addressed by the proprietors as "Johnny;" and
to this appellation "bono" was added, to signify the excellence of the
wares offered for public competition. It became the established cry of
the army. The natives walked through the camp calling out "Bono, Johnny!
Sood, sood" (milk)! "Bono, Johnny! Yoomoortler" (eggs)! or, "Bono,
Johnny! Kasler" (geese)! as the case might be; and the dislike of the
contracting parties to the terms offered on either side was expressed by
the simple phrase of "No bono, Johnny." As you rode along the road
friendly natives grinned at you, and thought, no matter what your rank,
that they had set themselves right with you and paid a graceful
compliment by a shout of "Bono, Johnny."

Even the dignified reserve of Royal Dukes and Generals of Division had
to undergo the ordeal of this salutation from Pashas and other
dignitaries. If a benighted Turk, riding homewards, was encountered by a
picquet of the Light Division, he answered the challenge of "Who goes
there?" with a "Bono, Johnny," and was immediately invited to "advance,
friend, and all's well!" and the native servants sometimes used the same
phrase to disarm the anger of their masters. It was really a most
wonderful form of speech, and, judiciously applied, it might, at that
time, have "worked" a man from one end of Turkey in Europe to the other.

The most singular use of it was made when Omar Pasha first visited the
camp. After the infantry had been dismissed to their tents, they crowded
to the front of their lines in fatigue jackets and frocks to see the
Pasha go by, and as he approached them a shout of "Bono! bono! Johnny!"
rent the air, to the great astonishment of Omar, while a flight of
"foragers" gave him some notion of a British welcome. He smiled and
bowed several times in acknowledgment, but it was said that as the
whoops, hurrahs, and yells of the Connaught Rangers rang in his ears, he
turned to one of the officers near him, and said, "These are
noble-looking fellows, but it must be very hard to keep them in order!"
He could not comprehend how such freedom could be made consistent with
strict discipline in the ranks.

Early in July Lord Cardigan returned to camp with the detachments of
Light Cavalry, with which he effected an extended _reconnaissance_ along
the banks of the Danube, towards Rustchuk and Silistria. The men were
without tents, and bivouacked for seventeen nights; in a military point
of view, the _reconnaissance_ effected very little service.

On the 16th, the _Vesuvius_, Captain Powell, and the _Spitfire_, Captain
Spratt, were cruising off the Sulina mouth of the Danube, and it
occurred to the two captains that they would feel their way up to the
scene of poor Captain Parker's death. On the morning of the 17th, Lieut.
A. L. Mansell, of the _Spitfire_, went up towards the bar in one of the
boats, and ascertained from the captain of an Austrian vessel coming
down that there was one small buoy left to mark the channel over the
bar. He ran up accordingly, found the buoy, and discovered that there
was eleven feet of water on the bar, instead of six or seven as is
generally reported. The channel was found to be about a cable's length
across, and when Lieut. A. L. Mansell had buoyed it down he returned to
the ships, which were ready with their paddle-box boats, their launches,
gigs, and cutters. This little flotilla proceeded up the river,
destroying the stockades as it passed, without a show of resistance, and
at last came to the small town of Sulina, on which the boats opened
fire. Only three musket-shots were fired in return, and at three o'clock
P.M. the place was a heap of ruins, nothing being spared but the church
and lighthouse.

On the 17th of July, Omar Pasha having slowly advanced from his camp
opposite Rutschuk, on the track of the retreating Russians, entered the
town of Bucharest, and took military possession of Wallachia.


On the 18th, an old woman, said to be Fatima Honoum, the Karakizla
(Black Virgin), Kurdish chieftainess, passed through Devno on her way
from Varna, attended by a rabble rout of thirty or forty Bashi-Bazouks.
She stopped at a rude khan or café, and enjoyed her pipe for a time, so
that one had an opportunity of seeing this Turkish Semiramis. She
appeared to be a lean, withered, angular old woman, of some seventy
years of age, with a face seamed and marked in every part of its dark
mahogany-coloured surface with rigid wrinkles. Her nose was hooked and
skinny--her mouth toothless and puckered--her eyes piercing black,
restless, and sinister, with bleary lids, and overhung by tufty grey
brows. Her neck, far too liberally exhibited, resembled nothing so much
as the stem of an ill-conditioned, gnarly young olive tree. With most
wanton and unjustifiable disregard of the teachings of Mahomet and of
the prejudices of Mussulmans, she showed all her face, and wore no
yashmak. Her attire consisted of a green turban, dirty and wrinkled as
her face; an antiquated red jacket, with remnants of embroidery, open in
front, and showing, as far as mortal sight could gaze upon it, the
lady's bosom; a handsome shawl waist scarf, filled with weapons, such as
knives, pistols, and yataghans, and wide blue breeches. Hanoum was a
spinster, and her followers believed her to be a prophetess. The
followers were Bashi-Bazouks _pur sang_, very wild and very ragged, and
stuck all over with weapons, like porcupines with spines. Their horses
were lean and scraggy, and altogether it was a comfort to see this
interesting Virgin Queen of the Kurds on her way to Shumla. The lady
refused to visit our camp, and seemed to hold the Giaour in profound
contempt. We never heard of her afterwards, but she was remarkable as
being the only lady who took up arms for the cause in this celebrated

Next day, some five-and-twenty horsemen rode into the village, attired
in the most picturesque excesses of the Osmanli; fine, handsome,
well-kempt men, with robes and turbans a blaze of gay colours, and with
arms neat and shining from the care bestowed on them. They said they
came from Peshawur and other remote portions of the north-western
provinces of the Indian Peninsula, and while the officer who was
conversing with them was wondering if their tale could be true, the
officer in charge of the party came forward and announced himself as an
Englishman. It turned out to be Mr. Walpole, formerly an officer in our
Navy, whose charming book on the East is so well known, and it appeared
that the men under his command were Indian Mahomedans, who had come up
on their pilgrimage to Mecca, and who, hearing of the Turkish crusade
against the Infidels, had rushed to join the standard of the Sultan.
They were ordered to be attached to Colonel Beatson's corps of
Bashi-Bazouks, and to form a kind of body-guard to the colonel, whose
name is so well known in India. Mr. Walpole seemed quite delighted with
his command, and, as he had the power of life and death, he imagined
there would be no difficulty in repressing the irregularities of his

A council of war was held on Tuesday, July 18th, at Varna, at which
Marshal St. Arnaud, Lord Raglan, Admiral Hamelin, Admiral Dundas,
Admiral Lyons, and Admiral Bruat were present, and it was resolved that
the time had come for an active exercise of the powers of the allied
forces by sea and land. The English Cabinet, urged probably by the
English press, which on this occasion displayed unusual boldness in its
military counsels and decision in its suggestions of hostility against
the enemy, had despatched the most positive orders to Lord Raglan to
make a descent in the Crimea, and to besiege Sebastopol, of which little
was known except that it was the great arsenal of Russia in the Black
Sea. On the 19th orders were sent out by Lord Raglan to Sir George
Brown, at Devno, to proceed to headquarters at Varna immediately. Sir
George Brown lost no time in obeying the summons. He sent a portion of
his baggage on at once, and went on to Varna, attended by his
aide-de-camp, Captain Pearson. Lord Raglan and his second in command had
a long conversation, and on Thursday morning, the 20th, Sir George
Brown, attended by Captain Pearson, Colonel Lake, of the Royal
Artillery, Captain Lovell, of the Royal Engineers, &c., went on board
the _Emeu_, Captain Smart, and immediately proceeded to the fleets at
Baltschik. At the same time General Canrobert, attended by Colonels
Trochu, Leboeuf, and Sabatier, took ship for the same destination. The
generals went on board the flag ships of the respective admirals, and
stood out to sea, steering towards the Crimea, on board her Majesty's
ship _Fury_. Of course, the object of this expedition was kept a dead
secret; but it was known, nevertheless, that they went to explore the
coast in the neighbourhood of Sebastopol, in order to fix upon a place
for the descent.

On the 21st the 1st Division of the French army, General Canrobert and
General Forey's Division, struck their tents, and broke up their camp
outside Varna. They took the road which led towards the Dobrudscha,
which they were to reconnoitre as far as the Danube, and on the 22nd
General Yusuf followed with his wild gathering of Bashi-Bazouks,
numbering 3,000 sabres, lances, and pistols.

[Sidenote: OMINOUS SIGNS.]

The result of this expedition was one of the most fruitless and
lamentable that has ever occurred in the history of warfare. The French
Marshal, terrified by the losses of his troops, which the cholera was
devastating by hundreds in their camps at Gallipoli and Varna, and
alarmed by the deaths of the Duc d'Elchingen and General Carbuccia,
resolved to send an expedition into the Dobrudscha, where there were--as
Colonel Desaint, chief of the French topographical department, declared
on his return from an exploration--about 10,000 Russians, two regiments
of regular cavalry, 10 Sotnias of Cossacks, and 35 pieces of artillery.
Marshal St. Arnaud, who was confident that the expedition for the Crimea
would be ready by the 5th of August, and that the descent would take
place on the 10th of the same month, imagined that by a vigorous attack
on these detached bodies of men he might strike a serious blow at the
enemy, raise the spirits and excite the confidence of the Allies, remove
his troops from the camp where they were subject to such depressing
influences, and effect all this in time to enable them to return and
embark with the rest of the army. It has been said that he proposed to
Lord Raglan to send a body of English troops along with his own, but
there is, I believe, no evidence of the fact. The 1st Division was
commanded by General Espinasse, and started on the 21st for Kostendji;
the 2nd Division, under General Bosquet, marched on the 22nd towards
Bajardik, and the 3rd Division, under Prince Napoleon, followed the next
day and served as a support to the 2nd. All the arrangements were under
the control of General Yusuf. Having passed through the ruined districts
of Mangalia, the 1st Division reached Kostendji on the 28th of July.
They found that the whole country had been laid waste by fire and
sword--the towns and villages burnt and destroyed, the stock and crops
carried off. A cavalry affair took place on the same day between Yusuf's
Bashi-Bazouks and some Russian cavalry, in which the former behaved so
well that the General, aided by 1,200 Zouaves, pushed forward to make an
attack on the enemy, and wrote to General Espinasse to march to his
assistance. On that night, just ere the French broke up their camp at
Babadagh, in order to set out on this march, the cholera declared itself
among them with an extraordinary and dreadful violence. Between midnight
and eight o'clock next morning nearly 600 men lay dead in their tents
smitten by the angel of death! At the same moment the division of
Espinasse was stricken with equal rapidity and violence at Kerjelouk.
All that night men suffered and died, and on the 31st of July General
Yusuf made his appearance at Kostendji with the remains of his haggard
and horror-stricken troops, and proceeded towards Mangalia in his death
march. On the 1st of August General Canrobert, who had returned from his
_reconnaissance_, arrived at Kostendji from Varna, and was horrified to
find that his camp was but a miserable hospital, where the living could
scarcely bury the remains of their comrades. He could pity and could
suffer, but he could not save. That day and the next the pestilence
redoubled in intensity, and in the midst of all these horrors food fell
short, although the General had sent most urgent messages by sea to
Varna for means of transport, and for medicine and the necessaries of
life. The 2nd and the 3rd Divisions were also afflicted by the same
terrible scourge, and there was nothing left for the Generals but to
lead their men back to their encampments as soon as they could, leaving
behind them the dead and the dying. The details of the history of this
expedition, which cost the French more than 7,000 men, are among the
most horrifying and dreadful of the campaign. On returning to Varna the
Bashi-Bazouks, tired of the settled forms of a camp life, and impatient
of French drill, and the superintendence of brutal or rude
non-commissioned officers, began to desert _en masse_, and on the 15th
of August the corps was declared disbanded, and General Yusuf was
obliged to admit his complete failure.

We return to Varna, where we find the same awful plague of the later
days of the world developing itself with increasing strength and vigour.
All June and July I lived in camp at Aladyn and Devno, with the Light
Division, making occasional excursions into Varna or over to the camps
of the other divisions; and although, the heat was at times very great
indeed, there were no complaints among the men, except that diarrhoea
began to get common about the beginning of July. On St. Swithin's day we
had a heavy fall of rain, some thunder and lightning, and a high wind.
On the 17th I heard several of my friends complaining of depression,
heaviness, ennui, &c., and "wishing to do something," and the men
exhibited traces of the same feeling. On the night of the 19th, having
gone down towards the river to visit Captain Anderson, of the
Artillery, I was struck by the appearance of prodigious multitudes of
small dark beetles, which blew out our candles, and crawled all over the
tents in swarms. On the 20th, as I expected there would be a move down
to Varna, and wanted to get some articles of outfits, I rode down there
with some officers. Up to this time there had been no case of cholera in
the Light Division; but early on Sunday morning, 23rd, it broke out with
the same extraordinary violence and fatal effect which had marked its
appearance in the French columns, and the camp was broken up forthwith,
and the men marched to Monastir, nine miles further on, towards the


     The Angel of Death--Rations--Army Payments--Turkish
     Outrages--Cholera--French Hospital--Captain Burke--The Fire at
     Varna--Progress of the Cholera--Preparations for a Move--Final
     Deliberations--Embarkation of the Troops--Array of

It will be seen that the cholera first appeared among the troops at
Varna, but the English forces were tolerably free from it till it had
been among the French for nearly three weeks. A good deal of sickness
prevailed among the Turkish and Egyptian troops. Diarrhoea was only
too prevalent. Nearly every one had it in his turn. The quantity of
apricots ("Kill Johns") and hard crude fruit which were devoured by the
men, might in some degree account for the prevalence of this
debilitating malady. The commissariat bread was not so good as at first,
and speedily turned sour; but the officers took steps to remedy the evil
by the erection of ovens in the camp. As the intensity of the sun's rays
increased, the bread served out to us from the Varna bakeries became
darker, more sour, and less baked. As a general rule, the French bread
was lighter and better than our own, and yet they suffered as much from
diarrhoea as our troops.

In Varna the inhabitants suffered from the pestilence as much as the
troops. Many of them fled from the town, and encamped near the
neighbouring villages. Turks and Greeks suffered alike, and perished
"like flies," to use their own image.

Illness increased; on the 28th of July there were thirty-three cases of
cholera in our hospital, and a much larger number in the French
hospital. The Duke of Cambridge was suffering from diarrhoea; indeed,
a large percentage of officers of the different divisions had been
attacked by this complaint, but great precautions were taken by the
medical officers to prevent neglect in the early stages, and to cheek
the premonitory symptoms.

[Sidenote: ARMY PAYMENTS.]

The Heavy Dragoons at Varna, although encamped on a lovely plateau on a
promontory by the sea-side, the healthiest-looking site that could have
been chosen by a medical board, in a few days lost twenty-six men from
cholera--a large number out of such skeleton regiments.

The ration was increased to 1-1/2lb. of meat, and a ration of rum was
issued. Drilling and tight stocking began to fall into disuse, and, by a
general order, moustachios were allowed, according to the pleasure of
officers and men.

No less than 110,000 pounds' weight of corn, chopped straw, &c., was
issued daily for the horses. To this was added all the full rations of
meat, 27,000lb. of bread, proportionate quantities of rice, tea, coffee,
sugar, &c., for the men. The commissariat had, besides, the horses,
carts, saddles, packsaddles, tents, carriages for Dragoons, Light
Cavalry, Infantry, Artillery, Sappers and Miners, to find interpreters.
Commissary-General Filder's office in Varna was like a bank in the City
in the height of business. The officers at the other branch departments
were equally busy, and it was not unusual for some of them to ride to
Varna and back to Devno, a distance of more than forty miles, between
sunrise and sunset.

We paid in ready money, and a commissariat chest, under the care of Mr.
Cowan, was established at Shumla, to keep our officers supplied with
gold and silver. The French, on the contrary, gave cheques on their
commissariat chest at Varna, which were only payable on presentation
there. It can readily be imagined that a peasant at the other side of
the Balkans, or an ignorant Bulgarian up the country, regarded this
printed paper with huge disdain, and it was certainly rather hard to
have to journey from Roumelia into Bulgaria in order to get 10_s._ or
12_s._ for the hire of an araba. The araba drivers were suspicious, and
grew sulky and discontented. As soon as they were paid any large sum
they sought, and generally with success, the first opportunity of
getting away from our service.

Sir George Brown and Sir E. Lyons went down to Constantinople on board
the _Agamemnon_, on the 1st of August, and for several days they were
busily engaged in making arrangements for the transport of the fleet,
and in the preparation of boats and provisions.

Positive orders were received by Lord Raglan to attack Sebastopol. On
the 20th he had despatched Sir George Brown and several English officers
to make a _reconnaissance_ conjointly with General Canrobert and
officers of the French Head-quarters Staff. On the 28th of July the
commission returned after a cruise, in which they had been enabled to
count the very guns of Sebastopol. In the course of their
_reconnaissance_ they coasted slowly along the west face of the shore
from Eupatoria southwards, and at the mouth of the Katcha discovered a
beach, which the English and French generals decided on making the site
of their landing. The _Fury_ stood off the port quietly at night, and
about two o'clock ran in softly, and stopped within 2,000 yards of the
batteries. There she remained till six o'clock in the morning. As the
General was counting the guns, an officer observed a suspicious
movement, and in a moment afterwards a shot roared through the rigging.
This was a signal to quit, and the _Fury_ steamed out of the harbour as
fast as she could; but the shot came after her still faster. A shell
burst close to her, and one shot went through her hull.

Signs of a move soon became unmistakable. On the 29th July the Turkish
fleet and the transports, which had been lying in the Bosphorus, left
their anchorage for Varna, carrying with them pontoons and siege guns.
The preparations made at Varna for the embarkation of the English forces
were hailed with satisfaction by officers and men, tired of the monotony
of life in this wretched country, and depressed by the influence of
illness and laborious idleness. It was not then known where they were
going to; but, in the absence of any exact knowledge respecting the
destination of the troops, conjecture pointed with unsteady finger to
Odessa, Anapa, Suchum-Kaleh, or Sebastopol. There were, however, divided
counsels and _timides avis_. Lord de Ros, Admiral Dundas, and Admiral
Hamelin, were notoriously opposed to the descent on the Crimea; Marshal
St. Arnaud did not like to attack Sebastopol, nor was Sir George Brown
very sanguine of success.

The force of the Russians in the Crimea was supposed to be upwards of
55,000 men, but considerable reinforcements might have been sent there
of which we knew nothing. The Russians were well served by their spies,
and were acquainted with all our movements; neither Marshal St. Arnaud
nor Lord Raglan had equal means of intelligence. Speaking merely in
reference to strategic considerations, there appeared to be some
rashness in attempting the reduction of such a fortress as Sebastopol
with an army inferior in force to that of the enemy inside and outside
the walls--an army liable to be attacked by all the masses which Russia
could direct, in her last extremity, to defend the "very navel of her
power"--unless the fleet was able to neutralize the preponderance of the
hostile army, and place our troops upon equal terms. It was not
impregnable, either from the quality of the works or natural position,
and, like all such fortresses, it could not but fall before the regular
uninterrupted continuance and progress of sap, and mine, and blockade.
The result showed, however, that the usual conditions of a siege were
not complied with in this case; and the character of the expedition,
which was at first a dashing, sudden onslaught, was, perhaps inevitably,
changed by the course of events. Colonel Maule, Assistant
Adjutant-General, Major Levinge, Mr. Newbury, Pay-master of the 2nd
battalion Rifle Brigade, and Gregg, of the 55th Regiment, died. The
hospital was quite full, and, numerous as our medical staff was, and
unremitting as were our medical officers in doing all that skill and
humanity could suggest for the sufferers, there were painful cases, of
not rare occurrence, in which the men did not procure the attention they
required paid to them till it was too late. Many of the poor fellows,
too, who desired the attendance of a clergyman or priest at their dying
hour, were denied that last consolation, for the chaplains were few, or
at least not numerous enough for the sad exigencies of the season.

[Sidenote: CHOLERA.]

The French losses from cholera were frightful. The hospital had been
formerly used as a Turkish barrack. It was a huge quadrangular building,
like the barracks at Scutari, with a courtyard in the centre. The sides
of the square were about 150 feet long, and each of them contained three
floors, consisting of spacious corridors, with numerous rooms off them
of fair height and good proportions. About one-third of the building was
reserved for our use; the remainder was occupied by the French. Although
not very old, the building was far from being in thorough repair. The
windows were broken, the walls in parts were cracked and shaky, and the
floors were mouldering and rotten. Like all places which have been
inhabited by Turkish soldiers for any time, the smell of the buildings
was abominable. Men sent in there with fevers and other disorders were
frequently attacked with the cholera in its worst form, and died with
unusual rapidity, in spite of all that could be done to save them. I
visited the hospital one memorable night in search of medical aid for my
friend Dickson, who was suddenly seized with cholera. I never can forget
the aspect of the place--a long train of thirty-five carts filled with
sick was drawn up by the wall. There were three or four men in each.
These were soldiers sent in from the camps waiting till room could be
found for them; others were sitting by the roadside, and the moonbeams
flashed brightly off their piled arms. All were silent; the quiet that
prevailed was only broken by the moans and cries of the sufferers in the
carts. Observing many empty arabas were waiting in the square, I asked a
_sous officer_ for what they were required. His answer, sullen and
short, was,--"_Pour les morts_."

On the night of Tuesday (Aug. 10th) a great fire broke out at Varna,
which utterly destroyed more than a quarter of the town. The sailors of
the ships, and the French and English soldiery stationed near the town,
worked for the ten hours during which the fire lasted with the greatest
energy; but as a brisk wind prevailed, which fanned the flames as they
leapt along the wooden streets, their efforts were not as successful as
they deserved. The fire broke out near the French commissariat stores,
in a spirit shop. The officers in charge broached many casks of spirits,
and as the liquid ran down the streets, a Greek was seen to set fire to
it. He was cut down to the chin by a French officer, and fell into the
fiery torrent. The howling of the inhabitants, the yells of the Turks,
the clamour of the women, children, dogs, and horses, were appalling.
Marshal St. Arnaud displayed great vigour and coolness in superintending
the operations of the troops, and by his exertions aggravated the
symptoms of the malady from which he had long been suffering. The French
lost great quantities of provisions, and we had many thousand rations of
biscuit utterly consumed. In addition to the bread (biscuit) which was
lost, immense quantities of stores were destroyed. 19,000 pairs of
soldiers' shoes and an immense quantity of cavalry sabres, which were
found amid the ruins, fused into the most fantastic shapes, were burnt.
The soldiers plundered a good deal, and outrages of a grave character
were attributed to the Zouaves during the fire. Tongues and potted
meats, most probably abstracted from sutlers' stores, were to be had in
the outskirts of the camp for very little money soon after the
occurrence, and some of the camp canteen keepers were completely ruined
by their losses. To add to our misfortunes, the cholera broke out in the
fleets in Varna Bay and at Baltschik with extraordinary virulence. The
_Friedland_ and _Montebello_ suffered in particular--in the latter
upwards of 100 died in twenty-four hours. The depression of the army was
increased by this event. They "supped full of horrors," and listened
greedily to tales of death, which served to weaken and terrify.

We lost fifteen or sixteen men a day. Some people said we pitched our
camps too closely; but Sir George Brown's division covered nearly twice
the space which would have been occupied by the encampment of a Roman
legion consisting of nearly the same number of men, and yet there is no
account in history of any of these camp epidemics in Gaul, or Thrace, or
Pannonia, or in any of the standing camps of the Romans, and we must
believe that the cholera and its cognate pests arise out of some
combination of atmospherical and physical conditions which did not occur
in former times. The conduct of many of the men, French and English,
seemed characterized by a recklessness verging on insanity. They might
be seen lying drunk in the kennels, or in the ditches by the road-sides,
under the blazing rays of the sun, covered with swarms of flies. They
might be seen in stupid sobriety gravely paring the rind off cucumbers
of portentous dimensions, to the number of six or eight, and eating the
deadly cylinders one after another, till there was no room for more--all
the while sitting in groups in the fields, or on the flags by the shops
in the open street, and looking as if they thought they were adopting
highly sanitary measures for their health's sake; or frequently three or
four of them would make a happy bargain with a Greek for a large
basketful of apricots ("kill Johns"), scarlet pumpkins, water melons,
wooden-bodied pears, green-gages, and plums, and then retire beneath the
shade of a tree, where they divided and ate the luscious food till
nought remained but a heap of peel, rind, and stones. They then diluted
the mass of fruit with raki, or peach brandy, and struggled home or to
sleep as best they could. One day I saw a Zouave and a huge Grenadier
staggering up the street arm in arm, each being literally laden with
enormous pumpkins and cucumbers, and in the intervals of song--for one
was shouting out "Cheer, boys, cheer," in irregular spasms, and the
other was chanting some love ditty of a very lachrymose character--they
were feeding each other with cucumbers. One took a bit and handed it to
his friend, who did the same, and thus they were continuing their
amphiboean banquet till the Englishman slipped on a stone and went
down into the mud, bringing his friend after him--pumpkins, cucumbers,
and all. The Frenchman disengaged himself briskly; but the Grenadier at
once composed himself to sleep, notwithstanding the entreaties of his
companion. After dragging at him, head, legs, arms, and shoulders, the
Zouave found he could make no impression on the inert mass of his
friend, and regarding him in the most tragic manner possible, he clasped
his hands, and exclaimed, "_Tu es là, donc, mon ami, mon cher Jeeon! Eh
bien, je me coucherai avec toi_;" and calmly fixing a couple of
cucumbers for his pillow, he lay down, and was soon snoring in the
gutter in unison with his ally. The Turkish soldiers were equally
careless of their diet and living. It was no wonder, indeed, that
cholera throve and fattened among us.

All the tokens of an impending expedition were eagerly caught up and
circulated among the camps. A number of boats, ordered by Admiral Lyons
at Constantinople, now arrived at Varna, and their construction showed
they were intended for the disembarkation of troops. Each vessel
consisted of two of the large Turkish boats of the Bosphorus, which are
about fifty feet long, and about eight feet broad, fastened together,
and planked over at top, so as to form a kind of raft, and drawing more
than a foot of water, and capable of landing two heavy guns and their
men, or of carrying 150 or 200 men with the greatest of ease. The fleet
was assembled in the bay, and consisted of steamers of a magnitude and
speed hitherto unknown in any operation of war, and of sailing vessels
which would have constituted a formidable navy of themselves. It was
calculated that the disembarkation of 20,000 could be effected by the
boats of our steamers in two hours. Cavalry would be more difficult to
manage; but at this time our strength in that arm was not very great,
for we had two Generals in command of a force which mustered in the
Crimea less than 1,200 sabres. The artillery, under General Cator,
consisted of the siege train (30 guns out), commanded by Colonel Gambia;
the Royal Horse Artillery, Colonel Strangeways; the Artillery of the
Light Division, Colonel Dacres; of the First Division, Colonel Lake; of
the Second Division, Colonel Dupuis; and of the Third Division, Colonel
Fitzmayer. Each division had twelve field guns attached to it, so that
there were forty-eight field guns in all. The C and I troops of the
Royal Horse Artillery acted with the Cavalry.

But the armies of the allies were about to enter upon the career of
active warfare, and to escape from a spot fraught with memories of death
unredeemed by a ray of glory. It was no secret that in the middle of
July a council of generals and admirals had, by a majority, overcome the
_timides avis_ of some, and had decided upon an expedition to the
Crimea, in compliance with the positive orders of the English Cabinet,
and with the less decided suggestions of the Emperor of the French. That
project had been arrested by the sickness and calamities which had
fallen on the French and English armies, but it had not been abandoned.

In the second week in August the cholera assumed such an alarming
character that both Admirals (French and English) resolved to leave
their anchorage at Baltschik, and stand out to sea for a cruise. On
Wednesday the 16th the _Caradoc_, Lieutenant Derriman, which left
Constantinople with the mails for the fleet and army the previous
evening, came up with the English fleet. The _Caradoc_ was boarded by a
boat from the _Britannia_, and the officer who came on board
communicated the appalling intelligence that the flag-ship had lost 70
men since she left Baltschik, and that she had buried 10 men that
morning. Upwards of 100 men were on the sick list at that time. Some of
the other ships had lost several men, but not in the same proportion.

After the great fire on the night of the 10th the cholera seemed to
diminish in the town itself, and the reports from the various camps were
much more favourable than before. The British army was scattered
broadcast all over the country, from Monastir to Varna, a distance of
twenty-six or twenty-seven miles. The Duke of Cambridge's division
marched in from Aladyn, and encamped towards the south-western side of
the bay. It appeared that notwithstanding the exquisite beauty of the
country around Aladyn, it was a hot-bed of fever and dysentery. The same
was true of Devno, which was called by the Turks "the Valley of Death;"
and had we consulted the natives ere we pitched our camps, we assuredly
should never have gone either to Aladyn or Devno, notwithstanding the
charms of their position and the temptations offered by the abundant
supply of water and by the adjacent woods. It was the duty of the
general in command to pay attention to the representations of the
medical officers and the traditions of the natives, which assigned to
this locality a most unfavourable character for the preservation of

Whoever gazed on these rich meadows, stretching for long miles away, and
bordered by heights on which the dense forests struggled all but in vain
to pierce the masses of wild vine, clematis, dwarf acacia, and
many-coloured brushwoods--on the verdant hill-sides, and on the dancing
waters of lake and stream below, lighted up by the golden rays of a
Bulgarian summer's sun--might well have imagined that no English glade
or hill-top could well be healthier or better suited for the residence
of man. But these meadows nurtured the fever, the ague, dysentery, and
pestilence in their bosom--the lake and the stream exhaled death, and at
night fat unctuous vapours rose fold after fold from the valleys, and
crept up in the dark and stole into the tent of the sleeper and wrapped
him in their deadly embrace. So completely exhausted was the Brigade of
Guards, that these 3,000 men, the flower of England, had to make two
marches from Aladyn to Varna, which was not more than (not so much many
people said as) ten miles. Their packs were carried for them. How
astonished must have been the good people of England, sitting anxiously
in their homes, day after day, expecting every morning to gladden their
eyes with the sight of the announcement, in large type, of "Fall of
Sebastopol," when they heard that their Guards--their _corps
d'élite_--the pride of their hearts--the delight of their eyes--these
Anakims, whose stature, strength, and massive bulk they exhibited to
kingly visitors as no inapt symbols of our nation, had been so reduced
by sickness, disease, and a depressing climate, that it was judged
inexpedient to allow them to carry their own packs, or to permit them to
march more than five miles a day, even though these packs were carried
for them! In the Brigade there were before the march to Varna upwards of
600 sick men.


The Highland Brigade was in better condition, but even the three noble
regiments which composed it were far from being in good health. The
Light Division had lost 110 or 112 men. The Second Division had suffered
somewhat less. The little cavalry force had been sadly reduced, and the
Third (Sir R. England's) Division, which had been encamped to the
north-west of Varna, close outside the town, had lost upwards of 100 men
also, the 50th Regiment, who were much worked, being particularly cut
up. The ambulance corps had been completely crippled by the death of the
drivers and men belonging to it, and the medical officers were called
upon to make a special report on the mortality among them.

In truth, it may be taken as an actual fact that each division of the
army had been weakened by nearly one regiment, and that the arrival of
the division of Sir George Cathcart did little more than raise the force
to its original strength.

The same day Lieutenant A. Saltmarshe, of the 11th Hussars, died of
cholera. Dead bodies rose from the bottom in the harbour, and bobbed
grimly around in the water, or floated in from sea, and drifted past the
sickened gazers on board the ships--all buoyant, bolt upright, and
hideous in the sun.

At a Council of War, held at Marshal St. Arnaud's quarters on the 24th
of August, the final decision was taken. There were present the Marshal,
Lord Raglan, General Canrobert, Sir George Brown, Sir Edmund Lyons, Sir
John Burgoyne, Admirals Dundas, Hamelin, and Bruat, and the deliberation
lasted several hours. Sir John Burgoyne's views with regard to the point
selected for our landing in the Crimea were not quite in unison with
those of the Generals who have lately reconnoitred the best locality. It
would not have been very politic to have published the decisions of this
Council, even if they had been known, though secrets did leak out
through closed doors and fastened windows. It was, indeed, said at the
time, that the London journals did great mischief by publishing
intelligence respecting the points to be attacked. Some people were
absurd enough to say, with all possible gravity, that they would not be
at all surprised if the whole expedition against Sebastopol were to be
abandoned in consequence of articles in the English newspapers.
Certainly, if any "dangerous information" were conveyed to the Czar in
this way, it was not sent home from the head-quarters of the army, but
was derived from sources beyond a correspondent's reach. Considerations
connected with geographical position did not appear to exercise the
slightest influence on the reason of persons who urged the extraordinary
proposition that the publication in a London newspaper of a probable
plan of campaign influenced the Czar in the dispositions he made to meet
our attack. Even if the Czar believed that plan to be correct--and he
might well entertain suspicions on that point--is it likely that he
would take the trouble, as soon as he has read his morning paper, to
send off a courier to the Crimea to prepare his Generals for an attack
on a certain point which they must have hitherto left undefended? His
spies in London rendered him much surer and better service. The debates
in Parliament threw a much plainer and steadier light upon our
movements. And yet so positive was the Emperor Nicholas that all our
preparations were shams intended to deceive him, so unintelligible to
him were the operations of a free press and free speech, that he
persisted in thinking, up the very eve of the descent, that our armies
were in reality destined to follow up his retreating legions on the
Danube, and he obstinately rejected all Prince Menschikoff's appeals for

Under any circumstances the Russian engineers knew their coast well
enough to be ready to defend its weak points, and to occupy the best
ground of defence against the hostile descent. They knew our object, if
we went to the Crimea at all, must be the reduction of Sebastopol, and
of course they took care to render the _primos aditus difficiles_. When
the _Furious_ returned to the fleet, after a cruise along the
south-western coast of the Crimea, she saw a Russian intrenched camp of
about 6000 men placed above the very spot at which it seemed desirable
we should effect a landing. Who told the Russians what the intentions of
our chiefs were? Why, they _saw_ an English steam frigate, with Sir
George Brown, General Canrobert, and Sir E. Lyons on board, making a
deliberate survey of that very spot days before, and it was only natural
to suppose that the same strategical knowledge which led the English and
French Generals to select this place for the landing warned the Russians
that it would be wise to defend it. Certainly it was not any article in
a London journal which enabled the Russians to know the point selected
by our Generals, so as to induce them to throw up an intrenchment and to
form a camp of 6000 men there.

However, Marshal St. Arnaud prevented much doubt existing as to our real
intentions, for on the 25th he published the following Ordre Général.
(No. 100.)

                 "ARMÉE D'ORIENT.

            "ÉTAT MAJOR-GÉNÉRAL.

     "Soldats,--Vous venez de donner de beaux spectacles de
     persévérance, de calme et d'énergie, au milieu de circonstances
     douleureuses qu'il faut oublier. L'heure est venue de combattre, et
     de vaincre.

     "L'ennemi ne nous a pas attendu sur le Danube. Ses colonnes
     démoralisées, détruites par la maladie, s'en éloignent péniblement.
     C'est la Providence, peut-étre, qui a voulu nous épargner l'épreuve
     de ces contrées malsaines. C'est elle, aussi, qui nous appelle en
     Crimée, pays salubre comme le notre, et à Sebastopol, siége de la
     puissance Russe, dans ces murs où nous allons chercher ensemble le
     gage de la paix et de notre rétour dans nos foyers.

     "L'enterprise est grande, et digne de vous; vous la réaliserez à
     l'aide du plus formidable appareil militaire et maritime qui se vit
     jamais. Les flottes alliées, avec leurs trois mille canons et leurs
     vingt-cinq mille braves matelots, vos émules et vos compagnons
     d'armes, porteront sur la terre de Crimée une armée Anglaise, dont
     vos pères ont appris à respecter la haute valeur, une division
     choisie de ces soldats Ottomans qui viennent de faire leurs preuves
     sous vos yeux, et une armée Française que j'ai le droit et
     l'orgueil d'appeler l'élite de notre armée toute entière.

     "Je vois là plus que des gages de succès; j'y vois le succès
     lui-même. Généraux, Chefs de Corps, Officiers de toutes armes, vous
     partagerez, et vous ferez passer dans lâme de vos soldats la
     confiance dont la mienne est remplie. Bientôt, nous saluerons
     ensemble les trois drapeaux réunis flottant sur les ramparts de
     Sebastopol de notre cri nationale, 'Vive l'Empéreur!'

     "Au Quartier-général de Varna, Août 25, 1854.

(Signée) "Le Maréchal de France, Comm.-en-Chef l'Armée d'Orient,


In curious contrast to the above order, Lord Raglan issued a memorandum,
requesting "Mr. Commissary-General Filder to take steps to insure that
the troops should all be provided with a ration of porter for the next
few days." It reminded one of the bathos of the Scotch Colonel's address
to his men before the Pyramids, compared to Napoleon's high-flown

The Light Division began its march from Monastir to Varna at five A.M.
on Wednesday, the 23rd. The men were in the highest spirits on their
march, and sang songs on the way; their packs were carried by mules and
horses. They arrived at Yursakova, ten miles from Monastir, near the old
camp of Sir De Lacy Evans's division, who had already left for Varna, at
one o'clock in the day, and pitched their camp there. Sunday was a day
of rest, and many of the men availed themselves of the opportunity
afforded to them of receiving the Sacrament. Through the valley of
Devno, "the Valley of Death," the men marched in mournful silence, for
it was the place where they had left so many of their comrades, and
where they had suffered so much. The air was tainted by the carcases of
dead horses; and as some of the officers rode near the burial-places of
the poor fellows in the division who had died of cholera, they were
horrified to discover that the corpses had been dug up, most probably by
the Bulgarians, for the sake of the blankets in which they had been
interred, and had been left half-covered a prey to the dogs and
vultures. On Monday the brigade again advanced and reached Karaguel,
seven miles from Varna. All the other divisions began to move towards
Varna at the same time, and prepared for embarkation as fast as they
could be shipped from the neighbourhood of the town. The greatest care
was taken to reduce the baggage and _impedimenta_ of the army to a
minimum. To each regiment there was only allowed five horses; and as
every officer had at least one--some, indeed, had two, and others
three--there were some thirty-five or forty horses from every regiment
to be provided for, so that the park formed near Varna for the derelicts
consisted of 4000 government animals and 1200 officers' horses.

On the 27th of August, most of the English men-of-war which had lain at
Baltschik came down to Varna; and, including French, Turkish, and
English vessels, there were seventeen sail of the line in the bay. All
this time the sickness, though decreasing, continued to affect us. The
5th Dragoon Guards suffered so much--their commanding officer (Major Le
Marchant) absent from ill-health, the senior Captain (Duckworth), the
surgeon (Pitcairn), and the veterinary-surgeon (Fisher), dead, as well
as a number of non-commissioned officers and privates--that it was
dis-regimented for a time, and was placed under the command of Colonel
Hodge, who incorporated it with his own regiment, the 4th (Royal Irish)

On the morning of the 29th of August, the brigade of Guards and the
brigade of Highlanders moved down to the beach, and were embarked on
board the _Simoom_, the _Kangaroo_, and other large steamers. Captain L.
T. Jones, H. M. S. _Samson_, Captain King of the _Leander_, and Captain
Goldsmith, of the _Sidon_, deserved the greatest praise. The plan of
fitting the paddle-box boats, so that they were capable of carrying
seven horses each, was due to Lieutenant Roberts, Her Majesty's Steamer
_Cyclops_, who worked hard, fitting up boats and pontoons.

On 1st of September, the 1st, the 2nd, and the 3rd Divisions of the
French army were embarked on board the vessels destined for their
conveyance to the Crimea. Marshal St. Arnaud and his staff embarked at
Varna, on board the _Berthollet_, on the 2nd of September, and at six
o'clock the same evening shifted his headquarters to the _Ville de
Paris_ in Baltjik Bay.

Monday, September the 4th, was spent by the authorities in final
preparations, in embarking stragglers of all kinds, in closing the
departments no longer needed at Varna, such as the principal
commissariat offices, the post-office, the ordnance and field train, &c.
The narrow lanes were blocked up with mules and carts on their way to
the beach with luggage, and the happy proprietors, emerging from the
squalid courtyards of their whilome quarters, thronged the piers in
search of boats, the supply of which was not by any means equal to the
demand. Some of those most industrious fellows, the Maltese, who had
come out and taken their harbour boats with them, made a golden harvest,
for each ceased his usual avocation of floating stationer, baker,
butcher, spirit merchant, tobacconist, and poultryman for the time, and
plied for hire all along the shores of the bay.





     Parting scenes--Extent of the Armada--Life at sea--Waiting for
     orders--Slow progress--The shores of the Crimea--Anchorage.

The arrangements for the conveyance of the troops to their destination
were of the largest and most perfect character; and when all the
transports were united, they constituted an armada of 600 vessels,
covered by a fleet with 3000 pieces of artillery.

Although, at first sight, this force appeared irresistible, it could not
be overlooked that the enemy had a large fleet within a few hours'
sail--that in using our men-of-war as transports, we lost their services
in case of a naval action--that our army had suffered much from illness
and death, and that the expedition had something of uncertainty, if not
audacity, in its character--all that was fixed being this, that we were
to descend at the Katcha, beat the Russians, and take Sebastopol.

Writing at the time, I said--"I am firmly persuaded that the patience of
people at home, who are hungering and thirsting for the news of 'the
Fall of Sebastopol,' will be severely tried, and that the chances are a
little against the incidents of its capture being ready by Christmas for
repetition at Astley's. It is late, very late, in the year for such a
siege as there is before us, and I should not be surprised if we are
forced to content ourselves with the occupation of a portion of the
Crimea, which may become the basis of larger and more successful
operations next year."

Few but our generals, admirals, and some old officers, troubled their
heads much about these things, except a few notorious old grumblers. The
only persons who were dejected or melancholy were those who were
compelled to stay behind. Such vast establishments as had been created
at Varna for the use of our army could not be broken up without many
fragments remaining, and these fragments must be watched. There were,
besides, the poor invalids in the hospitals, the officers and men in
charge of them and of various regimental stores, of depôts, of
commissariat supplies, the commissariat officers themselves--in fact,
the guardians of the _débris_ which an army leaves behind it, all
melancholy, and lamenting their hard fate. The most extravagant efforts
were made by some of the officers on whom the lot fell to remain, in
order to evade so great a calamity.

At the last moment many an aching heart was made happy by an order from
head-quarters. The women of several of the regiments who had mournfully
followed their husbands to the beach, and rent the air with their
wailings when they heard they were to be separated from those with whom
they had shared privation and pestilence, were allowed to go on board.
It was found that no provision had been made for their domicile or
feeding. A camp of women!--the very idea was ludicrous and appalling;
and so, as they could not be left behind, the British Andromaches were
perforce shipped on board the transports and restored to their Hectors.

In the course of (Monday) September 4th, six English men-of-war and four
French men-of-war left Varna Bay, and from morning to evening not an
hour passed that some six or eight transports did not weigh anchor and
steer away to the northward to the rendezvous at Baltschik. Sir Edmund
Lyons, who had charge of the arrangements connected with the expedition,
was busy all the day on board his flagship communicating with the shore
and with the fleet.

The signal for starting was very anxiously expected, but evening closed
in on the bulk of the English flotilla still anchored in the waters of
Varna, and for the last time, perhaps, in the history of the world, the
echoes of its shores were woke up by the roll of English drums, and by
the music of the bands of our regiments, which will, in all probability,
never re-visit these ill-omened lands. As the sun set and shot his
yellow rays across the distant hills, the summit of which formed our
camping grounds, and lighted up the flat expanse of rolling vapours
above the lake, one could not but give a sigh to the memory of those who
were lying far away from the land of their fathers--whose nameless
graves are scattered in every glade and on every knoll in that unkindly
Moesian soil.

However, the morrow came, and with it life and motion. A gun from the
Admiral! Signals from the _Emperor_, the seat of power of the Admiralty
agents! The joyful news throughout the fleet that we were to weigh, and
to get off to our rendezvous in Baltschik as soon as we could. Many
sailing transports were already stealing out to the southwards under all
light canvas, in order to get a good offing. All the steamers were busy,
clothing the bay and the adjacent coast with clouds of smoke as they got
up steam, through which, as it shifted, and rose and fell, and thinned
away under the influence of a crisp, fresh breeze, one could see the
town of Varna, all burnt up and withered by fire, its white minarets
standing up stiffly through the haze, its beach hemmed by innumerable
boats, its be-cannoned walls, the blanched expanse around it of hill and
plain, still thickly dotted with the camps of the French.


At ten o'clock A.M., Tuesday, September 4th, we were fairly under way,
with a ship in tow. The _City of London_, in which I had a berth,
carried the head-quarters of the 2nd Division, Sir De Lacy Evans,
Lieutenant-General Commanding, Colonel Percy Herbert, Deputy Assistant
Quarter Master General, Colonel Wilbraham, Deputy Assistant General,
Captain Lane Fox, Captain Allix, aide-de-camp, Captain Gubbins,
aide-de-camp, Captain Bryan, aide-de-camp, and Major Eman, 41st
Regiment. The coast from Varna to Baltschik very much resembles that of
Devonshire. It was as green, more richly wooded, and crowned by verdant
expanses of dwarf forest trees, which undulate from the very verge of
the sea to the horizon. For some four or five miles outside Varna, the
French, camps dotted these pleasant-looking hills--the abode of fever
and cholera. Then came the reign of solitude--not a homestead, not a
path, not a sign of life visible as for the next eight or ten miles one
coasted along the silent forest! Just about Baltschik the wood
disappears, and the land becomes like our coast between the Forelands,
with high white cliffs and bare green hills above them. The town itself,
or rather the overgrown village, seemed through the glass to be as dirty
and straggling as any Bulgaro-Turkish town it had been our lot to
witness, and offered no temptation to go ashore. On steaming out of the
bay northwards the number of steamers and sailing transports in sight
was wonderful, but when, after a run of two hours, we anchored in
Baltschik roads, one was almost disappointed at the spectacle, for the
line of coast is so long, and the height of the cliffs inland so
considerable, that the numerous vessels anchored in lines along the
shore were dwarfed, as it were, by the magnitude of the landscape. It
was only as the eye learnt to pick out three-deckers and large
vessels--to recognize the _Britannia_ here, the _Trafalgar_ there, the
_Himalaya_ further on--that the grandeur of these leviathans grew upon
one, just as a simple attempt to count the vessels along the coast gave
an idea of their numbers. In addition to the transports, there were
several coal vessels for the supply of the steamers; some laden with
Turkish coal from Heraclea, and others with coal from England.

Towards evening Lord Raglan came from Varna on board H.M.S. _Caradoc_,
Lieutenant Reynolds, which he had selected as his headquarters afloat.
The Duke of Cambridge, and a portion of his staff, took up their
quarters on board Her Majesty's ship _Triton_, Commander Lloyd. Many of
the ships had to get water from the beach, to complete coaling, &c., and
the masters were twice summoned on board the _Emperor_, to receive
instructions from Captain Christie, R.N., respecting the sailing of the
expedition, and the landing of the troops, &c., conveyed to him by the

The French were nowhere visible, and we learnt, on inquiry, that their
fleet, with the few transports under their charge, had left on the
previous Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, and were to rendezvous at
Fidonisi, or Serpents' Island, off the mouth of the Danube, near which
they were to be joined by the fleets from Bourgas and Varna. Their men
were nearly all on board line-of-battle ships. A squadron of steamers,
with a multitude of brigs and transports in tow, was visible towards
evening, steering north-east, and the tricolor could be seen ere evening
flying from the peaks of the steamers; they passed by Baltschik with a
stiff breeze off the land on their quarter. Towards evening the wind
freshened and hauled round more to the northward; but the fleet rode
easily at anchor all night.

Wednesday, the 6th of September, was passed in absolute inactivity, so
far as the bulk of the officers and men of the expedition were
concerned. There was a fresh wind to the eastward, which would have
carried the transports out rapidly to sea. We thought at the time that
some arrangement with the French, or some deficiency to be made good,
not known to us, was the cause of the delay.[7] The ships of the various
divisions were got into order as far as possible, and the officers and
men were in great measure consoled for the detention by the exchange of
good fare on board ship for ration beef and bread and camp living. The
soldier may have the sunny side of the wall in peace, but assuredly he
has the bleaker side in times of war. Wherever the sailor goes he has
his roof over his head, his good bed, his warm meal. He moves with his
house about him. If he gets wet on deck he has a snug hammock to get
into below, or a change of dry clothing, and his butcher and his baker
travel beside him. From a wet watch outside, the soldier is lucky if he
gets into a wet tent; a saturated blanket is his covering, and the earth
is his pillow. He must carry his cold victuals for three days to come,
and eat them as best he may, exposed to the inclemency of the weather,
with no change of clothing and no prospect of warmth or shelter.

These and such other topics could not fail to be discussed on board
ship, and the discussion necessarily promoted a better understanding
between the services, for Jack saw that these rigid gentlemen in red
coats and straps and buckles, whom he is rather apt to look upon as
Sybaritical and effeminate creatures, had to go through as much hard
work and exposure as himself; and the soldier was not a little
surprised, perhaps, to find that those whose business is upon the waters
lived in comfort which he would gladly find in the best-appointed
barrack. Sailors and soldiers worked together in the greatest harmony,
although it was trying to the best of tempers to be turned out of bed
for a stranger, and although people with only six feet square a-piece to
live, move, and have their being in, when stowed away in thousands,
might be expected to view their neighbours with a little reasonable


At half-past four o'clock on Thursday morning, the 7th of September,
three guns from the _Agamemnon_ fired in quick succession woke up the
sleepers of the fleet. The signal-men made out through the haze of
morning twilight the joyful order fluttering in the coloured bunting
from the mizen of the Admiral, "Prepare to weigh anchor," and in a
quarter of an hour the volumes of smoke rising from the steamers,
mingled with white streaks of steam, showed that not much time would be
lost in obeying it. Ere seven o'clock arrived the steamers had weighed
anchor, and each was busy "dodging about" the mass of transports to pick
up its own particular charges. This was a work of time, of trouble, and
of difficulty. Towing is at all times an unpleasant operation, but it
is especially difficult to arrange the details and to get the towed
vessels under weigh when there is such a mass of shipping to thread as
there was at present. When the vessels were found, and the hawsers
passed and secured, then came the next great difficulty--to get them
into their assigned places in the several lines of the different
divisions. There was some time lost before the lines were formed, and
the signal "to sail" was given. With a gentle breeze off shore the
flotilla started in nearly the order assigned to it. The lines were
about half a mile apart, and each line was four or five miles long, for
the towing power of the several steamers was so unequal, that the weaker
ones tailed off and the stronger got ahead, in spite of repeated orders
to keep station.

It was a vast armada. No pen could describe its effect. Ere an hour had
elapsed it had extended itself over half the circumference of the
horizon. Possibly no expedition so complete and so terrible in its means
of destruction, with such enormous power in engines of war and such
capabilities of locomotion, was ever yet sent forth. The speed was
restricted to four miles and a half per hour, but with a favouring wind
it was difficult to restrain the vessels to that rate, and the
transports set no sail. The course lay N.E. by E., and the fleet was
ordered to make for a point 40 miles due west of Cape Tarkan. On looking
to the map it will be seen that the point thus indicated is about 50
miles east of Fidonisi, or Serpents' Island, off the mouth of the
Danube, and that it lies about 100 miles to the north-east of
Sebastopol, Cape Tarkan being a promontory of the Crimea, 63 miles north
of the fortress. It was understood that this point was the rendezvous
given to our French and Turkish allies. The fleet, in five irregular and
straggling lines, flanked by men-of-war and war steamers, advanced
slowly, filling the atmosphere with innumerable columns of smoke, which
gradually flattened out into streaks and joined the clouds, adding to
the sombre appearance of this well-named "Black" Sea. The land was lost
to view very speedily beneath the coal clouds and the steam clouds of
the fleet, and as we advanced, not an object was visible in the half of
the great circle which lay before us, save the dark waves and the cold

Not a bird flew, not a fish leaped, not a sail dotted the horizon.
Behind us was all life and power--vitality, force, and motion--a strange
scene in this so-called Russian lake! From time to time signals were
made to keep the stragglers in order, and to whip up the laggards, but
the execution of the plan by no means equalled the accuracy with which
it had been set forth upon paper, and the deviations from the
mathematical regularity of the programme were very natural. The effect
was not marred by these trifling departures from strict rectilinearity,
for the fleet seemed all the greater and the more imposing as the eye
rested on these huge black hulls weighing down upon the face of the
waters, and the infinite diversity of rigging which covered the
background with a giant network.

Towards three o'clock we came up with eight French and Turkish steamers,
towing about 50 small brigs and schooners under the French flag, which
appeared to be laden with commissariat stores, for there were very few
men on board. They steered rather more to the east than we did, and we
soon passed them. Soon afterwards several large French men-of-war
steamers, with transports in tow, appeared in the distance on our
starboard quarter (right-hand side), steering the same course with
ourselves, and they seemed to get very close to the stragglers of our
fleet. One could not but contrast the comfort of our soldiers in their
splendid transports with the discomfort to which our brave allies must
have been exposed in their small shallops of 150 and 200 tons burden.

Towards night, quick steamers were sent on in advance and on the flanks,
to look out, as a matter of precaution. At daybreak they returned, and
reported to the Admiral that the French and Turkish fleets were steering
eastward across our bows a long way in advance. In the course of Friday
morning, the 8th, the wind chopped round, and blew rather freshly right
in our teeth. The result was a severe strain upon hawsers and steamers;
in some instances the hawsers parted and the transports drifted away.

Our progress against a head wind and light head sea was tedious, and on
taking our observation at noon we found we were in lat. 48 33 N., long.
31 10 E., which gave us an average speed of 3 7-10ths miles since we
started on Thursday. At ten A.M. we steered by signal N.E. 1/2 N. About
eleven o'clock the topgallantsails of a large fleet steering in two
lines were seen above the horizon. Signals were made for the transports
to close up and keep in their stations, and the _Agamemnon_ stood on in
advance to communicate with the strangers. The _Britannia_, towed by a
man-of-war steamer and followed by the _Caradoc_, went in the same
direction. At the same time the _Napoleon_, with a convoy of steamers
and transports, rose well into sight on our starboard quarter. The
_Trafalgar_, the _Terrible_, and the _Retribution_, followed the
_Britannia_, and other men-of-war were in advance on our bows.

[Sidenote: SLOW PROGRESS.]

At half-past twelve o'clock the Turco-French fleet was clearly visible,
steering nearly E.N.E. in two lines. They were all under plain sail
aloft and alow--27 sail of the line, frigates and steamers. As we came
up, they laid their maintopsails aback, and hove-to while we passed.
They were in two lines, and the decks of those steamers we came near
were covered with troops, as thickly packed as they could stand. Large
boats and flats were slung over the sides and lashed amidships. Some of
the Turks (who appeared to have six line-of-battle ships--one
three-decker and five two-deckers, and a couple of frigates) carried
troops also. We passed through the fleet slowly, and about three o'clock
they were hull down on our starboard quarter. The wind went down towards
evening, but the weather became raw and cold. When we came up with the
French fleet, Admiral Dundas went on board the _Ville de Paris_, where
there was a conference, at which Marshal St. Arnaud was seized with such
a violent attack of his old malady that he was obliged to leave the
table. It had been reported to the French General that there was a
Russian camp on the Katcha, which was the spot indicated by the
reconnaissance under Sir George Brown and General Canrobert as the best
place for the disembarkation; and this circumstance, coupled with the
fact that the gallant officers in recommending the place had not duly
considered the small size of the bay, and the great size of the fleet,
caused some difference of opinion in the council. Lord Raglan could not
attend this conference on account of the swell, which prevented his
getting up the side of the _Ville de Paris_, and Marshal St. Arnaud
requested Admiral Hamelin and Colonel Trochu to repair on board the
_Caradoc_ and ask his opinion. It was there decided that a second
commission of exploration should be sent to examine the coast from
Eupatoria to Sebastopol, but not until the French Marshal had faintly
recommended a descent on Theodosia (Kaffa), instead of the west coast of
the Crimea. General Canrobert, Colonel Trochu, Colonel Leboeuf,
Admiral Bruat, General Thierry, General Bizot, General Martimprey, and
Colonel Rose[8] were deputed on this service by the French. Sir John
Burgoyne, Sir George Brown, Admiral Lyons, and some other officers,
represented the English.

About six o'clock on Saturday morning, the _Agamemnon_ and _Caradoc_,
accompanied by the _Samson_ and the _Primauguet_, left the fleet and
steered due east, a course which would bring them to the coast of the
Crimea, a little above Sebastopol. For the rest of the fleet, the
greater part of Saturday was almost lost, for we did not move eight
miles in the interval between eight A.M. and noon. The advanced ships
were ordered by signal to lie-to for the rear of the fleet, which was
very far astern. Our observation at noon gave our position lat. 44 30
N., long. 30 11 E., which is 22 miles north-west of the point, 40 miles
west of Cape Tarkan, for which we were ordered to steer, and it appeared
we were keeping away considerably to the westward and northward at
present. From ten A.M. till three P.M. we scarcely moved a mile.
Finally, all cast anchor in the middle of the Black Sea, in 25 fathoms
water. The weather fine--the precious time going fast. So passed the
greater part of Saturday and all day Sunday.

Night came on, but still there was no sign of the _Agamemnon_ or of the
French and English Generals-in-Chief. The French and Turkish fleets
combined were ten leagues south this morning, trying to beat up to us.
The _Napoleon_ arrived and anchored near us, and several French steamers
with transports in tow hove in sight. All the Generals not in the secret
of our policy were sorely puzzled.

Our exact bearings at noon, verified and amended, were, lat. 45 36
north, long. 31 23 east. This was about 25 miles north and west of the
original rendezvous given to the fleet at starting.

Many of the ships were so short of coal they would have had some
difficulty in steaming to Sebastopol, in case it was resolved to go

We made very slow progress. At half-past two o'clock the French fleet
was visible on the starboard or right-hand bow, hull down, and with
their topmasts only visible above the horizon. They seemed to be
steering towards the south-east. The sun was hot, but the wind felt cold
and piercing; at times slight showers fell. The sea was very smooth and
tranquil, and of that peculiar dark colour which has induced so many
nations to agree in giving it names of similar significance. The fleet
stretched across the whole diameter of the circle--that is, they had a
front of some eighteen miles broad, and gradually the irregular and
broken lines tapered away till they were lost in little mounds and dots
of smoke, denoting the position of the steamers far down below the

As many of the seamen in the merchant vessels and transports had been
grumbling at the expected boat service, which rendered them liable to
shot and shell if the enemy should oppose the landing of the troops, and
some had gone so far, indeed, as to say they would not serve at
all--particularly the seamen of the _Golden Fleece_, a communication was
made to Admiral Dundas, before the departure of the ships from their
anchorage, and his reply, to the following effect, was circulated and
read among the crews of the transports, to their great satisfaction, on
Sunday morning:--

     "Having been in communication with General Lord Raglan on the
     subject of officers and men employed in the transport-service
     receiving pensions for wounds, I beg you will make known to them
     that the same pensions as are given to the officers and seamen of
     the Royal Navy will be granted to them for wounds sustained in



The _Caradoc_ and _Primauguet_ returned at seven A.M., on the morning of
the 11th September, with their attendant guardians, after a cruise along
the coast; on the morning of the 10th they arrived off Sebastopol, which
they reconnoitred from the distance of three miles, and then proceeded
to Cape Chersonese, where the beach appeared favourable for a descent,
but the _timides avis_ opposed the proposition on the ground that the
men would have to fight for their landing. Some camps were seen near the
town, and on turning towards the north, and arriving off the mouth of
the Belbek, the Commissioners saw a small camp on the heights over the
river. It was decided that this beach and little bay were too close to
the enemy for the landing. Then they went upwards to the Katcha, which
Sir George Brown had recommended, but all the officers at once condemned
the spot, as the beach was much too small. There were some troops
visible on shore. The _Caradoc_ next ran on to the Alma, which was found
to be protected by large camps along the southern ridges--proceeding
towards Eupatoria she lay off a beach between the sea and a salt-water
lake about fourteen miles south of that town, which after some
consideration, the Generals fixed upon as the scene of their landing,
and having reconnoitred Eupatoria, they made for the rendezvous. In
about half an hour after they joined us, signal was made to the
transports to steer to Eupatoria. Soon afterwards this signal was
recalled, and was replaced by another to "steer S.S.E." For the whole
day we ran very quietly on this course without any incident worthy of
notice. The night closed in very darkly. The lightning flashed in sheets
and forked streams every two or three minutes, from heavy masses of
clouds behind us, and the fleet was greatly scattered. We were driving
through a squall of rain and wind, varied by hailstorms. The
thermometer was still at 65°. Our course was rather hazardous at times,
and so many steamers were steering across us that great care was
required to steer clear of them in the dark. The moon, which would
otherwise have aided us, was quite obscured by banks of clouds.

During the night the expedition altered its course slightly to the
eastward, and stood in more directly towards the land. The night was
fine, but the sharpness of the air told of the approach of winter. Two
heavy showers of hail, which fell at intervals in the morning, covered
the decks with coatings of ice a couple of inches thick, but the sun and
the broom soon removed them. Early in the morning of the 12th, just
after dawn, a dark line was visible on our port (or left-hand) side,
which became an object of interest and discussion, for some maintained
it was land, others declared it was cloud-land. The rising sun decided
the question in favour of those who maintained the substantiality of the
appearance. It was indeed the shore of the Crimea.

The first impression as we drew near was, that the coast presented a
remarkable resemblance to the dunes which fortify the northern shores of
La Belle France against her old enemy Neptune; but when the leading
ships had got within a distance of 18 or 20 miles, it was evident that
the country beyond the line of beach was tolerably well cultivated to
the margin of the sand. Clumps of trees, very few and wide apart, could
be made out with the glass, and at last a whitewashed farm-house or
fishing-station, surrounded by outhouses, was visible on the sea-shore.
The land was evidently a promontory, for it tapered away at each end to
a thin line, which was lifted up by the mirage above the sea horizon,
and was lost in air. We had, in fact, struck on the coast south of Cape
Tarkan. At seven o'clock a remarkable table-land came into view in quite
an opposite direction, namely, on our starboard or right-hand side,
showing that we were running into a deep indentation of the coast. By
degrees, as we advanced, this hill, which was in the form of the section
of a truncated cone, became a very prominent object, and was generally
supposed to be Tchatyr Dagh, a remarkable mountain of some 5000 feet
high, east of Sebastopol. As no course had been given to steer by during
the night, the fleet scattered greatly, and was seen steering in all
directions. At 9.30 A.M. the steamer leading the second division was
stopped, her head lying N.E. by E. The other divisions "slowed" and
stopped also, or quickened their speed, as they happened to be before or
behind their positions.

At 10 A.M. a fleet of eleven men-of-war appeared in the north-west,
steering towards us. Signal was made to close up and keep in order. At a
quarter past ten signal was made to steer E.N.E. by compass. This
unexpected change of course puzzled us all greatly, and we were thus
ordered to go back on the very course we had just come. About 8 A.M. we
had been in about 44 45 lat., 32 30 long., as we now began to steer away
from land towards our original rendezvous. The average speed of the
expedition was about three miles an hour. At one o'clock we steered due
N. by W., the fleet of transports and of men-of-war being visible in
all directions, some going south, others east, others west, others
north--in fact, it puzzled every one but the Admiral, or those who were
in the secret, to form the slightest notion of what we were doing. Three
three-deckers, two two-deckers, two frigates, and four steamers, ran
away on our starboard side, as our head was turned from the land, to
which we had been steering, and lapped over, as it were, the wing of the
fleet of transports.

Out of all this apparent chaos, however, order was springing, for these
changes of our course were no doubt made with the view of picking up
stragglers, and sweeping up all the scattered ships. The _Emperor_ led
the way towards the N.E., and great was the grumbling and surprise of
the captains, Admiralty agents, and military men with a taste for
aquatics. "We have been steering S.E. all night, and now we are steering
N.W., and going back again--very strange!" &c., was the cry. Others
believed the expedition was only intended as a demonstration. In fact,
"they knew all along" that was all that was meant, and that we were
going to Anapa or Odessa, or some other pet destination of the speakers,
after we had thoroughly frightened the Russ in Sebastopol. There were
wise men, too, who said the expedition was a feint at that particular
point, and that when we had drawn the garrison out of Sebastopol we
should run suddenly down and take it with comparative ease, while
deprived of its usual number of defenders. We had, however, only gone on
this course for two hours when the leading ships of the lines stopped
engines, the fleet passing slowly through the rear of the transports
towards the southward, with a fine leading breeze. None of the French
expedition were clearly visible, but some steamers and sailing ships far
away to the N.W. were supposed to belong to it. At 3.15 signal was made
from the _Emperor_ to steer W.N.W. This order completely baffled even
the sagest of our soothsayers, and took the wind out of the sails of all
the prophets, who were rendered gloomy and disconsolate for the rest of
the day. But when, in a few minutes after, the _Emperor_ made signal to
steer by compass N.E. by E., and we turned our head once more in-shore,
it was felt that any attempt to divine the intentions of our rulers was
hopeless. We were also desired to prepare to anchor, but in the depth of
water under us--not less than forty fathoms--it was very likely that
many ships would never be able to get up their anchors and cables again
if we had done so, as they were not strong enough to stand so great a
strain. The expedition had been got together pretty well by this time,
and with a freshening breeze stood in for the land. It presented the
same aspect as the other portion of it, which we had seen closely
earlier in the day.

[Sidenote: ANCHORAGE.]

A few farm-houses were dimly discernible in the distance over the waste
and low-lying plains, which seemed embrowned by great heats. Little dark
specks, supposed to be cattle, could also be distinguished. Shortly
before six o'clock the anchor was let go in sixteen fathoms of water, at
the distance of twelve or fifteen miles from shore. The number of
vessels was prodigious--forty-four steamers could be counted, though
many of the French vessels were not visible. When evening set in, the
bands of the various regiments, the drums and fifes of those who had no
bands, the trumpets of cavalry and horse artillery, and the infantry
bugles formed a _concert monstre_, which must have been heard on shore
in spite of the contrary breeze. Some of the ships lay closer in than we
did, and they were so thick that collisions took place more than once,
happily without any serious consequences.

The sunset was of singular beauty and splendour. Heavy masses of rich
blue clouds hung in the west, through innumerable golden chasms of which
the sun poured a flood of yellow glory over the dancing waters, laden
with great merchantmen, with men-of-war staggering under press of
canvas, and over line after line of black steamers, contending in vain
to deface the splendour of the scene. When night came on, and all the
ships' lights were hung out, it seemed as if the stars had settled down
on the face of the waters. Wherever the eye turned were little
constellations twinkling far and near, till they were lost in faint
halos in the distance. The only idea one could give of this strange
appearance is that suggested by the sight from some eminence of a huge
city lighted up, street after street, on a very dark night. Flashes of
the most brilliant lightning, however, from time to time lifted the veil
of night from the ocean, and disclosed for an instant ships and steamers
lying at anchor as far as could be seen. About eight o'clock, just as
every one had turned in for the night, orders were sent on board to the
deputy-quartermaster-general of each division respecting the
preparations for the disembarkation of the men. The men seemed in
excellent health and spirits. The number of fever and cholera cases,
though greater than we could have wished, was not sufficient to cause
any very great alarm. No doubt the voyage had done the army good, and
they all looked forward with confidence to their landing next day.

The place off which we anchored on the night of Tuesday, September 12th,
was marked on the charts as Schapan. It is fourteen miles distant N.N.E.
from our starting-point on Tuesday at noon, so that we only ran that
length the whole of the afternoon from twelve to six o'clock.


     Eupatoria--Orders for the landing--The French land first--Cossacks
     in sight--Sir George Brown's escape--A brush with the
     Cossacks--Tartar allies--Shelling a Russian camp--An unpleasant
     night--A garrison at Eupatoria.

At six o'clock on the morning of the 13th, signal was given to weigh and
proceed, and at eight o'clock the lines were formed and the expedition
proceeded, steering towards the S.E. The French and Turkish
line-of-battle ships joined us in the course of the day. A division of
the allies went on in front, and cruised towards Sebastopol. It was
evident, from the course we had taken, that the expedition was going
towards Eupatoria, a town situated on a low promontory of land about
thirty-four miles distant from Sebastopol. Towards noon the ships of the
expedition closed in with the shore. The country was flat, but numerous
herds of cattle were to be seen in the plains and salt marshes, and the
farm-houses became more frequent as we proceeded southwards. At noon
Eupatoria bore ten miles S.E. by E. from us. We soon after saw the
Cossacks in twos or threes--or at least horsemen whom every one declared
to be those famous irregulars--scouring along towards the town, but
there were very few of them, and they were at long intervals; now and
then a farmer-looking man, in a covered cart, was visible, jogging
along, as it appeared, with perfect indifference to the formidable
apparition of some 400 vessels keeping company with him at the distance
of some five or six miles only.

Eupatoria soon became visible. It lies on a spit of sand, and for a long
time we imagined that it was defended by heavy works, for the solid
stone houses close by the sea-coast were so increased by refraction and
lifted up so high, that they looked like forts. The town is
astonishingly clean, perhaps by contrast with Varna and Gallipoli. A
large barrack was in course of erection near the town on the north side.
Towards the south side were innumerable windmills, and several
bathing-boxes, gaily painted, along the beach gave an air of
civilization to the place, in spite of the old Turkish minarets which
peered above the walls in a very dilapidated state. The chapel was a
conspicuous object, and boasted of a large dome. Many square stone
buildings were in view. At a quarter past three the expedition anchored
off the town, at the distance of two or three miles.

We could see up the main streets of the town with our glasses very
clearly. Cossacks dotted all the hills, watching us, and some of them
were "driving" the cattle across the sandy hillocks towards the
interior. There seemed to be a blockhouse on shore, and a kind of
earthwork, near which was a flagstaff, but no flag was exhibited. The
_Caradoc_ slowly coasted by the flat and very low shore close in. A boat
with Colonel Steele, Colonel Trochu, and Mr. Calvert, interpreter,
proceeded towards the quay with a flag of truce, and summoned the town,
which the governor surrendered at once, as he had only 200 invalids
under his command. He said, very brusquely, "Nous sommes tous rendus,
faites ce que vous voulez." Some Russian soldiers stood gazing on the
expedition from the mounds of earth near the town, and we were amused by
seeing the process of relieving guard, which was done in very good style
by three regulars. They left a sentry behind, in lieu of the man whom
they relieved.


There was only one vessel in the roadstead--a Tartar sloop of sixty or
seventy tons. The _Tribune_ stood leisurely in as soon as the fleet
anchored, till she was within half a mile of the town. A boat put off
with four men, who pulled towards the sloop, got into her, and
immediately hoisted a white flag; the first prize on the shore of the
Crimea! All this time the people were gazing at us out of the windows,
from the corners of the streets, and from the roofs of the houses.

All the vessels were drawn up in immense lines, with a front extending
over nine miles, and with an unknown depth--for the rigging and sails of
the distant transports belonging to the expedition were lost far below
the horizon; and after we had anchored, stragglers arrived every hour.
After a short conversation by signal between generals and admirals,
towards eight o'clock P.M. the _Agamemnon_ sent off boats to the
steamers and transports with the following order to the
quartermasters-general of division:--

                 ORDERS FOR SAILING.

"Wednesday night.

     "The Light Division to be actually under way at one A.M. to-morrow

     "The Fourth Division to sail at two A.M.

     "The First Division to sail at three A.M.

     "The Third Division and the Fifth Division to sail at four A.M.

     "Steer S.S.E. for eight miles. Rendezvous in lat. 45 degrees. Do
     not go nearer to shore than eight fathoms."

These orders were obeyed, and after an interchange of rockets from the
admirals, the divisions weighed in the order indicated, and slowly stood
along the coast till about eight o'clock in the morning, when we
anchored off Staroe Ukroplenie, or the Old Fort.

The place thus selected for our landing was a low strip of beach and
shingle, cast up by the violence of the surf, and forming a sort of
causeway between the sea and a stagnant salt-water lake. The lake is
about one mile long, and half a mile broad, and when we first arrived,
its borders and surface were frequented by vast flocks of wildfowl. The
causeway was not more than two hundred yards broad, leading, at the
right or southern extremity of the lake, by a gentle ascent, to an
irregular table-land or plateau of trifling elevation, dotted with
tumuli or barrows, such as are seen in several parts of England. Towards
the sea this plateau presented a precipitous face of red clay and
sandstone, varying in height from a hundred to a hundred and fifty feet,
and it terminated by a descent almost to the sea-level, at the distance
of nearly two miles from the shores of the lake. Thence towards the
south there was a low sandy beach, with a fringe of shingle raised by
the action of the waves above the level of the land, and saving it from
inundation. This low coast stretched along as far as the eye could
reach, till it was lost beneath the base of the mountain ranges over
Sebastopol. The country inland, visible from the decks of our ships, was
covered with cattle, with grain in stack, with farm-houses. The
stubble-fields were covered with wild lavender, southernwood, and other
fragrant shrubs, which the troops collected for fuel, and which filled
the air with an aromatic perfume. As we cruised towards Eupatoria, we
could see the people driving their carts and busy in their ordinary

Now and then some Cossacks were visible, scouring along the roads to the
interior, and down south towards the menaced stronghold of the Czar; but
they were not numerous, and at times it was doubtful whether the people
we saw were those freebooters of the Don, or merely Crim Tartar
herdsmen, armed with cattle-spears. The post carriage from Sebastopol to
Odessa was also seen rolling leisurely along, and conveying, probably,
news of the great armament with which the coast was menaced.

We were further disappointed to find the natives in dress and aspect
very like our friends of Bulgaria. They were better kempt, and seemed
better clad; but the "style" of the men was the same as that of the
people with whom we had been so long and so unpleasantly familiar.

The daybreak of Thursday (September 14) gave promise of a lovely
morning, but the pledge was not quite fulfilled. The sun rose from a
cloudless sky. Towards noon the heat of his mid-day beams was tempered
by a gentle breeze, and by some floating fleecy vapours, which turned
speedily into showers of rain, and the afternoon was dark and gloomy.
The vast armada, which had moved on during the night in perfect order,
studded the horizon with a second heaven of stars, and, covering the
face of the sea with innumerable lights, advanced parallel with the
coast till it gradually closed in towards the shore near Lake Saki.

At seven A.M. most of the fleet were in shore near their prescribed
positions, but it was found necessary to send the _Firebrand_ and some
other steamer to sea, in order to tow up the slower transports of
men-of-war. The _Emperor_, which was our guiding star, did not keep
exactly in her position, or the places taken by the leading steamers of
the rest of the fleet were wrong, and some doubt and a little confusion
arose in consequence; but the absence of an enemy rendered any slight
deviations from order of comparatively trifling importance. The greatest
offender against the prescribed order of disembarkation was the Admiral
himself, who, instead of filling the place assigned to him in the centre
of his fleet, stood out four miles from the shore, and signalled for
four ships of the line to come out from among us and reconnoitre.


As the ships of our expedition drew up in lines parallel to the beach,
the French fleet passed us under steam, and extended itself on our
right, and ran in close to shore below the cliffs of the plateau. Their
small war steamers went much nearer than ours were allowed to do, and a
little after seven o'clock the first French boat put off from one of the
men-of-war; not more than fifteen or sixteen men were on board her. She
was beached quietly on shore at the southern extremity of the real cliff
already mentioned. The crew leaped out; they formed into a knot on the
strand, and seemed busily engaged for a few moments over one spot of
ground, as though they were digging a grave. Presently a flag-staff was
visible above their heads, and in a moment more the tricolor was run up
to the top, and fluttered out gaily in the wind, while the men took off
their hats, and no doubt did their "_Vive l'Empereur!_" in good style.
The French were thus the first to take possession and seisin of the

There was no enemy in sight. The most scrutinizing gaze at this moment
could not have detected a hostile uniform along the coast. The French
Admiral fired a gun shortly after eight o'clock, and the disembarkation
of their troops commenced. In little more than an hour they got 6000 men
on shore. This was very smart work, but it must be remembered that
nearly all the French army were on board line-of-battle ships, and were
at once carried from their decks to the land by the men-of-war's boats.
The instant the French had landed a regiment, a company was pushed on to
reconnoitre--skirmishers or pickets were sent on in front. As each
regiment followed in column, its predecessors deployed, extended front,
and advanced in light marching order _en tirailleur_, spreading out like
a fan over the plains. It was most curious and interesting to observe
their progress, and to note the rapid manner in which they were
appropriating the soil. In about an hour after their first detachment
had landed, nearly 9000 troops were on shore, and their advanced posts
were faintly discernible between three and four miles from the beach,
like little black specks moving over the cornfields, and darkening the
highways and meadow paths. The _Montebello_ carried upwards of 1400 men,
in addition to her crew. The _Valmy_ had in all 3000. The _Ville de
Paris_ and _Henri Quatre_ were laden with men in proportion; and all the
line-of-battle ships and steamers had full cargoes of troops. In fact,
it was found that their small brigs and schooners were neither safe nor
comfortable, and that they were better suited for carrying stores and
horses than men. The fleet of French men-of-war carried more than 20,000
men. Their whole force to be landed consisted of 23,600 men.

Our army amounted to 27,000 men, who were embarked in a vast number of
transports, covering a great extent of water. But they were carried in
comfort and safety; and, though there was still much sickness on board,
it was as nothing compared to the mortality among the closely-packed
French. Perhaps no army ever was conveyed with such luxury and security
from shore to shore as ours in the whole history of war. A body of
French Spahis, under Lieutenant de Moleyn, were the first cavalry to
land. Next morning these men attacked an advanced post, and cut off a
Russian officer and a few soldiers, whom they carried back to camp.

About nine o'clock one black ball was run up to the fore of the
_Agamemnon_ and a gun was fired to enforce attention to the signal. This
meant, "Divisions of boats to assemble round ships for which they are
told off, to disembark infantry and artillery." In an instant the sea
was covered with a flotilla of launches, gigs, cutters, splashing
through the water, some towing flats, and the large Turkish boats,
others with horse-floats plunging heavily after them. They proceeded
with as great regularity as could be expected to their appointed ships,
and the process of landing commenced. Up to this moment not an enemy was
to be seen; but as the boats began to shove off from the ships, five
horsemen slowly rose above the ridge on the elevated ground, to the
right of the strip of beach which separated the salt-water lake from the
sea in front of us. After awhile four of them retired to one of the
tumuli inland opposite the French fleet. The other retained his
position, and was soon the cynosure of all neighbouring eyes. The
Russian was within about 1100 yards of us, and through a good telescope
we could watch his every action. He rode slowly along by the edge of the
cliff, apparently noting the number and disposition of the fleet, and
taking notes with great calmness in a memorandum book. He wore a dark
green frock-coat, with a little silver lace, a cap of the same colour, a
sash round his waist, and long leather boots. His horse, a fine bay
charger, was a strange contrast to the shaggy rough little steeds of his
followers. There they were, "the Cossacks," at last!--stout,
compact-looking fellows, with sheepskin caps, uncouth clothing of
indiscriminate cut, high saddles, and little fiery ponies, which carried
them with wonderful ease and strength. Each of these Cossacks carried a
thick lance of some fifteen feet in length, and a heavy sabre. At times
they took rapid turns by the edge of the cliff in front of us--now to
the left, now to the rear, of their officer, and occasionally they
dipped out of sight, over the hill, altogether. Then they came back,
flourishing their lances, and pointed to the accumulating masses of the
French on their right, and more than half-a-mile from them, on the
shore, or scampered over the hill to report progress as to the lines of
English boats advancing to the beach. Their officer behaved very well.
He remained for an hour within range of a Minié rifle, and making a
sketch in his portfolio of our appearance, we all expected she was going
to drop a shell over himself and his little party. We were glad our
expectations were not realized, if it were only on the chance of the
sketch being tolerably good, so that the Czar might really see what our
armada was like.


Meantime the English boats were nearing the shore, not in the order of
the programme, but in irregular groups; a company of a regiment of the
Light Division, the 7th Fusileers, under Lieutenant-Colonel Yea, I
think, landed first on the beach to the left of the cliffs;[10] then
came a company of the 2nd Battalion of the Rifle Brigade, commanded by
Lieutenant-Colonel Lawrence: a small boat from the _Britannia_ commanded
by Lieutenant Vesey, had, however, preceded the Fusileers, and
disembarked some men on the beach, who went down into the hollow at the
foot of the cliffs. The Russian continued his sketching. Suddenly a
Cossack crouched down and pointed with his lance to the ascent of the
cliffs. The officer turned and looked in the direction. We looked too,
and, lo! a cocked hat rose above the horizon. Another figure, with, a
similar head-dress, came also in view. The first was on the head of Sir
George Brown, on foot; the second we found out to be the property of the
Assistant Quartermaster-general Airey. Sir George had landed immediately
after the company of the Fusileers on their right, and having called
Colonel Lysons' attention to the ground where he wished the Light
Division to form, he walked on towards the cliff or rising ground on the
right of the salt-water lake. The scene was exciting. It was evident the
Russian and the Cossack saw Sir George, but that he did not see them.
The Russian got on his horse, the Cossacks followed his example, and one
of them cantered to the left to see that the French were not cutting off
their retreat, while the others stooped down over their saddle-bows and
rode stealthily, with lowered lances, towards the Englishmen.

Sir George was in danger, but he did not know it. Neither did the
Russians see the picket advancing towards the brow of the hill, for our
General was not alone, Sergeant Maunsell and two privates of the 23rd
had followed him as he advanced towards the hill; and they had not gone
very far when Sir George ordered one of them to go back, and tell the
officer commanding the company to advance, and extend his men along the
brow of the hill. Sir George was busy scanning the country, and pointing
out various spots to the Quartermaster-general. Suddenly the two turned
and slowly descended the hill--the gold sash disappeared--the cocked hat
was eclipsed--Cossacks and officers dismounted and stole along by the
side of their horses. They, too, were hid from sight in a short time,
and on the brow of the cliff appeared a string of native carts. General
Airey had seen these arabas, and applied to Colonel Lysons to know if he
should not intercept them. In about five minutes two or three tiny puffs
of smoke rose over the cliff, and presently the faint cracks of a rifle
were audible to the men in the nearest ships. In a few minutes more the
Cossacks were flying like wind on the road towards Sebastopol, and
crossing close to the left of the French lines of skirmishers.

Sir George Brown, whose sight was very indifferent, had a near escape of
being taken prisoner. The Cossacks, who had been dodging him, made a
dash when they were within less than a hundred yards. The General had to
run, and was only saved from capture by the fire of the Fusileers. The
Cossacks bolted. The first blood spilt in this campaign was that of a
poor boy, an arabajee, who was wounded in the foot by the volley which
dislodged them; and our capture consisted of fourteen arabas, in which
were found abundance of delicious fruit and stores of firewood. The
Cossacks beat the drivers to hasten them in taking the bullocks out of
the carts, nor did they desist in their attempts till one of them was
badly hit, and our men were close at hand. The drivers came in to us
when the Cossacks rode off.

The Light Division got on shore very speedily, and were all landed, with
the exception of a few companies, in an hour. The First Division landed
simultaneously with the leading division; the Duke of Cambridge and his
staff being early on the beach, the Brigadiers Sir C. Campbell and
Major-General Bentinck preceding their respective brigades. As the
regiments landed, the brigades were formed in contiguous columns at
quarter distance. The Light Division was on the left, the First Division
the next, and so on in order towards the right. The Second Division had
landed. Sir De Lacy Evans got on shore with his staff about half-past
ten o'clock. By eleven o'clock, the Rifles and Fusileers had been
inspected, and were marching from the left of the line, along the front
of the other regiments, towards the right. They ascended the slope of
the hill over the cliffs, passing by the pickets and sentries who had
been placed on outpost duty by Sir George Brown, and marching straight
on over the plain I have described inland.

Very amusing was it to watch the loading and unloading of the boats. A
gig or cutter, pulled by eight or twelve sailors, with a paddle-box
boat, flat, or Turkish pinnace in tow (the latter purchased for the
service), would come up alongside a steamer or transport in which troops
were ready for disembarkation. The officers of each company first
descended, each man in full dress. Over his shoulder was slung his
havresack, containing what had been, ere it underwent the process of
cooking, four pounds and a half of salt meat, and a bulky mass of
biscuit of the same weight. This was his ration for three days. Besides
this, each officer carried his greatcoat, rolled up and fastened in a
hoop round his body, a wooden canteen to hold water, a small ration of
spirits, whatever change of under-clothing he could manage to stow away,
his forage-cap, and, in most instances, a revolver. Each private carried
his blanket and greatcoat strapped up into a kind of knapsack, inside
which was a pair of boots, a pair of socks, a shirt, and, at the request
of the men themselves, a forage-cap; he also carried his water canteen,
and the same rations as the officer, a portion of the mess cooking
apparatus, firelock and bayonet of course, cartouch box and fifty rounds
of ball-cartridge for Minié, sixty rounds for smooth-bore arms.


As each man came creeping down the ladder, Jack helped him along
tenderly from rung to rung till he was safe in the boat, took his
firelock and stowed it away, removed his knapsack and packed it snugly
under the seat, patted him on the back, and told him "not to be afeerd
on the water;" treated "the sojer," in fact, in a very kind and tender
way, as though he were a large but not a very sagacious "pet," who was
not to be frightened or lost sight of on any account, and did it all so
quickly, that the large paddle-box boats, containing 100 men, were
filled in five minutes. Then the latter took the paddle-box in tow,
leaving her, however, in charge of a careful coxswain, and the same
attention was paid to _getting_ the "sojer" on shore that was evinced in
getting him into the boat; the sailors (half or wholly naked in the
surf) standing by at the bows, and handing each man and his accoutrement
down the plank to the shingle, for fear "he'd fall off and hurt
himself." Never did men work better than our blue-jackets; especially
valuable were they with horses and artillery; and their delight at
having a horse to hold and to pat all to themselves was excessive. When
the gun-carriages stuck fast in the shingle, half a dozen herculean
seamen rushed at the wheels, and, with a "Give way, my lad--all
together," soon spoked it out with a run, and landed it on the hard
sand. No praise can do justice to the willing labour of these fine
fellows. They never relaxed their efforts as long as man or horse of the
expedition remained to be landed, and many of them, officers as well as
men, were twenty-four hours in their boats. Our force consisted of:--

The Light Division, Sir George Brown--2nd Battalion Rifle Brigade, 7th
Fusileers, 19th Regiment, 23rd Fusileers, Brigadier Major-General
Codrington, 33rd Regiment, 77th Regiment, 88th Regiment, and
Brigadier-General Buller.

The First Division, under the Duke of Cambridge, included the Grenadier,
Coldstream, and Scots Fusileer Guards, under Major-General Bentinck, and
the 42nd, 79th, and 93rd Highlanders, under Brigadier Sir C. Campbell.

The Second Division, under Sir De Lacy Evans, consisted of the 30th,
55th, and 95th, under Brigadier-General Pennefather, and the 41st, 47th,
and 49th, under Brigadier-General Adams.

The Third Division, under Sir R. England, was composed of the 1st
Royals, 28th, 38th, 44th, 50th, and 68th Regiments--Brigadiers Sir John
Campbell and Eyre. (4th Regiment only six companies.)

The Fourth Division, under Sir George Cathcart--the 20th Regiment, 21st
Regiment, Rifle Brigade, 2nd Battalion, 63rd Regiment. (46th Regiment
_en route_; 57th Regiment _en route_.)

The Cavalry Division (Lord Lucan) was made up of the 4th Light Dragoons,
8th Hussars, 11th Hussars, 13th Light Dragoons, 17th Lancers, forming a
Light Cavalry Brigade, under Lord Cardigan; the Scots Greys (not yet
arrived here), 4th Dragoon Guards, 5th Dragoon Guards, 6th Dragoons,
making the Heavy Cavalry Brigade, under Brigadier-General Scarlett.

By twelve o'clock, that barren and desolate beach, inhabited but a short
time before only by the seagull and wild-fowl, was swarming with life.
From one extremity to the other, bayonets glistened, and redcoats and
brass-mounted shakoes gleamed in solid masses. The air was filled with
our English speech, and the hum of voices mingled with loud notes of
command, cries of comrades to each other, the familiar address of "Bill"
to "Tom," or of "Pat" to "Sandy," and an occasional shout of laughter.

At one o'clock most of the regiments of the Light Division had moved off
the beach over the hill, and across the country towards a village, to
which the advanced parties of the French left had already approached.
The Second Battalion of the Rifle Brigade led the way, covering the
advance with a cloud of skirmishers, and pushed on to the villages of
Bagaili and Kamishli, four miles and three-quarters from the beach, and
lying in the road between Tchobatar and the Alma; and the other
regiments followed in order of their seniority, the artillery, under
Captain Anderson, bringing up the rear. One wing of the Rifles, under
Major Norcott, occupied Kamishli--the other, under Lieutenant-Colonel
Lawrence, was installed in Bagaili, and they were supported and
connected by a small party of cavalry. By this time the rain began to
fall pretty heavily, and the wind rose so as to send a little surf on
the beach. The Duke of Cambridge's division followed next in order. The
2nd Division followed, and Sir De Lacy Evans and staff inspected them on
the beach. Up to three o'clock we landed 14,200 men, and two batteries
of artillery. Many of the staff-officers, who ought to have been
mounted, marched on foot, as their horses were not yet landed. Generals
might be seen sitting on powder-barrels on the beach, awaiting the
arrival of "divisional staff horses," or retiring gloomily within the
folds of their macintoshes. Disconsolate doctors, too, were there,
groaning after hospital panniers--but too sorely needed, for more than
one man died on the beach. During the voyage several cases of cholera
occurred; 150 men were buried on the passage from Varna, and there were
about 300 men on board not able to move when we landed. The beach was
partitioned off by flagstaffs, with colours corresponding to that of
each division, in compartments for the landing of each class of man and
beast; but it was, of course, almost beyond the limits of possibility to
observe these nice distinctions in conducting an operation which must
have extended over many square miles of water. Shortly before two
o'clock, Brigadier-General Rose, the Commissioner for the British Army,
with Marshal St. Arnaud, rode over from the French quarters to inform
Lord Raglan, by the authority of the Marshal, that "the whole of the
French troops had landed." Disembarkation was carried on long after
sunset, and a part of the 3rd and 4th Divisions remained on the beach
and on the hill near it for the night.

All the regiments were the better for the sea voyage. The 20th and 21st
Regiments and the 1st Battalion of the Rifle Brigade looked remarkably
fresh and clean, but that was accounted for, without disparagement to
their companions in arms, by the circumstance of their having so
recently come out, and that the polish had not been taken off them by a
Bulgarian summer. The Guards had much improved in health during their
sojourn on shipboard, and were in good spirits and condition.

After a short time the country people began to come in, and we found
they were decidedly well inclined towards us. Of course they were rather
scared at first, but before the day was over they had begun to approach
the beach, and to bring cattle, sheep, and vegetables for sale. Their
carts, or rather arabas, were detained, but liberally paid for; and so
well satisfied were the owners, that they went home, promising increased
supplies to-morrow. The men were apparently of pure Tartar race, with
small eyes very wide apart, nose very much sunk, and a square
substantial figure. They generally wore turbans of lambswool, and
jackets of sheepskin with the wool inwards. They spoke indifferent
Turkish, and were most ready with information respecting their Russian
masters, by whom they had been most carefully disarmed. A deputation of
them waited on Lord Raglan to beg for muskets and powder to fight the


They told us that the ground round Sebastopol had been mined for miles,
but such rumours are always current about a fortress to be defended, and
Russian mines not better constructed than those at Silistria could not
do much harm. They said, too, that the cholera, of which we had had such
dreadful experience, had been most fatal at Sebastopol, that 20,000 of
the troops and seamen were dead, and that the latter had been landed to
man the forts. They estimated the force between us and Sebastopol at
about 15,000 men, and the garrison at 40,000 more. They added, however,
that there was an army south of Sebastopol, which had been sent to meet
an expected attack on Kaffa. On the whole, the information we at first
obtained was encouraging, and the favourable disposition of the people,
and their willingness to furnish supplies, were advantages which had not
been expected.

While the troops were disembarking, one of the reconnoitring steamers
returned with news of a Russian camp situated near the beach, about
eight miles south of the place where we were landing. The _Samson_, the
_Fury_, and the _Vesuvius_, in company with three French steamers, at
once proceeded to the spot. They found a camp of about 6000 men formed
at a mile's distance from the sea. The steamers opened fire with shell
at 2500 yards, knocking them over right and left, and driving the
soldiery in swarms out of the camp, which was broken up after less than
an hour's firing. The squadron returned to the fleet, having effected
this service, and were ordered to cruise off Sebastopol.

Few of those who were with the expedition will forget the night of the
14th of September. Seldom or never were 27,000 Englishmen more
miserable. No tents had been sent on shore, partly because there had
been no time to land them, partly because there was no certainty of our
being able to find carriage for them in case of a move. Towards night
the sky looked very black and lowering; the wind rose, and the rain fell
in torrents. The showers increased in violence about midnight, and early
in the morning fell in drenching sheets, which pierced through the
blankets and greatcoats of the houseless and tentless soldiers. It was
their first bivouac--a hard trial enough, in all conscience, worse than
all their experiences of Bulgaria or Gallipoli, for there they had their
tents, and now they learned to value their canvas coverings at their
true worth. Let the reader imagine old generals[11] and young gentlemen
exposed to the violence of pitiless storms, with no bed but the reeking
puddle under the saturated blankets, or bits of useless waterproof
wrappers, and the twenty-odd thousand poor fellows who could not get
"dry bits" of ground, and had to sleep or try to sleep, in little lochs
and watercourses--no fire to cheer them, no hot grog, and the prospect
of no breakfast;--let him imagine this, and add to it that the nice
"change of linen" had become a wet abomination, which weighed the poor
men's kits down, and he will admit that this "seasoning" was of rather a
violent character--particularly as it came after all the luxuries of dry
ship stowage. Sir George Brown slept under a cart tilted over. The Duke
of Cambridge, wrapped in a waterproof coat, spent most of the night
riding about among his men. Sir De Lacy Evans was the only general whose
staff had been careful enough to provide him with a tent. In one respect
the rain was of service: it gave the men a temporary supply of water;
but then it put a fire out of the question, even if enough wood could
have been scraped together to make it. The country was, however,
destitute of timber.

During the night it blew freshly from the west, a heavy sea tumbled into
the bay, and sent a high surf upon the beach, which much interfered with
the process of landing cavalry and artillery on the 15th. Early in the
day signal was made to the steamers to get up steam for Eupatoria, and
it was no doubt intended to land the cavalry and artillery there, in
consequence of the facility afforded by a pier and harbour; but towards
noon the wind went down, and the swell somewhat abated. Several valuable
animals were drowned in an attempt to land some staff horses. Lord
Raglan lost one charger and another swam off seaward, and was only
recovered two miles from the shore. Some boats were staved and rendered
useless, and several others were injured by the roll of the surf on the
beach; nor did the horse-boats and flats escape uninjured. Operations
went on slowly, and the smooth days we had wasted at sea were bitterly

The work was, however, to be done, and in the afternoon orders were
given to land cavalry. For this purpose it was desirable to approach the
beach as close as possible, and a signal to this effect was made to the
cavalry steamers. The _Himalaya_ in a few minutes ran in so far that she
lay inside every ship in our fleet, with the exception of the little
_Spitfire_, and immediately commenced discharging her enormous cargo of
390 horses, and nearly 700 men. The attendance of cutters, launches,
paddle-box boats, and horse-floats from the navy was prompt, and the
seamen of the Royal and mercantile marine rivalled each other in their
efforts. Never did men work so hard, so cheerfully, or so well. The
horses, too, were so acclimated to ship life--they were so accustomed to
an existence of unstable equilibrium in slings, and to rapid ascents and
descents from the tight ropes, that they became comparatively docile.
Besides this, they were very tired from standing for fourteen days in
one narrow box, were rather thin and sickly, and were glad of change of
air and position.


Before the disembarkation had concluded for the day, signal was made for
all ships to "land tents." It need not be said that this order was most
gratefully received. But alas! the order was countermanded, and the
tents which had been landed were sent back to the ships again. Our
French allies, deficient as they had been in means of accommodation and
stowage and transport, had yet managed to land their little scraps of
tents the day they disembarked. Whilst our poor fellows were soaked
through and through, their blankets and greatcoats saturated with wet,
and without any change of raiment, the French close at hand, and the
Turks, whose tents were much more bulky than our own, were lying snugly
under cover. The most serious result of the wetting was, however, a
great increase in illness among the troops.


     Sad scenes--French foragers--Order for the advance--First view of
     the enemy--Skirmish at Bouljanak.

It was decided to garrison Eupatoria, and Captain Brock and 500 Marines
were sent away for the purpose, in conjunction with a French, force. On
the 15th of September, signal had been made from the _Emperor_ for all
ships to send their sick on board the _Kangaroo_. Before evening she had
about 1500 invalids in all stages of suffering on board. When the time
for sailing arrived, the _Kangaroo_ hoisted, in reply to orders to
proceed, this signal--"It is a dangerous experiment." The _Emperor_ then
signalled--"What do you mean?" The reply was--"The ship is
unmanageable." All the day she was lying with the signal up--"Send boats
to assistance;" and at last orders were given to transfer some of her
melancholy freight to other vessels also proceeding to Constantinople.
Many deaths occurred on board--many miserable scenes took place which it
would be useless to describe. It was clear, however, that neither afloat
nor on shore was the medical staff sufficient. More surgeons were
required, both in the fleet and in the army. Often--too often--medical
aid could not be obtained at all; and it frequently came too late.

Provisions were at first plentiful. Sixty arabas, laden with flour for
Sebastopol, were seized on the 15th of September. More came in for sale
or hire the next day: horses also were brought in, and men offered
themselves as servants. A market was established for meat and
vegetables, and the confidence of the country people in their new
customers was confirmed by prompt payment and good treatment. A village
near the head-quarters of the Light Division was sacked by some Zouaves,
who deprived the inhabitants of everything they could lay their hands
upon, in spite of the exertions of the Rifles who were stationed in the
place. Lord Raglan gave strict orders that no French soldiers should be
permitted to enter the village.

On the evening of Saturday, September 16th, a lengthened dark line was
seen approaching along the sea coast. As it came nearer, it was resolved
by the telescope into a train of Spahis, under the command of some
cavalry officers, driving in immense flocks of sheep and cattle for the
use of their troops in the camp situated on the extreme right of our
lines. First came a drove of some hundreds of sheep captured, natives,
drivers, and all guarded in the rear by some Spahis, flourishing their
long lances in high delight. Close after them appeared a mighty herd of
cattle, tossing their horns and bellowing, as the remorseless Spahis
goaded them on over the hard shingle, and circled like drovers' dogs
around them. Next came the French officers in command of the party. They
were followed by a string of country carts driven by sad-looking
Cimmerians, who seemed very anxious to be out of the hands of their Arab
captors. Lastly appeared, with all the gravity of their race, a few
camels, which the Spahis had laden heavily with grain. Such razzias
caused an amount of evil quite disproportionate to any paltry gains made
by plundering those poor people. They frightened them from our markets,
and, though for the moment successful, threatened to deprive us of the
vast supplies to be obtained from their goodwill. The much-abused Turks
remained quietly in their well-ordered camp, living contentedly on the
slender rations supplied from their fleet. Their appearance was very
acceptable to the large Mussulman population, and they were very proud
of serving on equal terms with their French and English allies.

On the 17th the disembarkation of stores continued and was completed,
and the tents were carried up to the various divisions with great labour
by large fatigue parties. The siege train still remained on board ship,
and it was intended to land it at the mouth of the river Belbeck, close
to Sebastopol, as we could not stay to put it ashore at Old Fort. The
Cossacks came round our outposts, and the sky at night was reddened by
the glare of their burnings. The Tartars said the Russians had 15,000
men posted in an entrenched camp on the Alma river, about twelve miles
distant, on the road to Sebastopol. A troop of the 11th Hussars, who
went out reconnoitring, were pursued by a regiment of Cossacks, but
retired in order without any casualty. Captain Creswell, an officer of
the regiment, who was a great favourite with his comrades, died of
cholera in the little village in which his troop was quartered.

At twelve o'clock on the night of Monday, September 18th, orders were
given by Lord Raglan that the troops should strike tents at daybreak,
and that all tents should be sent on board the ships of the fleet. M. de
Bazancourt asserts that the French Marshal was ready to march on the
17th, and that he all along hoped to do so, but that the English were
not prepared, as they had an immense quantity of _impedimenta_. He
further says that it was arranged between the Generals to defer the
march till 11 A.M. on the 18th, but that we again delayed the movement
when the time came, and that Marshal St. Arnaud wrote to Lord Raglan to
say he would move without him if he was not ready the following morning.


At three o'clock in the morning of the 19th, the camp was roused by the
_réveil_, and the 50,000 sleepers woke into active life. The boats from
the ships lined the beach to receive the tents which were again returned
to the ships. The English commissariat officers struggled in vain with
the very deficient means at their disposal to meet the enormous
requirements of an army of 26,000 men, for the transport of baggage,
ammunition, and food; and a scene, which to an unpractised eye seemed
one of utter confusion, began and continued for several hours, relieved
only by the steadiness and order of the regiments as they paraded
previous to marching.

The right of the allied forces was covered by the fleet, which moved
along with it in magnificent order, darkening the air with innumerable
columns of smoke, ready to shell the enemy should they threaten to
attack our right, and commanding the land for nearly two miles from the

It was nine o'clock ere the whole of our army was ready. The day was
warm. On the extreme right and in advance, next the sea, was the 1st
Division of the French army, under Bosquet, marching by battalion in
columns _par peloton_, the artillery being in the centre. The 2nd
Division, under Canrobert, marching in column by division, protected the
right flank, which, however, was in no need of such defence, as it was
covered by the allied fleets. The 3rd Division was on the left flank of
the French army. The 4th Division and the Turks formed the rear guard.
The formation of our allies was of a lozenge shape, with the 1st
Division at the salient angle, the 2nd and 3rd Divisions at the lateral
angles, and the 4th Division at the other angle, the baggage being in
the centre. Next to Prince Napoleon's Division was the 2nd British,
under Sir De Lacy Evans, with Sir Richard England's (the 3rd) Division
in his rear in support. On a parallel line with the 2nd Division marched
the Light Division, under Sir George Brown, with the 1st Division under
the Duke of Cambridge in support in his rear. The order of the English
advance was by double columns of companies from the centre of divisions.
The 8th Hussars and 17th Lancers moved on our left flank, to protect it,
and the 13th Light Dragoons and 11th Hussars, in extended order,
preceded the infantry, so as to cover our front. The commissariat and
baggage followed behind the 3rd and 1st Divisions, and were covered by
the 4th Division as a rear guard. Part of the 4th Division and of the
4th Light Dragoons were left to protect and clear the beach of stores.
They joined the army late on the evening of the 20th.

The country beyond the salt lake, near which we were encamped, was
entirely destitute of tree or shrub, and consisted of wide plains,
marked at intervals of two or three miles with hillocks and long
irregular ridges of hills running down towards the sea at right angles
to the beach. It was but little cultivated, except in the patches of
land around the unfrequent villages built in the higher recesses of the
valleys. Hares were started in abundance, and afforded great sport to
the soldiers whenever they halted, and several were fairly hunted down
among the lines. All oxen, horses, or cattle, had been driven off by the
Cossacks. The soil was hard and elastic, and was in excellent order for
artillery. The troops presented a splendid appearance. The effect of
these grand masses of soldiery descending the ridges of the hills, rank
after rank, with the sun playing over forests of glittering steel, can
never be forgotten by those who witnessed it. Onward the torrent of war
swept; wave after wave, huge stately billows of armed men, while the
rumble of the artillery and tramp of cavalry accompanied their progress.

After a march of an hour a halt took place for fifty minutes, during
which Lord Raglan, accompanied by a very large staff, Marshal St.
Arnaud, Generals Bosquet, Forey, and a number of French officers, rode
along the front of the columns. The men of their own accord got up from
the ground, rushed forward, and column after column rent the air with
three thundering English cheers. It was a good omen. As the Marshal
passed the 55th Regiment, he exclaimed, "English, I hope you will fight
well to-day!" "Hope!" exclaimed a voice from the ranks, "sure you know
we will!" Many sick men fell out, and were carried to the rear. It was a
painful sight--a sad contrast to the magnificent appearance of the army
in front, to behold litter after litter borne past to the carts, with
the poor sufferers who had dropped from illness and fatigue. However,
the march went on, grand and irresistible. At last, the smoke of burning
villages and farm-houses announced that the enemy in front were aware of
our march. It was melancholy to see the white walls of the houses
blackened with smoke--the flames ascending through the roofs of peaceful
homesteads--and the ruined outlines of deserted hamlets.

Presently, from the top of a hill, a wide plain was visible, beyond
which rose a ridge darkened here and there by masses which the practised
eye recognised as cavalry. It was our first view of the enemy, and we
soon lost sight of them again. On the left of the plain, up in a recess
formed by the inward sweep of the two ridges, lay a large village in
flames; right before us was a neat white house unburnt, though the
outhouses and farm-yard were burning. This was the Imperial Post-house
of Bouljanak, just twenty miles from Sebastopol, and some of our
officers and myself were soon busily engaged in exploring the place.


The house was deserted and gutted. Only a picture of a saint, bunches of
herbs in the kitchen, and a few household utensils, were left; and a
solitary pea-hen stalked sadly about the threshold, which soon fell a
victim to a revolver. A small stream ran past us, which was an object of
delight to our thirsty soldiers who had marched more than eight miles
from their late camp. After a short halt for men and horses by the
stream, over which the post-road was carried by a bridge which the enemy
had left unbroken for the passage of our artillery, the army pushed on
again. The cavalry (about 500 men of the 8th Hussars, the 11th Hussars,
and 13th Light Dragoons) pushed on in front, and on arriving about a
mile beyond the post-house, we clearly made out the Cossack Lancers on
the hills in front. Lord Cardigan threw out skirmishers in line, who
covered the front at intervals of ten or twelve yards from each other.
The Cossacks advanced to meet us in like order, man for man, the steel
of their long lances glittering in the sun. They were rough-looking
fellows, mounted on sturdy little horses; but the regularity of their
order and the celerity of their movements showed that they were by no
means despicable foes. As our skirmishers advanced, the Cossacks halted
at the foot of the hill. From time to time a clump of lances rose over
the summit of the hill and disappeared.

Lord Cardigan was eager to try their strength, and permission was given
to him to advance somewhat nearer; but as he did so, dark columns of
cavalry appeared in the recesses of the hills. Lord Lucan therefore
ordered the cavalry to halt, gather in their skirmishers, and retire
slowly. When our skirmishers halted, the Cossacks commenced a fire of
carabines from their line of vedettes, which was quite harmless. Few of
the balls came near enough to let the whiz be heard. I was riding
between the cavalry and the skirmishers, with Lieutenant-Colonel
Dickson, R.A., Captain Fellowes, 12th Lancers, Dr. Elliott, R.A., and we
were looking out anxiously for the arrival of Maude's Troop, when the
Russians, emboldened by our halt, came over the brow of the hill, and
descended the slope in three columns, the centre of which advanced
nearer than the others.

"Now," said Dickson, "we'll catch it. These fellows mean mischief." I
conceived that it would be a very pleasant thing to look at, whatever
they meant. Our skirmishers, who had replied smartly to the fire of the
Cossacks, but without effect, retired and joined their squadrons. At
every fifty paces our cavalry faced. Fellowes rode off to quicken the
advance of the artillery. Suddenly one of the Russian squares opened--a
spurt of white smoke rose out of the gap, and a round shot, which first
pitched close to my horse and covered me with dust, tore over the column
of cavalry behind, and rolled away between the ranks of the riflemen in
the rear, just as they came in view. In another instant a second shot
bowled right through the 11th Hussars, and knocked over a horse, taking
off his rider's leg above the ankle. Another and another followed.
Meantime the C Troop followed by the I Troop, galloped over the hillock,
but were halted by Lord Raglan's order at the base in rear of the
cavalry on the left flank.

Our cavalry was drawn up as targets for the enemy's guns, and had they
been of iron they could not have been more solid and immovable. The
Russian gunners were rather slow, but their balls came bounding along,
quite visible as they passed, right from the centre of the cavalry
columns. After some thirty rounds from the enemy, our artillery, having
cleared their front, opened fire. Captain Brandling laid the first gun,
No. 5, and fired with so true an aim that the shell was seen to burst
right over a Russian gun, and apparently to shut it up. All our shells
were not so successful as the first, but one, better directed than the
rest, burst right in the centre of a column of light infantry, which the
Russians had advanced to support their cavalry. Our fire became so hot
that the enemy retired in fifteen minutes after we opened on them, and
manoeuvring on our left with their light cavalry, seemed to threaten
us in that direction; but Captains Maude and Henry having shifted their
guns so as to meet their front, the enemy finally withdrew over the
hills, and seemed to fall back on the Alma.

While this affair was going on the French had crept up on the right, and
surprised a body of Russian cavalry with a round from a battery of
nine-pounders, which scattered them in all directions.

It is impossible to form an accurate notion of the effect of our fire,
but it must have caused the Russians a greater loss than they inflicted
on us. There is reason to believe they lost about twelve men killed,
thirty-five wounded, and thirty-two horses _hors de combat_. We lost six
horses, and four men were wounded. Two men lost their legs. The others,
up to yesterday, though injured severely, were not in danger. A sergeant
in the 11th Hussars rode coolly to the rear with his foot dangling by a
piece of skin to the bone, and told the doctor he had just come to have
his leg dressed. Another trooper behaved with equal fortitude, and
refused the use of a litter to carry him to the rear, though his leg was
broken into splinters.

When the Russians had retired beyond the heights orders were given to
halt and bivouac for the night, and our tired men set to work to gather
weeds for fuel. So ended the affair of the Bouljanak. Lord Cardigan was,
it is said, anxious to charge, but received most positive orders from
Lord Lucan not to do so. Lord Raglan was anxious not to bring on any
serious affair in the position in which the army was placed, and the
cavalry were ordered to retire towards the Bouljanak, their retreat
being supported by the 1st Brigade Light Division, and part of the 2nd

As our skirmishers retired and formed, the Cossacks raised a derisive
yell, but did not attempt to pursue or molest them. It is now known that
this was a _reconnaissance_ made by the General Kiriakoff with the 2nd
Brigade of the 17th Division, No. 4 Light Field Battery, the 2nd Brigade
of the 6th Division of Cavalry, consisting of the Saxe Weimar and
another Regiment of Hussars, 900 Don Cossacks, and one Cossack battery.
The infantry kept out of sight behind the ridge, and we were not aware
of their presence in such force.

As soon as the rations of rum and meat had been served out, the casks
were broken up, and the staves used to make fires for cooking, aided by
nettles and long grass. At night the watch-fires of the Russians were
visible on our left and front. It was cold and dreary, and if I could
intrude the recital of the sorrows of a tentless, baggageless man
wandering about in the dark from regiment to regiment in hope of finding
his missing traps,[12] I might tell a tale amusing enough to read, the
incidents of which were very distressing to the individual concerned.
The night was damp, the watch-fires were mere flashes, which gave little
heat, and barely sufficed to warm the rations; but the camp of British
soldiers is ever animated by the very soul of hospitality; and the
wanderer was lucky enough to get a lodging on the ground beside Colonel
Yea, of the 7th Fusileers, who was fortunate enough to have a little
field-tent, and a bit of bread and biscuit to spare after a march of ten
miles and a fast of ten hours.


All night arabas continued to arrive, and soldiers who had fallen out or
gone astray. Sir George Brown, Sir De Lacy Evans, the Brigadier-Generals,
and staff-officers, went about among their divisions ere the men lay
down. It was admitted that, as a military spectacle, the advance of our
troops, and the little affair of our artillery, as well as the
management of the cavalry, formed one of the most picturesque and
beautiful that could be imagined.

All night we could see the Russian position on the Alma clearly defined
by the watch-fires, which illuminated the sky. A heavy dew fell, but the
night was clear, and many a debate did we hold as to the strength of the
enemy--of the ground they occupied--of their qualities as soldiers. It
was by no means sure that the Russian cavalry might not beat up our
quarters during the night, and the cavalry were placed in advance, and
the 1st Brigade Light Division supported them, lying down in rear. There
is every reason to be thankful that they gave us a quiet night, for an
alarm on the part of an enemy who knew the ground might have greatly
distressed us, at little risk to them. Lord Raglan and part of his staff
occupied the rooms of the deserted post-house at Bouljanak, which were
tolerably comfortable. Colonel Lagondie, of the Head-quarters Staff, who
had been sent by Lord Raglan to take a message to Prince Napoleon, to
place his division nearer to Sir De Lacy Evans, was taken prisoner,
owing to his having mistaken a party of Cossacks for English cavalry.
When the armies halted, the French had their right resting a good deal
in advance towards the Alma, so that they were nearer to it than we
were. The line of the armies was in an oblique position, the English on
the left being thrown back on the Bouljanak, and the French on the right
being a good deal in advance of it.


     M. de Bazancourt's Strictures--The Advance--French Attack--A
     Delicate Question--Advance of the British--The Light Division--The
     Guards--The Victory--Russian Account--Humane Efforts--Advance from
     the Alma--Eskel.

With early morning on Tuesday, September 20th, the troops were up and
stirring; but the march did not begin for some hours afterwards, and
this circumstance has given rise to severe strictures by several French
writers on the conduct of our generals on the occasion. At 5 o'clock on
the evening of the 19th, says M. de Bazancourt, M. St. Arnaud convened
the French Generals before his tent, and explained to them verbally his
plan of battle, concerted with the English Commander-in-Chief. This plan
was that the English army should execute "a turning movement on the
Russian right, whilst its attention was seriously drawn on its left by a
French division, and that the bulk of the army should make a powerful
effort to force the Russian centre." General Bosquet, who had charge of
the French right, consisting of the 2nd Division, supported by the
Turks, was to turn the Russian left by the abrupt slopes, "judged (by
the Russians) to be inaccessible," and therefore not defended by
artillery. The 1st and 3rd Divisions were to assault the centre of the
position--the 4th Division forming the reserve. The hour of starting was
fixed as follows:--The French right wing at 5.30 A.M.; the left wing,
formed by the English, at 6 A.M.; the centre at 7 A.M. Having given
these explanations to his generals, M. St. Arnaud sent Colonel Trochu,
with General Rose, across to Lord Raglan, to inform him of the plan, and
the hours fixed for the march of the troops, which Lord Raglan "accepted
entirely" in detail. On this statement it may be remarked, that if the
plan had been "concerted" between the Generals, as the French writer
declares, there was no necessity for Lord Raglan's acceptance of a
proposition which he had, conjointly with another, previously agreed to.
In order to obtain unity of action in the allied movements Prince
Napoleon and General Canrobert received orders to communicate with Lord
Raglan and with Sir De Lacy Evans, who commanded the 2nd Division,
immediately in proximity with the French.

[Sidenote: PLAN OF ATTACK.]

The French writer proceeds:--"At 5.30 the 2nd Division quitted its
bivouac, and descended into the plain towards the Alma, which it reached
at 6.30, but no movement was visible among the English army. General
Canrobert and Prince Napoleon, astonished at this immobility, so
contrary to the instructions, went in all haste to Sir De Lacy Evans,
whom they found in his tent, and expressed their astonishment at a delay
which might gravely compromise the success of the day. 'I have not
received the order,' replied Sir De Lacy Evans. They were at once
obliged to arrest the march of Bosquet's division, and on informing the
Marshal, who was already mounted, of what had passed, he sent over a
staff officer, Major Renson, to order them to wait for the English
troops, who were _en retard_, and despatched Colonel Trochu in all haste
to Lord Raglan, whom he found on horseback, although the English troops
were still in the encampment as he passed the lines, and not at all
prepared for the march as agreed upon. It was half-past 7 o'clock when
Colonel Trochu reached the head-quarters of our army; and when Lord
Raglan had received the message which the Marshal sent, to the effect
that he thought, after what his lordship said to the Colonel the night
before, that the English should push on in front at 6 o'clock, he said
with that calm which distinguished him,--'I am giving orders at this
moment, and we are just about to start. Part of my troops did not arrive
at their bivouac till late at night. Tell the Marshal that at this
moment the orders are being carried all along the line.'" It will be
observed that General Evans was not only not asked for his opinion in
concerting the plan of attack, but that he was not even made acquainted
with it. This is the more inexplicable, that General Evans' Division,
from its position, would necessarily have to co-operate with the French.
As it is desirable that the point of order as to this march should be
fully illustrated, I think it best to let Sir De Lacy Evans speak for

"Shortly after daybreak on the morning of this battle his Imperial
Highness Prince Napoleon and General Canrobert did me the honour to come
into my tent to confer on the co-operation of my division with that of
the Prince in the ensuing conflict. They informed me that this
co-operation had been agreed to the previous evening between the two
commanders-in-chief, expressed surprise that I had not been made
acquainted with it, and showed me a well-executed plan by the French
staff of the Russian position, and of the proposed lines of movement of
the allied columns of attack.

"According to this plan, General Bosquet's troops and the Turks,
supported by the powerful fire of the shipping, were to turn the enemy's
left. The second British division, that of the Prince, and two other
French divisions, were to attack their centre. The whole of the
remainder of the British army was to turn the enemy's right.

"I expressed the very great pleasure I should have in fulfilling my
share of these operations, and with this view sent forthwith to Lord
Raglan for permission--which was given--to place at once my right as
proposed, in contact with the left of the Prince, which was promptly

"About three hours, however, elapsed before the armies (excepting the
corps of General Bosquet) received orders to advance. To the unavoidable
want of unity in command this delay was probably attributable.

"But before moving off, both head-quarter staffs passed along the front.
On reaching my division Lord Raglan expressed to me a dissent from part
of the plan alluded to, not necessary to observe on here; mentioning
also, in the course of his remarks, a disposition he supposed to exist
on the part of the Marshal or the French chiefs to appropriate me and my
division altogether, which he could not allow; that he had no objection
to my communicating and co-operating with and regulating my advance by
that of the Prince's division, but could not consent to my receiving
orders through any one but himself.

"On hearing this, I requested him to send to acquaint the Marshal that
such was his lordship's desire, as I believed a different expectation
was entertained, which, if not removed, might lead during the action to
misunderstanding. This his lordship immediately did. And it was arranged
that Major Claremont, one of the British commissioners with the French
army, was to be the medium of any communications to me which the French
chiefs might find it desirable to make.

"The armies advanced. After about three miles a halt for a short
interval took place by order of the commander of the force. On the
arrival of the Second Division in front of the village of Bourliouk,
which, having been prepared for conflagration by the Russians, became
suddenly, for some hundred yards, an impenetrable blaze, Major Claremont
came to me in great haste, to say from the Marshal that a part of the
French army, having ascended the heights on the south of the river,
became threatened by large bodies of Russians, and might be compromised,
unless the attention of the enemy were immediately drawn away by
pressing them in our front.

"I made instant dispositions to conform to this wish--sending at the
same time, as was my duty, an officer of my staff (Colonel the Hon. P.
Herbert) to Lord Raglan, who was then a short distance in our rear, for
his lordship's approval--which was instantly granted."

"It was," says M. de Bazancourt, in the next paragraph, "10.30 before
Colonel Trochu announced that the English were ready to march, and the
result was that it was impossible to execute the original plan of
battle," for the enemy had full time to counteract the dispositions of
the army, and Menschikoff, seeing that Bosquet's attack was of secondary
importance, weakened his left wing to reinforce his centre and his
right. At 11 o'clock Bosquet received the order to march, which was
countermanded soon afterwards, as he was still too far in advance, and
whilst the halt took place, that active and able general made a
_reconnaissance_, the first of the day, of the enemy's position, and
discovered two passes to the heights in front--one a mere path on the
mountain side, close to the sea; the second about two-thirds of a mile
to the left of that path, running from the burning village of Almatamak,
and ascending the heights by a very narrow ravine. It was plain that
infantry could get up, but it seemed very doubtful if guns could be
brought up the second of these passes to the heights, and the first was
utterly impracticable for artillery. One of the Russian officers,
speaking of this battle, says that the French, in making this
_reconnaissance_, brought up a large white stone, and fixed it on the
north bank of the river; but I think it much more likely that it was the
white cart belonging to Colonel Desaint, the topographical officer
attached to the French army, for it is not likely that our allies would
have taken such trouble as to move down an enormous stone for no
possible object.


It appears somewhat strange that no _reconnaissance_ was made of the
Russian position by the generals. They did not reconnoitre the Alma, nor
did they procure any information respecting the strength of the enemy or
of the ground they occupied. They even concerted their plan before they
had seen the enemy at all, relying on the bravery of the troops, not
only to force the Russians from their lines, but, if necessary, to swim,
or to ford a stream of unknown depth, with steep rotten banks, the
bridges across which might, for all they knew, and certainly ought,
according to the practice of war, to have been effectually destroyed by
the enemy, so as to make the passage of guns all but impossible. We
shall first follow the French attack. On returning to his troops,
Bosquet, with the brigade of d'Autemarre, followed by its artillery,
moved on the village, whilst the brigade of General Bouat was directed
to march to the very mouth of the river, and to ascend by the first of
the paths indicated, after having crossed the shallow bar, in single
file, up to their waists on a sort of narrow rib of hard sand which had
been discovered by the officers of the _Roland_. The artillery of the
brigade, being unable to pass, was sent back to join that of
d'Autemarre's brigade; and the soldiers of Bouat's brigade, having
crossed the river, commenced to climb up the steep paths to the top of
the opposite height without meeting any obstruction from the enemy, who
had, indeed, been driven away from the seaside by the heavy guns of the

The brigade of d'Autemarre, which passed the Alma without any
difficulty, by the bridge close to the burnt village of Almatamak,
moving forward at the same time with great celerity, swarmed up the very
steep cliffs on the opposite side, and gaining the heights in a few
minutes, after immense exertions, crowned the summit, and dispersed a
feeble troop of Cossacks who were posted there. It will be seen that the
French right had thus been permitted to ascend the very difficult
heights in front of them without opposition from the enemy; and although
the cliffs were so precipitous as to create considerable difficulties to
even the most active, hardy, and intelligent troops in scaling their
rugged face, yet it would seem very bad generalship on the part of
Prince Menschikoff to have permitted them to have established themselves
on the plateau, if we did not know, by the angry controversy which has
taken place between him, General Kiriakoff, and Prince Gortschakoff I.,
that it was part of his plan to allow a certain number of battalions to
gain the edge of the cliffs, and then, relying on the bayonet, to send
heavy masses of infantry against them and hurl them down into the Alma,
and the ravines which run towards its banks. General Bosquet, when he
observed this success, at once spurred up the steep road of which
mention has already been made; and Major Barral, who commanded the
artillery, having satisfied himself that the guns could just be brought
up by the most tremendous exertions, orders were given for their
advance, and they were, by prodigious efforts of horses and infantry
soldiers, urged up the incline, and placed on the plateau at right
angles to the line of the cliffs, so as to enfilade the Russians, on
whom, protected by the 3rd Zouaves, who lay down in a small ravine about
a hundred yards in front, they at once opened fire.

Prince Menschikoff, surprised by the extraordinary rapidity of this
advance, and apprized of its success by the roar of the French guns,
ordered up three batteries of eight pieces each to silence the French
fire, and to cover an advance of his infantry against the two brigades
which were forming on his left; and finding that the French maintained
themselves against this superior fire, in a rage despatched two field
batteries to crush them utterly. These guns were badly managed, and
opened in line at the distance of 900 yards, and the fire, for nearly an
hour, was confined to a duel of artillery, in which the French, though
suffering severely, kept their ground with great intrepidity and
courage. All at once the Russians ordered some cavalry and a field
battery to menace the right of the line of French guns; but Bouat's
brigade having pushed on to meet them, and a few well-directed shells
having burst among the horsemen, they turned round and retired with
alacrity. According to the concerted plan, the Division Canrobert and
the Division Napoleon were not to attack till the Division Bosquet had
gained the heights, and were engaged with the enemy. The directions
given by the Marshal to the Generals ere they advanced were simply,
"Keep straight before you, and follow your own inspiration for your
manoeuvres. We must gain these heights. I have no other instructions
to give to men on whom I rely." On hearing the first guns of Bosquet's
artillery, the French, in the centre and in the left, deployed and
advanced, covered by a number of riflemen. The 1st Zouaves, under
Colonel Bourbaki, at once rushed to the front, driving before them a
line of Russian riflemen and skirmishers placed among the orchard trees
and rivers which skirted the deep banks of the Alma, and availing
themselves of the branches of these trees to swing themselves across the
narrow stream into which others plunged up to the waist. The Russian
regiment of Moscow came down the opposite slopes to support their
skirmishers, but were driven back with loss by the sudden fire of the
batteries of the First Division, that had just come into action. Having
thus cleared the way, the 1st and 9th battalions of Chasseurs, the 7th
of the line, and the 1st Zouaves advanced amid a storm of grape, round
shot, and musketry up the high banks before them, at the other side of
which were deployed masses of the enemy, concealed from view in the
ravines and by the inequalities of the ground.


At the same time, the Prince's division advancing towards Bourliouk,
which was in flames, was met by a very serious fire of riflemen and
skirmishing parties of infantry from the vineyards and rugged ground on
the other side of the stream, and by a plunging fire of artillery, which
was answered by the batteries of his division; but, after a short pause,
the first line, consisting of Cler's Zouaves and the infantry of marine,
supported by the second line under General Thomas, passed the Alma and
drove back the enemy, who opened a masked battery upon them, which
occasioned considerable loss. Canrobert's division, meantime, was
compelled to attack without the aid of its artillery; for the river in
their front was not practicable for guns, and they were obliged to be
carried round to the right to follow the road by which Bosquet's
batteries had already reached the summit; but the column pushed on
energetically, and forming on the crest of the plateau by battalions, in
double columns on two lines, ready to form square under the fire of the
enemy's artillery, which had been engaged with that of the French second
division, drove back the Russian regiments in front, which, on retiring,
formed in square in front of their right flank. It was then that the
officers perceived a white stone tower, about 800 yards on their left,
behind which was formed a dense mass of the enemy's infantry. These with
great precision advanced, at the same time pouring in a tremendous fire,
at the distance of 200 yards, upon Canrobert's division, which was, as
we have seen, left without its artillery. The general, perceiving his
danger, sent off a staff-officer to Bosquet's division, and a battery,
commanded by Captain. Fievet, coming up to his assistance in all haste,
opened fire with grape on the ponderous mass of the enemy, checking
their fire, whilst Bosquet, by a flank movement, threatened to take its
battalions in the rear.

The third division, with equal success and greater losses, attacking a
mamelon occupied in force by the enemy, drove them back with great
intrepidity: but it was evident by the movements of the Russians that
they were about to make a great effort to save their centre, and M. St.
Arnaud sent off orders to General Forey, who commanded the reserve, to
move one of his brigades (de Lourmel's) to General Canrobert's support,
and to proceed with the other (d'Aurelle's) to the extreme right of the
battle. This was a happy inspiration: d'Aurelle's brigade, with great
speed, crossed the river, and arrived to the support of Canrobert's
division at a most critical moment. The Russians seemed to consider the
Telegraph Tower as the key of the centre of their position.
Sharpshooters, within the low wall outside the work, and batteries on
its flanks, directed a steady fire on the French, who were checked for a
moment by its severity: but the two batteries of the reserve came up and
drew off some of the enemy's fire. The Russians, however, still
continued a serious fusillade, and directed volleys of grape against the
French, who were lying down in the ravine till the decisive moment
should arrive for them to charge the enemy. The losses of our allies
were sensible; it was evident that the Russian cavalry, says, M. de
Bazancourt,[13] were preparing for a rush in upon them from the flank of
the Russian square, which, partially covered by the Telegraph Tower,
kept up an incessant fire from two faces upon the French. Colonel Cler,
at this critical moment, perceiving that the 1st and 2nd Zouaves, the
Chasseurs, and the 39th Regiment had arrived, calling to his men to
charge, dashed at the tower, which, after a short but sanguinary combat,
they carried at the point of the bayonet, driving out the Russians in
confusion, and at the very moment General Canrobert, with his division,
advanced at the double to support the movement. Struck down for a moment
by a fragment of a shell which wounded him on the chest and shoulder,
the gallant officer insisted upon leading on his men to complete the
success obtained against the Russian left and left-centre; and Generals
Bosquet and Canrobert, wheeling round their divisions from left to
right, drove back the enemy towards the rear of the troops, which were
still contending with the English, or forced them to seek for safety in
flight. It was at this moment that M. St. Arnaud, riding up to the
Generals, congratulated them on the day, and directed them to proceed to
the aid of the English. Thanks be to the valour of our soldiers--thanks
be to Heaven--we required no French aid that day. We received none,
except that which was rendered by one battery of French artillery of the
reserve, under M. de la Boussiniere, which fired a few rounds on some
broken Russian columns from a spot close to the two English guns, of
which I shall have to speak hereafter. Such is the part, according to
their account, which the French had in the victory of the Alma. Their
masses crossed the river and crowded the plateau ere they were seriously
engaged, and their activity and courage, aided by the feeble generalship
of the commander of the Russian left, and by many happy chances, enabled
them to carry the position with comparatively little loss.

Having thus far given the French version of the action, let us return to
our countrymen, and see what was their share in this great battle, which
was not decisive, so far as the fate of Sebastopol was concerned, merely
because we lacked either the means or the military genius to make it so.
There is one question which has often been asked in our army and in the
tents of our allies, which is supposed to decide the controversy
respecting the military merits of St. Arnaud and Lord Raglan: "Would
Napoleon have allowed the Russians three days' respite after such a
battle?" The only reply that could be made if Napoleon commanded the
victorious army, and was not hampered with a colleague of equal power,
was, and is, that the notion is preposterous. "But," say the French,
"the English were not ready to move next day." "Ay, it is true," reply
the English, "because we were far from the sea; but still we offered to
assist you to pursue the very night of the battle." "Then," rejoin the
French, "we were too much exhausted, and it would have been foolish to
have attempted such a movement, and to have divided our army."
Posterity, which cares but little for ephemeral political cliquerie,
family connexion, or personal amiability, will pass a verdict in this
cause which none of us can hope to influence or evade.


The reason of the extraordinary delay in executing our plan of attack
has never yet been explained. Lord Raglan's excuse, as given by M. de
Bazancourt, is not worth any notice but this--it is not true. The
Staff-officer says that "the army was under arms soon after 6 A.M., and
on the move" Where?--a mile or two too much inland? What were we doing
for five hours? For this same authority further on says, "It was 11 A.M.
before we came in sight of the Alma." Now, the distance between the
Bouljanak and the Alma is barely six miles. Were we five hours marching
six miles? This is indeed a feeble statement; but it is not quite so
weak as that which follows, namely, that it was not till _after_ 11
o'clock "the plan of attack was finally settled." This statement is made
to cover Lord Raglan, and to prevent there being any suspicion that a
plan had been arranged the night before, for the disregard and
non-performance of which the Staff-officer's uncle was responsible. That
Lord Raglan was brave as a hero of antiquity, that he was kind to his
friends and to his staff, that he was unmoved under fire, and unaffected
by personal danger, that he was noble in manner, gracious in demeanour,
of dignified bearing, and of simple and natural habits, I am, and ever
have been, ready not only to admit, but to state with pleasure; that he
had many and great difficulties to contend with, _domi militiæque_, I
believe; but that this brave, high-spirited, and gallant nobleman had
been so long subservient to the power of a superior mind--that he had
lost, if he ever possessed, the ability to conceive and execute large
military plans--and that he had lost, if he ever possessed, the faculty
of handling great bodies of men, I am firmly persuaded. He was a fine
English gentleman--a splendid soldier--perhaps an unexceptionable
lieutenant under a great chief; but that he was a great chief, or even a
moderately able general, I have every reason to doubt, and I look in
vain for any proof of it whilst he commanded the English army in the

It was 10 o'clock ere the British line moved towards the Alma. A gentle
rise in the plain enabled us to see the Russian position for some time
after, but the distance was too great to make out details, and we got
into a long low bottom between the ridge and another elevation in front.

Our army advanced in columns of brigades in deploying distance, our left
protected by a line of skirmishers, the brigade of cavalry, and horse
artillery. The army, in case of attack on the left or rear, could form a
hollow square, with the baggage in the centre.

Sir De Lacy Evans's division, on the extreme right, was in contact with
the French left, under Prince Napoleon, which was of course furthest
from the sea. At the distance of two miles we halted, and then the
troops steadily advanced, with our left frittered into a foam of
skirmishers of the Rifle Brigade, Major Northcott covered by the 11th
and 8th Hussars, 13th Light Dragoons, and 17th Lancers. This was a sight
of inexpressible grandeur, and one was struck with the splendid
appearance of our infantry in line as seen from the front. The bright
scarlet, the white facings, and cross belts, rendering a man
conspicuous, gave him an appearance of size which other uniforms do not
produce. The French columns looked small compared to our battalions,
though we knew they were quite as strong; but the marching of our
allies, laden as they were, was wonderful. Our staff was more showy and
numerous than that of the French. Nothing strikes the eye so much as a
cocked hat and bunch of white feathers; several officers doffed the
latter adornment, thinking that they were quite conspicuous on
horseback. When the regiments halted, I went past the Light Division,
part of the 2nd Division, the Guards, and the Highlanders. Many a laugh
did I hear from lips which in two hours more were closed for ever. The
officers and men made the most of the delay, and ate what they had with
them; but there was a want of water, and the salt pork made them so
thirsty that in the passage of the Alma the men stopped to drink and
fill their canteens under the heaviest fire.

The plan of attack has been already described, as well as the
circumstances of our early march. As we advanced we could see the enemy
very distinctly--their grey-coated masses resembling patches of wood on
the hill-sides. The ravines held them occasionally, but still we could
see that from within a mile of the sea coast, up to the left of the
Tartar village, towards which we were advancing, a strong force of
infantry was posted, and now and then, as the Russian made his last
disposition to meet our advance, the sun's rays flashed brightly in
diamond-like points from bright steel. The line of the river below the
heights they occupied was indicated by patches of the richest verdure,
and by belts of fine fruit trees and vineyards. The Alma is a tortuous
little stream, which has worked its way down through a red clay soil,
deepening its course as it proceeds seawards, and which drains the
steppe-like lands on its right bank, making at times pools and eddies
too deep to be forded, though it can generally be crossed by waders who
do not fear to wet their knees. The high banks formed by the action of
the stream in cutting through the rich soil vary from the right side to
the left, according to the course of the stream--the corresponding bank
on the opposite side being generally of a slope, more or less abrupt, as
the bank is high. The drop from the edge to the water varies also from
two to six or eight feet. Along the right or north bank of the Alma
there is a number of Tartar houses, at times numerous and close enough
to form a cluster of habitations deserving the name of a hamlet, at
times scattered wide apart amid little vineyards, surrounded by walls of
mud and stone of three feet in height. The bridge over which the post
road passes from Bouljanak to Sebastopol runs close to one of these
hamlets--a village, in fact, of some fifty houses. This village is
approached from the north by a road winding through a plain nearly level
till it comes near to the village, where the ground dips, so that at the
distance of three hundred yards a man on horseback can hardly see the
tops of the nearer and more elevated houses, and can only ascertain the
position of the stream by the willows and verdure along its banks. At
the left or south side of the Alma the ground assumes a very different
character--it rises at once from the water in steep banks up to plateaux
at the top of varying height and extent. The general surface is pierced
here and there by the course of the winter's torrents, which have formed
small ravines, commanded by the heights above. A remarkable ridge of
tumuli and hillocks, varying in height from 100 to 400 feet, runs along
the course of the Alma on the left side, assuming the form of cliffs
when close to the sea, and rising in a gentle slope a little to the left
of the village I have mentioned, which is called by the Tartar, and
marked on the maps as Burliuk. At its commencement on the left this
ridge recedes from the course of the river for several hundred yards,
the ground sloping gradually from the bank up to the knolls and tumuli
into which the ridge is broken. It then strikes downwards at a sharp
angle to its former course, till it sinks into the high ground over the
river below the village. There is then a sort of [Greek: D] formed, of
which the base is the river, and the sides the elevated terrace of the
ridge. This terrace, or the succession of terraces, is commanded by
higher ground in the rear, but is separated from the position on its
proper left by a ravine. It is marked by deep gullies towards the river.
If the reader will place himself on the top of Richmond-hill, dwarf the
Thames to the size of a rivulet, and imagine the hill to be deprived of
vegetation, he may form some notion of the position occupied by the
Russians, the plains on the left bank of the Thames will bear some
similitude to the land over which the British and French advanced,
barring only the verdure. On the slope of the rising ground, to the
right of the bridge, the Russians had thrown up two epaulements, armed
with 32-pounder batteries and 24-pound howitzers.

[Illustration PLAN OF THE HEIGHTS and BAY of ALMA.]


These 12 guns enfiladed the slopes parallel to them, or swept them to
the base. The principal battery consisted of a semicircular earthwork,
in which were embrasures for 13 guns. On the right, and farther in the
rear, was another breastwork, with embrasures for 9 guns, which played
on the right of the bridge. To the left, on a low ridge in front of the
village, they had placed two and a half field batteries, which threw
1000 and 1200 yards beyond the village. The first battery was about 300
yards distant from the river, but the hill rose behind it for 50 feet.
The second was turned more towards the right. About 12.15, when we were
about three miles from the village, the steamers ran in close to the
bluff at the south side of the Alma, commenced shelling the heights, the
enemy were obliged to retire their infantry and guns, and the ships
covered the advance of the French right, and never permitted the
Russians to molest them till they were in force on the plateau. At one
o'clock we saw the French columns struggling up the hills, covered by a
cloud of skirmishers. They swarmed like bees to the face of the cliffs,
tiny puffs of smoke rising from every tree, and shrub, and stone. On the
right they formed their masses without opposition. At sight of a
threatening mass of Russian infantry, who advanced slowly, pouring in
all the time a tremendous rolling fire, the French, who were forming in
the centre, seemed to pause, but it was only to collect their
skirmishers, for as soon as they had formed they ran up the hill at the
_pas de charge_, and broke up the Russians at once, who fled in
disorder, with loss, up the hill. We could see men dropping on both
sides, and the wounded rolling down the steep. However, our attention
was soon drawn to our own immediate share in the battle. As I had slept
at the head-quarters camp, I joined the general staff, and for some time
rode with them; but when they halted, just before going into action,
Major Burke, who was serving on the staff as Aide-de-camp to Sir John
Burgoyne, advised me to retire, "as," said he, "I declare I will make
Sir John himself speak to you if you do not." There was at the time very
little to be seen from the ground which the staff occupied, and there
were so many officers along with Lord Raglan, that it was difficult to
see in front at all; and so, observing Sir De Lacy Evans somewhat in
advance on the right of Lord Raglan, on higher ground about a quarter of
a mile away, I turned my horse to join him, and in an instant afterwards
a round shot rushed over the heads of the staff, being fired at the
Rifles in advance of them. As it turned out, Sir De Lacy's small staff
suffered much more severely than Lord Raglan's large one, although the
Staff-officer seems firmly persuaded that the enemy's artillery was
partially directed against the body to which he belonged. One could
scarcely have been in a safer place on the field, considering out of so
large a body only two were wounded, whereas five of General Evans's
small staff were badly hit or contused. By the time I had reached Sir De
Lacy Evans, who was engaged in giving orders to Brigadier Adams, the
round shot were rolling through the columns, and the men halted and lay
down by order of Lord Raglan. Sir De Lacy said, "Well, if you want to
see a great battle, you're in a fair way of having your wish
gratified." At this moment the whole of the village in our front burst
into flames--the hay-ricks and wooden sheds about it causing the fire to
run rapidly, fanned by a gentle breeze, which carried the smoke and
sparks towards our line. Sir De Lacy rode towards the left to get rid of
this annoyance, and to get to his men, and as he did so, the round shot
came bounding among the men lying down just before us. From the groans
and stifled cries it was too plain they left dead and dying in their
course. The Rifles in advance of our left were sharply engaged with the
enemy in the vineyard, and, anxious to see what was going on, I rode
over in that direction, and arrived at the place where were stationed
the staff of the Light Division. Sir George Brown was just at the time
giving some orders to one of his Aides relative to the "Russian cavalry
on our left front." I looked across the stream, and saw, indeed, some
cavalry and guns slowly moving down towards the stream from the elevated
ground over its banks; but my eye at the same time caught a most
formidable-looking mass of burnished helmets, tipped with brass, just
above the top of the hill on our left, at the other side of the river.
One could plainly see through the glass that they were Russian infantry,
but I believe the gallant old General thought at the time that they were
cavalry, and that a similar error led to the serious mistake, later in
the day, which deprived the Light Division of part of its regimental
strength, and wasted it on "preparing to receive" an imaginary
"cavalry." Sir George looked full of fight, clean shaven, neat and
compact; I could not help thinking, however, there was a little pleasant
malice in his salutation to me. As he rode past, he said, in a very
jaunty, Hyde Park manner, "It's a very fine day, Mr. Russell." At this
moment the whole of our light was almost obscured by the clouds of black
smoke from the burning village on our right, and the front of the
Russian line above us had burst into a volcano of flame and white
smoke--the roar of the artillery became terrible--we could hear the
heavy rush of the shot, those terrible dumps into the ground, and the
crash of the trees, through which it tore with resistless fury and
force; splinter and masses of stone flew out of the walls. It was rather
provoking to be told so coolly it was a very fine day amid such
circumstances; but at that very moment the men near us were ordered to
advance, and they did so in quick time in open line towards the walls
which bounded the vineyards before us. As I had no desire to lead my old
friends of the Light Division into action, I rode towards the right to
rejoin Sir De Lacy Evans, if possible; and as I got on the road I saw
Lord Raglan's staff riding towards the river, and the shot came flinging
close to me, one, indeed, killing one of two bandsmen who were carrying
a litter close to my side, after passing over the head of my horse. It
knocked away the side of his face, and he fell dead--a horrible sight.
The G and B batteries of the Second Division were unlimbered in front,
and were firing with great steadiness on the Russians; and now and then
a rocket, with a fiery tail and a huge waving mane of white smoke,
rushed with a shrill shout against the enemy's massive batteries. Before
me all was smoke--our men were lying down still; but the Rifles, led by
Major Norcott, conspicuous on a black horse, were driving back the
enemy's sharpshooters with signal gallantry, and clearing the orchards
and vineyards in our front by a searching fire. When I reached the spot
where I had last seen Sir De Lacy Evans, he was nowhere to be found, for
he had, as I afterwards heard, ridden with his staff close to the river
by the burning village. My position was becoming awkward. Far away in
the rear was the baggage, from which one could see nothing; but where I
was placed was very much exposed. A shell burst over my head, and one of
the fragments tore past my face with an angry whir-r-r, and knocked up
the earth at my poor pony's feet. Close at hand, and before me, was a
tolerably good stone-house, one story high, with a large court-yard, in
which were several stacks of hay that had not as yet caught fire. I rode
into this yard, fastened up my pony to the rope binding one of the
ricks, and entered the house, which was filled with fragments of
furniture, torn paper, and books, and feathers, and cushion linings, and
established myself at the window, from which I could see the Russian
artillerymen serving their guns; their figures, now distinctly revealed
against the hill side, and again lost in a spurting whirl of smoke. I
was thinking what a terrible sort of field-day this was, and combating
an uneasy longing to get to the front, when a tremendous crash, as
though a thunderclap had burst over my head, took place right above me,
and in the same instant I was struck and covered with pieces of broken
tiles, mortar, and stones, the window out of which I was looking flew
into pieces, parts of the roof fell down, and the room was filled with

[Sidenote: A WARNING TO QUIT.]

There was no mistaking this warning to quit. A shell had burst in the
ceiling. As I ran out into the yard I found my pony had broken loose,
but I easily caught him, and scarcely had I mounted when I heard a
tremendous roll of musketry on my left front, and looking in the
direction, I saw the lines of our red jackets in the stream, and
swarming over the wooden bridge. A mass of Russians were at the other
side of the stream, firing down on them from the high banks, but the
advance of the men across the bridge forced these battalions to retire;
and I saw, with feelings which I cannot express, the Light Division
scrambling, rushing, foaming like a bloody surge up the ascent, and in a
storm of fire, bright steel, and whirling smoke, charge towards the
deadly epaulement, from which came roar and flash incessantly. I could
distinctly see Sir George Brown and the several mounted officers above
the heads of the men, and could detect the dark uniforms of the Rifles
scattered here and there in front of the waving mass. On the right of
this body, the 30th, 55th, and 95th were slowly winning their way
towards the battery, exposed to a tremendous fire, which swallowed them
up in the fiery grey mantle of battle. The rush of shot was appalling,
and I recollect that I was particularly annoyed by the birds which were
flying about distractedly in the smoke, as I thought they were fragments
of shell. Already the wounded were passing by me. One man of the 30th
was the first; he limped along with his foot dangling from the ankle,
supporting himself on his firelock. "Thank you kindly, sir," said he, as
I gave him a little brandy, the only drop I had left. "Glory be to God,
I killed and wounded some of the Roosians before they crippled me, any
way." He halted off towards the rear. In another moment two officers
approached--one leaning on the other--and both wounded, as I feared,
severely. They belonged to the 30th. They went into the enclosure I had
left, and having assured them I would bring them help, I rode off
towards the rear, and returned with the surgeon of the Cavalry Division,
who examined their wounds. All this time the roar of the battle was
increasing. I went back to my old spot; in doing so I had to ride
gently, for wounded men came along in all directions. One was cut in two
by a round shot as he approached. Many of them lay down under the
shelter of a wall, which was, however, enfiladed by the enemy. Just at
this moment I saw the Guards advancing in the most majestic and stately
order up the hill; while through the intervals and at their flanks
poured the broken masses of the Light Division, which their officers
were busy in re-forming. The Highlanders, who were beyond them, I could
not see; but I never will forget the awful fury, the powerful detonation
of the tremendous volleys which Guards and Highlanders poured in upon
the Russian battalions, which in vain tried to defend their batteries
and to check the onward march of that tide of victory. All of a sudden
the round shot ceased to fly along the line; then there was a sharp roll
of musketry and a heavy fire of artillery which lasted for some moments.
Then one, two, three round shot pitched in line, ricochetting away to
the rear. As I looked round to see what mischief they did, a regiment
came rapidly towards the river. I rode towards them; they were the 50th.
"The cannon shot come right this way, and you'll suffer frightfully if
you go on." As I spoke, a shell knocked up the dust to our right, and
Colonel Waddy, pushing the left, led his men across the river. I rode
towards the bridge. The road wall was lined by wounded. Fitzgerald
(7th), with his back against the wall, was surveying his wounded legs
with wonderful equanimity. "I wish they had left me one, at all events,"
said he, as we tried to stop the bleeding. As I passed the bridge there
was a spattering of musketry. The cannon were still busy on our right,
and field-guns were firing on the retreating Russians, whose masses were
over the brow of the hill. Then there was a thundering cheer, loud as
the roar of battle, and one cannon boomed amid its uproar. This was the
victory. A few paces brought me to the bloody slopes where friend and
foe lay in pain, or in peace for ever.

[Sidenote: A NICE QUESTION.]

When the columns were deploying, Northcott moved from the left and
advanced to the front of the Light and First Divisions, till they came
to a long low stone wall. Here they waited till the line came up. The
instant they did so, the two front companies, in extended order, leaped
over the wall into the vineyards, the two companies in support moving
down a road to their left, on a ford, by which they crossed the stream.
The Rifles were first across the river. They were under the cover of a
bank which bounded the plateau, and hid them from the fire at our
advancing columns. It was a second terrace; for just at this place the
ground was a series of three giant steps--the first being that from the
river to the top of the bank; the second, from the plateau at the top of
the bank to the plateau on which the enemy were in position; and the
third being from that position to the highest ground of all, on which
they had their reserves. No sooner had the Rifles lined this lower ridge
than the enemy pushed a column of infantry, headed by some few Cossacks,
down the road which led to the ford, and threatened to take them in rear
and flank and destroy them, for these gallant fellows were without
support. Major Norcott, however, was not dismayed, but at once made the
most skilful disposition to meet this overwhelming column of the enemy.
Retiring from the ridge, he placed one of the four companies under him
on the road by which they were advancing, two others he posted along the
bank of a vineyard on the right of this road, and with the fourth he
occupied the farm-house in the centre of the vineyard: thus availing
himself of the resources of the ground with much skill and judgment. At
this moment there were no supports in sight--nothing to rest or form
upon in the rear--the Rifles were quite alone. The Russians advanced
leisurely; but to the astonishment of our officers, just as the men were
about to open fire on them, the Cossacks and the column halted, and then
wheeling to the right-about, retired up the road and disappeared over
the brow of the hill. On looking round, however, the phenomenon was soon
explained--Codrington's brigade was rushing across the river under a
tremendous fire, and at the same time the Russians advanced heavy
columns of infantry towards the ridge over the stream. The Rifles moved
towards their right to join the Light Division, and at the same time
poured in a close and deadly fire upon the dense formation of the enemy,
which must have caused them great loss. Having effected their junction,
the Rifles moved up with the Light Division, and bringing up their left
shoulders, threw themselves on the flank of the battery, bravely led by
Major Norcott, till they were forced to retire with their supports. One
company, under Captain Colville, was separated from the left wing, and
did not participate as fully as the other companies in the fight; and
the right wing, under Colonel Lawrence, was kept back by a variety of
impediments, and had no opportunity of playing the same distinguished
part as the left.

As soon as the line of the Light Division came up to the Rifles, the
latter were ordered to retire, and re-form in rear of the brigades; but
some few of the men could not obey the order, and were consequently in
front along with the advance--some with the Guards, others with the men
of Codrington's brigade. Captain the Hon. W. Colville and Lieutenant
Nixon both claim, or claimed, the credit of having led up their men
skirmishing in front of the advance of the red soldiers; and the
question is one which I cannot decide. Both those gallant officers
arrogated to themselves the honour of having performed the same action;
and I believe each thought that he had, when one of the colonels of the
Guards was dismounted, brought a horse to the officer, and enabled him
to resume his place with his men.


The approach of the Light Division--why should I not dwell fondly on
every act of that gallant body, the first "put at" everything, the first
in Buffering, in daring, in endurance throughout the campaign?--their
approach, then, was in double columns of brigades; the Second Division
being on their right, and the second battalion of the Rifle Brigade,
divided into two wings, one under Major Norcott, the other under Colonel
Lawrence, being in advance in skirmishing order. When the Light Division
got within long range, they deployed; the men lay down. Again they
advanced; once more they were halted to lie down; this time the shot
pitched among them; the same thing was repeated again ere they reached
the river, and many were wounded before they got to the vineyards. Here,
indeed, they were sheltered, but when the order was given to advance,
the men were thrown into disorder, not so much by the heavy fire as by
the obstacles opposed by hedges, stone walls, vines, and trees. These
well-drilled regiments were thus deprived of the fruits of many a day's
hard marching at Gallipoli, Aladyn, and Devna; but the 1st Brigade being
in rather better ground and more in hand than the 2nd Brigade, moved
off, and with them the 19th Regiment, belonging to Brigadier Buller, who
was lost in a hollow, and afterwards, as Lord Raglan euphemistically
expressed it, manoeuvred judiciously on the left. The 19th, 7th, 23rd,
and 33rd were led at a run right to the river, gallantly conducted by
Codrington. Their course was marked by killed and wounded, but the four
regiments were quickly under the shelter of the high bank at the south
side, in such a state of confusion from the temporary commingling of the
men in the rush, that it was necessary to re-form. The enemy, too late
to support their skirmishers, sought to overwhelm them in the stream,
and three battalions of grey-coated infantry came down at the double
almost to the top of the bank, and poured down a heavy fire. They were
straggling, but not weak; the Brigade and the 19th made a simultaneous
rush up the bank, and, as they crowned it, met their enemies with a
furious fire. The dense battalions, undeployed, were smitten, and as the
Light Division advanced they rapidly fell back to the left, for the
renewed fire of their batteries, leaving, however, many dead and wounded
men. After a momentary delay, these gallant regiments, led by Sir George
Brown and Brigadier Codrington, advanced up the slope which was swept by
the guns of the battery; grape, round, and shell tore through their
ranks, and the infantry on the flanks, advancing at an angle, poured in
a steady fire from point-blank distance. It must be confessed that the
advance was disorderly--instead of the men being two deep and showing an
extended front of fire, they were five, six, and seven deep, in ragged
columns, with scarcely any front, and not half so extended as they
should have been. Thus their fire was not as powerful or their advance
as imposing as it ought to have been. The General and Brigadier made
some attempts to restore order, but they were unsuccessful. The men had
not only got into confusion in the river from stopping to drink, as I
have related, but had disordered their ranks by attacks on the grapes in
the vineyards on their way. Behind the work, on rising ground, a Russian
regiment kept up a most destructive file fire on our advance; the
field-pieces on the flank also played incessantly upon them. Every foot
they advanced was marked by lines of slain or wounded men. The 7th
Fusiliers, smitten by a storm of grape, reeling to and fro like some
brave ship battling with a tempest, whose sails are gone, whose masts
are toppling, and whose bulwarks are broken to pieces, but which still
holds on its desperate way, impelled by unquenchable fire, within a few
seconds lost a third of its men. Led by "Old Yea," it still went on--a
colour lost for the time, their officers down, their files falling
fast--they closed up, and still with eye which never left the foe,
pressed on to meet him. The 23rd Regiment was, however, exposed more, if
that were possible, to that lethal hail. In less than two minutes from
the time they crowned the bank till they neared the battery the storm
had smitten down twelve of their officers, of whom eight never rose
again. Diminished by one-half, the gallant companies sought, with
unabated heart, to reach their terrible enemies. The 19th marched right
up towards the mouths of the roaring cannon which opened incessantly and
swept down their ranks; the 33rd, which had moved up with the greatest
audacity over broken ground towards the flank of the epaulement, where
it was exposed to a tremendous fire and heavy losses from guns and
musketry from the hill above, was for the moment checked by the pitiless
pelting of this iron rain. Their general at this terrible crisis seemed
to have but one idea--right or wrong, it was to lead them slap at the
battery, into the very teeth of its hot and fiery jaws. As he rode in
front, shouting and cheering on his men, his horse fell, and down he
went in a cloud of dust. He was soon up, and called out, "I'm all right.
Twenty-third, be sure I'll remember this day." It was indeed a day for
any one to remember. General Codrington in the most gallant manner rode
in advance of his brigade, and rode his horse right over and into the
work, as if to show his men there was nothing to fear; for by this time
the enemy, intimidated by the rapid, though tumultuous advance of the
brigade, were falling away from the flanks of the battery, and were
perceptibly wavering in their centre. The infantry behind the breastwork
were retreating up the hill. The Russians were in great dismay and
confusion. They limbered up their guns, which were endangered by the
retirement of their infantry from the flanks of the epaulement, and
retired towards their reserves, which were posted on high ground in the
rear. In this retrograde movement their artillery got among the columns
of the infantry, and increased the irregular nature of their retreat;
but they still continued to fire, and were at least three times as
numerous as the men of the Light Division who were assailing them. When
Sir George Brown went down, a rifleman, named Hugh Hannan, assisted him
on his horse, and as they stood under a murderous fire, saluted as he
got into his seat, and said, "Are your stirrups the right length, sir?"
Major Norcott, on his old charger, which, riddled with balls, carried
his master throughout the day, and lay down and died when his work was
over, got up to the redoubt, which was also entered by Brown and
Codrington. (The reserve artillery horses had succeeded in drawing away
all the guns except one, which was still in position, and on this gun,
when the first rush was made, an officer of the 33rd, named Donovan,
scratched his name.) In broken groups the 23rd, with whom were mingled
men of the 19th and 33rd Regiments, rushed at the earthwork, leaped
across it, bayoneted a few Russians who offered resistance, and for an
instant were masters of the position. Captain Bell, of the 23rd,
observed a driver in vain urging by whip and spar two black horses to
carry off one of the brass sixteen-pounder guns which had done so much
execution. Bell ran up, and, seizing the reins, held a revolver to his
head. He dismounted, and ran off. Bell, with the assistance of a soldier
of the 7th, named Pyle, led the horses round the shoulder of the parapet
to the rear of our line, where the gun remained after the Light Division
was obliged to retire, and reported the capture to Sir George Brown. The
horses were put into our "black battery." This was but an episode. The
colours of the 23rd were planted on the centre of the parapet. Both the
colour-officers, Butler and Anstruther, were killed. The colours were
hit in seventy-five places, and the pole of one was shot in two; it had
to be spliced. Meantime, the Russians, seeing what a handful of men they
had to deal with, gained heart. The brigade and the 19th had held the
entrenchment for nearly ten minutes, keeping the massive columns above
them in check by their desperate but scattered fire. Where were the
supports? they were not to be seen. The advance of the Guards, though
magnificent, was somewhat slow. Two of the dark-grey masses, bristling
with steel on our front, began to move towards the battery. The men
fired, but some staff-officer or officers called out that we were firing
upon the French. A bugler sounded the "Cease firing." The Russians
advanced, and our men were compelled to fall back. Some of the enemy,
advancing from the epaulement, proceeded in pursuit, but were checked by
the apparition of the Guards.


The Duke of Cambridge, who commanded the First Division, had never seen
a shot fired in anger. Of his Brigadiers, only Sir Colin Campbell--a
soldier trained in many a stubborn fight, and nursed in the field--was
acquainted with actual warfare; but it is nevertheless the case that the
deciding move of the day on our left was made by his Royal Highness, and
that the Duke, who was only considered to be a cavalry officer, showed
then, as on a subsequent tremendous day, that he had the qualities of a
brave and energetic leader. When the last halt took place, the Guards
and Highlanders lay down a good deal to the rear of the Light Division,
which they were to support; and in the advance immediately afterwards,
the Brigade of Guards, being on the left behind Codrington's Brigade,
lost several men ere they reached the river by the fire directed on
those regiments. Between them and the river the ground was much broken,
and intersected by walls and the hedges of vineyards; but on their
left, opposite the Highlanders, the ground was more favourable. The men
wearing their bearskins--more ponderous and more heavily weighted than
the men of the line--suffered much from thirst and the heat of the day,
and they displayed an evident inclination to glean in the vineyards
after the soldiers of the Light Division; but the Duke led them on with
such rapidity that they could not leave their ranks, and the officers
and sergeants kept them in most admirable order till they came to the
wall, in leaping over which they were of course a little disorganized.
On crossing it they were exposed to a heavier fire, and by the time they
reached the river the Light Division were advancing up the slope against
the enemy's guns. The bank of the stream in front was deep and rugged,
but the Duke and his staff crossed it gallantly; and placing himself in
front of the Guards on the left--Sir Colin Campbell being near him at
the head of his Brigade, and General Bentinck being on his right--his
Royal Highness led his division into action. On reaching the other side
of the river the Guards got into another large vineyard, the same in
which the Rifles had been stationed for a time, and it became very
difficult to get them into line again, for they had of course been
disordered in passing through the river. The guards threw out their
sergeants in front, as if on parade, and dressed up in line, protected
in some degree from fire as they did so by the ridge in front of them,
and Sir Colin Campbell formed up his Highlanders on their left, as if
they were "ruled" by machinery. It was time they were ready for action,
for at this moment the Light Division was observed to be falling back
towards them in disorder, and the Russians, encouraged by the partial
success, but taught by their short experience that it would be rather
dangerous to come too near them, were slowly advancing after them, and
endeavouring to get positions for the guns; in fact, it was probable
that in a few minutes more they would run them into the epaulement once
more. In front of the 42nd Highlanders was the 88th Regiment halted, and
doing nothing; and Colonel Cameron, who was astonished to find them in
such a position, was obliged to move out of his course a little in order
to pass them. As we thus come on this gallant regiment, it may be as
well to say how they came here.

As the 88th were about to advance from the river, having their right on
the 19th and their left on the 77th, an Aide-de-Camp--I believe the Hon.
Mr. Clifford--came down in haste from Sir George Brown, with the words
"Cavalry! form square! form square!" and the right, accordingly, in some
haste corresponding with the order, which was almost at the moment
reiterated by Brigadier Buller, prepared to execute the movement, but
the whole of the companies did not join in it, the men who were
excluded, and an officer and some few of the Rifles, struggled to obtain
admission into the square, which was for some moments in a very
ineffective state, and scarcely ready to receive any determined charge
of cavalry. The apprehensions, however, which were entertained by a few
short-sighted people were unfounded. The enemy had made no demonstration
with the cavalry. They had advanced a demi-battery of artillery towards
the left flank of the 2nd Brigade, and supported the advance with a
body of infantry in spiked helmets. Sir George Brown, whose sight was
not good though he would not wear spectacles, and General Buller, whose
vision was not good although he did wear spectacles, were deceived by
the appearance of this force, and sent orders to form square. It was
fortunate the Russian guns did not fire upon the 88th; just as they
unlimbered Codrington's Brigade began to advance on the right, and the
Rifles, part of the 88th, and the 77th, who, as they crossed the river,
and endeavoured to re-form under the bank, were menaced by a column of
Russians firing on the gunners, forced them to retire higher up the
hill. Had the artillery held their ground, they could have inflicted
great loss upon us, and seriously interfered with our advance on the
right; but on this, as on other occasions, the Russians were too nervous
for their guns, and withdrew them. In this general movement the 77th and
88th Regiments did not participate. There was not in the army a more
gallant or better disciplined regiment than the 77th. Colonel Egerton
was not only one of the bravest but one of the most intelligent,
skilled, and thorough soldiers and officers in the whole service. In the
trenches--at Inkerman--throughout the siege, the regiment showed of what
noble material it was composed. The 88th had a fighting reputation,
which they well vindicated at Inkerman, at the Quarries, and in many
encounters with the enemy. It is astonishing, therefore, that the Light
Division should have been in a vital moment deprived of the co-operation
of these splendid soldiers, and should have been, hurled in confused
masses against the enemy's bayonets and artillery, reduced by the
suicidal incapacity of some one or other to four regiments. That there
was no notion of keeping these regiments in reserve is shown by the fact
that they were never advanced in support or used as a reserve when their
comrades were involved in a most perilous and unequal struggle.

The First Division advancing, and passing this portion of the Light
Division, at once became exposed to fire, and received the shot which
passed through the fragments of Codrington's Brigade; but as it was
imperatively necessary that they should not be marched up in rear of
regiments in a state of disorder, the Duke, by the advice of Sir Colin
Campbell, ordered General Bentinck to move a little to his left, but ere
the movement could be effected, portions of the Light Division came in
contact with the centre of the line, and passing through its files to
re-open in the rear, carried disorder into the centre battalion. It may
be observed that this is a casualty to which extended line formations in
support must always be liable, when the attacking lines in advance of
them are obliged to fall back to re-form. Formations in column are of
course less likely to be subjected to this inconvenience, and the broken
troops can pour through the intervals between column and column with
greater facility than they can pass round the flanks of lengthy and
extended lines. The Coldstreams and the Grenadiers never for an instant
lost their beautiful regularity and order, although they now fell fast
under the enemy's fire, and several of the mounted officers lost their
horses. Among these Major Macdonald was included, his horse was killed
by a round shot, and he received a severe fall, but never for a moment
lost his coolness and equanimity.


As the Light Division retreated behind the Guards to re-form, the
Russian battalions on the flanks and behind the work fired on them,
continuously, and at the same moment the guns which had been drawn out
of the work to the high ground over it opened heavily. The Guards were
struck in the centre by this iron shower. The fragments of Codrington's
Brigade poured through them. In their front was a steel-bound wall of
Russian infantry. Our own men were fast falling back, firing as they
retired. After them came a glistening line of Russian bayonets, as if to
clear the field. For a few seconds the Scots Fusiliers wavered and lost
order; they were marching over dead and dying men. The Russians were
within a few yards of them, but the officers rallied the men, and,
conspicuous in their efforts, suffered heavily. The colour-bearers,
Lieutenant Lindsay and Lieutenant Thistlewayte, with signal gallantry,
extricated themselves from a perilous position, in which for the instant
their men had left them--order was restored in the centre, and on the
flanks the Grenadiers, under Colonel Hood, and Coldstreams were as
steady and in as perfect order as though they were on parade. For a
moment, it is said, the Duke thought of halting to dress his line, but
Sir Colin Campbell, who was near at hand with his Highlanders, begged
his Highness not to hesitate, but to push on at once at the enemy. The
Russian artillery on the slopes above sent repeated volleys of grape,
canister, round, and shell through their ranks, but at this moment,
threatened on the flank by the French batteries, enfiladed by a
9-pounder and 24-pound howitzer of Turner's battery, which Lord Raglan
had ordered up to a knoll on the opposite side of the river, on the
slope between our attack and that of the French, the Russian guns were
limbered up, and ceased their fire.

Meantime General Sir De Lacy Evans had, in the most skilful and gallant
manner, executed his instructions, and, with Pennefather's Brigade, had
forced the Russian centre and the right centre. The Second Division
advanced on the same alignement with Prince Napoleon's Division to the
burning village of Bourliouk. Sir De Lacy Evans detached the 41st and
the 49th Regiments, of Adams's Brigade and Turner's battery, by the
right of the village, which the flames rendered impenetrable, and
ordered them to force the passage. The ford in front was very deep, and
the banks were bad and high, defended by a heavy fire; the regiments
lost upwards of 40 men in the stream and on its banks. The General
placed himself at the head of the remaining regiments, and led them by
the left of the village towards the river; but, experienced in war, Sir
De Lacy Evans availed himself of all means to carry the enemy's position
with the smallest loss to his own men; he covered the advance of his
troops by the fire of 18 pieces. Pennefather's Brigade, the 30th, 55th,
and 95th Regiments, was accompanied by Fitzmayer's battery; but the
General, finding Dacre's battery and Wodehouse's battery, which belonged
to the First and Light Divisions, stationed near, availed himself of the
services volunteered by the officers in command of them to cover the
advance of his men. The 95th Regiment, being on the extreme left of the
Brigade, came upon the bridge of Bourliouk; the 55th Regiment, in the
centre, had in front of them a deep ford and high banks; and the 30th
Regiment were inconvenienced in their advance by the walls of the
village, and by the cooking places cut in the high banks on the opposite
side of the stream. On the right of the 30th Regiment came the 47th
Regiment, and in the interval between these two regiments rode Sir De
Lacy Evans. As soon as the Division emerged from the smoke and the
houses of the village, the enemy directed on them an extremely severe
fire--"such," says Sir De Lacy Evans, "as few, perhaps, of the most
experienced soldiers have ever witnessed," till they came to the stream,
which they passed under a storm of missiles which lashed the waters into
bloody foam. The 95th, led very gallantly by Colonel Webber Smith,
debouched from the bridge and narrow ford just as the 7th, under Colonel
Yea, formed on the other side. They were exposed to the same tremendous
fire; they advanced, with colours flying, towards the left of the
Russian epaulement, which Codrington was assailing, and claim the credit
of having been the temporary captors of a gun on the left of the works.
The 55th and 30th, led by Colonel Warren and Colonel Hoey, exposed to
the full fire of two batteries and of six battalions disposed on the
sides of the ravines and of the slopes above them, behaved with
conspicuous gallantry, but could make no impression on the solid masses
of the enemy. In a short time the 95th lost 6 officers killed, the
Colonel and Major and 9 officers wounded, and upwards of 170 men. The
55th had 128 casualties, 8 of which occurred to officers, and 3 of which
were fatal; the 80th Regiment lost 150 officers and men.


But the steadiness of our infantry and the destructive effect of their
musketry were shaking the confidence of the enemy, now broken and turned
on their left by the French. The Light Division was obliged to
relinquish its hold of the work it had taken; but the Guards were
advancing to their support--the Highlanders were moving up on the
left--and the fortune of the day was every moment inclining to the
allies. The French had sent to Lord Raglan for assistance, some say
twice--certainly once, before we advanced. Our attack was not to begin
till they had turned the left, and it is likely that M. St. Arnaud
arranged to send information of that fact to Lord Raglan. But our
Commander-in-chief did not receive any such intelligence. He was
annoyed, uneasy, and disappointed at the delay which occurred on his
right. He sent Colonel Vico to ascertain the state of affairs, to
communicate, if possible, with the French Generals. Meantime, the French
Generals were, if we credit authorities, annoyed, uneasy, and
disappointed by the slowness of the English. Prince Napoleon sent to
Lord Raglan, French staff-officers came with the piteous
appeal--_Milord, je vous prie! pour l'amour de Dieu! Venez aux Français!
Nous sommes massacrés!_ At last Lord Raglan gave orders to advance,
although he had not heard of the success of the French attack on which
the advance was to depend. When the 1st and 3rd Divisions had deployed,
and were moving towards the Alma, Lord Raglan, and his staff advanced,
and skirting the village of Bourliouk to the right, passed down a narrow
lane which led to the ford, by which part of Adams's Brigade had crossed
to the other side. They proceeded round the right of Adams's Brigade,
immediately between the French and Evans's extreme right, and _en
route_, his lordship observed Turner's battery, and passed close to the
41st and 49th on the other side of the river, for whose disposition he
gave orders to Brigadier Adams. In crossing the ford the staff were
exposed to fire from the Russian guns on the high grounds opposite
Bourliouk, and the infantry in support. Two of the staff-officers were
hit--Lieutenant Leslie, Royal Horse Guards, who was acting as orderly
officer to the Commander-in-chief, and Captain Weare, Deputy-Assistant
Adjutant-General. Lord Raglan gave orders for Turner's battery to come
up to enfilade the enemy's guns. The lane, which formed at the other
side of the ford the continuation of that road by which the
Commander-in-chief had passed round Bourliouk to the river, ran at the
bottom of a sheltered ravine, which almost divided the Russian position,
and formed a boundary between the English and the French attacks. The
enemy had been driven out of this ravine by the French, and the lane was
unoccupied, but here and there in its windings it was swept by guns. The
ravine, as it ascended, opened out, and became shallower, and on the
right it wound below a small table-land, or rather a flattened knoll, of
which there were several at the edge of the general level of the
plateau. On ascending this knoll, Lord Raglan saw, as he anticipated,
that the Russian guns commanding the ford were on his left, in such a
position that they could be enfiladed, and indeed, taken in reverse. He
despatched repeated orders to Turner; but owing to the steepness of the
lane, and to the loss of a gun horse in the river, there was difficulty
and delay in getting the guns up, and when they did arrive the Guards
and Highlanders were already advancing up the hill, and closing on the
Russian columns. The guns[14] which came up were, I believe, a
24-pounder howitzer, and a 9-pounder, and as the tumbril attached to the
former had not arrived, it was served with 9-pounder ammunition and
round shot. The artillery officers and General Strangways dismounted and
worked the guns, as the men had not yet come up; Lieutenant Walsham
arrived with the rest of the battery, and the six guns opened--on what?
One officer says, on the "artillery" of the Russians--that two shots
forced a whole line of Russian guns to retire, and that the Russian
General, "seeing he was taken in flank," limbered up. But surely he
could have turned round some of his numerous guns, and could have fought
Turner's two with heavier metal. In fact, it was something else besides
this fire of two shots (one of which hit a tumbril) which determined the
retreat of the Russian artillery. It was the advance of the First and
Second Divisions. The Guards were half-way up the hill when these two
guns opened, and the Russians limbered up when they saw they were turned
on their left, and threatened on their right. The Russian artillery
officer, after he retired, directed his guns against Turner's battery,
and some riflemen were sent to cripple it, one of whom shot Lieutenant
Walsham as he was in the act of loading. Lord Raglan saw the day was won
by the Light Division, the Second Division, the Guards, and Highlanders;
for, seeing the advance of the latter, he exclaimed, "Let us join the
Guards!" and rode into the ravine to his left in their direction.

But the enemy had not yet abandoned their position. A division of
infantry in columns came from the rear of the hill, and marched straight
upon the Brigade of Guards. The Guards dressed up, and advanced to meet
them. Some shot struck the rear of the Russian columns, they began to
melt away, and wavered; still they came on slowly, and began
file-firing. One column moved towards the left flank of the Guards,
facing round as if to meet the Highlanders, who were moving with
rapidity up from the hollow in which they had been sheltered from the
enemy's fire. The two other columns faced the Guards. The distance
between them was rapidly diminishing, when suddenly the Brigade poured
in a fire so destructive that it annihilated their front ranks, and left
a ridge of killed and wounded men on the ground. The Highlanders almost
at the same moment delivered a volley, sharp, deadly, and decisive.
Pennefather's Brigade, on the right of the Guards, supported by Adams,
appeared on the side of the slope. The enemy, after a vain attempt to
shake off the panic occasioned by that rain of death, renewed their fire
very feebly, and then, without waiting, turned as our men advanced with
bayonets at the charge, over the brow of the hill to join the mass of
the Russian army, who, divided into two bodies, were retreating with all
possible speed. Our cavalry rode up to the crest of the hill, and looked
after the enemy. They took a few prisoners, but they were ordered to let
them go again. Lord Raglan expressed his intention of keeping his
cavalry "in a bandbox," and was apprehensive of getting into serious
difficulty with the enemy. The Battle of the Alma was won. The men
halted on the battle-field, and as the Commander-in-chief, the Duke of
Cambridge, Sir De Lacy Evans, and the other popular generals rode in
front of the line, the soldiers shouted, and when Lord Raglan was in
front of the Guards, the whole army burst into a tremendous cheer, which
made one's heart leap--the effect of that cheer can never be forgotten
by those who heard it. It was near five o'clock; the men had been eleven
hours under arms, and had fought a battle, and the enemy were to
be--"let alone." The Russians fired one gun as they retreated, and made
some show of covering their rear with their cavalry.


Upon the conduct of the Battle of the Alma there has been much foreign
criticism, and the results and deductions have been unfavourable to the
Russian General, who permitted his left to be turned without any serious
resistance, although he ought to have calculated on the effect of the
operations by sea on that flank. In apparent opposition to this judgment
there has been at the same time great praise awarded to the French for
the gallantry with which they attacked that portion of the position.
They deserve every laudation for the extraordinary activity, rapidity,
and bravery with which they established themselves on the centre and
left-centre, but on the extreme left they had no hard fighting. The
English seem to have been awarded the meed of solidity and unshaken
courage, but at the same time hints are thrown out that they did not
move quite quickly enough, that therefore their losses were great, and
their work after all not so hazardous and difficult as that of the
French, inasmuch as the English attack took place only when the Russian
left was turned. In effect, however, the right of the enemy presented
less physical difficulties to the establishment of a hostile force on
the flank, and it was there that the greatest number of artificial
obstacles in the shape of guns, cavalry, and men, was accumulated. But
was the plan of battle good? In the first place, we attacked the enemy
in the position of his own selection, without the least attempt to
manoeuvre or to turn him. It might have been difficult, situated as we
were, without cavalry, and with masses of baggage, to have attempted any
complex manoeuvres; but it has been asserted that by a flank march we
could, by a temporary abandonment of our seaboard, have placed the enemy
between two fires, and have destroyed his army in case of defeat. It has
been suggested that early on the morning of the 20th the Allies should
have moved obliquely from the bivouac on the Bouljanak, and, crossing
the Alma to the east of the enemy's position, have obliged his left to
make a harassing march, to get up and occupy new ground in a fresh
alignement, have deprived him of his advantages, and have endangered his
retreat to Bakshi Serai or Simpheropol, if he refused battle, and that
in event of his defeat, which would have been pretty certain,
considering how much weaker his new line would have been, he would have
been driven towards the shore, exposed to the fire of our ships, so that
his force would have been obliged to lay down their arms. Menschikoff's
army utterly ruined, Sebastopol would have at once surrendered, disposed
as it was to have done so with very little compression. Criticism is
easy after the circumstances or conduct of which you judge have had
their effect; but to this it may be remarked that criticism cannot, by
its very nature, be prospective. Even civilians are as good judges as
military men of the grand operations of war, although they may be
ignorant of details, and of the modes by which those operations have
been effected. Alexander, Cæsar, Pompey, Hannibal, may have had many
club colonels in their day, who thought they made "fatal moves;" we know
that in our own time there were many military men who "had no great
opinion" of either General Wellesley or General Bonaparte; but the
results carry with them the weight of an irreversible verdict, which is
accepted by posterity long after the cliques and jealousies and
animosities of the hour have passed away for ever. Now, without being a
member of a clique, having no possible jealousies, and being free from
the smallest animosities, I may inquire was there any generalship shown
by any of the allied generals at the Alma? We have Lord Raglan, as
brave, as calm, as noble, as any gentleman who ever owned England as his
mother-land--trotting in front of his army, amid a shower of balls,
"just as if he were riding down Rotten Row," with a kind nod for every
one, leaving his generals and men to fight it out as best they could,
riding across the stream through the French riflemen, not knowing where
he was going to, or where the enemy were, till fate led him to a little
knoll, from which he saw some of the Russian guns on his flank,
whereupon he sent an order for guns, seemed surprised that they could
not be dragged across a stream, and up a hill which presented
difficulties to an unencumbered horseman--then, cantering over to join
the Guards ere they made their charge, and finding it over while he was
in a hollow of the ground. As to the mode in which the attack was
carried on by us, there was immense gallantry, devotion, and courage,
and, according to military men present, no small amount of disorder. The
Light Division was strangely handled. Sir George Brown, whose sight was
so indifferent that he had to get one of his officers to lead his horse
across the river, seemed not to know where his division was, and
permitted Brigadier Buller to march off with two regiments of his
brigade, leaving the third to join Codrington's Brigade. The men got
huddled together on the other side of the river under the ridge, and lay
there seven or eight instead of two deep, so that when they rose and
delivered fire, their front was small, and the effect diminished. Then
they were led straight up at the guns in a confused mass; when they had
got into the battery they were left without supports, so that the enemy
forced them to relinquish their hold, and were enabled to recover the
work. The Light Division had, it is true, drawn the teeth of the
battery, but still the enemy were able to fire over the heads of the
columns from the hill above. However, the Alma was won. Menschikoff was
in retreat, and the world was all before us on the evening of the 20th
of September. Whether our generals had any foresight of what that world
was to be--what were to be the fruits of victory, or the chances of
disaster--let the history of the war on some future day communicate to
the world.

The Russians were very much dissatisfied with the result of this battle.
They put forth the rawness of the troops, their inferiority in numbers,
and many other matters; they criticised severely the conduct of their
generals during the action, and the disposition of the troops on the
ground; but, after all, their position ought to have been impregnable,
if defended by determined infantry.

The force under the orders of Prince Menschikoff was composed as


                                                             Battalions. Guns.

 The 1st Brigade of the 14th Division of the 5th Army Corps,   }
   consisting of regiment No. 27 Volhynia, and regiment No.    }  8        16
   28 Minsk, with No. 3 battery of position, and No. 3 light   }
   battery                                                     }
 The 16th Division 6th Army Corps, consisting of the regiments }
   31st Vladimir, 32nd Sudalski, 31st (Light) Uglilski, 32nd   } 16        36
   (Light) Kazan, with the 16th Brigade of Artillery, No. 1 and}
   No. 2 light batteries, and No. 2 battery of position        }
 The 2nd Brigade of the 17th Division, with the regiment of    }
   Moscow, the 17th Brigade of Artillery, No. 4 and No. 5      } 12        24
   light batteries, and No. 3 battery of position              }
 4 Reserve battalions of the 13th                                 4         0
 The rifle and sapper battalions of the 6th Corps                 2         0
 2 battalions of sailors, with 4 guns                             2         4
                                                                 44        80
                                                             Squadrons.  Guns.
 2nd Brigade of 6th Cavalry Division, 2 regiments, each of 8 }
   squadrons                                                 }   16         0
 16 sotnias of Cossacks, or regiment of 4 squadrons               8         0
 No. 12 light battery of horse artillery                          0         8
 No. 4 Cossack battery                                            0         8
       Total--Infantry, between 33,000 and 34,000                24        16
                  Cavalry, about 3,500.

The Russians have given the following account of their own position and
of some incidents of the action:--

The centre of their position lay on the high slopes of the left bank of
the river, opposite the village of Bourliouk; the left on the still
higher and less accessible hills, with perpendicularly scarped sides,
which rise from the river near the sea; the right wing on the gentle
ascents into which this rising ground subsides about half a mile
eastward of the village.

The reserves, which were posted behind the centre, consisted of the
regiments of Volhynia, Minsk, and Moscow, the two former of which
subsequently took an active part in the siege, and were the principal
workmen and combatants in constructing and occupying the famous "white
works" on the right of our position before Sebastopol. On their right
flank were two regiments of hussars and two field batteries; in the rear
of the right wing was stationed a regiment of Riflemen. Oddly enough,
the Russian General sent off a battalion of the Moscow regiment to
occupy the village of Ulukul Akles, several miles in the rear of his
left wing, as if to prevent a descent behind him from the sea.


The disposition of this force will be seen on reference to the plan
which accompanies the description of the battle of the Alma. The right
was commanded by Lieutenant-General Knetsinsky, of the 16th Division;
the centre by Prince Gortschakoff I.; the left by Lieutenant-General
Kiriakoff, Commander of the 17th Division; and Prince Menschikoff took
the control of the whole, being generally on the left of the centre,
near the telegraph station. When the Allies came in sight, the Rifle
battalion, about 650 strong, crossed to the right bank of the river, and
occupied the village of Bourliouk and the vineyards near it, and the
regiments in front advanced their skirmishers to the left bank, and
Menschikoff rode along the front from the right to the left of the line
to animate the men, most of whom had been present at a mass to the
Virgin early in the morning, when prayers were offered for her aid
against the enemy. Our advance seemed to the Russians rather slow; but
at last, at about 12.30, the Allies came within range, and a sharp
fusilade commenced between the skirmishers and riflemen. About 12.20 the
steamers outside began to fire on the Russian left, and forced the
regiments of Minsk and Moscow to retire with loss, and killed some
horses and men of the light battery stationed on their flank. Their
shells struck down four officers of Menschikoff's staff later in the
day, and did most effective service in shaking the confidence of the
enemy, and in searching out their battalions so as to prevent their
advance towards the seaboard. As the Allies advanced, the Cossacks,
according to orders, set fire to the haystacks in the Tartar village,
which soon caught, and poured out a mass of black smoke, mingled with
showers of sparks. The guns of the Allies, from the right of the
village, now began to play on the enemy, and caused so much loss in the
four reserve battalions under General Oslonovich, that they, being young
soldiers, began to retire of their own accord. At the same time the
French gained the heights, driving back and destroying the 2nd battalion
of the Moscow regiment, and holding their ground against the Minsk
regiment, the 1st, 3rd, and 4th battalions of the Moscow regiment, and a
numerous artillery, which arrived too late to wrest the heights from
their grasp till the demonstration in the centre rendered their position
certain and secure. General Kiriakoff, who commanded the left wing,
seems to have been utterly bewildered, and to have acted with great
imbecility, and want of decision and judgment. The Russians with whom I
have conversed have assured me that he gave no orders, left every
officer to do as he liked, and retired from the field, or at least
disappeared from their view, very early in the fight. As the reserve
battalions retired, the battalion of the Taioutine regiment, which was
placed in a ravine in front of the river, withdrew as soon as it got
under fire, and left a very important part of the position undefended.
The Kazan and Ouglitsky regiments, defending the epaulement in which the
guns were placed, suffered severely from the fire of the English
riflemen, and the two battalions of the Borodino regiment, which
advanced towards the river to fire on our men as they crossed the ford,
were driven back with great slaughter by the continuous flight of Minié
bullets. As Pennefather's brigade advanced, two battalions of the
Vladimir regiment, deploying into columns of battalions, charged them
with the bayonet, but were checked by our murderous fire, and only a few
men were killed and wounded in the encounter between the foremost ranks,
which were much broken and confused for a few moments. The advance of
the French obliquely from the right, and the success of the English on
the left, threatening to envelope the whole of the enemy, they began to
retreat in tolerable order; but the English and French guns soon began
to open a cross fire on them, and their march became less regular. A
Russian officer, who has written an account of the action, relates that
Prince Menschikoff, as he rode past his regiment, then marching off the
ground as fast as it could under our fire, said, "It's a disgrace for a
Russian soldier to retreat;" whereupon one of the officers exclaimed,
"If you had ordered us, we would have stood our ground." It would appear
that, on arriving at the heights of the Katcha, part of the Russian army
halted for a short time, and took up their position in order of battle,
in case the Allies followed. As to the propriety of such a movement on
our part by a portion of our army, under the circumstances, there may be
some difference of opinion. As to the pursuit of the enemy on the spot
by all the allied forces there can be no diversity of sentiment; but as
to the proposition which Lord Raglan's friends declare he made, to
continue the pursuit with our 1,100 cavalry, some artillery, and no
infantry, it seems scarcely possible that it was made in seriousness.
The enemy, defeated though they were, mustered nearly 30,000 men, of
whom 3,500 were cavalry, and they had with them 94 guns. In their rear
there was a most formidable position, protected by a river of greater
depth and with deeper banks than the Alma. It was getting dark--no one
knew the country--the troops were exhausted by a day's marching and
manoeuvring under a hot sun--and yet it is said that, under these
circumstances, Lord Raglan proposed a pursuit by the portion of the
French who had not been engaged, by the Turkish division, and by part of
our cavalry, and a hypothetical two or three batteries. Most military
men will, if that assertion be substantiated, probably think less of his
lordship's military capacity than ever they did before. The grounds on
which M. St. Arnaud is stated to have declined acceding to the wishes of
Lord Raglan are these--that he could send no infantry, and that his
artillery had exhausted their ammunition. Now, unquestionably St. Arnaud
was quite as anxious as any one could be to complete his victory, and
continue the pursuit of the enemy; and in his three despatches
respecting the battle he laments repeatedly his inability, from want of
cavalry, to turn the retreat of the Russians into a rout. It is also
true that the artillery of the French had exhausted their ammunition;
but let us calmly examine the means at the disposal of the two generals
to effect an operation of a most difficult and serious kind, which is
said to have been suggested by the one and rejected by the other. The
English army present at the Alma, in round numbers as stated in the
official returns, consisted of 27,000 men; the French, of 25,000; the
Turks, of 6,000 men. Of the English were engaged with such loss as would
incapacitate the regiments from action--the Guards, the 7th, 19th, 23rd,
30th, 33rd, 47th, 55th, 95th, one wing of 2nd Battalion Rifle Brigade.
There remained in just as good order for marching as any of the French
regiments--1st Battalion of the Royals, 4th, 79th, 44th, 21st, 1st
Battalion Rifle Brigade, 50th, 49th, 77th, 88th, 20th, 28th, 38th,
42nd--14 Battalions--and the cavalry; and according to the French
accounts all their divisions were more or less engaged, with the
exception of part of Forey's. The Staff-officer admits we had 7,000 men
who had not taken a part in the action; but then he adds that these
7,000 men were "not in fact more than sufficient for the immediate
necessities of the camp." Now, as the French force was nearly equal to
ours, the necessities of their camp would be nearly equal to ours also.
He avers they had "12,000 men who had never been engaged." Be it so. But
deduct 7,000 men required for "the immediate necessities of the camp,"
and you will have a disposable force of 5,000 men, who, with a force of
Turks (supposed to have no camp at all, and therefore to have none of
the English or French necessities for eating or drinking or camping),
were, according to Lord Raglan's Staff-officer, to start off at four
o'clock on a September evening to chase an army of 30,000 cavalry and
infantry, and 94 guns! That is really the most preposterous attempt to
vindicate Lord Raglan's generalship that has ever been given to the
world. His lordship never says a word in his published despatches to
corroborate those confidential communications, and it is to be hoped
that they illustrate some of "the many opinions and motives ascribed to
Lord Raglan which the Field-Marshal never entertained," to which the
writer refers. Next day St. Arnaud wished to advance and follow the
enemy, but Lord Raglan would not listen to it, as he had 3,000 wounded
English and Russians to move. That is, if the 10,000 Turks and French,
and a few field batteries, had come up with and beaten the Russians,
Lord Raglan would have permitted them to pursue their career of victory
without support, and to do as they pleased; and if they were beaten and
allowed to fall back, he would leave their wounded in the hands of the
enemy, or spend still more time in burying them. But the worst of all is
that, after losing two days, the English wounded were nearly all on
board ship by the afternoon of the 21st--in spite of the Marshal's
protest we were obliged to leave upwards of 700 wounded Russians on the
ground, with one surgeon and one servant to wait upon them. The enemy
halted at the Katcha till after midnight, crossing it at Aranchi, and
fell back towards Sebastopol, on the north side of which a portion of
the troops arrived by 4 o'clock on the following afternoon. Their loss
was, as stated in the official accounts, 1,762 killed, 2,315 wounded,
405 contused. Two generals prisoners. Generals Kvitzinsky, Schelkanoff,
Goginoff, Kourtianoff, wounded.

Every one of the enemy had a loaf of black bread, and a linen roll
containing coarse broken biscuit or hard bread like oil cake. Though
some of the troops had been at the Alma for a couple of days, no bones
were found about the ground. The ground was in a most filthy state.
After battle came removal of wounded and the burial of the dead.

The Russian dead were all buried together in pits, and were carried down
to their graves as they lay. Our parties on the 21st and 22nd buried
1,200 men. The British soldiers were buried in pits. Their firelocks,
and the useful portions of their military equipment, were alone


The quantity of firelocks, great coats, bearskin caps, shakos, helmets
and flat forage caps, knapsacks (English and Russian), belts, bayonets,
cartouch-boxes, cartridges, swords, exceeded belief; and round shot,
fragments of shell smeared with blood and hair, grape and bullets, were
under the foot and eye at every step. Our men broke the enemies'
firelocks and rifles which lay on the ground. As many of them were
loaded, the concussion set them off, so that dropping shot never ceased
for about forty hours. The Russian musket was a good weapon to look at,
but rather a bad one to use. The barrel, which was longer than ours, and
was polished, was secured to the stock by brass straps, like the French.
The lock was, however, tolerably good. The stock was of the old narrow
Oriental pattern, and the wood of which it was made--white-grained and
something like sycamore, broke easily. From the form of the heel of the
stock, the "kick" of the musket must have been sharp with a good charge.
Many had been originally flint-locked, but were changed to detonators by
screwing in nipples and plugging up the touch-holes with steel screws.
The cartridges were beautifully made and finished, the balls being
strongly gummed in at the end, but the powder was coarse and unglazed,
and looked like millet-seed; it was, however, clean in the hand, and
burnt very smartly. The rifles were two-grooved, and projected a long
conical ball. The ball was flat at the base, and had neither hollow cup
nor pin; its weight must exceed that of our Minié ball. These rifles
were made by J. P. Malherbe, of Liège. The bayonets were soft and bent
easily. Some good swords belonging to officers were picked up, and
weapons, probably belonging to drummers or bandsmen, exactly like the
old Roman sword, very sharp and heavy. Some six or seven drums were left
behind, but nearly all of them were broken--several by the shot which
killed their owners. No ensign, eagle, standard, or colour of any kind
was displayed by the enemy or found on the field. Our regiments marched
with their colours, as a matter of course, and the enemy made the latter
a special mark for the rifles. Thus it was so many ensigns, lieutenants,
and sergeants fell.

The sad duty of burying the dead was completed on the 22nd. The wounded
were collected and sent on board ship in arabas and litters, and the
surgeons with humane barbarity were employed night and day in saving
life. In the Light Division there were nearly 1,000 cases for surgical
attendance and operations, at which Drs. Alexander and Tice were busily
employed. Dr. Gordon was active in the Second Division in the same work.

There was more than an acre of Russian wounded when they were brought
and disposed on the ground. Some of the prisoners told us they belonged
to the army of Moldavia, and had only arrived in the Crimea twelve or
fourteen days before the battle. If that were so, the expedition might
have achieved enormous results at little cost, had it arrived three
weeks earlier. All the Russian firelocks, knapsacks, bayonets,
cartridge-boxes, &c., were collected together, near Lord Raglan's tent,
and formed heaps about twenty yards long by ten yards broad. Our men
were sent to the sea, three miles distant, on jolting arabas or tedious
litters. The French had well-appointed covered hospital vans, to hold
ten or twelve men, drawn by mules, and their wounded were sent in much
greater comfort than our poor fellows. The beach was lined with boats
carrying off the wounded. Commander Powell, of the _Vesuvius_, as
beachmaster was indefatigable in his exertions. Some poor fellows died
on their way to the sea. Not only the wounded but the sick were sent on
board the fleet. As a sanatorium alone, the value of the floating
batteries of our friends the sailors was beyond all price. The Russian
officers who were wounded, and all prisoners of rank, were likewise sent
on board. We had 1,000 sick on board, in addition to our wounded. The
French return of 1,400 killed and wounded was understood to include
those who died of cholera during the passage from Varna and the march to
the Alma.

Had a couple of thousand seamen and marines been landed, they could have
done all that was required, have released us from two days' fearful
duty, enabled us to follow the footsteps of our flying enemy, and to
have completed his signal discomfiture, and have in all probability
contributed materially to the issue of the campaign. Admiral Dundas,
however, seemed to be in apprehension of the Russian fleet sallying out
to attack us.

Brigadier-General Tylden died in his tent early on the morning of the
23rd, of cholera. He was buried in the valley under the heights of Alma.
He was succeeded by Lieut.-Colonel Alexander, R.E., who was not,
however, promoted to the rank of Brigadier. Many men died of cholera in
the night. My sleep was disturbed by the groans of the dying, and on
getting up in the morning I found that the corpse of a Russian lay
outside the tent in which I had been permitted to rest. He was not there
when we retired to rest, so that the wretched creature, who had probably
been wandering about without food upon the hills ever since the battle,
must have crawled down towards our fires, and there expired. Late at
night on the 22nd orders were sent round the divisions to be prepared
for marching after daybreak. Early on the 23rd we left the blood-stained
heights of the Alma--a name that will be ever memorable in history. Soon
after dawn the French assembled drums and trumpets on the top of the
highest of the hills they carried, and a wild flourish and roll,
repeated again and again, and broken by peals of rejoicing from the
bugles of the infantry, celebrated their victory ere they departed in
search of the enemy. It was spirit-stirring and thrilling music, and its
effect, as it swelled through the early morning over the valley, can
never be forgotten.


Our watch-fires were still burning languidly, as the sleepers roused
themselves, and prepared to leave the scene of their triumphs. The fogs
of the night crept slowly up the hill sides, and hung in uncertain folds
around their summits, revealing here and there the gathering columns of
our regiments in dark patches on the declivities, or showing the deep
black-looking squares of the French battalions, already in motion
towards the south. Dimly seen in the distance, the fleet was moving
along slowly by the line of the coast, the long lines of smoke trailing
back on their wake. But what was that grey mass on the plain, which
seemed settled down upon it almost without life or motion? Now and
then, indeed, an arm might be seen waved aloft, or a man raised himself
for a moment, looked around, and then fell down again. Alas! that plain
was covered with the wounded Russians. Nearly sixty long hours they
passed in agony upon the ground, and with but little hope of help or
succour more, we were compelled to leave them. Their wounds had been
bound and dressed.

Ere our troops marched, General Estcourt sent into the Tartar village up
the valley, into which the inhabitants were just returning, and having
procured the attendance of the head men, proceeded to explain that the
wounded Russians would be confided to their charge, and that they were
to feed and maintain them, and when they were well they were to be let
go their ways. An English surgeon was left behind with these 750
men--Dr. Thomson, of the 44th Regiment. He was told his mission would be
his protection in case the Cossacks came, and that he was to hoist a
flag of truce should the enemy appear in sight; and then, provided with
rum, biscuit, and salt meat, he was left with his charge, attended by a
single servant. One of the Russian officers addressed the wounded, and
explained the position in which they were placed; they promised to obey
Dr. Thomson's orders, to protect him as far as they could, and to
acquaint any Russian force which might arrive with the peculiar
circumstances under which he was among them.

It was nearly eight o'clock ere the tents of head-quarters were struck,
and the march began. We heard from the fleet that the enemy had not only
left the Katcha, but that they had even retired across the Belbek. Our
course was directed upon the former stream, almost in continuation of
our march of the 20th, before the battle. As we moved along, the
unfinished stone building, intended by the Russians for a telegraph
station, came into view. The French had cut upon the entablature the
simple inscription--_La Bataille d'Alma, 20 Septembre, 1854_. A similar
building was visible further on towards Sebastopol; on reaching the top
of one of the hills on our way, we could see the white lighthouse of
Chersonesus at the end of the promontory which juts out into the sea.
The country through which we marched was undulating and barren. Amidst
steep hillocks covered with thistles, and separated from each other at
times by small patches of steppe, or by more undulating and less
hillocky ground, wound the road to Sebastopol--a mere beaten track,
marked with cart-wheels, hoofs, and the nails of gun-carriage wheels. We
advanced uninterruptedly at an average rate of two and a quarter miles
an hour, halting occasionally to rest the troops, and allow the
baggage-wagons to come up.

At three o'clock the beautiful valley of the Katcha came in sight,
formed by a ridge of hills clad with verdure and with small forests of
shrubs, through which here and there shone the white walls of villas and
snug cottages. The country over which we marched slid down gradually to
the level of the river, whose course was marked all along the base of
the hills to the stream by lines of trees, and by the most luxurious
vegetation, forming a strong contrast to the barren and bleak-looking
tract on which our troops advanced. Lord Raglan and his staff rode on
considerably in advance of the troops, to the great astonishment and
indignation of a Prussian officer (Lieut. Wagman), who loudly declared
such conduct was quite opposed to the rules of war. Fluellen himself
could not have been more angry at such disregard of martial etiquette
than the gallant gentleman in question, and certainly we did show marked
contempt for the enemy, and the most superb disdain of his famed
Cossacks. Lord Raglan, his aides, his generals of artillery and
engineers and their staff, his quartermaster-general and his staff, his
adjutant-general and his staff, Sir John Burgoyne and his staff, and all
the staff-doctors, actually came within a few hundred yards of the
shrubberies and plantations at the river, a mile in advance of even the
cavalry, and were riding on towards it in the same _poco curante_
fashion, when Captain Chetwode and his troop of the 8th Hussars pushed
on in the front to reconnoitre.

The Katcha is a small and rapid rivulet, with banks like those of the
Alma; its course marked by neat white cottages, the most delicious
vineyards and gardens, but no inhabitants were visible. Wheeling over
the bridge, we turned eastward towards the little village of Eskel, on
the left bank. The first building on the road was the Imperial
Post-house, with its sign-post of the double-headed eagle, and an
illegible inscription. The usual wooden direction-post, with a black and
red riband painted round it diagonally on a white ground, informed us we
were on our way to Sebastopol, distant ten miles. The road now assumed
the character of an English by-way in Devonshire or Hampshire. Low walls
at either side were surmounted by fruit trees laden with apples, pears,
peaches and apricots, all ripe and fit for use, and at their foot
clustered grapes of the most delicate flavour. The first villa we came
to was the residence of a physician. It had been destroyed by the
Cossacks. A verandah, laden with clematis, roses, and honeysuckle in
front, was filled with broken music-stools, work-tables, and lounging
chairs. All the glasses of the windows were smashed. Everything around
betokened the hasty flight of the inmates. Two or three side-saddles
were lying on the grass outside the hall-door; a parasol lay near them,
close to a Tartar saddle and a huge whip. The wine casks were broken and
the contents spilt; the barley and corn of the granary were thrown about
all over the ground; broken china and glass of fine manufacture were
scattered over the pavement outside the kitchen;--and amid all the
desolation and ruin of the place, a cat sat blandly at the threshold,
winking her eyes in the sunshine at the new comers.

Mirrors in fragments were lying on the floor; beds ripped open, the
feathers littered the rooms a foot deep; chairs, sofas, fauteuils,
bedsteads, bookcases, picture-frames, images of saints, women's
needlework, chests of drawers, shoes, boots, books, bottles, physic
jars, smashed or torn in pieces, lay in heaps in every room. The walls
and doors were hacked with swords. The genius of destruction had been at
work, and had revelled in mischief. The physician's account-book lay
open on a broken table: he had been stopped in the very act of debiting
a dose to some neighbour, and his entry remained unfinished. Beside his
account-book lay a volume of "Madame de Sévigné's Letters" in French,
and a Pharmacopoeia in Russian. A little bottle of prussic acid lay so
invitingly near a box of bon-bons, that I knew it would be irresistible
to the first hungry private who had a taste for almonds, and I
accordingly poured out the contents to prevent the possible catastrophe.
Our men and horses were soon revelling in grapes and corn; and we pushed
on to Eskel, and established ourselves in a house which had belonged to
a Russian officer of rank.

[Sidenote: NEW QUARTERS.]

Every house and villa in the place was in a similar state. The better
the residence, the more complete the destruction. Grand pianos, and
handsome pieces of furniture, covered with silk and damasked velvet,
rent to pieces, were found in more than one house. One of the
instruments retained enough of its vital organs to breathe out "God save
the Queen" from its lacerated brass ribs, and it was made to do so
accordingly, under the very eye of a rigid portrait of his Imperial
Majesty the Czar, which hung on the wall above! These portraits of the
autocrat were not uncommon in the houses--nearly as common as pictures
of saints with gilt and silver glories around their heads. The houses,
large and small, consisted of one story only. Each house stood apart,
with a large patch of vineyard around it, and a garden of fruit trees,
and was fenced in from the road by a stone wall and a line of poplars or
elms. A porch covered with vines protected the entrance. The rooms were
clean and scrupulously whitewashed. Large outhouses, with wine-presses,
stables, &c., complete the farmer's establishment.

A deserter came in, and was taken before Lord Raglan. He was, however,
only a Tartar, but he gave such information respecting the feelings of
the inhabitants towards us, that steps were at once taken to inform
those who were hiding that if they returned to their homes, their lives
and property would be protected. Some hour or so after we had arrived at
Eskel, a number of bullet-headed personages, with sheepskin caps, and
loose long coats and trousers, made their appearance, stealthily
creeping into the houses, and eyeing the new occupants with shy
curiosity. From the people who thus returned we heard that the Russians
had arrived at the Katcha in dispirited condition the night of the
battle of the Alma, and had taken up their position in the villages and
in the neighbouring houses. At twelve o'clock the same night they
continued their march. A part of the army went towards Bakschiserai.
They were said to consist of about 20,000, and to be under the command
of Menschikoff in person. The rest proceeded direct to Sebastopol, and
entered the city in disorder. The evidences of their march were found
along the road, in cartridges, shakos, caps, and articles of worn-out
clothing. In the house which we occupied were abundant traces of the
recent visit of a military man of rank: books on strategy, in Russian,
lay on the floor, and a pair of handsome epaulets were found in the

Lord Raglan occupied a very pretty villa for the night, but most of the
furniture had been destroyed by the Cossacks. Orders were given to
prevent the soldiers destroying the vineyards or eating the fruit, but
of course it was quite impossible to guard so extensive and tempting a
region as the valley of the Katcha from thirsty and hungry men. There
our soldiers fared on the richest of grapes and the choicest pears and
apples; but they did not waste and spoil as the French did at Mamaschai,
lower down the river.


     Move from the Katcha--The Belbek--The Flank March--What might have
     been done--A surprise--Skirmish with the
     Russians--Plunder--Balaklava--Mr. Upton made
     Prisoner--Sebastopol--Its Fortifications--Preparations for the
     Siege--The Cherson Light-house--Death of Marshal St. Arnaud--French
     and English Positions.

On the 23rd, it was discovered that the enemy had sunk a line of vessels
across the harbour in deep water, so as to form a submarine barrier
against us. The ships thus sunk were the _Tre Sviatitel (Three
Bishops)_, three-decker; _Sufail_, _Urail_, two-deckers; the frigates
_Varna_ and _Med_, and the old two-decker _Bachmont_. This resolute and
sagacious measure was advised by Korniloff, and adopted by Menschikoff.

The head-quarters did not move from the Katcha till nearly noon on the
24th. The day was very hot, and the troops, standing under arms, or
lying down under the sun while this long delay took place, were very
much dissatisfied. The French received between 7,000 and 8,000 men, who
landed on the night of the 23rd and the morning of the 24th, at the
mouth of the Katcha. The Scots Greys, landed from the _Himalaya_, and
the 57th Regiment, which had been all but disembarked at the mouth of
the Alma, came round to the Katcha and joined the army.

The country towards the Belbek is hilly and barren for a couple of miles
after leaving the Katcha river. Then it becomes somewhat fresher and
more level, and at length the river is approached by a gentle descent of
meadow and greensward from the hills. The distance between the Katcha
and the Belbek is about six miles. The valley of the Belbek is commanded
by high hills on the left bank, but instead of being bare, like the
summits of the hills over the Katcha and the Alma, they are covered with
trees and brushwood.



As it had been ascertained by _reconnaissance_ that the enemy had
batteries along the north-west of the harbour of Sebastopol, in
conjunction with the Star Fort and Fort Constantine, which would cause
loss in an attempt to invest the town on that face, it occurred to Sir
John Burgoyne that a flank movement on Balaklava would turn and
neutralize the batteries, secure a new base of operations (of which, we
were in want, having abandoned that of the Katcha), and distract the
enemy, who would find the weakest part of Sebastopol exposed to the fire
of our batteries, and our attacks directed against a point where they
had least reason to expect it, and which they might have imagined free
from all assault. The whole army marched towards the south-east, on the
Black River, and as they were obliged to pass through a thickly-wooded
country, intersected by narrow lanes winding up and down the hills, the
troops were in some disorder, and had the enemy possessed the smallest
enterprise they might have inflicted severe loss and annoyance by a
spirited attack on our flank. This operation they at one time
contemplated, but they dreaded the result of a second defeat.

At times, from the top of the hills, the town, with its white houses
shining in the sun, could plainly be seen. All the afternoon the
steamers effected a diversion by shelling the Star Fort and Fort
Constantine, but at such a long range they could do but little
execution; however, the fire had the effect of engaging the attention of
the Russians. They did not make the smallest attempt to interrupt our
progress. In the course of our march the baggage was sent too far to the
left, and became involved in the line of the French and Turkish troops,
who were marching on our flanks. Lord Raglan and his staff rode on (as
was their wont) in advance, and reconnoitred Sebastopol. They were close
to the north-east fort; but no shot was fired at them, notwithstanding
that they were within range.

The works which commanded the mouth of the Belbek were inconsiderable,
and could easily have been silenced by the fleet. An eyewitness, who
served in the Russian army, states that all the troops, as they arrived
in at the south side on the 20th and 21st, crossed to the south-west,
except the Taioutine regiment. Such a movement would make it appear that
the Russians expected a descent upon the south side, or were prepared to
hold that side against the north, in case the Allies seized upon the
Sievernaya and the northern forts. The only preparation made for the
defence of the Sievernaya on the 22nd was as follows:--The Taioutine
regiment, four battalions; the four depôt battalions of the 13th
Division, and one battalion of sailors, in all about 6,000 men, were
placed to garrison the work, which was in a very bad state and badly
armed. They received orders to retire by a subterranean passage 4,000
feet long to the sea-side, in case the enemy should attack with vigour.
On the 23rd, finding they were not pressed or pursued, the Russians
pushed twelve battalions, two field batteries, and a regiment of
cavalry, to the Belbek, and at one time seemed to have contemplated a
demonstration against our flank. This, however, they abandoned; and on
the 24th they turned their attention to the defence of the bridge across
the Tchernaya, at Inkerman, on which they brought to bear four field and
four siege guns, and the troops which had been on the Belbek, and the
16th Division, the cavalry part of the 14th Division, &c., moved across
the Tchernaya by the Traktir bridge, and ascended to Mackenzie's farm,
whence on the morning of the 25th they descended to Otoukoi, on the
Belbek, and marched to Bakschiserai to await the course of events,
being joined there by Prince Gortschakoff, with the rest of the Russian
army of the Alma. The troops left in Sebastopol, exclusive of the
equipages of the fleet, were four battalions of the reserve of the 13th
Division, which had suffered severely at the Alma, four depôt battalions
of the 13th Division, and third battalion of the Taioutine regiment, in
all nine weak battalions.

All the Russian officers with whom I have conversed--all the testimony I
have heard or read, coincide on these two points--first, that if on the
25th we had moved to Bakschiserai in pursuit of the Russians, we should
have found their army in a state of the most complete demoralisation,
and might have forced the great majority of them to surrender as
prisoners of war in a sort of _cul de sac_, from which but few could
have escaped. Secondly, that had we advanced directly against
Sebastopol, the town would have surrendered after some slight show of
resistance to save the honour of the officers. The deduction from these
propositions is that the flank march was the certain precursor of a long
siege, of bloody battles and great losses; was an evidence of
diffidence, and at the same time of boldness which, though favoured by
fortune in its execution, was scarcely justifiable in a military sense,
and was an abandonment of the original character of the expedition.

And here I may be permitted to remark, that the statement in the letters
(of a Staff-officer) "from Head-quarters," page 224, to the effect that
Lord Lyons could not have disapproved of the flank march because he was
not present when Sir John Burgoyne proposed it, and that his manner,
when he received Lord Raglan at Balaklava, "proved he highly admired"
that movement, is calculated to lead to very erroneous impressions in
the minds of those who attach any weight to the assertions of that
officer. Lord Lyons, when he heard of the flank march, expressed his
disapproval of it, and when he met Lord Raglan, he (as I heard from his
own lips) told his lordship that he conceived the flank march to be a
departure from the spirit in which the expedition was undertaken, and
said, "This is strategy, but we are in no condition for strategical
operation. We came here for a coup-de-main, but this is strategy!" The
effects of that march are now matters beyond argument, and we can only
weigh probable results against events--a very difficult equation.
Whatever may be the opinions of civilians or military men respecting the
flank march, it is certain that to Sir John Burgoyne belongs the credit
of originating the idea at the conference which took place between the
generals on the Belbek.


On the day of our march from the Katcha I was struck down by fever, fell
from my pony into the stream where he was drinking, and was placed by
one of the staff surgeons in a jolting araba carrying a part of the
baggage of the Light Division, with poor Hughes of the 23rd Regiment,
one of the finest men in the British army, who died in the course of the
winter. The sun was exceedingly powerful, and when from the top of a
wooded hill we saw the delicious valley of the Belbek studded with
little snow-white cottages, with stately villas, with cosy snug-looking
hamlets buried in trees, and fringed with a continuous line of the most
gloriously green vineyards, and the noblest orchards of fruit-trees,
there was a murmur of delight throughout the army, the men,
precipitating themselves down the steep slopes of the hill-sides, soon
swarmed in every garden, and clustered in destructive swarms around
every bush. Their halt was, however, a short one.

The word was given to push over the stream, and its bright waters were
soon denied by the tramp of many feet. Just as the araba in which I lay
was passing by a beautiful little chateau, said to belong to a Russian
general, I saw a stream of soldiers issue from it, laden with
incongruous, but at the same time the richest, spoils; others were
engaged inside, breaking the glasses, throwing mirrors, pictures, and
furniture out of the open frames. I learned from an officer who was
standing by that the soldiers had not done the smallest mischief till
they saw a staff-officer take a bronze statuette out of the house and
ride away with it, whereupon the cry arose, "Let us plunder too if our
officer sets the example." I could not help thinking what would have
been the fate of that officer if he had served under our great Duke.

At the other side of the valley of the Belbek the hill-sides are
exceedingly steep, and were covered with dwarf wood and undergrowth of
bushes. It was with difficulty the waggons were urged up the rugged and
narrow paths. Lord Raglan occupied one of the plundered villas, near the
only bridge the Russians had left across the stream. There was very
great confusion in getting the men into their places on this wooded and
steep ridge of hills intersected with ravines, and it was long after
sunset ere the men finally settled down at their bivouac fires. They had
not eaten their scrambling and very heterogeneous suppers, and laid down
to rest more than a few hours, when (about 1.30 in the morning) the
report of a gun on the hills towards our right woke up the allied
armies. The bugles at once sounded, the men stood to their arms, but all
was silent. It appeared that the French vedettes saw some Cossacks in
their front, and fell back on a picket who were bivouacing by a large
fire, when the enemy opened upon them at a long range, either from some
of the earthworks of the north side or from field-pieces. The shot
whizzed high over head, and one of them passed over the English
head-quarters, but as the vedettes reported all quiet in front soon
afterwards, the troops piled arms and lay down to sleep again. Cholera
was much on the increase, and many fell sick or died during the night.

On Monday morning, the 25th, our troops were under arms at 5.30 A.M.; at
seven Lord Raglan, Sir John Burgoyne, and other staff officers proceeded
to the French head-quarters, to decide on the course to be pursued in
the forthcoming attack on Sebastopol. Marshal St. Arnaud was very
unwell, but if M. de Bazancourt is to be credited, he was able to write
very unjust entries in his journal, and to speak in a tone of
egotistical confidence which his situation rendered painful, and which
but for that would have been ridiculous. He says, under the head of the
25th, "The English ought to start first, and do not move till nine
o'clock." He must have known that till after nine o'clock it was not
decided what course the troops were to take. Again, he speaks of himself
as the sole leader, at a time when he had all but resigned the command.
"Je les battrai," &c., on the very day when he was obliged to be carried
from his tent in Prince Menschikoff's carriage. At the conferences, the
French proposed to force the Inkerman bridge across the Tchernaya, and
to make a push at the town. Sir John Burgoyne proposed that we should
cross the stream by the bridge, at a place called Traktir, or
"Restaurant," near Tchorguna, and by his representations carried the
majority of those present with him, as he adduced strong reasons for
seizing Balaklava, Kamiesch, and Kazatch, which were as much appreciated
by our allies as by the English. It was therefore decided that the
armies should continue their march on the ridge between the Belbek and
the Tchernaya.

Our march was by different routes, the artillery proceeding by a
difficult road, which allowed only one horseman to ride by the side of
each gun. The Duke of Cambridge's baggage was actually within gunshot of
Sebastopol for a quarter of an hour. As Lord Raglan was riding on in
front of his staff he found himself, on emerging from a wooded road on
the open space in front, in the immediate presence of a body of Russian
infantry, which turned out to be the baggage guard of a large detachment
of the Russian army marching from Sebastopol to Bakschiserai. They were
not more than a few hundred yards distant. Lord Raglan turned his horse,
and quietly cantered back to the rear of the first division of
Artillery. The cavalry, consisting of a portion of the 11th and 8th
Hussars, were quickly got in front--the guns were unlimbered and opened
on the retreating mass of Russians; the 2nd battalion of Rifles in
skirmishing order threw in a volley, the cavalry executed a charge, and
the Russians broke and fled, leaving behind them an enormous quantity of
baggage of every description. The enemy were pursued two or three miles
on the road to Bakschiserai, but they fled so precipitately the cavalry
could not come up with them.

The troops were halted and allowed to take what they liked. They broke
open the carts and tumbled out the contents on the road; but the pillage
was conducted with regularity, and the officers presided over it to see
that there was no squabbling, and that no man took more than his share.
Immense quantities of wearing apparel, of boots, shirts, coats, dressing
cases, valuable ornaments, and some jewellery were found in the baggage
carts, as well as a military chest containing some money (there are
people who say it held 3000_l._). A Russian artillery officer was found
in one of the carriages, in a very jovial mood. Plenty of champagne was
discovered among the baggage, and served to cheer the captors during
their cold bivouac that night. A number of handsome hussar jackets,
richly laced with silver, and made of fine light-blue cloth, which had
never been worn, were also taken, and sold by the soldiers for sums
varying from 20_s._ to 30_s._ a-piece. Fine large winter cloaks of
cloth, lined with rich furs, were found in abundance.

[Sidenote: A LAND-LOCKED BAY.]

This plunder put the soldiers in good humour, and they marched the
whole day, leaving Sebastopol on their right, till they arrived at the
little hamlet of Traktir, on the Tchernaya or Black River, just before
sunset, and halted for the night. As the baggage was separated from the
bulk of the army by the distance of some miles, Lord Raglan was fain to
put up in a miserable lodge for the night, while the bulk of his staff
slept on the ground in a ditch outside it. Not the smallest attempt was
made by the enemy to interrupt or annoy us during this very remarkable
march, which could at any time have been greatly harassed by the least
activity on the part of the Russians. Continuing our advance early next
morning, we crossed the Tchernaya, and proceeded across the plains to

He was a bold mariner who first ventured in here, and keen-eyed too. I
never was more astonished in my life than when on the morning of
Tuesday, Sept. 26th, I halted on the top of one of the numerous hills of
which this portion of the Crimea is composed, and looking down saw under
my feet a little pond, closely compressed by the sides of high rocky
mountains; on it floated some six or seven English ships, for which exit
seemed quite hopeless. The bay is like a highland tarn, and it is long
ere the eye admits that it is some half mile in length from the sea, and
varies from 250 to 120 yards in breadth. The shores are so steep and
precipitous that they shut out the expanse of the harbour, and make it
appear much smaller than it really is. Towards the sea the cliffs close
up and completely overlap the narrow channel which leads to the haven,
so that it is quite invisible. On the south-east of the poor village,
which struggles for existence between the base of the rocky hills and
the margin of the sea, are the extensive ruins of a Genoese fort, built
some 200 feet above the level of the sea. It must have once been a large
and important position, and its curtains, bastions, towers, and walls,
all destroyed and crumbling in decay though they are, evince the spirit
and enterprise of the hardy seamen who penetrated these classic recesses
so long ago. There may be doubts whether the Genoese built it, but there
can be none that it is very old, and superior in workmanship to the
edifices of the Turks or Tartars.

The staff advanced first on the town, and were proceeding to enter it,
when, to their surprise, from the old forts above came four spirts of
smoke in rapid succession, and down came four shells into the ground
close to them; but by this time the _Agamemnon_, outside the rocks, was
heard. The Rifles and some of the Light Division opened fire, and the
fort hung out a flag of truce. The Commandant had only sixty men, and
they were all made prisoners. On being asked why he fired from a
position which he must have known to be untenable, he replied that he
did so in order that he might be summoned, and that he felt bound to
fire till required to surrender.

Lord Raglan entered about twelve o'clock in the day. As he approached
the inhabitants came out to meet him, bearing trays laden with fruit and
flowers. Some of them bore loaves of bread cut up in pieces, and placed
on dishes covered with salt, in token of goodwill and submission.
Towards evening, the Agamemnon glided in between the rocks in the narrow
harbour, and anchored opposite the house of the General, whom Sir E.
Lyons speedily visited. The fleet and army were thus once more united,
and Lord Raglan had secured his base of operations.

Our cavalry in the afternoon took Mr. Upton, son of the English engineer
who constructed so many useful works at Sebastopol. He was captured on
his farm, and was taken before Lord Raglan, but refused to give any
information respecting the Russians, as he said he could not reconcile
it to his notions of honour to injure a Government in whose military
service he had been.

All the hills around were barren rock; towards the land they became more
fertile, and for a mile towards Sebastopol and Simpheropol were studded
with pleasant-looking white villas and farmhouses, principally inhabited
by Russian officials from Sebastopol.

The lighthouse of Cape Cherson fell into our hands, and was lighted up
by English sailors. The Russians had left it in darkness, but a party of
blue-jackets dashed at it on the 26th of September, and compelled the
Russian lighthouse-keeper to illuminate it. Jack was in great delight at
this. The _Firebrand_ and _Sanspareil_ landed 1000 sailors from the
fleet on the 1st of October. They were placed under canvas at the head
of the Bay of Balaklava. One thousand marines garrisoned the heights
above the town, and the First Division, liberated by their presence,
moved on in advance, and supported the Fourth Division. The Turks
encamped at the rear and to the right of our Third Division.

The _Australian_, _Sidney_, and _Gertrude_, with the heavy artillery and
siege train, came in on the 27th, and proceeded to disembark their heavy
guns at a pier which was repaired by the 3rd company of Sappers. The 4th
and 2nd Divisions were pushed on towards the south-west side of
Sebastopol, and encamped on ridges about two miles from the city,
separated from each other by a ravine, which commences near Balaklava
and runs nearly to the head of the creek of Sebastopol. The city was
quite visible below. Across the north of the harbour, near the most
easterly of the creeks, was placed a two-decker, painted so as to look
like a three-decker, with springs on her cable, and her broadside turned
towards our position. On the northern side a large circular work, with
three tiers of guns--Fort Constantine--was visible, and more inland
there was another large fortification, called the "Star Fort." On the
near side was a very large fortification, with curtains, running inland,
a semi-circular bastion, and some rudimentary earthworks--all outside
the town. Lord Raglan and staff rode out and made a reconnaissance. A
frigate, anchored inside the two-decker, near the end of the creek,
amused herself by firing round shot and shell, but did no damage. The
French landed their guns at Kamiesch and Khazatchel.

The cholera, which never left us, made many victims. Colonel Beckwith
(1st battalion Rifles), Captain Cox (Grenadier Guards), Colonel Hoey
(30th Regiment), Dr. Mackay, Lieutenant Grant (79th), the Rev. Mr.
Mockler, and others, were among the number.


On Friday, September 29, Marshal St. Arnaud, who had been obliged to
resign his command to General Canrobert on the march, was carried from
his quarters in Balaklava on board the _Berthollet_ in a dying state,
and expired at sea ere she reached the Bosphorus.

On the 30th, all our heavy guns were parked. On the 1st of October,
there was a general rest throughout the army. The enemy the whole of
that day amused themselves firing shot and shell over the heads of our
artillery, and General Cathcart was obliged to move his quarters, as the
Russians found out his range and made beautiful practice at them.
However, he left his flagstaff, which seemed of much attraction to them,
in the same place, and they continued to hammer away at it as usual. The
Second Division moved up on the left of our position on the 8th of
October, and the Light Division took ground on the extreme right.

Lieutenant-Colonel Dickson obtained the command of Captain Patton's
battery of artillery, vacated by the decease of the latter-named officer
by cholera.

During the first three weeks of our stay in the Crimea we lost as many
of cholera as perished on the Alma. We heard strange things from the
deserters who began to join us. They said that thirty Russian ladies
went out of Sebastopol to see the battle of the Alma, as though they
were going to a play or a picnic. They were quite assured of the success
of the Russian troops, and great was their alarm and dismay when they
found themselves obliged to leave the telegraph house on the hill, and
to fly for their lives in their carriages. There is no doubt but that
our enemies were perfectly confident of victory.

Forty pieces of heavy artillery were sent up on the 4th of October to
the park, and twelve tons of gunpowder were safely deposited in the mill
on the road towards Sebastopol. As the French had very little ground
left on which to operate on our left, the 2nd Division moved from its
position, crossed the ravine on its right, and took up ground near the
4th Division. The French immediately afterwards sent up a portion of
their troops to occupy the vacant ground.

Dr. Thomson, of the 44th, and Mr. Reade, Assistant-Surgeon Staff, died
of cholera on the 5th of October, in Balaklava. The town was in a
revolting state. Lord Raglan ordered it to be cleansed, but there was no
one to obey the order, and consequently no one attended to it.




     English Head-Quarters--Investment of Sebastopol--Russian Batteries
     open fire--The Greeks expelled from Balaklava--First Sortie--Plan
     of the Works--The Turks--Review of the
     Campaign--Impediments--"Right" and "Left" Attacks--Officers in
     Command--Opening of the Siege--First Bombardment--Its Results--The
     "Valley of Death"--Hard Pounding--Privations--Russian
     Movements--Conflagrations--A Stratagem--Returns of Killed and
     Wounded--Diminution of our Numbers--Russian Tactics.

Lord Raglan and Staff established head-quarters in a snug farmhouse,
surrounded by vineyards and extensive out-offices, about four and a half
miles from Balaklava, on the 5th of October. From the rising ground,
about a mile and a half distant from head-quarters, in front, the town
of Sebastopol was plainly visible. The Russians were occupied throwing
up works and fortifying the exposed portions of the town with the
greatest energy.

The investment of the place on the south side was, as far as possible,
during the night of the 7th, completed. Our lines were to be pushed on
the right and closed in towards the north, so as to prevent supplies or
reinforcements passing out or in on this side of the Black River. This
measure was absolutely necessary to enable our engineers to draw the
lines or measure the ground.

The Russians continued to work all the week at the White Fort, and cast
up strong earthworks in front of it, and also on the extreme left,
facing the French. They fired shell and shot, at intervals of ten
minutes, into the camps of the Second and Light Divisions. Sir George
Brown had to move his quarters more to the rear.


The silence and gloom of our camp, as compared with the activity and
bustle of that of the French, were very striking. No drum, no
bugle-call, no music of any kind, was ever heard within our precincts,
while our neighbours close by kept up incessant rolls, fanfaronnades,
and flourishes, relieved every evening by the fine performances of their
military bands. The fact was, many of our instruments had been placed in
store, and the regimental bands were broken up and disorganized, the
men being devoted to the performance of the duties for which the
ambulance corps was formed. I think, judging from one's own feelings,
and from the expressions of those around, that the want of music in camp
was productive of graver consequences than appeared likely to occur at
first blush from such a cause. Every military man knows how regiments,
when fatigued on the march, cheer up at the strains of their band, and
dress up, keep step, and walk on with animation and vigour when it is
playing. At camp, I always observed with pleasure the attentive auditory
who gathered every evening at the first taps of the drum to listen to
the music. At Aladyn and Devno the men used to wander off to the lines
of the 77th, because it had the best band in the division; and when the
bands were silenced because of the prevalence of cholera, out of a
humane regard for the feelings of the sick, the soldiers were wont to
get up singing parties in their tents in lieu of their ordinary
entertainment. It seemed to be an error to deprive them of a cheering
and wholesome influence at the very time they needed it most. The
military band was not meant alone for the delectation of garrison towns,
or for the pleasure of the officers in quarters, and the men were fairly
entitled to its inspiration during the long and weary march in the
enemy's country, and in the monotony of a standing camp ere the
beginning of a siege.

Soon after daybreak on the morning of the 10th, the Russian batteries
opened a heavy fire on the right of our position, but the distance was
too great for accuracy. On the same day four battalions of French,
numbering 2400 men, broke ground at nine o'clock P.M., and before
daybreak they had finished a ditch, parapet, and banquette, 1200 metres
long, at a distance of 900 metres from the enemy's line; and so little
did the Russians suspect the operation, that they never fired a gun to
disturb them. Each man worked and kept guard at one of the covering
parties in turn till daybreak, and by that time each man had finished
his half metre of work, so that the 1,200 metres were completed. From
this position a considerable portion of the enemy's defences on their
right was quite under control, and the French could command the heaviest
fort on that side. From the top of the ditch seventy-six guns could be
counted in the embrasures of this work, which was called the Bastion du
Mât. The French had got forty-six guns ready to mount when the
embrasures should be made and faced with gabions and fascines, and the
platforms were ready. Their present line was from 200 to 300 yards
nearer to the enemy's lines than ours; but the superior weight of our
siege guns more than compensated for the difference of distance.

On the previous night the British, who had already thrown up some
detached batteries, broke ground before Sebastopol on the left. Soon
after dark, 800 men were marched out silently under the charge and
direction of Captain Chapman, R.E., who has the construction of the
works and engineering department of the left attack under his control.
About 1200 yards of trench were made, though the greatest difficulty was
experienced in working, owing to the rocky nature of the ground. The
cover was tolerably good. The Russians never ceased firing, but
attempted nothing more, and those who were hoping for a sortie were
disappointed. As an earthwork for a battery had been thrown up the
previous day, within fire of the enemy's guns, their attention was
particularly directed to our movements, and throughout the day they kept
up a tremendous fire on the high grounds in front of the Light and
Second Divisions. The Russians, who usually ceased firing at sunset,
were on the alert all night, and continued their fire against the whole
line of our approaches almost uninterruptedly. Every instant the
darkness was broken by a flash which had all the effect of summer
lightning--then came darkness again, and in a few seconds a fainter
flash denoted the bursting of a shell. The silence in the English Camp
afforded a strange contrast to the constant roar of the Russian
batteries, to the music and trumpet calls and lively noises of the
encampment of our allies. After nightfall the batteries on the Russian
centre opened so fiercely that it was expected they were covering a
sortie, and the camp was on the alert in consequence. Lord Raglan,
accompanied by Quartermaster-General Airey and several officers, started
at ten o'clock, and rode along the lines, minutely inspecting the state
and position of the regiments and works. They returned at half-past one
o'clock in the morning. The casualties on the night of the 10th were,
one man, 68th, died of wounds, legs taken off; one man, 57th, killed by
cannon-shot; another man, 57th, arm shot off; Lieutenant Rotherham,
20th, slightly wounded in the leg by a stone which had been "started" by
a cannon-shot.

Colonel Waddy, Captain Gray, and Lieutenant Mangles, 50th, were wounded
by a shell on the evening of the 11th. It was rumoured that the Russians
would attack Balaklava, while the Greeks were to aid them by setting
fire to the town. The information on this point was so positive, that
the authorities resorted to the extreme measure of ordering the Greeks,
men, women, and children, to leave the town, and the order was rigidly
carried into effect before evening. An exception was made in favour of
the Tartar families, who were all permitted to remain. The Greeks were
consoled in their flight by a good deal of plunder in the shape of
clothes which had been left with them to wash.


Capt. Gordon, R.E., commenced our right attack soon after dark. Four
hundred men were furnished from the Second and Light Divisions on the
works, and strong covering parties were sent out in front and in rear to
protect them. The working party was divided into four companies of 100
men each, and they worked on during the night with such good will, that
before morning No. 1 party had completed 160 yards; No. 2, 78 yards; No.
3, 95 yards; No. 4, 30 yards--in all 363 yards of trench ready for
conversion into batteries. These trenches were covered very perfectly.
It was intended that a party of similar strength should be employed on
the left and centre; but, owing to one of those accidents which
unavoidably occur in night work, the sappers and miners missed their
way, and got in advance towards the lines of the enemy. They were
perceived by an advanced post, which opened fire on them at short
distance, and, wonderful to relate, missed them all. The flashes,
however, showed our men that strong battalions of Russian infantry were
moving silently towards our works, and the alarm was given to the
division in the rear. At twenty-five minutes past one a furious
cannonade was opened by the enemy on our lines, as they had then
ascertained that we had discovered their approach. The Second and Light
Divisions turned out, and our field guns attached to them opened fire on
the enemy, who were advancing under the fire of their batteries. Owing
to some misunderstanding, the covering parties received orders to
retire, and fell back on their lines--all but one company of riflemen,
under the command of Lieutenant Godfrey, who maintained the ground with
tenacity, and fired into the columns of the enemy with effect. The
Russians pushed on field-pieces to support their assault. The batteries
behind them were livid with incessant flashes, and the roar of shot and
shell filled the air, mingled with the constant "ping-pinging" of rifle
and musket-balls. All the camps "roused out." The French on our left got
under arms, and the rattle of drums and the shrill blast of trumpets
were heard amid the roar of cannon and small arms. For nearly
half-an-hour this din lasted, till all of a sudden a ringing cheer was
audible on our right, rising through the turmoil. It was the cheer of
the 88th, as they were ordered to charge down the hill on their unseen
enemy. It had its effect, for the Russians, already pounded by our guns
and shaken by the fire of our infantry, as well as by the aspect of the
whole hill-side lined with our battalions, turned and fled under the
shelter of their guns. Their loss was not known; ours was very trifling.
The sortie was completely foiled, and not an inch of our lines was
injured, while the four-gun battery (the main object of their attack)
was never closely approached at all. The alarm over, every one returned
quietly to tent or bivouac. In order to understand this description of
the works, it will be necessary to refer to the plan which accompanies
this. It affords a good idea of the appearance presented by the lines
and works on the eve of the first bombardment.

At the distance of about 700 sagenes (a sagene is seven feet), from the
south extremity of the Careening Bay, was placed a round tower, around
which the Russians had thrown up extensive entrenchments, armed with
heavy guns. There was a standing camp of cavalry and infantry on a
rising ground, on the summit of which this tower was placed, and
probably 10,000 or 12,000 men were encamped there. This round tower was
provided with guns, which, equally with those in the earthworks below,
threw shot and shell right over our advanced posts and working parties,
and sometimes pitched them over the hills in our front into the camps
below. At the distance of 1200 yards from this round tower, in a
direction nearly due south-south-east, our first batteries were to be
formed, and the earthworks had been thrown up there, inclining with the
slope of the hill towards the end of the Dockyard Creek, from which they
were distant 930 yards. The guns of works were intended to command the
Dockyard Creek, the ships placed in it, and the part of the town and its
defences on the west and south of the creek.

Our left attack extended up towards the slope of the ravine which
divided the French from the British attacks, and which ran south-east
from the end of the Dockyard Creek up to our headquarters at Khutor.
Dominating both of these entrenchments, for most of their course, was a
heavy battery of eight Lancaster and ten-inch naval guns, placed at a
distance of 2500 yards from the enemy's lines. The extreme of the French
right was about two and a half miles from the extreme of the British
left attack. South of the Cemetery, and inclining up towards Quarantine
Bay and the fresh-water wells, were the French lines, which were
beautifully made and covered. The fire of the Russian batteries thrown
up from the circular position at the end of the western wall towards the
barracks, near the end of the Dockyard Harbour, was incessantly directed
on them, and shells sometimes burst in the lines; but as a general rule
they struck the hill in front, bounded over, and burst in the rear. Our
left attack crept round towards Inkerman, and commanded the place from
the influx of the Tchernaya into the head of the bay or harbour of
Sebastopol, to the hills near the round tower already threatened by our
right attack. The French commanded the place from the sea to the ravine
at the end of the Dockyard Harbour, and when their guns were mounted, it
was hoped that all the forts, intrenchments, buildings, earthworks,
barracks, batteries, and shipping would be destroyed.

The front of both armies united, and the line of offensive operations
covered by them, extended from the sea to the Tchernaya for seven and a
half or eight miles. From our extreme right front to Balaklava our lines
extended for about the same distance, and the position of the army had
been made so strong on the eastern, south-eastern, flank and rear, as to
set all the efforts of the Russians to drive us from it utterly at
defiance. In the first place, the road from Kadikoi to Kamara, and the
western passes of the mountains, had been scarped in three places so
effectually that it would have been difficult for infantry, and
therefore impossible for artillery, to get along it to attack us. A
heavy gun had, however, been placed in position on the heights to
command this road, and to sweep the three scarps effectually. On the
heights over the east side of Balaklava, were pitched the tents of about
1000 marines from the various ships of the fleet, and several 24 pound
and 32 pound howitzers had been dragged up into position on the same
elevation. At Kadikoi, towards the north-west, was situated a sailors'
camp of about 800 men, with heavy guns in support, and with a temporary
park for artillery and ship-guns below them. From Kadikoi towards
Traktir the ground was mountainous, or rather it was exceedingly hilly,
the heights having a tumular appearance, and the ridges being
intersected by wide valleys, through a series of which passed on one
side Prince Woronzoff's road, the road to Inkerman, and thence to
Sebastopol, by a long _détour_ over the Bakschiserai road, and that to


On five of these tumular ridges overlooking the road to Balaklava, a
party of 2000 Turks were busily engaged casting up earthworks for
redoubts, under the direction of Captain Wagman, a Prussian engineer
officer, who was under the orders of Sir John Burgoyne. In each of these
forts were placed two heavy guns and 250 Turks. These poor fellows
worked most willingly and indefatigably, though they had been exposed to
the greatest privations. For some mysterious reason or other the Turkish
government sent instead of the veterans who fought under Omar Pasha, a
body of soldiers of only two years' service, the latest levies of the
Porte, many belonging to the non-belligerent class of barbers, tailors,
and small shopkeepers. Still they were patient, hardy, and strong--how
patient I am ashamed to say. I was told, on the best authority, that
these men were landed without the smallest care for their sustenance,
except that some Marseilles biscuits were sent on shore for their use.
These were soon exhausted--the men had nothing else. From the Alma up to
the 10th of October, the whole force had only two biscuits each! The
rest of their food they had to get by the roadside as best they might,
and in an inhospitable and desolated country they could not get their
only solace, tobacco; still they marched and worked day after day,
picking up their subsistence by the way as best they might, and these
proud Osmanli were actually seen walking about our camps, looking for
fragments of rejected biscuit. But their sorrows were turned to joy, for
the British people fed them, and such diet they never had before since
Mahomet enrolled his first army of the faithful. They delighted in their
coffee, sugar, rice, and biscuits, but many of the True Believers were
much perturbed in spirit by the aspect of our salt beef, which they
believed might be pork in disguise, and they subjected it to strange
tests ere it was incorporated with Ottoman flesh and blood.

Eighteen days had elapsed since our army, by a brilliant and daring
forced march on Balaklava, obtained its magnificent position on the
heights which envelope Sebastopol on the south side from the sea to the
Tchernaya; the delay was probably unavoidable. Any officer who has been
present at great operations of this nature will understand what it is
for an army to land in narrow and widely separated creeks all its
munitions of war--its shells, its cannon-shot, its heavy guns, mortars,
its powder, its gun-carriages, its platforms, its fascines, gabions,
sandbags, its trenching tools, and all the various _matériel_ requisite
for the siege of extensive and formidable lines of fortifications and
batteries. But few ships could come in at a time to Balaklava or
Kamiesch; in the former there was only one small ordnance wharf, and yet
it was there that every British cannon had to be landed. The nature of
our descent on the Crimea rendered it quite impossible for us to carry
our siege train along with us, as is the wont of armies invading a
neighbouring country only separated from their own by some imaginary
line. We had to send all our _matériel_ round by sea, and then land it
as best we could. But when once it was landed the difficulties of
getting it up to places where it was required seemed really to commence.
All these enormous masses of metal had to be dragged by men, aided by
such inadequate horse-power as was at our disposal, over a steep and
hilly country, on wretched broken roads, to a distance of eight miles,
and one must have witnessed the toil and labour of hauling up a
Lancaster or ten-inch gun under such circumstances to form a notion of
the length of time requisite to bring it to its station. It will,
however, serve to give some idea of the severity of this work to state
one fact--that on the 10th no less than thirty-three ammunition horses
were found dead, or in such a condition as to render it necessary to
kill them, after the duty of the day before. It follows from all these
considerations that a great siege operation cannot be commenced in a few
days when an army is compelled to bring up its guns.

Again, the nature of the ground around Sebastopol offered great
impediments to the performance of the necessary work of trenching,
throwing up parapets, and forming earthworks. The surface of the soil
was stony and hard, and after it had been removed the labourer came to
strata of rock and petrous masses of volcanic formation, which defied
the best tools to make any impression on them, and our tools were far
from being the best. The result was that the earth for gabions and for
sand-bags had to be carried from a distance in baskets, and in some
instances enough of it could not be scraped together for the most
trifling parapets. This impediment was experienced to a greater extent
by the British than by the French. The latter had better ground to work
upon, and they found fine beds of clay beneath the first coating of
stones and earth, which were of essential service to them in forming
their works.

The officers commanding the batteries on the right attack were
Lieutenant-Colonel Dickson, Captain D'Aguilar, and Captain Strange. The
officers commanding the batteries of the left attack were Major Young,
Major Freese, and Major Irving. The whole of the siege-train was
commanded by Lieutenant-Colonel Gambier.

Our left attack consisted of four batteries and 36 guns; our right
attack of 20 guns in battery. There were also two Lancaster batteries
and a four-gun battery of 68-pounders on our right. The French had 46
guns. In all 117 guns to 130 guns of the Russians. The night was one of
great anxiety, and early in the morning we all turned out to see the
firing. On 17th October the bombardment began. It commenced by signal at
6.30 A.M.; for thirty minutes previous the Russians fired furiously on
all the batteries. The cannonade on both sides was most violent for
nearly two hours.

At eight o'clock it was apparent that the French batteries in their
extreme right attack, overpowered by the fire and enfiladed by the guns
of the Russians, were very much weakened; their fire slackened minute
after minute.

At 8.30 the fire slackened on both sides for a few minutes; but
recommenced with immense energy, the whole town and the line of works
being enveloped in smoke.


At 8.40 the French magazine in the extreme right battery of twelve guns
blew up with a tremendous explosion, killing and wounding 100 men. The
Russians cheered, fired with renewed vigour, and crushed the French fire
completely, so that they were not able to fire more than a gun at
intervals, and at ten o'clock they were nearly silenced on that side.

At 10.30 the fire slackened on both sides, but the Allies and Russians
re-opened vigorously at 10.45. Our practice was splendid, but our works
were cut up by the fire from the Redan and from the works round a
circular martello tower on our extreme right.

At 12.45 the French line-of-battle ships ran up in most magnificent
style and engaged the batteries on the sea side. The scene was
indescribable, the Russians replying vigorously to the attacks by sea
and land, though suffering greatly.

At 1.25 another magazine in the French batteries blew up. The cannonade
was tremendous. Our guns demolished the Round Tower but could not
silence the works around it.

At 1.40 a great explosion took place in the centre of Sebastopol amid
much cheering from our men, but the fire was not abated. The Lancaster
guns made bad practice, and one of them burst. At 2.55 a terrific
explosion of a powder magazine took place in the Russian Redan Fort. The
Russians, however, returned to their guns, and still fired from the
re-entering angle of their works. The cannonade was continuous from the
ships and from our batteries, but the smoke did not permit us to discern
whether the British fleet was engaged.

At 3.30 a loose powder store inside our naval battery was blown up by a
Russian shell, but did no damage. The enemy's earthworks were much
injured by our fire, the Redan nearly silenced, and the fire of the
Round Tower entrenchments diminished, though the inner works were still

At 3.35 the magazine inside the works of the Round Fort was blown up by
our shot.

At four the ships outside were ripping up the forts and stone-works and
town by tremendous broadsides. Only the French flag was visible, the
English fleet being on the opposite side of the harbour. Orders were
given to spare the town and buildings as much as possible.

From four to 5.30 the cannonade from our batteries was very warm, the
Russians replying, though our fire had evidently established its
superiority over theirs, the ships pouring in broadside after broadside
on Forts Nicholas and Constantine at close ranges. Towards dusk the fire
slackened greatly, and at night it ceased altogether, the Russians for
the first time being silent.

The French lost about 200 men, principally by the explosions; our loss
was very small--not exceeding 100 killed and wounded from the
commencement of the siege.

The fire was resumed on the morning of the 18th, soon after daybreak.
The French on that occasion were unable to support us, their batteries
being silenced.

During the night the Russians remounted their guns and brought up fresh
ones, and established a great superiority of fire and weight of metal.

On the 18th, early in the morning, a vedette was seen "circling left"
most energetically;--and here, in a parenthesis, I must explain that
when a vedette "circles left," the proceeding signifies that the enemy's
infantry are approaching, while to "circle right" is indicative of the
approach of cavalry. On this signal was immediately heard the roll-call
to "boot and saddle;" the Scots Greys and a troop of Horse Artillery
assembled with the remaining cavalry on the plain; the 93rd got under
arms, and the batteries on the heights were immediately manned. The
distant pickets were seen to advance, and a dragoon dashed over the
plain with the intelligence that the enemy was advancing quickly. Then
cavalry and infantry moved upon the plain, remaining in rear of the
eminences from which the movements of the vedettes had been observed.
This state of things continued for an hour, when, from the hills, about
3000 yards in front, the Turks opened fire from their advanced
entrenchments. The Moskows then halted in their onward course, and in
the evening lighted their watch-fires about 2000 yards in front of our
vedettes, the blaze showing bright and high in the darkness. Of course
we were on the alert all night, and before the day broke were
particularly attentive to our front. If the Russians had intended to
attack us at that time, they could not have had a more favourable
morning, a low dense white fog covering the whole of the plain. The sun
rose, and the mist disappeared, when it was found the Russians had
vanished also. The next day, the 19th, we naturally expected would be a
quiet one, and that we should not be annoyed by having to remain at our
arms for our final work. Not a bit of it; we had just laden ourselves
with haversacks to forage among the merchant shipping in the harbour,
when a vedette was seen to "circle right" most industriously. "Boot and
saddle" again resounded through the cavalry camps, and another day was
passed like its predecessor, the enemy finally once more retiring, this
time without advancing near enough for a shot from the Turks.

The enemy scarcely fired during the night of the 18th. Our batteries
were equally silent. The French on their side opened a few guns on their
right attack, at which they worked all night to get them into position;
but they did not succeed in firing many rounds before the great
preponderance of the enemy's metal made itself felt, and their works
were damaged seriously; in fact, their lines, though nearer to the
enemy's batteries than our own in some instances, were not sufficiently
close for the light brass guns with which they were armed.


At daybreak on the 19th the firing continued as usual from both sides.
The Russians, having spent the night in repairing the batteries, were
nearly in the same position as ourselves, and, unaided or at least
unassisted to the full extent we had reason to expect by the French, we
were just able to hold our own during the day. Some smart affairs of
skirmishers and sharpshooters took place in front. Our riflemen annoyed
the Russian gunners greatly, and prevented the tirailleurs from showing
near our batteries. On one occasion the Russian riflemen and our own men
came close upon each other in a quarry before the town. Our men had
exhausted all their ammunition; but as soon as they saw the Russians,
they seized the blocks of stone which were lying about, and opened a
vigorous volley on the enemy. The latter either had empty pouches, or
were so much surprised that they forgot to load, for they resorted to
the same missiles. A short fight ensued, which ended in our favour, and
the Russians retreated, pelted vigorously as long as the men could
pursue them. The coolness of a young artillery officer, named Maxwell,
who took some ammunition to the batteries through a tremendous fire
along a road so exposed to the enemy's fire that it has been called "The
Valley of Death," was highly spoken of on all sides. The blue-jackets
were delighted with Captain Peel, who animated the men by the exhibition
of the best qualities of an officer, though his courage was sometimes
marked by an excess that bordered on rashness. When the Union Jack in
the sailors' battery was shot away, he seized the broken staff, and
leaping up on the earthworks, waved the old bit of bunting again and
again amid a storm of shot, which fortunately left him untouched.

Our ammunition began to run short, but supplies were expected every
moment. Either from a want of cartridges, or from the difficulty of
getting powder down to the works, our 12-gun battery was silent for some
time. _The_ Admiral (Sir E. Lyons), on his little grey pony, was to be
seen hovering about our lines indefatigably.

The French fire slackened very much towards one o'clock, the enemy
pitching shells right into their lines and enfilading part of their new
works. Hour after hour one continuous boom of cannon was alone audible,
and the smoke screened all else from view. At a quarter past three there
was an explosion of powder in the tower opposite to our right attack.
The Flagstaff Fort seemed much knocked about by the French. The Redan
and Round Tower earthworks fired nearly as well as ever. As it was very
desirable to destroy the ships anchored in the harbour below us, and to
fire the dockyard buildings, our rockets were brought into play, and,
though rather erratic in their flight, they did some mischief, but not
so much as was expected. Wherever they fell the people could be seen
flying up the streets when the smoke cleared. At three o'clock P.M. the
town was on fire; but after the smoke had excited our hopes for some
time, it thinned away and went out altogether. They kept smartly at work
from three guns in the Round Tower works, and from some four or five in
the Redan, on our batteries.

Two 68-pounders were mounted during the night of the 19th in our
batteries, and the firing, which nearly ceased after dark, was renewed
by daybreak. We were all getting tired of this continual
"pound-pounding," which made a great deal of noise, wasted much powder,
and did very little damage. Our amateurs were quite disappointed and
tired out. Rome was not built in a day, nor could Sebastopol be taken in
a week. In fact, we had run away with the notion that it was a kind of
pasteboard city, which would tumble down at the sound of our cannon as
the walls of Jericho fell at the blast of Joshua's trumpet. The news
that Sebastopol had fallen, which we received _viâ_ England, excited
indignation and astonishment. The army was enraged, as they felt the
verity, whenever it might be realized, must fall short of the effect of
that splendid figment. They thought that the laurels of the Alma would
be withered in the blaze of popular delight at the imaginary capture.
People at home must have known very little about us or our position. I
was amused at seeing in a journal a letter from an "Old Indian," on the
manufacture of campaign bread _more Indico_, in which he advised us to
use salt! milk! and butter! in the preparation of what must be most
delicious food. Salt was a luxury which was very rarely to be had,
except in conjunction with porky fibre; and as to milk and butter, the
very taste of them was forgotten. Lord Raglan was very glad to get a
little cold pig and ration rum and water the night before we entered
Balaklava. However, the hardest lot of all was reserved for our poor
horses. All hay rations for baggagers were rigidly refused; they only
received a few pounds of indifferent barley. There was not a blade of
grass to be had--the whole of these _plateaux_ and hills were covered
with thistles only, and where the other covering of the earth went I
know not. The hay ration for a charger was restricted to 6lb. daily.
Under these circumstances horseflesh was cheap, and friendly presents
were being continually offered by one man to another of "a deuced good
pony," which were seldom accepted.

The next day, the 20th, I had a foraging expedition, and returned with a
goose, butter, preserved milk, &c.--a very successful foray, and a full
havresack. We were just beginning our meal of commissariat beef and
pork, tempered with the contents of the aforesaid havresack, when away
went the vedette again, first circling right and then reversing as
suddenly to the left. Again sounded trumpet, bugle, and drum through the
plain, and masses again moved into position upon it. So we remained till
dark, a night attack on the Turkish position in our front being
anticipated, and so we again stood all ready for some hours, during
which the only amusement was in the hands of the Turks, who fired a
round or two; darkness found us similarly occupied.

At 2.50 P.M. a fire broke out behind the Redan. At 3.15 P.M. a fire of
less magnitude was visible to the left of the Redan, further in towards
the centre of the town.

Prince Edward of Saxe-Weimar was wounded in the trenches. His wound was,
however, not at all serious. Our loss was three killed and thirty-two or
thirty-three wounded.

On the 21st a battery was finished before Inkerman, and two 18-pounders
were mounted in it, in order to silence the heavy ship gun which annoyed
the Second Division.

The steamer _Vladimir_ came up to the head of the harbour and opened
fire on the right attack. She threw her shell with beautiful accuracy,
and killed two men and wounded twenty others before we could reply
effectually. A large traverse was erected to resist her fire, and she
hauled off. Twenty-two guns were placed in a condition to open in this
attack by the exertions of the men under Major Tylden, who directed it.


Lord Dunkellin, Captain Coldstream Guards, eldest son of the Marquis of
Clanricarde, was taken prisoner on the 22nd. He was out with a working
party of his regiment, which had got a little out of their way, when a
number of men were observed through the dawning light in front of them.
"There are the Russians," exclaimed one of the men. "Nonsense, they're
our fellows," said his lordship, and off he went towards them, asking in
a high tone as he got near, "Who is in command of this party?" His men
saw him no more, but he was afterwards exchanged for the Russian
Artillery officer captured at Mackenzie's farm.

The Russians opened a very heavy cannonade on us in the morning; they
always did so on Sundays. Divine Service was performed with a continued
bass of cannon rolling through the responses and liturgy. The Russians
made a stealthy sortie during the night, and advanced close to the
French pickets. When challenged, they replied, "Inglis, Inglis," which
passed muster with our allies as _bonâ fide_ English; and before they
knew where they were, the Russians had got into their batteries and
spiked five mortars. They were speedily repulsed; but this misadventure
mortified our brave allies exceedingly.

The return of killed and wounded for the 22nd, during the greater part
of which a heavy fire was directed upon our trenches, and battery
attacks right and left, showed the excellent cover of our works and
their great solidity. We only lost one man killed in the Light Division,
and two men in the Siege Train; of wounded we had one in the First
Division, two in the Second Division, two in the Third Division, six in
the Fourth Division, five in the Light Division, and ten in the Siege
Train. A request made to us by the French that we would direct our fire
on the Barrack Battery, which annoyed them excessively, was so well
attended to, that before evening we had knocked it to pieces and
silenced it. But sickness continued, and the diminution of our numbers
every day was enough to cause serious anxiety. Out of 35,600 men borne
on the strength of the army, there were not at this period more than
16,500 rank and file fit for service. In a fortnight upwards of 700 men
were sent as invalids to Balaklava. There was a steady drain of some
forty or fifty men a-day going out from us, which was not dried up by
the numbers of the returned invalids. Even the twenty or thirty a-day
wounded and disabled, when multiplied by the number of the days we had
been here, became a serious item in the aggregate. We were badly off for
spare gun carriages and wheels, for ammunition and forage. Whilst our
siege works were languishing and the hour of assault appeared more
distant, the enemy were concentrating on our flank and rear, and
preparing for a great attempt to raise the siege.


     Criticisms on the British Cavalry--The Light Cavalry--Rear of our
     position--Endangered by the Russians--Redoubts defended by
     Turks--93rd Highlanders--The position--Advance of the
     Russians--Retreat of the Turks--Marshalling of the forces--The
     Cossacks stopped by the Highlanders--Charge of the Heavy
     Cavalry--Captain Nolan's Order--The Charge resolved upon--The
     Advance--Splendid spectacle--Fearful struggle--Retreat of the
     Russians--Our loss--Sortie on the 26th of October.

If the exhibition of the most brilliant valour, and of a daring which
would have reflected lustre on the best days of chivalry, could afford
full consolation for the affair of the 25th of October, we had no reason
to regret the loss we sustained.

In the following account I describe, to the best of my power, what
occurred under my own eyes, and I state the facts which I heard from men
whose veracity was unimpeachable. A certain feeling existed in some
quarters that our cavalry had not been properly handled since they
landed in the Crimea, and that they had lost golden opportunities from
the indecision and excessive caution of their leaders. It was said that
our cavalry ought to have been manoeuvred at Bouljanak in one way or
in another, according to the fancy of the critic. It was affirmed, too,
that the Light Cavalry were utterly useless in the performance of one of
their most important duties--the collection of supplies for the
army--that they were "above their business, and too fine gentlemen for
their work;" that our horse should have pushed the flying enemy after
the battle of the Alma; and, above all, that at Mackenzie's farm first,
and at the gorge near Kamara on the 7th October, they had been
improperly restrained from charging, and had failed in gaining great
successes, which would have entitled them to a full share of the laurels
of the campaign, owing solely to the timidity of the officer in command.
The existence of this feeling was known to many of our cavalry, and they
were indignant and exasperated that the faintest shade of suspicion
should rest upon any of their corps. With the justice of these
aspersions they had nothing to do, and perhaps the prominent thought in
their minds was that they would give such an example of courage to the
world, if the chance offered itself, as would shame their detractors for


It has been already mentioned that several battalions of Russian
infantry crossed the Tchernaya, and threatened the rear of our position
and our communication with Balaklava. Their bands could be heard playing
at night by the travellers along the Balaklava road to the camp, but
they "showed" but little during the day, and kept among the gorges and
mountain passes through which the roads to Inkerman, Simpheropol, and
the south-east of the Crimea wind towards the interior. The position we
occupied was supposed by most people to be very strong. Our lines were
formed by natural mountain slopes in the rear, along which the French
had made entrenchments. Below these entrenchments, and very nearly in a
right line across the valley beneath, were four conical hillocks, one
rising above the other as they reached from our lines; the farthest,
which joined the chain of mountains opposite to our ridges being named
Canrobert's Hill, from the meeting there of that general with Lord
Raglan after the march to Balaklava. On the top of each of these hills
the Turks had thrown up redoubts, each defended by 250 men, and armed
with two or three heavy ship guns--lent by us to them, with one
artilleryman in each redoubt to look after them. These hills crossed the
valley of Balaklava at the distance of about two and a half miles from
the town. Supposing the spectator, then, to take his stand on one of the
heights forming the rear of our camp before Sebastopol, he would have
seen the town of Balaklava, with its scanty shipping, its narrow strip
of water, and its old forts, on his right hand; immediately below he
would have beheld the valley and plain of coarse meadow land, occupied
by our cavalry tents, and stretching from the base of the ridge on which
he stood to the foot of the formidable heights at the other side; he
would have seen the French trenches lined with Zouaves a few feet
beneath, and distant from him, on the slope of the hill; a Turkish
redoubt lower down, then another in the valley; then, in a line with it,
some angular earthworks; then, in succession, the other two redoubts up
to Canrobert's Hill.

At the distance of two or two and a half miles across the valley was an
abrupt rocky mountain range covered with scanty brushwood here and
there, or rising into barren pinnacles and _plateaux_ of rock. In
outline and appearance this portion of the landscape was wonderfully
like the Trosachs. A patch of blue sea was caught in between the
overhanging cliffs of Balaklava as they closed in the entrance to the
harbour on the right. The camp of the Marines, pitched on the hill sides
more than 1000 feet above the level of the sea, was opposite to the
spectator as his back was turned to Sebastopol and his right side
towards Balaklava. On the road leading up the valley, close to the
entrance of the town and beneath these hills, was the encampment of the
93rd Highlanders.

The cavalry lines were nearer to him below, and were some way in advance
of the Highlanders, but nearer to the town than the Turkish redoubts.
The valley was crossed here and there by small waves of land. On the
left the hills and rocky mountain ranges gradually closed in towards the
course of the Tchernaya, till, at three or four miles' distance from
Balaklava, the valley was swallowed up in a mountain gorge and deep
ravines, above which rose tier after tier of desolate whitish rock,
garnished now and then by bits of scanty herbage, and spreading away
towards the east and south, where they attained the Alpine dimensions of
the Tschatir Dagh. It was very easy for an enemy at the Belbek, or in
command of the road of Mackenzie's farm, Inkerman, Simpheropol, or
Bakschiserai, to debouch through these gorges at any time upon this
plain from the neck of the valley, or to march from Sebastopol by the
Tchernaya, and to advance along it towards Balaklava, till checked by
the Turkish redoubts on the southern side, or by the fire from the
French works on the northern--_i.e._, the side which, in relation to the
valley at Balaklava, formed the rear of our position. It was evident
enough that Menschikoff and Gortschakoff had been feeling their way
along this route for several days past, and very probably at night the
Cossacks had crept up close to our pickets, which were not always as
watchful as might be desired, and had observed the weakness of a
position far too extended for our army to defend, and occupied by their
despised enemy, the Turks.

At half-past seven o'clock on the eventful morning of the 25th, an
orderly came galloping in to the head-quarters camp from Sir Colin
Campbell with the news, that at dawn a strong corps of Russian horse,
supported by guns and battalions of infantry, had marched into the
valley, had nearly dispossessed the Turks of the redoubt No. 1 (that on
Canrobert's Hill, which was farthest from our lines), and they had
opened fire on the redoubts Nos. 2, 3, and 4. Lord Lucan, who was in one
of the redoubts when they were discovered, brought up his guns and some
of his heavy cavalry, but they were obliged to retire owing to the
superior weight of the enemy's metal.

Orders were despatched to Sir George Cathcart and the Duke of Cambridge,
to put the Fourth and the First in motion; and intelligence of the
advance of the Russians was furnished to General Canrobert. Immediately
the General commanded General Bosquet to get the Third Division under
arms, and sent artillery and 200 Chasseurs d'Afrique to assist us. Sir
Colin Campbell, who was in command of Balaklava, had drawn up the 93rd
Highlanders a little in front of the road to the town, at the first news
of the advance of the enemy. The Marines on the heights got under arms;
the seamen's batteries and Marines' batteries, on the heights close to
the town, were manned, and the French artillerymen and the Zouaves
prepared for action along their lines. Lord Lucan's men had not had time
to water their horses; they had not broken their fast from the evening
of the day before, and had barely saddled at the first blast of the
trumpet, when they were drawn up on the slope behind the redoubts in
front of their camp, to operate on the enemy's squadrons.

When the Russians advanced, the Turks fired a few rounds, got frightened
at the advance of their supports, "bolted," and fled with an agility
quite at variance with common-place notions of Oriental deportment on
the battle-field.


Soon after eight o'clock, Lord Raglan and his staff turned out and
cantered towards the rear of our position. The booming of artillery, the
spattering roll of musketry, were heard rising from the valley, drowning
the roar of the siege guns before Sebastopol. As I rode in the direction
of the firing, over the undulating plain that stretches away towards
Balaklava, on a level with the summit of the ridges above it, I observed
a French light infantry regiment (the 27th, I think) advancing from our
right towards the ridge near the telegraph-house, which was already
lined by companies of French infantry. Mounted officers scampered along
its broken outline in every direction.

General Bosquet followed with his staff and a small escort of Hussars at
a gallop. Never did the painter's eye rest on a more beautiful scene
than I beheld from the ridge. The fleecy vapours still hung around the
mountain tops, and mingled with the ascending volumes of smoke; the
patch of sea sparkled freshly in the rays of the morning sun, but its
light was eclipsed by the flashes which gleamed from the masses of armed

Looking to the left towards the gorge, we beheld six masses of Russian
infantry, which had just debouched from the mountain passes near the
Tchernaya, and were advancing with solemn stateliness up the valley.
Immediately in their front was a line of artillery. Two batteries of
light guns were already a mile in advance of them, and were playing with
energy on the redoubts, from which feeble puffs of smoke came at long
intervals. Behind these guns, in front of the infantry, were bodies of
cavalry. They were three on each flank, moving down _en échelon_ towards
us, and the valley was lit up with the blaze of their sabres, and lance
points, and gay accoutrements. In their front, and extending along the
intervals between each battery of guns, were clouds of mounted
skirmishers, wheeling and whirling in the front of their march like
autumn leaves tossed by the wind. The Zouaves close to us were lying
like tigers at the spring, with ready rifles in hand, hidden chin deep
by the earthworks which ran along the line of these ridges on our rear;
but the quick-eyed Russians were manoeuvring on the other side of the
valley, and did not expose their columns to attack. Below the Zouaves we
could see the Turkish gunners in the redoubts, all in confusion as the
shells burst over them. Just as I came up, the Russians had carried No.
1 redoubt, the farthest and most elevated of all, and their horsemen
were chasing the Turks across the interval which lay between it and
redoubt No. 2.

At that moment the cavalry, under Lord Lucan, were formed--the Light
Brigade, under Lord Cardigan, in advance; the Heavy Brigade, under
Brigadier-General Scarlett, in reserve, drawn up in front of their
encampment, and were concealed from the view of the enemy by a slight
"wave" in the plain. Considerably to the rear of their right, the 93rd
Highlanders were in front of the approach to Balaklava. Above and behind
them, on the heights, the Marines were visible through the glass, drawn
up under arms, and the gunners could be seen ready in the earthworks, in
which were placed the ships' heavy guns. The 93rd had originally been
advanced somewhat more into the plain, but the instant the Russians got
possession of the first redoubt they opened fire on them from our own
guns, which inflicted some injury, and Sir Colin Campbell "retired" his
men to a better position. Meantime the enemy advanced his cavalry
rapidly. The Turks in redoubt No. 2 fled in scattered groups towards
redoubt No. 3, and Balaklava; but the horse-hoof of the Cossack was too
quick for them, and sword and lance were busily plied among the
retreating herd. The yells of the pursuers and pursued were plainly
audible. As the Lancers and Light Cavalry of the Russians advanced they
gathered up their skirmishers. The shifting trails of men, which played
all over the valley like moonlight on the water, contracted, gathered
up, and the little _peloton_ in a few moments became a solid column. Up
came their guns, in rushed their gunners to the abandoned redoubt, and
the guns of No. 2 soon played upon the dispirited defenders of No. 3
redoubt. Two or three shots in return and all was silent. The Turks
swarmed over the earthworks, and ran in confusion towards the town,
firing at the enemy as they ran. Again the solid column of cavalry
opened like a fan, and resolved itself into a "long spray" of
skirmishers. It lapped the flying Turks, steel flashed in the air, and
down went the Moslem on the plain. In vain the naval guns on the heights
fired on the Russian cavalry; the distance was too great. In vain the
Turkish gunners in the batteries along the French entrenchments
endeavoured to protect their flying countrymen; their shot flew wide and
short of the swarming masses.

The Turks betook themselves towards the Highlanders, where they checked
their flight and formed on the flanks. As the Russian cavalry on the
left of their line crowned the hill across the valley, they perceived
the Highlanders drawn up at the distance of some half a mile. They
halted, and squadron after squadron came up from the rear. The Russians
drew breath for a moment, and then in one grand line charged towards
Balaklava. The ground flew beneath their horses' feet; gathering speed
at every stride, they dashed on towards that _thin red line tipped with
steel_. The Turks fired a volley at eight hundred yards and ran. As the
Russians came within six hundred yards, down went that line of steel in
front, and out rang a rolling volley of Minié musketry. The distance was
too great; the Russians were not checked, but swept onwards, here and
there knocked over by the shot of our batteries; but ere they came
within two hundred and fifty yards, another volley flashed from the
rifles. The Russians wheeled about, and fled faster than they came.
"Bravo, Highlanders! well done!" shouted the excited spectators. But
events thickened; the Highlanders and their splendid front were soon
forgotten--men scarcely had a moment to think of this fact, that the
93rd never altered their formation to receive that tide of horsemen.
"No," said Sir Colin Campbell, "I did not think it worth while to form
them even four deep!" Then they moved _en échelon_, in two bodies, with
another in reserve. The cavalry who had been pursuing the Turks on the
right were coming up to the ridge beneath us, which concealed our
cavalry from view. The Heavy Brigade in advance was drawn up in two
lines. The first line consisted of the Scots Greys, and of their old
companions in glory, the Enniskillens; the second, of the 4th Royal
Irish, of the 5th Dragoon Guards, and of the 1st Royal Dragoons. The
Light Cavalry Brigade was on their left, in two lines also.


Lord Raglan sent orders to Lord Lucan to cover the approaches, and his
heavy horse were just moving from their position near the vineyard and
orchard, when he saw a body of the enemy's cavalry coming after him
over the ridge. Lord Lucan rode after his cavalry, wheeled them round,
and ordered them to advance against the enemy. The Russians--evidently
_corps d'élite_--their light blue jackets embroidered with silver lace,
were advancing at an easy gallop towards the brow of the hill. A forest
of lances glistened in their rear, and several squadrons of grey-coated
dragoons moved up quickly to support them as they reached the summit.
The instant they came in sight, the trumpets of our cavalry gave out the
warning blast which told us all that in another moment we should see the
shock of battle beneath our very eyes. Lord Raglan, all his staff and
escort, and groups of officers, the Zouaves, French generals and
officers, and bodies of French infantry on the height, were spectators
of the scene as though they were looking on the stage from the boxes of
a theatre. Every one dismounted, and not a word was said. The Russians
advanced down the hill at a slow canter, which they changed to a trot,
and at last nearly halted.

The trumpets rang out again through the valley, and the Greys and
Enniskilleners went right at the centre of the Russian cavalry. The
space between them was only a few hundred yards; it was scarce enough to
let the horses "gather way," nor had the men quite space sufficient for
the full play of their sword arms. The Russian line brought forward each
wing as our cavalry advanced, and threatened to annihilate them as they
passed on. Turning a little to the left, so as to meet the Russian
right, the Greys rushed on with a cheer that thrilled to every
heart--the wild shout of the Enniskilleners rose through the air at the
same instant. As lightning flashes through a cloud, the Greys and
Enniskilleners pierced through the dark masses of Russians. The shock
was but for a moment. There was a clash of steel and a light play of
sword-blades in the air, and then the Greys and the redcoats disappeared
in the midst of the shaken and quivering column. The first line of
Russians, which had been smashed by and had fled off at one flank and
towards the centre, were coming back to swallow up our handful of men.
By sheer steel and sheer courage Enniskillener and Scot were winning
their way right through the enemy's squadrons, and already grey horses
and red coats appeared at the rear mass, when the 4th Dragoon Guards,
riding at the right flank of the Russians, and the 5th Dragoon Guards,
following close after the Enniskilleners, rushed at the enemy and put
them to utter rout.

A cheer burst from every lip--in the enthusiasm, officers and men took
off their caps and shouted with delight; and thus keeping up the scenic
character of their position, they clapped their hands again and again.
Lord Raglan at once despatched Lieutenant Curzon, aide-de-camp, to
convey his congratulations to Brigadier-General Scarlett, and to say
"Well done!" The Russian cavalry, followed by our shot, retired in
confusion, leaving the ground, covered with horses and men.

At ten o'clock the Guards and Highlanders of the First Division were
seen moving towards the plains from their camp. The Duke of Cambridge
came up to Lord Raglan for orders, and his lordship, ready to give the
honour of the day to Sir Colin Campbell, who commanded at Balaklava,
told his Royal Highness to place himself under the direction of the
Brigadier. At forty minutes after ten, the Fourth Division also took up
their position in advance of Balaklava. The cavalry were then on the
left front of our position, facing the enemy; the Light Cavalry Brigade
_en échelon_ in reserve, with guns, on the right; the 4th Royal Irish,
the 5th Dragoon Guards, and Greys on the left of the brigade, the
Enniskillens and 1st Royals on the right. The Fourth Division took up
ground in the centre; the Guards and Highlanders filed off towards the
extreme right, and faced the redoubts, from which the Russians opened on
them with artillery, which was silenced by the rifle skirmishers under
Lieutenant Godfrey.

At fifty minutes after ten, General Canrobert, attended by his staff,
and Brigadier-General Rose, rode up to Lord Raglan, and the staffs of
the two Generals and their escorts mingled in praise of the magnificent
charge of our cavalry, while the chiefs apart conversed over the
operations of the day, which promised to be one of battle. At fifty-five
minutes after ten, a body of cavalry, the Chasseurs d'Afrique, passed
down to the plain, and were loudly cheered by our men. They took up
ground in advance of the ridges on our left.

Soon after occurred the glorious catastrophe. The Quartermaster-General,
Brigadier Airey, thinking that the Light Cavalry had not gone far enough
in front, gave an order in writing to Captain Nolan, 15th Hussars, to
take to Lord Lucan. A braver soldier than Captain Nolan the army did not
possess. He was known for his entire devotion to his profession, and for
his excellent work on our drill and system of remount and breaking
horses. He entertained the most exalted opinions respecting the
capabilities of the English horse soldier. The British Hussar and
Dragoon could break square, take batteries, ride over columns, and
pierce any other cavalry, as if they were made of straw. He thought they
had missed even such chances as had been offered to them--that in fact,
they were in some measure disgraced. A matchless horseman and a
first-rate swordsman he held in contempt, I am afraid even grape and
canister. He rode off with his orders to Lord Lucan.

When Lord Lucan received the order from Captain Nolan, and had read it,
he asked, we are told, "Where are we to advance to?" Captain Nolan
pointed with his finger in the direction of the Russians, and according
to the statements made after his death, said "There are the enemy, and
there are the guns," or words to that effect.


Lord Raglan had only in the morning ordered Lord Lucan to move from the
position he had taken near the centre redoubt to "the left of the second
line of redoubts occupied by the Turks." Seeing that the 93rd and
invalids were cut off from the cavalry, Lord Raglan sent another order
to Lord Lucan to send his heavy horse towards Balaklava, and that
officer was executing it just as the Russian horse came over the ridge.
The Heavy Cavalry charge then took place, and afterwards the men
dismounted on the scene. After an interval of half an hour, Lord Raglan
again sent an order to Lord Lucan--"Cavalry to advance and take
advantage of any opportunity to recover the heights. They will be
supported by infantry, which has been ordered to advance upon two
fronts." Lord Raglan's reading of this order was, that the infantry had
been ordered to advance on two fronts. It does not appear that the
infantry had received orders to advance; the Duke of Cambridge and Sir
G. Cathcart stated they were not in receipt of such instruction. Lord
Lucan advanced his cavalry to the ridge, close to No. 5 redoubt, and
while there received from Captain Nolan an order which as
follows:--"Lord Raglan wishes the cavalry to advance rapidly to the
front, follow the enemy, and try to prevent the enemy carrying away the
guns; troops of Horse Artillery may accompany. French cavalry is on your
left. Immediate."

Lord Lucan gave the order to Lord Cardigan to advance upon the guns,
conceiving that his orders compelled him to do so. The noble Earl saw
the fearful odds against him. It is a maxim of war, that "cavalry never
act without a support." "Infantry should be close at hand when cavalry
carry guns, as the effect is only instantaneous," and should always be
placed on the flank of a line of cavalry. The only support our light
cavalry had was the heavy cavalry at a great distance behind them, the
infantry and guns being far in the rear. There were no squadrons in
column. There was a plain to charge over, before the enemy's guns could
be reached, of a mile and a half in length.

At ten minutes past eleven our Light Cavalry Brigade advanced. The whole
Brigade scarcely made one effective regiment, according to the numbers
of continental armies; and yet it was more than we could spare. They
swept proudly past, glittering in the morning sun in all the pride and
splendour of war. They advanced in two lines, quickened their pace as
they closed towards the enemy. At the distance of 1,200 yards the whole
line of the enemy belched forth, from thirty iron mouths, a flood of
smoke and flame. The flight was marked by instant gaps in our ranks, by
dead men and horses, by steeds flying wounded or riderless across the
plain. In diminished ranks, with a halo of steel above their heads, and
with a cheer which was many a noble fellow's death-cry, they flew into
the smoke of the batteries; but ere they were lost from view the plain
was strewed with their bodies.


OF OCT 25th 1854.

                    Table of Killed & Wounded

|                 |     OFFICERS     ||       MEN        |  HORSES | |
|                 | Killed | Wounded || Killed | Wounded |  Killed | |
|                 |        |         ||        |         |         | |
|       { British |   13       27    ||  142   |   197   |    361  | |
|       {         |        |         ||        |         |         | |
|Allies { French  |    2   |    4    ||   21   |    33   |     79  | |
|       {         |        |         ||        |         |         | |
|       { Turkish |    3   |    7    ||       285        |     --  | |
|                 +--------+---------++--------+---------+---------+ |
|           Total |   18   |   38    ||       678        |    450  | |
|                 +--------+---------++------------------+---------+ |
|                                                                    |
|         Russian  700 Killed & Wounded                              |

       Total Numbers on the Field

|                   |   MEN  ||  GUNS  | |
|                   |        ||        | |
|       { British   |  9,900 ||    24  | |
|       {           |        ||        | |
|Allies { French    |  4,800 ||    12  | |
|       {           |        ||        | |
|       { Turkish   |    400 ||     8  | |
|                   |        ||        | |
|        Russians   | 18,500 ||    40  | |
|                   +--------++--------+ |
|             Total | 33,600 ||    84  | |
|                   +--------++--------+ |

Through the clouds of smoke we could see their sabres flashing as they
rode between the guns, cutting down the gunners as they stood. We saw
them riding through, returning, after breaking through a column of
Russians, and scattering them like chaff, when the flank fire of the
batteries on the hill swept them down. Wounded men and dismounted
troopers flying towards us told the sad tale. At the very moment a
regiment of Lancers was hurled upon their flank. Colonel Shewell, of the
8th Hussars, whose attention was drawn to them by Lieutenant Phillips,
saw the danger, and rode his few men straight at them. It was as much as
our Heavy Cavalry Brigade could do to cover the retreat of the
miserable remnants of that band of heroes as they returned to the place
they had so lately quitted in all the pride of life. At thirty-five
minutes past eleven not a British soldier, except the dead and dying,
was left in front of these Muscovite guns. The Heavy Cavalry, in columns
of squadrons, moved slowly backwards, covering the retreat of the broken
men. The ground was left covered with our men and with hundreds of
Russians, and we could see the Cossacks busy searching the dead. Our
infantry made a forward movement towards the redoubts after the cavalry
came in, and the Russian infantry in advance slowly retired towards the
gorge; at the same time the French cavalry pushed forward on their
right, and held them in check, pushing out a line of skirmishers, and
forcing them to withdraw their guns.

Captain Nolan was killed by the first shot fired, as he rode in advance
of the first line. Lord Cardigan received a lance thrust through his

While the affair was going on, the French cavalry made a most brilliant
charge at the battery on our left, and cut down the gunners; but they
could not get off the guns, and had to retreat with the loss of two
captains and fifty men killed and wounded out of their little force of
200 Chasseurs.

The Russians from the redoubt continued to harass us, and the First
Division were ordered to lie down in two lines. The Fourth Division,
covered by the rising ground, and two regiments of French infantry which
had arrived in the valley, followed by artillery, moved onwards to
operate on the Russian right, already threatened by the French cavalry.
The Russians threw out skirmishers to meet the French skirmishers, and
the French contented themselves with keeping their position. At eleven
A.M., the Russians, feeling alarmed at our steady advance and at the
symptoms of our intention to turn or cut off their right, retired from
No. 1 redoubt, which was taken possession of by the allies. At fifteen
minutes past eleven they abandoned redoubt No. 2, blowing up the
magazine; and, as we still continued to advance, they blew up and
abandoned No. 3 at forty-five minutes past eleven; but, to our great
regret, we could not prevent their taking off seven out of nine guns in
the works.

At forty-eight minutes past eleven, the Russian infantry began to
retire, a portion crept up the hills behind the 1st redoubt, which still
belonged to them. The artillery on the right of the First Division fired
shot and rockets at the 1st redoubt, but could not do much good, nor
could the heavy guns of the batteries near the town carry so far as to
annoy the Russians. At twelve o'clock the greater portion of the French
and English moved on, and an accession to the artillery was made by two
French batteries, pushed on towards the front of our left. The First
Division remained still in line along the route to Balaklava. From
twelve to fifteen minutes passed, not a shot was fired on either side,
but the Russians gathered up their forces towards the heights over the
gorge, and, still keeping their cavalry on the plain, manoeuvred in
front on our right.


At twenty-eight minutes after twelve the allies again got into motion,
with the exception of the First Division, which moved _en échelon_
towards the opposite hills, keeping their right wing well before
Balaklava. At forty minutes after twelve, Captain Calthorpe was sent by
Lord Raglan with orders which altered the disposition of our front, for
the French, at one P.M. showed further up on our left. As our object was
solely to keep Balaklava, we had no desire to bring on a general
engagement; and as the Russians would not advance, but kept their
cavalry in front of the approach to the mountain passes, it became
evident the action was over. The cannonade, which began again at a
quarter-past twelve, and continued with very little effect, ceased
altogether at a quarter-past one. The two armies retained their
respective positions.

Lord Raglan continued on the hill-side all day, watching the enemy. It
was dark ere he returned to his quarters. With the last gleam of day we
could see the sheen of the enemy's lances in their old position in the
valley; and their infantry gradually crowned the heights on their left,
and occupied the road to the village which is beyond Balaklava to the
southward. Our Guards were moving back, as I passed them, and the tired
French and English were replaced by a French division, which marched
down to the valley at five o'clock.

We had 13 officers killed or taken, 162 men killed or taken; 27 officers
wounded, 224 men wounded. Total killed, wounded, and missing, 426.
Horses, killed or missing, 394; horses wounded, 126; total, 520.

In the night when our guns were taken into Sebastopol, there was joy
throughout the city, and it was announced that the Russians had gained a
great victory. A salvo of artillery was fired, and at nine o'clock P.M.
a tremendous cannonade was opened against our lines by the enemy. It did
no injury. At one P.M. on the 26th, about 4,000 men made an attack on
our right flank, but were repulsed by Sir De Lacy Evans's Division, with
the loss of 500 men killed and wounded. As I was engaged in my tent and
did not see the action, I think it right to give the dispatches which
relate this brilliant affair.

     "_Lieutenant-General Sir De Lacy Evans to Lord Raglan._

"2nd Division, Heights of the Tchernaya, Oct. 27, 1854.


     "Yesterday the enemy attacked this division with several columns of
     infantry supported by artillery. Their cavalry did not come to the
     front. Their masses, covered by large bodies of skirmishers,
     advanced with much apparent confidence. The division immediately
     formed line in advance of our camp, the left under Major-General
     Pennefather, the right under Brigadier-General Adams.
     Lieutenant-Colonel Fitzmayer and the Captains of batteries (Turner
     and Yates) promptly posted their guns and opened fire upon the

     "Immediately on the cannonade being heard, the Duke of Cambridge
     brought up to our support the brigade of Guards under Major-General
     Bentinck, with a battery under Lieutenant-Colonel Dacres. His Royal
     Highness took post in advance of our right to secure that flank,
     and rendered me throughout the most effective and important
     assistance. General Bosquet, with similar promptitude and from a
     greater distance, approached our position with five French
     battalions. Sir G. Cathcart hastened to us with a regiment of
     Rifles, and Sir G. Brown pushed forward two guns in co-operation by
     our left.

     "The enemy came on at first rapidly, assisted by their guns on the
     Mound Hill. Our pickets, then chiefly of the 49th and 30th
     Regiments, resisted them with remarkable determination and
     firmness. Lieutenant Conolly, of the 49th, greatly distinguished
     himself, as did Captain Bayley, of the 30th, and Captain Atcherley,
     all of whom, I regret to say, were severely wounded. Serjeant
     Sullivan also displayed at this point great bravery.

     "In the meantime our eighteen guns in position, including those of
     the First Division, were served with the utmost energy. In half an
     hour they forced the enemy's artillery to abandon the field. Our
     batteries were then directed with equal accuracy and vigour-upon
     the enemy's columns, which (exposed also to the close fire of our
     advanced infancy) soon fell into complete disorder and flight. They
     were then literally chased by the 30th and 95th Regiments over the
     ridges and down towards the head of the bay. So eager was the
     pursuit, that it was with difficulty Major-General Pennefather
     eventually effected the recall of our men. These regiments and the
     pickets were led gallantly by Major Mauleverer, Major Champion,
     Major Eman and Major Hume. They were similarly pursued further
     towards our right by four companies of the 41st, led gallantly by
     Lieutenant-Colonel the Honourable P. Herbert, A.Q.M.G. The 47th
     also contributed. The 55th were held in reserve.

     "Above 80 prisoners fell into our hands, and about 130 of the
     enemy's dead were left within or near our position. It is computed
     that their total loss could scarcely be less than 600.

     "Our loss, I am sorry to say, has been above 80, of whom 12 killed,
     5 officers wounded. I am happy to say, hopes are entertained that
     Lieutenant Conolly will recover, but his wound is dangerous.

     "I will have the honour of transmitting to your Lordship a list of
     officers, non-commissioned officers, and privates, whose conduct
     attracted special notice. That of the pickets excited general

     "To Major-General Pennefather and Brigadier-General Adams I was, as
     usual, greatly indebted. To Lieutenant-Colonel Dacres,
     Lieutenant-Colonel Fitzmayer, Captains Turner, Yates, Woodhouse,
     and Hamley, and the whole of the Royal Artillery, we are under the
     greatest obligation.

     [Sidenote: THE GENERAL'S DESPATCH.]

     "Lieutenant-Colonel Herbert, A.Q.M.G., rendered the division, as he
     always does, highly distinguished and energetic services.
     Lieutenant-Colonel Wilbraham, A.A.G., while serving most actively,
     I regret to say, had a very severe fall from his horse. I beg
     leave also to recommend to your Lordship's favourable consideration
     the excellent services of Captains Glasbrook and Thompson, of the
     Quartermaster-General's Department, the Brigade-Majors Captains
     Armstrong and Thackwell, and my personal staff, Captains Allix,
     Gubbins, and the Honourable W. Boyle.

"I have, &c.
"DE LACY EVANS, Lieutenant-General."

"_Lord Raglan to the Duke of Newcastle._

"Before Sebastopol, Oct. 28, 1854.


"I have nothing particular to report to your Grace respecting the
operations of the siege since I wrote to you on the 23rd instant. The
fire has been somewhat less constant, and our casualties have been
fewer, though I regret to say that Captain Childers, a very promising
officer of the Royal Artillery, was killed on the evening of the 23rd,
and I have just heard that Major Dalton, of the 49th, of whom
Lieutenant-General Sir De Lacy Evans entertained a very high opinion,
was killed in the trenches last night.

"The enemy moved out of Sebastopol on the 26th with a large force of
infantry, cavalry, and artillery, amounting, it is said, to 6,000 or
7,000 men, and attacked the left of the Second Division, commanded by
Lieutenant-General Sir De Lacy Evans, who speedily and energetically
repulsed them, assisted by one of the batteries of the First Division
and some guns of the Light Division, and supported by a brigade of
Guards, and by several regiments of the Fourth Division, and in rear by
the French Division, commanded by General Bosquet, who was most eager in
his desire to give him every aid.

"I have the honour to transmit a copy of Sir De Lacy Evans's report,
which I am sure your Grace will read with the highest satisfaction, and
I beg to recommend the officers whom he particularly mentions to your

"Captain Bayley of the 30th, and Captain Atcherley of the same regiment,
and Lieutenant Conolly of the 49th, all of whom are severely wounded,
appear to have greatly distinguished themselves.

"I cannot speak in too high terms of the manner in which
Lieutenant-General Sir De Lacy Evans met this very serious attack. I had
not the good fortune to witness it myself, being occupied in front of
Balaklava at the time it commenced, and having only reached his position
as the affair ceased, but I am certain I speak the sentiments of all who
witnessed the operation in saying that nothing could have been better
managed, and that the greatest credit is due to the Lieutenant-General,
whose services and conduct I have before had to bring under your Grace's

     "I inclose the return of the losses the army has sustained since
     the 22nd.

"I have, &c.

On the 28th of October our cavalry abandoned their old camp. They took
up ground on the hills on the road to Balaklava, close to the rear of
the French centre. We thus abandoned the lower road to the enemy.


     Relative Position of the rival Forces at the end of
     October--"Whistling Dick"--Sir De Lacy Evans's Accident--No Bono
     Johnnies--French Batteries again open Fire--A Weak Point--First
     Surprise--Commencement of the Battle of Inkerman--Heroic
     Defence--Death of Sir George Cathcart--Sir George Brown
     wounded--Fearful Odds--The Guards--Casualties--The Sandbag
     Battery--Superiority of the Minié Rifle--Advance of the
     French--Complete Rout of the enemy--Inkerman won.

The end of October. All waiting for the French. I am not sure but that
the French were waiting for us to "_écraser_" some of the obnoxious
batteries which played upon their works from ugly enfilading positions.


The Quarantine Fort was opposed to them on their extreme left. Then came
a long, high, loopholed wall or curtain extending in front of the town
from the back of the Quarantine Fort to the Flagstaff Battery. The
Russians had thrown up a very deep and broad ditch in front of this
wall, and the French artillery had made no impression on the stonework
at the back. The Flagstaff Battery, however, and all the houses near it,
were in ruin; but the earthworks in front of it, armed with at least
twenty-six heavy guns, were untouched, and kept up a harassing fire on
the French working parties, particularly at certain periods of the day,
and at the interval between nine and eleven o'clock at night, when they
thought the men were being relieved in the trenches. Inside the Road
Battery we could see the Russians throwing up a new work, armed with six
heavy ships' guns. They had also erected new batteries behind the Redan
and behind the Round Tower. The latter was a mass of crumbled stone, but
two guns kept obstinately blazing away at our 21-gun battery from the
angle of the earthwork around it, and the Redan had not been silenced,
though the embrasures and angles of the work were much damaged. The
heavy frigate which had been "dodging" our batteries so cleverly again
gave us a taste of her quality in the right attack. She escaped from the
position in which she lay before where we had placed two 24-pounders for
her, and came out again on the 29th in a great passion, firing regular
broadsides at our battery and sweeping the hill up to it completely.
Occasionally she varied this amusement with a round or two from 13-inch
mortars. These shells did our works and guns much damage: but the
sailors, who were principally treated to these agreeable missiles, got
quite accustomed to them. "Bill," cries one fellow to another, "look
out, here comes 'Whistling Dick!'" The 13-inch shell has been thus
baptized by them in consequence of the noise it makes. They look up, and
their keen, quick eyes discern the globe of iron as it describes its
curve aloft. Long ere "Whistling Dick" has reached the ground the
blue-jackets are snug in their various hiding-places; but all the power
of man could not keep them from peeping out now and then to see if the
fusee is still burning. One of them approached a shell which he thought
had "gone out;" it burst just as he got close to it, and the concussion
dashed him to the ground. He got up, and in his rage, shaking his fist
at the spot where the shell had been, he exclaimed, "You ---- deceitful
beggar, there's a trick to play me!"

Sir De Lacy Evans met with an accident on the 29th, which compelled him
to resign the command to Brigadier-General Pennefather. His horse fell
with him as he was going at a sharp trot; and the shock so weakened him
that he was obliged to go on board the _Simoom_.

The Turks, or, as they were called, the "Bono Johnnies," except by the
sailors, who called them "_No_ bono Johnnies," were employed in working
in the trenches. The first night in Captain Chapman's attack they worked
till ten o'clock at night, when a Russian shell came over. They ran
away, carrying a portion of our working and covering parties; they were
re-formed and worked till eleven o'clock, when they declared it was "the
will of Heaven they should labour no more that night," and, as they had
exerted themselves, it was considered advisable to let them go. They
were decimated by dysentery and diarrhoea, and died in swarms. They
had no medical officers, and our surgeons were not sufficient in number
for our army. Nothing could exceed their kindness to their own sick. It
was common to see strings of them on the road to Balaklava carrying men
on their backs down to the miserable shed which served them as a
hospital, or rather as a "dead-house."

A deserter from the Russian cavalry on the 30th said the Russians were
without tents or cover; their fare was scanty and miserable, and their
sufferings great.

The French batteries opened on the 1st of November. For an hour they
fired with vivacity and effect; one battery which enfiladed them on the
right was plied with energy, but the remainder, with the exception of
the Flagstaff redoubt, were silent. The Russians had about 240 guns in
their new works, reckoning those which had been subject to our fire. The
French had 64 guns in position, most of them brass twenty-fours, the
others thirty-twos and forty-eights, some ship's eighty-fours not
mounted. The French might be seen like patches of moss on the rocks, and
the incessant puffs of smoke with constant "pop!" rose along our front
from morning to night.

The earthworks around the town of Balaklava began to assume a formidable
aspect. Trenches ran across the plains and joined the mounds to each
other, so as to afford lines of defence. On the right of the approach
the Highlanders, in three camps, were placed close to the town, with a
sailors' battery of two heavy guns above. Higher up, on a very elevated
hill-side, the Marines and Riflemen were encamped. There were four
batteries bearing on this approach. The battery on the extreme right, on
the road leading over the hills from Yalta, contained two 32-pounder
howitzers; the second battery on the right, facing the valley, contained
five guns; and the fourth battery, nearest Balaklava, contained eight
brass howitzers, four 12, two 32, and two 24-pounders. The left approach
was commanded by the heights held by the French infantry over the
valley, and by the Turkish works in front. A formidable redoubt, under
the command of Captain Powell, R.N., overlooked the approaches, armed
with heavy ship's guns.

The Turks had cut up the ground so that it almost resembled a
chess-board when viewed from one of the hills. They constructed ditches
over valleys which led nowhere, and fortified passes conducting to
abstruse little _culs-de-sac_ in the hill sides.

From the road to Balaklava on the 3rd, we could see the Russians engaged
in "hutting" themselves for the winter, and on the 3rd of November I
made a little reconnaissance of my own in their direction. Their
advanced posts were just lighting bivouac fires for the night. A
solitary English dragoon, with the last rays of the setting sun
glittering on his helmet, was perched on the only redoubt in our
possession, watching the motions of the enemy. Two Cossacks on similar
duty on the second redoubt were leaning on their lances, while their
horses browsed the scanty herbage at the distance of about 500 yards
from our dragoon sentry. Two hundred yards in their rear were two
Cossack pickets of twenty or thirty men each. A stronger body was
stationed in loose order some four or five hundred yards further back.
Six _pelotons_ of cavalry came next, with field batteries in the
intervals. Behind each _peloton_ were six strong columns of cavalry in
reserve, and behind the intervals six battalions of grey-coated Russian
infantry lay on their arms. They maintained this attitude day and night,
it was said, and occasionally gave us an alert by pushing up the valley.
On looking more closely into their position through the glass, it could
be seen that they had fortified the high table-land on their right with
an earthwork of quadrilateral form, in which I counted sixteen


In their rear was the gorge of the Black River, closed up by towering
rocks and mountain precipices. On their left a succession of slabs (so
to speak) of table-land, each higher than the other, and attaining an
elevation of 1,200 feet. The little village of Kamara, perched on the
side of one of these slabs, commanded a view of our position, and was no
doubt the head-quarters of the army in the valley. The Russians were
stationed along these heights, and had pushed their lines to the sea on
the high-peaked mountain chain to the south-east of our Marines. As the
valley was connected with Sebastopol by the Inkerman road, they had
thus drawn a _cordon militaire_ around our position on the land side,
and we were besieged in our camp, having, however, our excellent friend,
the sea, open on the west.

On the 4th November the fire on the place and the return continued. The
Russians fired about sixty guns per hour, and we replied. The French
burrowed and turned up the earth vigorously. A quantity of 10-inch shot
were landed, but, unfortunately, we had no 10-inch guns for them. Two
guns were added to the batteries of the right attack, which now
contained twenty-three pieces of artillery. Whenever I looked at the
enemy's earthworks I thought of the Woolwich butt. What good had we done
by all this expenditure of shot, and shell, and powder? a few guns, when
we first came, might have saved incredible toil and labour because they
would have rendered it all but impossible for the Russians to cast up
entrenchments and works before the open entrance to Sebastopol.

Whilst we were yet in hopes of taking the place, and of retiring to the
Bosphorus for winter quarters, the enemy, animated by the presence of
two of the Imperial Grand Dukes, made a vigorous attempt to inflict on
the allies a terrible punishment for their audacity in setting foot on
the territory of the Czar. The Battle of Inkerman was at hand.

It had rained almost incessantly for the greater part of the night of
November 4th, and the early morning gave no promise of any cessation of
the heavy showers. As dawn broke the fog and drifting rain were so thick
that one could scarcely see two yards. At four o'clock A.M. the bells of
the churches in Sebastopol were heard ringing drearily through the cold
night air, but the occurrence excited no particular attention. About
three o'clock A.M., a man of the 23rd regiment on outlying picket heard
the sound of wheels in the valley, but supposed it arose from carts or
arabas going into Sebastopol by the Inkerman road. After the battle he
mentioned the circumstance to Major Bunbury, who rebuked him for
neglecting to report it. No one suspected that masses of Russians were
then creeping up the rugged heights over the Valley of Inkerman against
the undefended flank of the Second Division, and were bringing into
position an overwhelming artillery, ready to play upon their tents at
the first glimpse of day.

Sir De Lacy Evans had long been aware of the insecurity of his position,
and had repeatedly pointed it out. It was the only ground where we were
exposed to surprise. Ravines and curves in the hill lead up to the crest
against which our right flank was resting, without guns, intrenchments,
abattis, or defence of any kind. Every one admitted the truth of the
representations, but indolence, or a false sense of security led to
indifference and procrastination. A battery was thrown up of sandbags on
the slope of the hill, but Sir De Lacy Evans, thinking that two guns
without any works to support them would only invite attack, caused them
to be removed as soon as they had silenced the Light-house Battery,
which had been firing on his camp.

The action of the 26th of October might be considered as a
_reconnaissance en force_. They were waiting for reinforcements to
assault the position where it was vulnerable, speculating on the effects
of a surprise of a sleeping camp on a winter's morning. Although the
arrangements of Sir De Lacy Evans on repulsing the sortie were, as Lord
Raglan declared, "so perfect that they could not fail to insure
success," it was evident that a larger force would have forced him to
retire from his ground, or to fight a battle in defence of it. No effort
was made to intrench the lines, to cast up a single shovel of earth, to
cut down the brushwood, or form an abattis. It was thought "not to be

Heavy responsibility rests on those whose neglect enabled the enemy to
attack where we were least prepared for it, and whose indifference led
them to despise precautions which might have saved many lives, and
trebled the loss of the enemy. We had nothing to rejoice over, and
almost everything to deplore, in the battle of Inkerman. We defeated the
enemy indeed, but did not advance one step nearer Sebastopol. We
abashed, humiliated, and utterly routed an enemy strong in numbers, in
fanaticism, and in dogged courage, but we suffered a fearful loss when
we were not in a position to part with one man.

It was a little after five o'clock in the morning, when Codrington, in
accordance with his usual habit, visited the outlying pickets of his
brigade. It was reported that "all was well" along the line. The General
entered into conversation with Captain Pretyman, of the 33rd Regiment,
who was on duty, and in the course of it some one remarked it would not
be surprising if the Russians availed themselves of the gloom to make an
attack. The Brigadier, an excellent officer, turned his pony round
vigilant, and had only ridden a few yards, when a sharp rattle of
musketry was heard down the hill on the left of his pickets, and where
the pickets of the Second Division were stationed. Codrington at once
turned in the direction of the firing, and in a few moments galloped
back to camp to turn out his division. The Russians were advancing in
force. The pickets of the Second Division had scarcely made out the
infantry clambering up the steep hill through a drizzling rain before
they were forced to retreat by a close sharp musketry, and driven up the
hill, contesting every step, and firing as long as they had a round of
ammunition. Their grey greatcoats rendered them almost invisible even
when close at hand.

The pickets of the Light Division were soon assailed and obliged to fall
back. About the time of the advance on our right flank took place a
demonstration against Balaklava, but the enemy contented themselves with
drawing up their cavalry in order of battle, supported by field
artillery, at the neck of the valley, in readiness to sweep over the
heights and cut off our retreat, should the assault on our right be
successful. A steamer with very heavy guns was sent up by night to the
head of the creek at Inkerman, and threw enormous shells over the hill.


Everything that could be done to bind victory to their eagles was done
by the Russian Generals. The presence of the Grand Dukes Nicholas and
Michael, who told them that the Czar had issued orders that every
Frenchman and Englishman was to be driven into the sea ere the year
closed, cheered the common soldiers, who regard the son of the Emperor
as an emanation of the Divine presence. Abundance of a coarser and more
material stimulant was found in their flasks; and the priests "blessed"
them ere they went forth, and assured them of the aid and protection of
the Most High. A mass was said. The joys of Heaven were offered those
who might fall in the holy fight, and the favours of the Emperor were
promised to those who might survive the bullets of the enemy.

The men in camp had just began to struggle with the rain in endeavouring
to light their fires, when the alarm was sounded. Pennefather, to whom
Sir De Lacy Evans had given up for the time the command of the Second
Division, got the troops under arms. Adams's brigade, consisting of the
41st, 47th, and 49th Regiments, was pushed on to the brow of the hill to
check the advance of the enemy by the road from the valley.
Pennefather's brigade, consisting of the 30th, 55th, and 95th Regiments,
was posted on their flank. The regiments met a tremendous fire from guns
posted on the high grounds. Sir George Cathcart led such portions of the
20th, 21st, 46th, 57th, 63rd, and 68th Regiments as were not employed in
the trenches, to the right of the ground occupied by the Second

It was intended that Torrens's brigade should move in support of
Goldie's, but the enemy were in such strength that the whole force of
the division, which consisted of only 2,200 men, was needed to repel
them. Codrington, with part of the 7th, 23rd, and 33rd, sought to cover
the extreme of our right attack, and the sloping ground towards
Sebastopol; Buller's brigade was brought up to support the Second
Division on the left; Jeffrey's with the 88th, being pushed forward in
the bushwood on the ridge of one of the principal ravines. As soon as
Brown brought up his division, they were under fire from an unseen
enemy. The Third Division, under Sir R. England, was in reserve. Part of
the 50th, under Wilton, and 1st Battalion Royals, under Bell, were
slightly engaged ere the day was over. The Duke of Cambridge turned out
the Guards under Bentinck, and advanced on the right of the Second
Division to the summit of the hill overlooking the valley of the
Tchernaya. Between the left and the right of the Second Division there
was a ravine, which lost itself on the plateau, close to the road to
Sebastopol. This road was not protected; only a few scarps were made in
it, and the pickets at night were only a short distance in advance. A
low breastwork crossed this road at the plateau by the tents of the
Second Division. On arriving at the edge of the plateau on the right
ravine, the Duke of Cambridge saw two columns coming up the steep ground
covered with brushwood. The enemy were already in the Sandbag Redoubt,
but His Royal Highness at once led the Guards to the charge.

It has been doubted whether any enemy ever stood in conflicts with the
bayonet, but here the bayonet was employed in a fight of the most
obstinate character. We had been prone to believe that no foe could
withstand the British soldier; but at Inkerman, not only were desperate
encounters maintained with the bayonet, but we were obliged to resist
the Russian infantry again and again, as they charged us.

It was six o'clock before the Head-Quarter camp was roused by the
musketry, and by the report of field guns. Soon after seven o'clock A.M.
Lord Raglan rode towards the scene, followed by his staff. As they
approached, the steady, unceasing roll told that the engagement was
serious. When a break in the fog enabled the Russian gunners to see the
camp of the Second Division, the tents were sent into the air or set on
fire. Gambier was ordered to get up two 18-pounders to reply to a fire
which our light guns were utterly inadequate to meet. As he was exerting
himself in his duty, Gambier was severely but not dangerously wounded.
His place was taken by Lieutenant-Colonel Dickson, and the fire of those
two pieces had the most marked effect in deciding the fate of the day.

Our Generals could not see where to go. They could not tell where the
enemy were. In darkness and rain they had to lead our lines through
thick bushes and thorny brakes, which broke our ranks. Every pace was
marked by a man down, wounded by an enemy whose position was only
indicated by the rattle of musketry and the rush of ball.


Cathcart, advancing from the centre of our position, came to the hill
where the Guards were engaged, and, after a few words with the Duke, led
the 63rd Regiment down on the right of the Guards into a ravine filled
with brushwood, towards the valley of the Tchernaya. He perceived, as he
did so, that the Russians had gained possession of the hill in rear of
his men, but his stout heart never failed him for a moment. A deadly
volley was poured into our scattered companies. Sir George cheered and
led them back up the hill, and Cathcart fell from his horse close to the
Russian columns. He rode at the head of the leading company, encouraging
them. A cry arose that ammunition was failing. "Have you not got your
bayonets?" As he lead on his men, another body of the enemy had gained
the top of the hill behind them on the right, but it was impossible to
tell whether they were friends or foes. The 63rd halted and fired. They
were met by a fierce volley. Seymour, who was wounded, got down from his
horse to aid his chief, but the enemy rushed down on them, and when our
men had driven them back, they lay dead side by side. The 63rd suffered
fearfully. They were surrounded, and won their desperate way up the hill
with the loss of nearly 500 men. Sir George Cathcart's body was
recovered with a bullet wound in the head and three bayonet wounds in
the body. In this attack where the Russians fought with the greatest
ferocity, and bayoneted the wounded, Colonel Swyny, 63rd, Major Wynne,
68th, Lieutenant Dowling, 20th, and other officers, met their death.
Goldie, who was engaged with his brigade on the left of the Inkerman
road, received the wounds of which he afterwards died about the same
time. The fight had not long commenced before it was evident that the
Russians had received orders to fire at all mounted officers. The
regiments did not take their colours into the battle, but the officers,
nevertheless, were picked off, and it did not require the colour to
indicate their presence.

The conflict on the right was equally uncertain and equally bloody. The
88th in front were surrounded; but four companies of the 77th, under
Major Straton, charged the Russians, and relieved their comrades.
Further to the right, a fierce contest took place between the Guards and
dense columns of Russians. The Guards twice charged them and drove the
enemy out of the Sandbag Battery, when they perceived that the Russians
had out-flanked them. They were out of ammunition. They had no reserve,
and they were fighting against an enemy who stoutly contested every inch
of ground, when another Russian column appeared in their rear. They had
lost fourteen officers; one-half of their number were on the ground. The
Guards retired. They were reinforced by a wing of the 20th under Major
Crofton. Meanwhile the Second Division, in the centre of the line, was
hardly pressed. The 41st Regiment was exposed to a terrible fire. The
95th only mustered sixty-four men when paraded at two o'clock, and the
whole Division when assembled by Major Eman in rear of their camp after
the fight was over numbered only 300 men.

At half-past nine o'clock, as Lord Raglan and his staff were on a knoll,
a shell came and exploded on Captain Somerset's horse; a portion tore
off the leather of Somerset's overalls. Gordon's horse was killed, and
it then carried away General Strangeway's leg; it hung by a shred of
flesh and bit of cloth from the skin. The old General never moved a
muscle. He said in a quiet voice, "Will any one be kind enough to lift
me off my horse?" He was laid on the ground, and at last carried to the
rear. He had not strength to undergo an operation, and died in two

At one time the Russians succeeded in getting up close to the guns of
Captain Wodehouse's and Captain Turner's batteries in the gloom of the
morning. Uncertain whether they were friends or foes, our artillerymen
hesitated to fire. The Russians charged, bore down all resistance, drove
away or bayoneted the gunners, and succeeded in spiking four of the

The rolling of musketry, the pounding of the guns were deafening. The
Russians, as they charged up the heights, yelled like demons. The
regiments of the Fourth Division and the Marines, armed with the old and
much-belauded Brown Bess, could do nothing against the Muscovite
infantry, but the Minié smote them like the hand of the Destroying
Angel. The disproportion of numbers was, however, too great--our men
were exhausted--but at last came help. At last the French appeared on
our right.

It was after nine o'clock when the French streamed over the brow of the
hill on our right--Chasseurs d'Orleans, Tirailleurs, Indigènes, Zouaves,
Infantry of the Line, and Artillery--and fell upon the flank of the
Russians. On visiting the spot it was curious to observe how men of all
arms--English, French, and Russians--lay together, showing that the
ground must have been occupied by different bodies of troops. The French
were speedily engaged, for the Russians had plenty of men for all
comers. Their reserves in the valley and along the road to Sebastopol
received the shattered columns which were driven down the hill, allowed
them to re-form and attack again, or furnished fresh regiments to
assault the Allies again and again. This reserve seems to have consisted
of three large bodies--probably of 5,000 men each. The attacking force
could not have been less than 20,000 men, and it is a very low estimate
indeed of the strength of the Russians to place it at from 45,000 to
50,000 men of all arms. Some say there were from 55,000 to 60,000 men
engaged on the side of the enemy; but I think that number excessive, and
there certainly was not ground enough for them to show front upon.
Captain Burnett, R. N., states that he saw fresh bodies of Russians
marching up to the attack on three successive occasions, and that their
artillery was relieved no less than four times. The Minié rifle did our
work, and Lord Hardinge is entitled to the best thanks of the country
for his perseverance in arming this expedition as far as he could with
every rifle that could be got, notwithstanding the dislike with which
the weapon was received by many experienced soldiers.

Three battalions of the Chasseurs d'Orleans rushed by, the light of
battle on their faces. Their trumpets sounded above the din of battle,
and when we watched their eager dash on the flank of the enemy we knew
the day was safe. They were followed by a battalion of Chasseurs
Indigènes. At twelve o'clock they were driven pell-mell down the hill
towards the valley, where pursuit was impossible, as the roads were
commanded by artillery.

The day, which cleared up about eleven, again became obscured. Rain and
fog set in, and we could not pursue. We formed in front of our lines,
the enemy, covering his retreat by horse on the slopes, near the
Careening Bay, and by artillery fire, fell back upon the works, and
across the Inkerman Bridge. Our cavalry, the remnant of the Light
Brigade, were moved into a position where it was hoped they might be of
service, but they were too few to attempt anything, and lost several
horses and men. Cornet Cleveland, was struck by a piece of shell and

General Canrobert, who was wounded in the early part of the day,
directed the French, ably seconded by General Bosquet, whose devotion
was noble. Nearly all his escort were killed, wounded, or unhorsed.

The Russians, during the action, made a sortie on the French, and
traversed two parallels before they were driven back; as they retired
they fired mines inside the Flagstaff Fort, afraid that the French would
enter pell-mell after them.

The last attempt of the Russians took place at about thirty-five minutes
past twelve. At forty minutes past one Dickson's two guns had smashed up
the last battery of their artillery which attempted to stand, and they
limbered up, leaving five tumbrils and one gun-carriage on the field.



     The Battle-field--Review of the Struggle--The Dead and the
     Dying--Harrowing Scene--Firing on Burying Parties--The French at
     Inkerman--Number of the Russians--Losses--"Hair-breadth
     Scapes"--Brutal Conduct of the Russians--How the Victory was
     won--Use of Revolvers--Want of Ammunition.

I went carefully over the position on the 6th, and as I examined it, I
was amazed at the noble tenacity of our men. The tents of the Second
Division were pitched on the verge of the plateau which we occupied, and
from the right flank of the camp the ground rises gently for two or
three hundred yards to a ridge covered with scrubby brushwood, so thick
that it was sometimes difficult to force a horse through it. The bushes
grew in tufts, and were about four feet high. On gaining the ridge you
saw below you the valley of the Tchernaya, a green tranquil slip of
meadow, with a few white houses dotting it at intervals, some farm
enclosures, and tufts of green trees. From the ridge the hill-side
descended rapidly in a slope of at least 600 feet. The brushwood was
very thick upon it, and at times almost impervious. At the base of this
slope the road wound to Inkerman, and thence to Sebastopol. The sluggish
stream stole quietly through it towards the head of the harbour, which
was shut out from view by the projections of the ridge to the north. At
the distance of a quarter of a mile across the valley the sides of the
mountains opposite to the ridge of the plateau on which our camp stood
rose abruptly in sheer walls of rock, slab after slab, to the height of
several hundred feet. A road wound among those massive precipices up to
the ruins of Inkerman--a city of the dead and gone and unknown--where
houses, and pillared mansions, and temples, were hewn out of the face of
the solid rock by a generation whose very name the most daring
antiquaries have not guessed at. This road passed along the heights, and
dipped into the valley of Inkerman, at the neck of the harbour. The
Russians planted guns along it to cover the retreat of their troops, and
at night the lights of their fires were seen glimmering through the
window and door places from the chambers carved out from the sides of
the precipice.

Looking down from the ridge, these ruins were, of course, to one's left
hand. To the right the eye followed the sweep of the valley till it was
closed in from view by the walls of the ridge, and by the mountains
which hemmed in the valley of Balaklava, and one could just catch, on
the side of the ridge, the corner of the nearest French earthwork,
thrown up to defend our rear, and cover the position towards Balaklava.
Below, to the right of the ridge, at the distance of 200 feet from the
top towards the valley, was the Sandbag, or two-gun battery, intended
for two guns, which had been withdrawn a few days before, after
silencing a Russian battery at Inkerman, because Sir De Lacy Evans
conceived that they would only invite attack, and would certainly be
taken, unconnected as they would have been with any line of defence. On
the left hand, overlooking this battery, was a road from Balaklava right
across our camp through the Second Division's tents on their front,
which ran over the ridge and joined the upper road to Inkerman. Some of
the Russian columns had climbed up by the ground along this road; others
had ascended on the left, in front and to the right of the Sandbag

Litter-bearers, French and English, dotted the hillside, hunting through
the bushes for the dead or dying, toiling painfully up with a burden for
the grave, or some object for the doctor's care. Our men had acquired a
shocking facility in their diagnosis. A body was before you; there was a
shout, "Come here, boys, I see a Russian!" (or "a Frenchman," or "one of
our fellows!") One of the party advances, raises the eyelid, peers into
the eye, shrugs his shoulders, says "He's dead, he'll wait," and moves
back to the litter; some pull the feet, and arrive at equally correct
conclusions by that process. The dead were generally stripped of all but
their coats. The camp followers and blackguards from Balaklava, and
seamen from the ships, anxious for trophies, carried off all they could
take from the field.

Parties of men busy at work. Groups along the hill-side forty or fifty
yards apart. You find them around a yawning trench, thirty feet in
length by twenty feet in breadth, and six feet in depth. At the bottom
lie packed with exceeding art some thirty or forty corpses. The
grave-diggers stand chatting, waiting for arrivals to complete the
number. They speculate on the appearance of the body which is being
borne towards them. "It's Corporal----, of the--th, I think," says one.
"No! it's my rear rank man, I can see his red hair plain enough," and so
on. They discuss the merits or demerits of dead sergeants or comrades.
"Well, he was a hard man: many's the time I was belled through him!" or
"Poor Mick! he had fifteen years' service--a better fellow never
stepped." At last the number in the trench is completed. The bodies are
packed as closely as possible. Some have still upraised arms, in the
attitude of taking aim; their legs stick up through the mould; others
are bent and twisted like fantoccini. Inch after inch the earth rises
upon them, and they are left "alone in their glory." No, not alone; for
the hopes and affections of hundreds of human hearts lie buried with

For about one mile and a half in length by half a mile in depth the
hill-side offered such sights as these. Upwards of 2,000 Russians were
buried there.


As I was standing at the Sandbag Battery, talking to some
officers of the Guards, who were describing their terrible
losses, Colonel Cunynghame and Lieutenant-Colonel Wilbraham of the
Quarter-Master-General's staff rode up to superintend the burial
operations. The instant their cocked hats were seen above the ridge a
burst of smoke from the head of the harbour, and a shell right over us,
crashed into the hill-side, where our men were burying the Russian dead!
Colonel Cunynghame told me Lord Raglan had sent in a flag of truce that
morning to inform the Russians that the parties on the hill-side were
burying the dead. As he was speaking a second shell came close and broke
up our party. It is quite evident that the society of two officers in
cocked hats, on horseback, is not the safest in the world. We all three

During the battle of Inkerman the French were drawn up in three bodies
of about 2,000 men each on the ridge of the hills over Balaklava,
watching the movements of the Russian cavalry in the plain below. As I
came up the enemy were visible, drawn out into six divisions, with the
artillery and infantry ready to act, and horses saddled and bridled. It
was evident they were waiting for the signal to dash up the hills in our
rear and sabre our flying regiments. They had a long time to wait! The
French lines below us were lined by Zouaves; the gunners in the
redoubts, with matches lighted, were prepared to send their iron
messengers through the ranks of the horse the moment they came within
range. Behind the French 5,000 "Bono Johnnies" were drawn up in columns
as a reserve, and several Turkish regiments were also stationed under
the heights on the right, in a position to act in support should their
services be required. The French were on their march from the sea to our
assistance, and the black lines of their regiments streaked the grey
plain as they marched double-quick towards the scene of action. The
Chasseurs d'Afrique on their grey Arabs swept about the slopes of the
hills to watch an opportunity for a dash. Our own cavalry were drawn up
by their encampments, the Heavy Brigade on the left, the Light Brigade
in the centre of our position. The latter were out of fire for some
time, but an advance to the right exposed them to shot and shell. Mr.
Cleveland received a mortal wound, and several men and horses were
injured later in the day. The Heavy Cavalry were employed in protecting
our left and rear.

The column on the extreme Russian right, which came on our position at
the nearest point to Sebastopol, was mainly resisted by the Fourth
Division and the Marines. The Russian centre was opposed by the Second
Division and the Light Division. The Guards were opposed to the third or
left column of the Russians. The Fourth Division in a short time lost
all its generals--Cathcart, Goldie and Torrens--killed or mortally
wounded, and 700, or more than one quarter of its strength, put _hors de
combat_. The Second Division came out of action with six field officers
and twelve captains; Major Farrer, of the 47th Regiment, was senior, and
took command of the Division.

Sir De Lacy Evans was unwell on board ship when the fight began, but he
managed to ride up to the front, and I saw him on the battle-field in
the thick of the fight. Captain Allix, one of his aides-de-camp, was
killed; Captain Gubbins, another, was wounded.

The Brigade of the Guards lost fourteen officers killed; the wonder is
that any escaped the murderous fire. The Alma did not present anything
like the scene round the Sandbag Battery. Upwards of 1,200 dead and
dying Russians laid behind and around and in front of it, and many a
tall English Grenadier was there amid the frequent corpses of Chasseur
and Zouave. At one time, while the Duke was rallying his men, a body of
Russians came at him. Mr. Wilson, surgeon, 7th Hussars, attached to the
brigade, perceived the danger of his Royal Highness, and with great
gallantry assembled a few Guardsmen, led them to the charge, and
dispersed the Russians. The Duke's horse was killed. At the close of the
day he called Mr. Wilson in front and thanked him for having saved his





     Formation of the Russian Army--Difficulties explained--Appearance
     of the Men--Liège Muskets--Bayonets--Killing the Wounded--Glories
     of Inkerman--Commissary Filder's merits--Hardships of the
     Campaign--Officers in rags--Hurricane of the 14th of November--A
     mighty and strong Wind--Tents dislodged--A Medical Officer in
     difficulty--Horrors of the Scene--Sleet and Snow--Officers in
     distress--Bad news from Balaklava--A Lull.

From a deserter at Head-Quarters I gleaned some particulars respecting
the formation of the Russian army. It had long been a puzzle to ignorant
people like ourselves why the Russian soldiers had numbers on their
shoulder-straps different from those on their buttons or on their caps.
In recording my observations of the appointments of the men killed at
the Alma, I remarked that certain "regiments" were present, judging by
the shoulder straps. It will appear that these numbers referred not to
regiments, but to divisions. So let our Pole, one of the few who came in
after Inkerman, speak for himself through an interpreter:--

"What does the number on the strap on your shoulder indicate?"

"It is No. 16. It shows that I belong to the 16th Division of the army."

"Who commands it?"

"I don't know--a General."

"What does the number 31 on your buttons mean?"

"It means that I belong to Regt. 31 of the 16th Division."

"What does the number 7 on your cap, with P after it, mean?"

"It indicates that I belong to the 7th rota of my polk."

"What does a rota mean?"

"It means a company of 250 men."

"How many rotas are in a polk?"

"There are sixteen rotas in each polk."

"And how many polks are in a division?"

"There are four polks in a division."

"If that is so, why have you 31 on your buttons?" (A pause, a stupid
look.)--"I don't know."

Finding our friend was getting into that helpless state of confusion
into which the first glimpses of decimal fractions are wont to plunge
the youthful arithmetician, we left him. Now let us combine our
information, and see what, according to this Polish authority, a Russian
division consists of. It stands thus:--

   1 Rota  =                 250 men.
  16 Rotas = 1 polk     =  4,000  "
   4 Polks = 1 division = 16,000  " One Division of infantry.

The men resembled those we met at the Alma, and were clad in the same
way. We saw no infantry with helmets, however, and our soldiers were
disappointed to find the Russians had, in most cases, come out without
their knapsacks. Their persons were very cleanly, and the whiteness of
their faces and of their feet were remarkable. Few of them had socks,
and the marauders had removed their boots whenever they were worth
taking. Our soldiers and sailors, as well as the French, looked out with
avidity for a good pair of Russian boots, and were quite adepts in
fitting themselves to a nicety by their simple mode of measurement--viz.,
placing their feet against those of the dead men. Many had medals, "the
campaign of 1848-49 in Hungary and Transylvania." They were generally
carried inside tin cases about their persons. Officers and men wore the
same long grey coats, the former being alone distinguishable by the
stripe of gold lace on the shoulder. Their uniform coats, of dark green
with white facings and red and yellow trimmings, were put on underneath
the great coat.

A considerable number of the Liège double-grooved rifles were found on
the field. Many of the muskets bore the date of 1841, and had been
altered into detonators. I remember a juvenile superstition in my
sparrow-killing days, that such guns "shot stronger" than either flint
or detonator, _pur sang_. Every part of the arm was branded most
carefully. The word "BAK" occurs on each separate part of it. The
Imperial eagle was on the brass heelplate, and on the lock "[Cyrillic:
TULA] (Tula), 1841." The bayonets were long, but not well steeled. They
bent if rudely handled or struck with force against the ground. The long
and polished gun-barrels were made of soft, but tough iron. They could
be bent to an acute angle without splitting. From the trigger-guard of
each musket a thong depended, fastened to a cap of stout leather, to put
over the nipple in wet weather. This seemed a simple and useful
expedient. The devotion of the men to their officers was remarkable. How
else was it that we seldom found either dead or wounded officers on the
ground? It was again asserted--and I fear with truth--that the wounded
Russians killed many of our men as they passed. For this reason our
soldiers smashed the stock and bent the barrels. Some carried rifles,
and heavy, thick swords with a saw-back, which they sold to the captains
and sailors of merchantmen. Medals, ribands, the small brass crucifixes,
and pictures of saints, and charms found upon the dead, were also in
great request.


If it is considered that the soldiers who met these furious columns of
the Czar were the remnants of three British divisions, which scarcely
numbered 8,500 men; that they were hungry and wet, and half-famished;
that they belonged to a force which was generally "out of bed" four
nights out of seven; enfeebled by sickness, by severe toil; that among
them were men who had previously lain out for forty-eight hours in the
trenches at a stretch--it will be readily admitted that never was a more
brilliant contest maintained by our army.

Up to the beginning of this winter Commissary Filder deserved credit for
his exertions in supplying our army. No army, I believe, was ever so
well fed under such very exceptional circumstances. From Balaklava alone
came our daily bread; no man had up to this time been without his pound
of biscuit, his pound and a half or a pound of beef or mutton, his quota
of coffee, tea, rice, and sugar, his gill of excellent rum, for any one
day, excepting through his own neglect. We drew our hay, our corn, our
beef, our mutton, our biscuits, spirits, and necessaries of all kinds
from beyond sea. Eupatoria supplied us with cattle and sheep to a
moderate extent; but the commissariat of the army depended on sea
carriage. Nevertheless, large as were our advantages in the excellence
and regularity of the supply of food, the officers and men had to
undergo great privations.

The oldest soldiers never witnessed a campaign in which Generals were
obliged to live in tents in winter, and officers who passed their youth
in the Peninsular war, and had seen a good deal of fighting in various
parts of the world, were unanimous in declaring that they never knew of
a war in which the officers were exposed to such hardships. They landed
without anything, marched beside their men, slept by them, fought by
them, and died by them. They laid down at night in the clothes which
they wore during the day; many delicately-nurtured youths never changed
shirts or shoes for weeks together.

"Rank and fashion," under such circumstances, fell a prey to parasitical
invasion--an evil to which the other incidents of roughing it are of
little moment. The officers were in rags. Guardsmen, who were "the best
style of men" in the Parks, turned out in coats and trousers and boots
all seams and patches, mended with more vigour than neatness, and our
smartest cavalry men were models of ingenious sewing and stitching. The
men could not grumble at old coats, boots, or shoes when they saw their
officers no better off than themselves. We had "soldiering with the
gilding off," and many a young gentleman would be cured of his love of
arms if he could but have had one day's experience. Fortunate it is for
us that we have youth on which we can rely, and that there are in
England men "who delight in war," who will be ever ready to incur
privation and danger at her summons. As to young ladies suffering from
"scarlet fever,"--who are thinking of heroes and warriors, singing of
"crowning conquerors' brows with flowers," and wishing for "Arab steeds
and falchions bright"--if they could but for one instant have stood
beside me, and gazed into one of the pits where some thirty "clods of
the valley," decked with scarlet and blue, with lace and broidery, were
lying side by side, staring up at heaven with their sightless orbs, as
they were about to be consigned to the worm, they would have joined in
prayer for the advent of that day--if come it ever may--when war shall
be no more, and when the shedding of blood shall cease. After Inkerman
there was a period of collapse in the army. The siege languished. Our
strength was wasting away--men's spirits failed--the future looked dark
and uncertain.

It happened that we had a forewarning of what might be expected. On
Friday, the 10th of November, just four days ere the fatal catastrophe
which caused such disasters occurred, I was on board the _Jason_ Captain
Lane, which happened to be lying outside, and as it came on to blow, I
could not return to the shore or get to the camp that evening. The ship
was a noble steamer, well manned and ably commanded, but ere midnight I
would have given a good deal to have been on land; for the gale setting
right into the bay, raised a high wild sea, which rushed up the
precipices in masses of water and foam, astonishing by their force and
fury; and the strain on the cable was so great that the captain had to
ease it off by steaming gently a-head against the wind. The luckless
_Prince_, which had lost two anchors and cables on bringing up a day or
two before, was riding near the _Agamemnon_, and adopted the same
expedient; and, of the numerous vessels outside, and which in so short a
time afterwards were dashed into fragments against those cruel rocks,
the aspect of which was calculated to thrill the heart of the boldest
seaman with horror, there were few which did not drag their anchors and
draw towards the iron coast which lowered with death on its brow upon
us. Guns of distress boomed through the storm, and flashes of musketry
pointed out for a moment a helpless transport which seemed tossing in
the very centre of the creaming foam of those stupendous breakers, the
like of which I never beheld, except once, when I saw the Atlantic
running riot against the cliffs of Moher. But the gale soon
moderated--for that once--and wind and sea went down long before
morning. However, Sir Edmund Lyons evidently did not like his berth, for
the _Agamemnon_ went round to Kamiesch on Sunday morning, and ordered
the _Firebrand_, which was lying outside, to go up to the fleet at the
Katcha. As to the _Prince_, and the luckless transports, they were
allowed, nay, ordered, to stand outside till the hurricane rushed upon

On the 14th of November came a new calamity--the hurricane.

I had been in a listless state between waking and sleeping, listening to
the pelting of the rain against the fluttering canvas of the tent, or
dodging the streams of water which flowed underneath it, saturating
blankets, and collecting on the mackintosh sheet in pools, when
gradually I became aware that the sound of the rain and the noise of its
heavy beating on the earth had been swallowed up by the roar of the
wind, and by the flapping of tents outside. Presently the sides of the
canvas, tucked in under big stones, began to rise, permitting the wind
to enter and drive sheets of rain right into one's face; the pegs
indicated painful indecision and want of firmness of purpose. The
glimpses afforded of the state of affairs outside were little calculated
to produce a spirit of resignation to the fate which threatened our
frail shelter. The ground had lost solidity. Mud--nothing but
mud--flying before the wind and drifting as though it were rain, covered
the face of the earth.

The storm-fiend was coming, terrible and strong as when he smote the
bark of the Ancient Mariner. The pole of the tent bent like a
salmon-rod; the canvas tugged at the ropes, the pegs yielded. A
startling crack! I looked at my companions, who seemed determined to
shut out all sound by piling as many clothes as they could over their
heads. A roar of wind again, the pole bent till the "crack" was heard
again. "Get up, Smith! Up with you; Eber! the tent is coming down!" The
Doctor rose from beneath his _tumulus_ of clothes. Now, if there was
anything in which the Doctor put confidence more than another, it was
his tent-pole; he believed that no power of Æolus could ever shake it.
There was normally a bend in the middle of it, but he used to argue, on
sound anatomical, mathematical, and physical principles, that the bend
was an improvement. He looked on the pole, as he looked at all things,
blandly, put his hand out, and shook it. "Why, man," said he,
reproachfully, "it's all right--_that_ pole would stand for ever," and
then he crouched and burrowed under his bed-clothes.

Scarcely had he given that last convulsive heave of the blankets which
indicates perfect comfort, when a harsh screaming sound, increasing in
vehemence as it approached, struck us with horror. As it neared us, we
heard the snapping of tent-poles and the sharp crack of timber. On it
came, "a mighty and a strong wind." It struck our tent! The pole broke
off short in the middle, as if it were glass; in an instant we were half
stifled by the folds of the wet canvas, which beat us about the head
with fury. Breathless and half blind, I struggled for the exit, and
crept out into the mud. Such a sight met the eye! The whole
head-quarters' camp was beaten flat to the earth, and the unhappy
occupants of tents were rushing in all directions in chase of their
effects, or holding on by the walls, as they strove to make their way to
the roofless barns and stables.

[Sidenote: A MIMIC VOLCANO.]

Three marquees stood the blast--General Estcourt, Sir John Burgoyne, and
Major Pakenham's. The General had built a cunning wall of stones around
his marquee, but ere noon it had fallen before the wind; the Major's
shared the same fate still earlier in the day. Next to our tent was the
marquee of Captain de Morel, aide-de-camp to Adjutant-General Estcourt,
fluttering on the ground, and, as I looked, the canvas was animated by
some internal convulsion--a mimic volcano appeared to be opening, its
folds assumed fantastic shapes, tossing wildly in the storm. The
phenomenon was accounted for by the apparition of the owner fighting his
way against the wind, which was bent on tearing his scanty covering from
his person; at last he succeeded in making a bolt of it and squattered
through the mud to the huts. Dr. Hall's tent was levelled, the principal
medical officer of the British army might be seen in an unusual state
of perturbation and nudity, seeking for his garments. Brigadier
Estcourt, with mien for once disturbed, held on, as sailors say, "like
grim Death to a backstay," by one of the shrouds of his marquee. Captain
Chetwode was tearing through the rain and dirt like a maniac after a
cap, which he fancied was his own, and which he found, after a desperate
run, to be his sergeant's. The air was filled with blankets, hats, great
coats, little coats, and even tables and chairs! Mackintoshes, quilts,
india-rubber tubs, bedclothes, sheets of tent-canvas went whirling like
leaves in the gale towards Sebastopol. The barns and commissariat sheds
were laid bare at once. The shingle roofs of the outhouses were torn
away and scattered over the camp; a portion of the roof of Lord Raglan's
house was carried off to join them.

Large arabas, or waggons, close to us were overturned; men and horses
were rolled over and over; the ambulance waggons were turned
topsy-turvy; a large table in Captain Chetwode's was whirled round and
round till the leaf flew off, and came to mother earth deprived of a leg
and seriously injured. The Marines and Rifles on the cliffs over
Balaklava lost everything; the storm hurled them across the bay, and the
men had to cling to the earth with all their might to avoid the same

Looking over towards the hill occupied by the Second Division, we saw
the ridges, the plains, and undulating tracts between the ravines, so
lately smiling in the autumn sun, with row after row of neat white
tents, bare and desolate, as black as ink. Right in front the camp of
the Chasseurs d'Afrique presented an appearance of equal desolation.
Their little _tentes d'abri_ were involved in the common ruin. One-half
of our cavalry horses broke loose. The French swarmed in all directions,
seeking for protection against the blast. Our men, more sullen and
resolute, stood in front of their levelled tents, or collected in groups
before their late camps. Woe to the Russians had they come on that day,
for, fiercer than the storm and stronger than all its rage, the British
soldier would have met and beaten their battalions. The cry was, all
throughout this dreadful day, "Let us get at the town; better far that
we should have a rush at the batteries and be done with it, than stand
here to be beaten by a storm."


Let the reader imagine the bleakest common in all England, the wettest
bog in all Ireland, or the dreariest muir in all Scotland, overhung by
leaden skies, and lashed by a tornado of sleet, snow, and rain--a few
broken stone walls and roofless huts dotting it here and there, roads
turned into torrents of mud and water, and then let him think of the
condition of men and horses in such a spot on a November morning,
suddenly deprived of their frail covering, and exposed to bitter cold,
with empty stomachs, without the remotest prospect of obtaining food or
shelter. Think of the men in the trenches, the covering parties, the
patrols, and outlying pickets and sentries, who had passed the night in
storm and darkness, and who returned to their camp only to find fires
out and tents gone. These were men on whose vigilance the safety of our
position depended, and many of whom had been for eight or ten hours in
the rain and cold, who dared not turn their backs for a moment, who
could not blink their eyes. These are trials which demand the exercise
of the soldier's highest qualities.

A benighted sportsman caught in a storm thinks he is much to be pitied,
as, fagged, drenched and hungry, he plods along the hillside, and
stumbles about in the dark towards some uncertain light; but he has no
enemy worse than the wind and rain to face, and in the first hut he
reaches repose and comfort await him. Our officers and soldiers, after a
day like this, had to descend to the trenches again at night, look out
for a crafty foe, to labour in the mire and ditches of the works; what
fortitude and high courage to do all this without a murmur, and to bear
such privations and hardships with unflinching resolution! But
meantime--for one's own experience gives the best idea of the suffering
of others--our tent was down; one by one we struggled out into the mud,
and left behind us all our little household gods, to fly to the lee of a
stone wall, behind which were cowering French and British of all arms
and conditions.

Major Blane was staggering from the ruins of his marquee, under a press
of greatcoat, bearing up for the shelter of Pakenham's hut. The hospital
tents were all down, the sick had to share the fate of the robust. On
turning towards the ridge on which the imposing wooden structures of the
French were erected, a few scattered planks alone met the eye. The
wounded of the 5th November, who to the number of several hundred were
in these buildings, had to bear the inclemency of the weather as well as
they could. Several succumbed to its effects. The guard tents were down,
the occupants huddled together under the side of a barn, their arms
covered with mud, lying where they had been thrown from the "pile" by
wind. The officers had fled to the commissariat stores near Lord
Raglan's, and there found partial shelter. Inside, overturned carts,
dead horses, and groups of shivering men--not a tent left standing. Mr.
Cookesley had to take refuge, and was no doubt glad to find it, amid
salt pork and rum puncheons.

With chattering teeth and shivering limbs each man looked at his
neighbour. Lord Raglan's house, with the smoke streaming from the
chimneys, and its white walls standing out freshly against the black
sky, was the "cynosure of neighbouring eyes." Lord Lucan, meditative as
Marius amid the ruins of Carthage, was sitting up to his knees in mud,
amid the wreck of his establishment. Lord Cardigan was sick on board his
yacht in the harbour of Balaklava. Sir George Brown was lying wounded on
board the _Agamemnon_, off Kamiesch Bay; Sir De Lacy Evans, sick and
shaken, was on board the _Sanspareil_, in Balaklava; General Bentinck,
wounded, was on board the _Caradoc_. The Duke of Cambridge was passing a
terrible time of it in the _Retribution_, in all the horrors of that
dreadful scene, off Balaklava. Pennefather, England, Campbell, Adams,
Buller--in fact all the generals and officers--were as badly off as the
meanest private.

The only persons near us whose tents weathered the gale were Mr.
Romaine, Deputy Judge-Advocate-General; Lieutenant-Colonel Dickson,
Artillery; and Captain Woodford. The first had pitched his tent
cunningly within the four walls of an outhouse, and secured it by guys
and subtle devices of stonework. They were hospitable spots, those
tents--oases in the desert of wretchedness; many a poor half-frozen
wanderer was indebted almost for life to the shelter they afforded.
While reading this, pray never lose sight of the fact, as you sit over
your snug coal-fires at home, that fuel was nearly all gone, and that
there were savage fights among the various domestics, even in fine
weather, for a bit of shaving or a fragment of brushwood. Never forget
that the storm raged from half-past six o'clock till late in the day,
with the fury of Azraël, vexing and buffeting every living thing, and
tearing to pieces all things inanimate. Now and then a cruel gleam of
sunshine shot out of a rift in the walls of clouds and rendered the
misery of the scene more striking. Gathered up under the old wall, we
could not but think with anxious hearts of our fleet of transports off
Balaklava and the Katcha. Alas! we had too much reason for our anxiety.

Towards ten o'clock matters were looking more hopeless and cheerless
than ever, when a welcome invitation came through the storm to go over
to the shelter of Romaine's tent. Our first duty was to aid the owner in
securing the pole with "a fish" of stout spars. Then we aided in passing
out a stay from the top of the pole to the wall in front. A cup of warm
tea was set before each of us, provided by some inscrutable chemistry,
and with excellent ration biscuit and some butter, a delicious meal, as
much needed as it was unexpected, was made by my friends and myself,
embittered only by the ever-recurring reflection, "God help us, what
will become of the poor fellows in the trenches?" And there we sat,
thinking and talking of the soldiers and of the fleet hour after hour,
while the wind and rain blew and fell with the full sense of the
calamity with which Providence was pleased to visit us.

Towards twelve o'clock the wind, which had been blowing from the
south-west, chopped round more to the west, and became colder. Sleet
fell first, and then a snow-storm, which clothed the desolate landscape
in white, till the tramp of men seamed it with trails of black mud. The
mountain ranges assumed their winter garb. French soldiers flocked about
head-quarters, and displayed their stock of sorrows to us. Their tents
were all down and blown away--no chance of recovering them; their bread
was "_tout mouillé et gâté_," their rations gone to the dogs. The
African soldiers seemed particularly miserable. Several of them were
found dead next morning outside our cavalry camp. Two men in the 7th
Fusileers, one man in the 33rd, and one man of the 2nd Battalion Rifle
Brigade, were found dead, "starved to death" by the cold. About forty
horses died, and many never recovered.


At two o'clock the wind went down a little, and the intervals between
the blasts of the gale became more frequent and longer. We took
advantage of one of these halcyon moments to trudge to the wreck of my
tent, and having borrowed another pole, with the aid of a few men we got
it up muddy and wet; but it was evident that no dependence could be
placed upon it; the floor was a puddle, and the bed and clothes
dripping. Towards evening there were many tents re-pitched along the
lines of our camps, though they were but sorry resting-places. It was
quite out of the question to sleep in them. What was to be done? There
was close at hand the barn used as a stable for the horses of the 8th
Hussars, and Eber Macraghten and I waded across the sea of nastiness
which lay between us and it, tacked against several gusts, fouled one or
two soldiers in a different course, grappled with walls and angles of
outhouses, nearly foundered in big horse-holes, bore sharply up round a
corner, and anchored at last in the stable.

What a scene it was! The officers of the escort were crouching over some
embers; along the walls were packed some thirty or forty horses and
ponies, shivering with cold, and kicking and biting with spite and bad
humour. The Hussars, in their long cloaks, stood looking on the flakes
of snow, which drifted in at the doorway or through the extensive
apertures in the shingle roof. Soldiers of different regiments crowded
about the warm corners, and Frenchmen of all arms, and a few Turks,
joined in the brotherhood of misery, lighted their pipes at the scanty
fire, and sat close for mutual comfort. The wind blew savagely through
the roof, and through chinks in the mud walls and window-holes. The
building was a mere shell, as dark as pitch, and smelt as it ought to
do--an honest, unmistakeable stable--improved by a dense pack of moist
and mouldy soldiers. And yet it seemed to us a palace! Life and joy were
inside, though melancholy Frenchmen would insist on being pathetic over
their own miseries--and, indeed, they were many and great--and after a
time the eye made out the figures of men huddled up in blankets, lying
along the wall. They were the sick, who had been in the hospital
marquee, and who now lay moaning and sighing in the cold; but our men
were kind to them, as they are always to the distressed, and not a pang
of pain did they feel which care or consideration could dissipate.

A staff officer, Colonel Wetherall, dripping with rain, came in to see
if he could get any shelter for draughts of the 33rd and 41st Regiments,
which had just been landed at Kamiesch, but he soon ascertained the
hopelessness of his mission so far as our quarters were concerned. The
men were packed into another shed, "like herrings in a barrel." Having
told us, "There is terrible news from Balaklava--seven vessels lost, and
a number on shore at the Katcha," and thus made us more gloomy than
ever, the officer went on his way, as well as he could, to look after
his draughts. In the course of an hour an orderly was sent off to
Balaklava with dispatches from head-quarters; but, after being absent
for three-quarters of an hour, the man returned, fatigued and beaten, to
say he could not get his horse to face the storm. In fact, it would have
been all but impossible for man or beast to have made headway through
the hurricane.

We sat in the dark till night set in--not a soul could stir out. Nothing
could be heard but the howling of the wind, the yelping of wild dogs
driven into the enclosures, and the shrill neighings of terrified
horses. At length a candle-end was stuck into a horn lantern, to keep
it from the wind--a bit of ration pork and some rashers of ham, done
over the wood fire, furnished an excellent dinner, which was followed by
a glass or horn of hot water and rum--then a pipe, and as it was cold
and comfortless, we got to bed--a heap of hay on the stable floor,
covered with our clothes, and thrown close to the heels of a playful
grey mare, who had strong antipathies to her neighbours, a mule and an
Arab horse, and spent the night in attempting to kick in their ribs.
Amid smells, and with incidents impossible to describe or allude to more
nearly, we went to sleep in spite of a dispute between an Irish sergeant
of Hussars and a Yorkshire corporal of Dragoons as to the comparative
merits of light and heavy cavalry, with digressions respecting the
capacity of English and Irish horseflesh, which, by the last we heard of
them, seemed likely to be decided by a trial of physical strength on the
part of the disputants.

Throughout the day there had been very little firing from the Russian
batteries--towards evening all was silent except the storm. In the
middle of the night, however, we were all awoke by one of the most
tremendous cannonades we had ever heard, and, after a time, the report
of a rolling fire of musketry was borne upon the wind. Looking eagerly
in the direction of the sound, we saw the flashes of the cannon through
the chinks in the roof, each distinct by itself, just as a flash of
lightning is seen in all its length and breadth through a crevice in a
window shutter. It was a sortie on the French lines. The cannonade
lasted for half-an-hour, and gradually waxed fainter. In the morning we
heard that the Russians had been received with an energy which quickly
made them fly to the cover of their guns.


     A change for the better--Visit to Balaklava--Devastation--Affair of
     Pickets--Newspaper Correspondents in the Crimea--Difficulties they
     had to encounter--False Hopes--A smart affair--Death of Lieutenant
     Tryon--Flattering Testimonies--Want of Generals--Attack on
     Oupatoria--Affair between the Chasseurs de Vincennes and the
     Russian Riflemen--The Ovens--A Deserter's Story--Movements of the
     Russians--A Reconnaissance--Suffering caused by hard work and
     scarcity of supplies--Warnings--Cholera--Dreadful Scenes amongst
     the Turks in Balaklava.


With the morning of the 15th of November, came a bright cold sky, and
our men, though ankle deep in mud cheered up when they beheld the sun
once more. The peaks of the hills and mountain sides were covered with
snow. As rumours of great disasters reached us from Balaklava, I after
breakfasting in my stable, made my way there as well as I could. The
roads were mere quagmires. Another day's rain would have rendered them
utterly impassable, and only for swimming or navigation. Dead horses and
cattle were scattered all over the country, and here and there a sad
little procession, charged with the burden of some inanimate body, might
be seen wending its way slowly towards the hospital marquees, which had
been again pitched.

In coming by the French lines I observed that the whole of the troops
were turned out, and were moving about and wheeling in column to keep
their blood warm. They had just been mustered, and it was gratifying to
learn that the rumours respecting lost men were greatly exaggerated. Our
men were engaged in trenching and clearing away mud.

The Russians in the valley were very active, and judging from the state
of the ground and the number of loose horses, they must have been very
miserable also.

Turning down by Captain Powell's battery, where the sailors were getting
their arms in order, I worked through ammunition mules and straggling
artillery-wagons towards the town. Balaklava was below--its waters
thronged with shipping--not a ripple on their surface. It was almost
impossible to believe that but twelve hours before ships were dragging
their anchors, drifting, running aground,, and smashing each other to
pieces in that placid loch. The whitewashed houses in the distance were
as clean-looking as ever, and the old ruined fortress on the crags above
frowned upon the sea, and reared its walls and towers aloft, uninjured
by the storm.

On approaching the town, however, the signs of the tempest of the day
before grew and increased at every step. At the narrow neck of the
harbour, high and dry, three large boats were lying, driven inland
several yards; the shores were lined with trusses of compressed hay
which had floated out of the wrecks outside the harbour, and pieces of
timber, beams of wood, masts and spars, formed natural rafts, which were
stranded on the beach or floated about among the shipping. The old tree
which stood near the guard-house at the entrance to the town was torn
up, and in its fall had crushed the house into ruin. The soldiers of the
guard were doing their best to make themselves comfortable within the
walls. The fall of this tree, which had seen many winters, coupled with
the fact that the verandahs and balconies of the houses and a row of
very fine acacia trees on the beach were blown down, corroborate the
statement so generally made by the inhabitants, that they had never seen
or heard of such a hurricane in their life time, although there was a
tradition among some that once in thirty or forty years such visitations
occurred along this coast. The _City of London_, Captain Cargill, was
the only vessel which succeeded in getting out to sea and gaining a good
offing during the hurricane of the 14th, and the Captain told me, in all
his experience (and as an old Aberdeen master, he has passed some
anxious hours at sea) he never knew so violent a gale.

There was an affair of pickets during the night of the 15th between the
French and the Russians, in which a few men were wounded on both sides,
and which was finished by the retreat of the Russians to their main
body. This took place in the valley of Balaklava, and its most
disagreeable result (to those not engaged) was to waken up and keep
awake every person in the town for a couple of hours.

During this winter newspaper correspondents in the Crimea were placed in
a rather difficult position. In common with generals and chiefs, and
men-at-arms, they wrote home accounts of all we were doing to take
Sebastopol, and they joined in the prophetic cries of the leaders of the
host, that the fall of the city of the Czar--the centre and navel of his
power in those remote regions--would not be deferred for many hours
after our batteries had opened upon its defences. In all the inspiration
of this universal hope, these poor wretches, who clung to the mantles of
the military and engineering Elijahs, did not hesitate to communicate to
the world, through the columns of the English press, all they knew of
the grand operations which were to eventuate in the speedy fall of this
doomed city. They cheered the heart of England with details of the vast
armaments prepared against its towers and forts--of the position
occupied by her troops--the imbecility of the enemy's fire--of the range
of the guns so soon to be silenced--of the stations of our troops on
commanding sites; and they described with all their power the grandiose
operations which were being taken for the reduction of such a formidable
place of arms. They believed, in common with the leaders, whose
inspiration and whose faith were breathed through the ranks of our
soldiers, that the allied forces were to reduce Sebastopol long ere the
lines they penned could meet the expectant gaze of our fellow-countrymen
at home; and they stated, under that faith and in accordance with those
inspirations, that the operations of war of our armies were undertaken
with reference to certain points and with certain hopes of results, the
knowledge of which could not have proved of the smallest service to the
enemy once beaten out of their stronghold.

Contrary to these hopes and inspirations, in direct opposition to our
prophecies and to our belief, Sebastopol held out against the Allies;
and the intelligence conveyed in newspapers which we all thought we
should have read in the club-rooms of Sebastopol, was conveyed to the
generals of an army which defended its walls, and were given to the
leaders of an enemy whom we had considered would be impuissant and
defeated, while they were still powerful and unconquered. The enemy knew
that we had lost many men from sickness; that we had so many guns here
and so many guns there, that our head-quarters were in one place, our
principal powder magazines in another, that the camp of such a division
had been annoyed by their fire, and that the tents of another had
escaped injury from their shot, but it must be recollected that when
these details were written it was confidently declared that, ere the
news of the actual preliminaries of the siege could reach England, the
Allies would have entered Sebastopol, that their batteries would have
silenced the fire of their enemy, that the quarters of their generals
would have been within the _enceinte_ of the town, that our magazines
would have been transferred to its storehouses, and that our divisions
would have encamped within its walls.


How much knowledge of this sort the enemy gleaned through their spies,
or by actual observation, it is not needful to inquire; but undoubtedly,
without any largely speculative conjecture, it may be inferred that much
of the information conveyed to them, or said to have been conveyed to
them, by the English press, could have been ascertained through those
very ordinary channels of communication, the eye and ear, long ere our
letters had been forwarded to Sebastopol, and translated from English
_in usum superiorum_. However, it is quite evident that it was not
advisable to acquaint the enemy with our proceeding and movements during
a siege which promised to assume the proportions and to emulate the
length of those operations of a similar character in which hosts of men
conveyed by formidable armadas from distant shores, set down to
beleaguer some devoted fortress.

Although it might be dangerous to communicate facts likely to be of
service to the Russians, it was certainly hazardous to conceal the truth
from the English people. They must have known, sooner or later, that the
siege towards the end of November had been for many days practically
suspended, that our batteries were used up and silent, and that our army
was much exhausted by the effects of excessive labour and watching, to
which they have been so incessantly exposed. The Russians knew this soon
enough, for a silent battery--to hazard a bull--speaks for itself. The
relaxation of our fire was self-evident, but our army, though weakened
by sickness, was still equal to hold their position, and to inflict the
most signal chastisement upon any assailants who might venture to attack
it. In fact, I believe nothing would have so animated our men, deprived
as they were of cheering words and of the presence and exhortations of
their generals and destitute of all stimulating influences beyond those
of their undaunted spirits and glorious courage, as the prospect of
meeting the Russians outside their intrenchments. Rain kept pouring
down, the wind howled over the staggering tents--the trenches were
turned into dikes--in the tents the water was sometimes a foot deep--our
men had neither warm nor waterproof clothing--they were out for twelve
hours at a time in the trenches--they were plunged into the inevitable
miseries of a winter campaign. These were hard truths, which sooner or
later must have come to the ears of the people of England. It was right
they should know that the beggar who wandered the streets of London led
the life of a prince compared with the British soldiers who were
fighting for their country, and who, we were complacently assured by the
home authorities, were the best appointed army in Europe. They were fed,
indeed, but they had no shelter. The tents, so long exposed to the blaze
of a Bulgarian sun, and drenched by torrents of rain, let the wet
through "like sieves."

On the night of the 20th of November, three companies of the Rifle
Brigade (1st battalion), under Lieutenant Tryon, displayed coolness and
courage in a very smart affair. In the rocky ground in the ravine
towards the left of our left attack, about 300 Russian infantry
established themselves in some caverns and old stone huts used by
shepherds in days gone by, and annoyed the working and covering parties
of the French right attack and of our advances. These caves abounded in
all the ravines, and were formed by the decay of the softer portions of
the rock between the layers in which it is stratified. It was found
expedient to dislodge them, and at seven o'clock this party was sent to
drive the Russians out. The Rifles soon forced the enemy to retreat on
the main body, but when the Rifles had established themselves for the
night in the caves, they were assailed by a strong column. The action
ended in the complete repulse of the Russian columns, but we had to
deplore the loss of a most promising and excellent officer, Lieutenant
Tryon, who was killed by a shot in the head. Seven men killed and
eighteen or nineteen wounded.

General Canrobert issued a very flattering _ordre du jour_, in which he
especially eulogized the intrepid bravery and noble energy of the three
companies of the 1st battalion of our Rifle Brigade in the action, and
Lord Raglan mentioned it in very handsome terms.

Our army was in a strange condition now. The Light Division was
provisionally commanded by Codrington, Sir George Brown being on board
the "Agamemnon."

The Duke of Cambridge was on board the "Retribution." The Brigade of
Guards appeared to be commanded by Colonel Upton.

The Brigade of Highlanders was down at Kadikoi, under the command of Sir
Colin Campbell.

The Second Division was commanded by Brigadier-General Pennefather, in
the room of Sir De Lacy Evans, who was on his way home unwell.

The First Brigade was under the command of a Lieutenant-Colonel.

The Second Brigade was without a brigadier, General Adams' wound was
more serious than was supposed.

The Third Division was under the command of Sir Richard England, and was
fortunate in not being much engaged.

The Fourth Division, deprived of all its generals, was commanded by Sir
John Campbell.

Brigadier-General Lord Cardigan was unable to leave his yacht. The
Artillery was under the command of Lieutenant-Colonel Dacres during the
absence of Lieutenant-Colonel Gambier, who was wounded, after having
succeeded to the command left vacant by the death of Strangways.

Our cattle at Eupatoria were by no means in high condition; they
perished from hunger. It may readily be guessed that joints from the
survivors were scarcely in such a condition as would justify the least
conscientious of London waiters describing them as being in "prime cut."


Early in November a body of Russian cavalry appeared before Eupatoria to
attack our stock, and a French colonel, with eighty horse, pushed
forward to save his beeves and mutton from the gripe of the hungry
Cossacks. The Russian cavalry always screen field guns, and on this
occasion, as at the Bouljanak, plumped round shot and shell into the
Frenchmen. The colonel was dismounted, seven men were killed or wounded,
and, as the French were retiring, a polk of Lancers made a dash at
them. Our rocket battery was, however, near at hand, and one of these
fiery abominations rushed right through their ranks. The horses reared,
and the Lancers "bolted," leaving several dead upon the field.

On the 24th there was a brisk affair between the French and the Russians
in front of the Flagstaff Battery, and the Russians dispelled all myths
about their want of powder and ball by a most tremendous cannonade.
Assaults and counter-assaults continued amid a furious fire, which
lighted up the skies with sheets of flame from nine o'clock at night
till nearly four in the morning. The French at one time actually
penetrated behind the outer intrenchments, and established themselves
for a time within the _enceinte_, but as there was no preparation made
for a general assault, they eventually withdrew.

The struggle between French and Russians was renewed on the night of the
25th. The great bone of contention, in addition to the Ovens, was the
mud fort at the Quarantine Battery, of which the French had got
possession, though, truth to tell, it did not benefit their position
very materially.

A Polish deserter came in on the 27th with a strange story. He said that
on the 25th the Grand Duke Michael reviewed a strong force of Russians
(as he stated, of 12,000 men, but no reliance can be placed on the
assertions of men of this class with regard to the numbers of a force),
and that he addressed them in a spirited speech, in which he appealed to
them to drive the heretics out of Balaklava into the sea. At the
conclusion of his harangue the Grand Duke distributed two silver roubles
to each private.

A _reconnaissance_ of our lines was made on the 30th of November by
Grand Duke Michael and a very large staff, among whom our knowing people
said they could see Prince Menschikoff and General Liprandi. The Grand
Duke was recognisable by the profound respect paid to him--wherever he
went hats were taken off and heads uncovered--and by the presence of a
white dog which always accompanies him. While making his inspection, the
enormous telescope through which he gazed was propped upon muskets and
bayonets, and he made frequent references to a very large chart on a
portable table. The Grand Duke rode back up the hills towards Tchergoun.

As the year waned and winter began to close in upon us, the army
suffered greatly; worn out by night-work, by vigil in rain and storm, by
hard labour in the trenches, they found themselves suddenly reduced to
short allowance, and the excellent and ample rations they had been in
the habit of receiving cut off or miserably reduced. For nine days, with
very few exceptions, no issue of tea, coffee, or sugar, to the troops
took place. These, however, are luxuries--not the necessaries of
military life. The direct cause of this scarcity was the condition of
the country, which caused a difficulty in getting food from Balaklava,
and there was besides a want of supplies in the commissariat magazines.
But though there was a cause, there was no excuse for the privations to
which the men were exposed. We were all told that when the bad weather
set in, the country roads would be impassable. The fine weather was
allowed to go by, and the roads were left as the Tartar carts had made
them, though the whole face of the country was covered thickly with
small stones which seem expressly intended for road metal. As I
understood, it was suggested by the officers of the Commissariat
Department that they should be allowed to form depôts of food, corn, and
forage, as a kind of reserve at the head-quarters at the different
divisions; but their carts were, after a few days' work in forming those
depôts, taken for the siege operations, and were employed in carrying
ammunition to the trenches. Consequently, the magazines at headquarters
were small, and were speedily exhausted when the daily supplies from
Balaklava could no longer be procured. The food, corn, and hay were
stowed in sailing vessels outside the harbour, where they had to ride in
thirty or forty fathoms of water on a rocky bottom, with a terrible
coast of cliff of 1,200 feet in height stretching around the bay: it was
notorious that the place was subject to violent storms of wind.

As to the town, words could not describe its filth, its horrors, its
hospitals, its burials, its dead and dying Turks, its crowded lanes, its
noisome sheds, its beastly purlieus, or its decay. All the pictures ever
drawn of plague and pestilence, from the work of the inspired writer who
chronicled the woes of infidel Egypt, down to the narratives of
Boccacio, De Foe, or Moltke, fall short of individual "bits" of disease
and death, which any one might see in half-a-dozen places during half an
hour's walk in Balaklava. In spite of all our efforts the dying Turks
made of every lane and street a _cloaca_, and the forms of human
suffering which met the eye at every turn, and once were wont to shock
us, ceased to attract even passing attention. By raising up the piece of
matting or coarse rug which hung across the doorway of some miserable
house, from within which you heard wailings and cries of pain and
prayers to the Prophet, you saw in one spot and in one instant a mass of
accumulated woes that would serve you with nightmares for a lifetime.
The dead, laid as they died, were side by side with the living. The
commonest accessories were wanting; there was not the least attention
paid to decency or cleanliness--the stench was appalling--the foetid
air could barely struggle out to taint the atmosphere, through the
chinks in the walls and roofs. The sick appeared to be tended by the
sick, and the dying by the dying.



     A False Alarm--The Russians retire--Skirmishes--Orders to turn
     out--The French and English make a Reconnaissance in force--A Brush
     with the Cavalry--Reinforcements--Winter--System of "Requisition,"
     "Orders," and "Memos"--Our friends the
     Zouaves--Grievances--Christmas and New Year--The Times
     Commissioner--Arrival of Omar Pasha--First Week in January--Trying
     Duty of the Fatigue Parties--Terrible State of the Trenches--Louis
     Napoleon's Presents to the French Army--The Siege--Russian

At twelve o'clock, on the night of the 5th of December, there was a
great stir down in the valley of Balaklava. The hoarse hum of men was
heard by the pickets, and they reported the circumstance to the officers
of the French regiments on the heights. Lights were seen moving about in
the redoubts occupied by the Russians. It was supposed that the enemy
had received reinforcements, or were about to make a dash at our
position before Balaklava. The Hospital Guards and the invalid battalion
were turned out, the French shrouded in their capotes grimly waited in
their lines the first decisive movement of the enemy. The night was
cold, but not clear; after a time the noise of wheels and the tramp of
men ceased, and the alarm was over. Ere morning, however, we knew the
cause. About five o'clock A.M. an outburst of flame from the redoubts in
which the Russians had hutted themselves illuminated the sky, and at the
same time the fire broke out in Komara. When morning came, the Russians
were visible in much-diminished numbers on the higher plateaux of the
hills near Tchorgoun and Komara. The faint rays of the morning sun
played on the bayonets of another portion of the force as they wound up
the road towards Mackenzie's farm, and passed through the wood over the
right bank of the Tchernaya. They had abandoned the position they had
won on 25th October.

With the exception of the advance of the army in the rear on the 25th
October, and the grand sortie on the 5th of November, no movement of any
moment was attempted during the latter part of 1854 by the Russians to
raise the siege.

On the 20th of December, the Russians succeeded in penetrating our lines
where they were in contract with the French. In order to deceive the
sentries they commanded in French, which _ruse_ was successful; they
killed and wounded sixteen men--among the latter Major Moller, of the
50th--and carried away eleven men and two officers, Captain Frampton and
Lieutenant Clarke, as prisoners, but were driven back by the 34th
regiment before they could do any further mischief, not without
inflicting a loss.

On the 29th December, Sir Colin Campbell made a reconnaissance with a
part of his force the 79th and Rifle Brigade. Soon after seven o'clock
the French proceeded towards the hills recently occupied by the
Russians, with General Bosquet, the Rifles and Highlanders turning to
the right and covering the flank of the expedition. As the force
approached Komara, the Cossack vedettes came in sight, retiring slowly
from the village, which has been in a ruinous state since the storm of
the 14th of November. The vedettes fell back on a strong body of Lancers
and Light Cavalry, which seemed disposed to await the shock of the
French Chasseurs.

Cavalry skirmishers exchanged a few shots before they fell in with their
respective squadrons, and when the French had arrived within about 800
yards, they broke from a trot into a gallop, and dashed right at the
Russian cavalry. The latter met the shock, but made no attempt to charge
the French, who broke them in an instant, and chased them back on the
infantry, who were assembled in three small bodies on the hills, close
to the village of Tchorgoun. As the French approached Tchorgoun, they
were received with a brisk fire of shot and shell from some
field-pieces, to which their guns were unable to reply; but they pushed
within range, and the Russians again retired, and abandoned the village
of Tchorgoun to our allies, as well as the line of cantonments and huts
which they had constructed subsequent to Liprandi's advance in October.

The object was to beat up the Russian position and to ascertain the
strength of the enemy. Our allies at once burst into the village, but
the Cossacks had been there too long to leave anything to plunder, and
so the French set it on fire. The whole cantonment was in a blaze, while
volumes of white smoke curling up into the air, and spreading in sheets
along the crests of the hills, indicated the destruction of the village,
and informed the Russians that they could no longer hope for snug
quarters there. The huts were very commodious and comfortable. Each was
capable of containing twenty or thirty men, and held an oven for baking,
which also warmed the room at the end. The object of the
_reconnaissance_ having been accomplished, the expedition was halted,
and the men set to work at once to avail themselves of the abundance of
wood along the hill-sides, and to make enormous fires, which almost
obscured the retreat of the Russians. It was ascertained that they did
not number more than 5000 or 6000 men. The French remained upon the
ground till it was almost dark, and then returned to their camp. The
French lost two officers, wounded (one since dead) and about twenty men
put _hors de combat_. They took seventeen of the Russian cavalry and a
few infantry prisoners.


We were cursed by a system of "requisitions," "orders," and "memos,"
which was enough to depress an army of scriveners, and our captains,
theoretically, had almost as much work to do with pen and paper as if
they had been special correspondents or bankers' clerks; that is, they
ought to have had as much to do, but, thanks to the realities of war,
they had no bookkeeping; their accounts being lost, and the captain who
once had forty or fifty pounds' weight of books and papers to carry, had
not so much as a penny memorandum-book. This fact alone showed the
absurdity of our arrangements. In peace, when these accounts were of
comparatively little importance, we had plenty and too much of checks
and returns, but in time of war the very first thing our army did was to
leave all its stationery on board the steamer that carried it to the
scene of action.

The cold was developing itself, and efforts to guard against it were
attended with mischief. Captain Swinton, the Royal Artillery, was
suffocated by the fumes of charcoal from a stove, several officers were
half-killed by carbonic acid gas.

We were obliged to apply to the French to place guards over the line of
march, for the instant a cart with provisions or spirits broke down it
was plundered by our active friends the Zouaves, who really seemed to
have the gift of ubiquity. Let an araba once stick, or break a wheel or
an axle, and the Zouaves sniffed it out just as vultures detect carrion;
in a moment barrels and casks were broken open, the bags of bread were
ripped up, the contents were distributed, and the commissary officer,
who had gone to seek for help and assistance, on his return found only
the tires of the wheels and a few splinters of wood left, for our
indefatigable foragers completed their work most effectually, and
carried off the cart, body and boxes, to serve as firewood.

They were splendid fellows--our friends the Zouaves--always gay,
healthy, and well fed; they carried loads for us, drank for us, ate for
us, baked for us, foraged for us, and built our huts for us, and all on
the cheapest and most economical terms. But there were some few
degenerate wretches who grumbled even among this _corps d'élite_. An
officer commanding a fatigue party, who happened to fall in with a party
of Zouaves engaged in a similar duty, brought them all off to the
canteen to give them a dram after their day's labour. While he was in
the tent a warrior with a splendid face for a grievance came in and
joined in the conversation, and our friend, seeing he was not a private,
but that he had a chatty talkative aspect, combined with an air of rank,
began to talk of the privations to which the allied armies were exposed.
This was evidently our ally's _champ de bataille_. He at once threw
himself into an attitude which would have brought down the pit and
galleries of the Porte St. Martin to a certainty, and, in a tone which
no words can describe, working himself up by degrees to the grand
climax, and attuning his body to every nice modulation of phrase and
accent, he plunged into his proper woes. Our gallant friend had been
expatiating on the various disagreeables of camp life in the Crimea in
winter time: "C'est vrai!" quoth he, "mon ami! En effet, nous éprouvons
beaucoup de misère!" The idea of any one suffering misery except himself
seemed to the Zouave too preposterous not to be disposed of at once.
"Mais, mon lieutenant," cried he, "regardez moi---- moi! pr-r-r-r-remier
basson 3me Zouaves! élève du Conservatoire de Paris! après avoir
sacrificé vingt ans de ma vie pour acquérir un talent--pour
me--r-r-ren-dr-r-re agréable a la société--me voici! (with extended
arms, and legs) me voici--forcé d'arracher du bois de la terre (with
terrible earnestness and sense of indignity), pour me faire de la

At the close of the year there were 3500 sick in the British camp before
Sebastopol, and it was not too much to say that their illness had, for
the most part, been caused by hard work in bad weather, and by exposure
to wet without any adequate protection. Think of a tent pitched, as it
were, at the bottom of a marsh, into which some twelve or fourteen
miserable creatures, drenched to the skin, had to creep for shelter
after twelve hours of vigil in a trench like a canal, and then reflect
what state these poor fellows must have been in at the end of a night
and day spent in such _shelter_, huddled together without any change of
clothing, and lying packed up as close as they could be stowed in
saturated blankets. But why were they in tents? Where were the huts
which had been sent out to them? The huts were on board ships in the
harbour of Balaklava. Some of these huts, of which we heard so much,
were floating about the beach; others had been landed, and now and then
I met a wretched pony, knee-deep in mud, struggling on beneath the
weight of two thin deal planks, a small portion of one of these huts,
which were most probably converted into firewood after lying for some
time in the camp, or turned into stabling for officers' horses when
enough of _disjecta membra_ had been collected. Had central depôts been
established, as Mr. Filder proposed, while the fine weather lasted,
much, if not all, of the misery and suffering of the men and of the loss
of horses would have been averted.

It may be true that the enemy were suffering still more than our own
men, but the calculation of equal losses on the part of England and on
the part of Russia in the article of soldiery, cannot be regarded as an
ingredient in the consideration of our position. Our force was deprived
of about 100 men every twenty-four hours. There were between 7000 and
8000 men sick, wounded, and convalescent in the hospitals on the
Bosphorus. The 39th Regiment before it had landed was provided with some
protection against the severity of the weather--not by government, but
by _The Times_ Commissioner at Scutari: and I heard from the best
authority that the bounty of the subscribers to the fund intrusted to
_The Times_ for distribution was not only well bestowed to the men, but
that the officers of the regiments had evinced the greatest satisfaction
at the comfort.

When the various articles sent up by _The Times_ Commissioner arrived at
the camp, there was a rush made to get them by the regimental medical
officers, and no false delicacy was evinced by them in availing
themselves of the luxuries and necessaries placed at their disposal, and
of which they had been in so much need.

We had rather a dreary Christmas. Where were the offerings of our kind
country-men and country-women, and the donations from our ducal parks?
The fat bucks which had exhausted the conservative principles of a
Gunter; the potted meats, which covered the decks and filled the holds
of adventurous yachts; the worsted devices which had employed the
fingers and emptied the crotchet-boxes of fair sympathizers at home?


Omar Pasha arrived on the 4th of January, on board the "Inflexible," and
landed at the Ordnance-wharf. A council of war?--was held, at which the
French General-in-Chief, the French Admiral, Sir E. Lyons, and Sir John
Burgoyne, were present.

Next day, 1600 French were sent down to Balaklava to help us in carrying
up provisions and ammunition. Each man received from our commissariat a
ration of rum and biscuits.

The scenery of our camping ground and of the adjacent country assumed a
wintry aspect. The lofty abrupt peaks and sharp ridges of the mountains
which closed up the valley of Balaklava were covered with snow. On the
tops of the distant mounds black figures, which appeared of enormous
size, denoted the stations of the enemy's pickets and advanced posts.

The 63rd Regiment had only seven men fit for duty; the 46th had only
thirty on the 7th. A strong company of the 90th was reduced in a week to
fourteen file, and that regiment lost fifty men in a fortnight. The
Scots Fusileer Guards, who had 1562 men, mustered 210 on parade. Other
regiments suffered in like proportion. The men sought after ardent
spirits with great avidity, and in carrying out rum to camp broached the
kegs when the eye of the officer in charge was off them.

The duty of the fatigue parties was, indeed, very trying. A cask of rum,
biscuit, or beef was slung from a stout pole between two men, and then
they went off on a tramp of about five miles from the commissariat
stores at Balaklava to head-quarters. As I was coming in from the front
one day, I met a lad who could not long have joined in charge of a party
of the 38th Regiment. He had taken the place of a tired man, and
struggled along under his load, while the man at the other end of the
pole exhausted the little breath he had left in appeals to his comrades.
"Boys! boys! won't you come and relieve the young officer?" Horses could
not do this work, for they could not keep their legs.

Hundreds of men had to go into the trenches at night with no covering
but their greatcoats, and no protection for their feet but their
regimental shoes. Many when they took off their shoes were unable to get
their swollen feet into them again, and they might be seen bare-footed,
hopping along about the camp, with the thermometer at twenty degrees,
and the snow half a foot deep upon the ground. The trenches were two and
three feet deep with mud, snow, and half-frozen slush. Our patent stoves
were wretched. They were made of thin sheet iron, which could not stand
our fuel--charcoal. Besides, they were mere poison manufactories, and
they could not be left alight in the tents at night. They answered well
for drying clothes.

I do not know how the French got on, but I know that our people did not
get a fair chance for their lives while wintering in the Crimea.
Providence had been very good to us. With one exception, which must have
done as much mischief to the enemy as to ourselves, we had wonderful
weather from the day the expedition landed in the Crimea.

One day as I was passing through the camp of the 5th (French) Regiment
of the line, an officer came out and invited me to dismount and take a
glass of brandy which had been sent out by the Emperor as a Christmas
gift. My host, who had passed through his grades in Africa, showed me
with pride the case of good Bordeaux, the box of brandy, and the pile of
good tobacco sent to him by Napoleon III.--"_le premier ami du soldat_."
A similar present had been sent to every officer of the French army, and
a certain quantity of wine, brandy and tobacco had been forwarded to
each company of every regiment in the Crimea. That very day I heard
dolorous complaints that the presents sent by the Queen and Prince
Albert to our army had miscarried, and that the Guards and Rifles had
alone received the royal bounty in the very acceptable shape of a ton of

Although he was living in a tent, the canvass was only a roof for a
capacious and warm pit in which there was a bright wood fire sparkling
cheerily in a grate of stones. We "trinqued" together and fraternised,
as our allies will always do when our officers give them the chance.

It must not be inferred that the French were all healthy while we were
all sickly. They had dysentery, fever, diarrhoea, and scurvy, as well
as pulmonary complaints, but not to the same extent as ourselves, or to
anything like it in proportion to their numbers. On the 8th of January,
some of the Guards of Her Majesty Queen Victoria's Household Brigade
were walking about in the snow _without soles to their shoes_. The warm
clothing was going up to the front in small detachments.


     Road made for us by the French--Hardships--Wretched Ambulance
     Corps--Mule Litter--Heroism of the Troops--A speedy Thaw--Russian
     New Year--A Sortie--Central Depôt for Provisions--Disappearance of
     the Araba Drivers from Roumelia and Bulgaria--Highlanders and the
     Kilt--The Indefatigable Cossacks--Frost-bites--Losses in the
     Campaign--Foraging--Wild Fowl Shooting--The "Arabia" on Fire--The
     Coffee Question--Variableness of the Crimean Climate--Warm
     Clothing--Deserters--Their Account of Sebastopol.


The road which the French were making for the English from Kadikoi, by
the Cavalry Camp, towards the front progressed, but not rapidly. The
weather was so changeable, and was in every change so unfavourable for
work, that it was hard to expect our allies to labour for us with their
usual energy. However, they did work. They built huts for our officers,
when paid for it, with much activity, and their aid in that way was
invaluable. Some of the warm coats sent out for the officers were much
too small, and I heard a pathetic story from a stout Highlander
respecting the defeat of his exertions to get into his much-longed-for
and much-wanted garment.

There was only one officer in the whole regiment that the largest of the
great coats fitted, and he was certainly not remarkable for bulk or
stature. The men were far more lucky, and their coats were of the most
liberal dimensions, however eccentric in cut and device they might be.

As the Ambulance Corps were quite _hors de combat_ in weather of this
kind--as the men and horses were nearly all gone or unfit for duty, our
sick were subjected to much misery in going from the camp to be put on
board ship. But for the kindness of the French in lending us their
excellent mule-litters, many of our poor fellows would have died in
their tents. Captain Grant, at the head of the Ambulance Corps, was a
most excellent, intelligent, and active officer, but he had no materials
to work with, and this was no place for intelligence and activity to
work miracles in. Experience had taught our allies that the mule-litter
was the best possible conveyance for a sick or wounded man. A movable
jointed frame of iron, with a canvass stretcher, was suspended from a
light pack saddle at each side of a mule. If the sick or wounded man was
able to sit up, by raising the head of the litter, a support was
afforded to his back. If he wished his legs to hang down, the frame was
adjusted accordingly, and he rode as if he were in an arm-chair
suspended by the side of a mule. When the invalid wished to lie down, he
had a long and comfortable couch--comfortable in so far as the pace of a
mule was easier than the jog of an ambulance, and he was not crowded
with others like hens in a coop. These mules travelled where ambulance
carts could not stir; they required no roads nor beaten tracks, and they
were readily moved about in the rear when an action was going on.

It was right that England should be made aware of the privations which
her soldiers endured in this great winter campaign, that she might
reward with her greenest laurels those gallant hearts, who deserved the
highest honour--that honour which in ancient Rome was esteemed the
highest that a soldier could gain--that in desperate circumstances he
had not despaired of the Republic. And no man despaired. The exhausted
soldier, before he sank to rest, sighed that he could not share the sure
triumph--the certain glories--of the day when our flag was to float from
Sebastopol! There was no doubt--no despondency. No one for an instant
felt diffident of ultimate success. From his remains, in that cold
Crimean soil, the British soldier knew an avenger and a conqueror would
arise. If high courage, unflinching bravery--if steady charge--the
bayonet-thrust in the breach--the strong arm in the fight--if calm
confidence, contempt of death, and love of country could have won
Sebastopol, it had long been ours. Let England know her children as the
descendants of the starved rabble who fought at Agincourt and Cressy;
and let her know, too, that in fighting against a stubborn enemy, her
armies had to maintain a struggle with foes still more terrible, and
that, as they triumphed over the one, so they vanquished the other.

On the night of the 12th of January the wind changed round to the
southward, and the thermometer rose to 34°. A speedy thaw followed, and
the roads and camp once more suffered from the ravages of our old
enemy--the mud. The Russians who had been very active inside the town
during the day, and who had lighted great watchfires on the north side
of the place, illuminated the heights over Tchernaya with rows of
lights, which shone brilliantly through the darkness of the cold
winter's night, and were evidently with all possible pomp and
ostentation celebrating the opening of their new year. Lights shone from
the windows of the public buildings, and our lonely sentries in the
valleys and ravines, and the _enfans perdus_--the French sharpshooters
lying in their lairs with watchful eye on every embrasure before
them--might almost fancy that the inhabitants and garrison of the
beleaguered city were tantalising them with the aspect of their gaiety.
At midnight all the chapel bells of the city began ringing. On our side
the sentries and pickets were warned to be on the alert, and the
advanced posts were strengthened wherever it was practicable.

About a quarter past one o'clock in the morning the Russians gave a loud
cheer. The French replied by opening fire, and the Russians instantly
began one of the fiercest cannonades we had ever heard. It reminded one
of those tremendous salvoes of artillery which the enemy delivered on
two or three occasions before we opened our batteries in October. The
earthworks flashed forth uninterrupted floods of flame, which revealed
distinctly the outlines of the buildings in the town, and defences
swarming with men. The roaring of shot, the screaming and hissing of
heavy shell, and the whistling of carcases filled up the intervals
between the deafening roll of cannon, which was as rapid and unbroken as
quick file-firing. The iron storm passed over our lines uninterruptedly
for more than half an hour, and the French, whose works to our left were
less protected by the ground than ours, had to shelter themselves
closely in the trenches, and could barely reply to the volleys which
ploughed up the parapets of their works.

While the firing was going on a strong body of men had been pushed out
of the town up the face of the hill towards our works in front, and on
the flank of the left attack. As it was expected that some attempt of
the kind would be made, a sergeant was posted at this spot with twelve
men. Every reliance was placed upon his vigilance, and a strict
attention to his duties, but, somehow or other, the enemy crept upon the
little party, surprised, and took them prisoners, and then advanced on
the covering parties with such rapidity and suddenness that the parties
on duty in the trenches were obliged to retire. They rallied, however,
and, being supported by the regiments in rear, they advanced, and the
Russians were driven back close to the town.


In this little affair one officer and nine men were wounded, six men
were killed, and fourteen men taken. The French had to resist a strong
sortie nearly at the same time; for a short time the Russians were
within the parapet of one of their mortar batteries, and spiked two or
three mortars with wooden plugs, but the French drove them back with
loss, and in the pursuit got inside the Russian advanced batteries. The
soldiers, indeed, say they could have taken the place if they had been
permitted to do so. At two o'clock all was silent.

A heavy gale of wind blew nearly all day, but the thermometer rose to
38°, and the snow thawed so rapidly that the tracks to the camp became
rivulets of mud. The establishment of a central depôt for provisions
had, however, done much to diminish the labours and alleviate the
sufferings of the men engaged in the duties of the siege; but the
formation of the depôt and the accumulation of the stores wore out and
exhausted many of our best men. Out of a batch of 500 or 600 horses
brought up from Constantinople, 279 died between the 16th of December
and the 16th January. In fact the commissariat consumed and used up
horseflesh at the rate of 100 head per week, and each of the animals
cost on an average 5_l._ The araba drivers from Roumelia and Bulgaria
disappeared likewise--out of the several hundreds there were very few
left; and of the Tartars of the Crimea in our employ the majority were
unwilling or unfit to work in cold weather, accustomed as they seemed to
be to sit all day in close rooms provided with large stoves as soon as
winter set in. Disease and sickness of all kinds swept these poor people
away very rapidly. The mortality of the Turkish troops, which had, as I
before stated, assumed the dimensions of a plague, had now begun to be
attended with much of the physical appearances of the same terrible
disease, and their sanitary condition excited the liveliest
apprehensions of our medical officers in Balaklava, who had, over and
over again, represented to the authorities the danger of allowing the
Turks to remain in the town.

The _Adelaide_ arrived in Balaklava on the 17th of January, after a
splendid passage from England, and the passengers must have been a
little astonished at the truly Christmas aspect presented by the Crimea;
somewhat more real and less jovial they found it than the pictures which
represented florid young gentlemen in gorgeous epaulettes, gloating over
imaginary puddings and Christmas presents in snug tents, and ready to
partake of the fare that England had sent to her dear boys in the
Crimea, but which none of them had then received, and which none of them
would ever eat in such comfort and with such appliances of luxury. There
was a wind that would have effectually deprived, if wind could do it,
any number of rats of their whiskers. Anxious to see what things were
like on the heights above Balaklava, I started, with my gun upon my
shoulder, through the passes across the hill, knee-deep in snow; and
after a shot or two at great, raw-necked vultures, and stately eagles,
and some more fortunate cracks at "blue rocks," scraping the snow off
the points of the cliffs, I arrived in the camp of the Highlanders,
several hundred feet below the elevated position of the Rifles, but
quite high enough to induce me to accept a hearty invitation to stop to
dinner, and rest for the night. Oh, could "_Caledoniensis_," "_Pictus_,"
"_Memor antiquæ virtutis_," or any of the high-spirited Celtic gentlemen
who are fighting about lions rampant and Scottish rights, and the garb
of that respectable person, Auld Gael, but have seen what their
countrymen were like as they faced the Crimean winter, how shamed they
would have been of their kilt and philibeg and stocking declamation! All
such things were clean gone, and if the gallant Highlanders ever wore
the kilt _'twas for punishment_! Breeks--low-lived breeks--and blanket
gaiters, and any kind of leggings over them, were the wear of our
Scottish Zouaves, though, in good sooth, they were no more like Zouaves,
except in popular modern legends, than they were like Dutchmen, _à la_
Rip Van Winkle.

Over the waste or snow, looking down from the heights towards the valley
of the Tchernaya, I saw those indefatigable Cossacks riding about their
picket ground, and a few waggons stealing along from Mackenzie's Farm
towards the heights of Inkerman. A vedette or two were trotting up and
down along a ridge, keeping a bright lookout on our movements, and
through the glass we perceived them flapping their hands under their
armpits, as London cabmen do on a cold night when waiting for a fare.
Towards Baidar, pickets of the same active gentry were moving along to
keep themselves warm. We had no cavalry posts advanced towards them. In
fact we could not conveniently send any out. Those ragged ruffians, in
sheepskin coats and fur caps, mounted on ragged ponies, with deal lances
and coarse iron tips, were able in drifting snow and biting winds to
hold ground which our cavalry could not face.

In the middle of January there were severe and sudden alterations of
temperature. Men were frozen in their tents, and several soldiers on
duty in the trenches were removed to hospital with severe frost-bites,
but the frost enabled the men to get up considerable supplies of warm
clothing, though the means at our disposal did not permit of the wood
for huts being sent to the front. When a path had once been trodden
through the snow, men and horses could get along much more easily than
if they had to wade through mud or across a country in a state of
semi-solution. Many thousands of coats, lined with fur, long boots,
gloves, mits, and socks were served out, but there were regimental
hospitals where they had only one blanket to lie upon.

Our army consisted of officers and regiments almost new to this
campaign. The generation of six months before had passed away; generals,
brigadiers, colonels, captains, and men, the well-known faces of
Gallipoli, of Bulari, of Scutari, of Varna, of Aladyn, of Devno, of
Monastir--ay, even of the bivouac of Bouljanak, had changed; and there
was scarcely one of the regiments once so familiar to me which I could
then recognise save by its well-known number. What a harvest Death had
reaped, and yet how many more were ripe for the sickle of the Great
Farmer! It was sad to meet an old acquaintance, for all one's
reminiscences were of noble hearts now cold for ever, and of friend
after friend departed. And then came--"Poor fellow! he might have been
saved, if----"


Excepting Lord Raglan, Lord Lucan, and Sir R. England, not one of our
generals remained of those who went out originally; the changes among
our brigadiers and colonels were almost as great. Sir George Brown, the
Duke of Cambridge, the Earl of Cardigan, Sir George Cathcart, Sir De
Lacy Evans, General Tylden, General Strangways, Brigadier Bentinck,
Brigadier Goldie, Brigadier Buller, Brigadier Adams, Brigadier Torrens,
Brigadier Cator, Lord de Ros--had all been removed from the army by
wounds, by sickness, or by death. And so it was with the men themselves.

On the 16th the thermometer was at 14° in the morning and at 10° on the
heights over Balaklava. The snow fell all night, and covered the ground
to the depth of three feet; but the cold and violent wind drifted it in
places to the depth of five or six feet. In the morning 1200 French
soldiers came down to Balaklava for shot and shell, and the agility,
good spirits, and energy with which they ploughed through the snow were
alike admirable. The wind blew almost a gale, and the native horses
refused to face it, but our poor fellows came trudging along in the same
dreary string, and there was something mournful in the very aspect of
the long lines of black dots moving across the vast expanse of
glittering snow between Sebastopol and Balaklava. When these dots came
up, you saw they had very red noses and very white faces and very
bleared eyes; and as to their clothes Falstaff would have thought his
famous levy a _corps d'élite_ if he could have beheld our gallant
soldiery. Many of the officers were as ragged and as reckless in dress.
The generals made appeals to their subalterns "to wear their swords, as
there was no other way of telling them from the men."

It was inexpressibly odd to see Captain Smith, of the----Foot, with a
pair of red Russian leather boots up to his middle, a cap probably made
out of the tops of his holsters, and a white skin coat tastefully
embroidered all down the back with flowers of many-coloured silk, topped
by a head-dress _à la_ dustman of London, stalking gravely through the
mud of Balaklava, intent on the capture of a pot of jam or marmalade.
Does the reader wonder why we were all so fond of jam? Because it was
portable and come-at-able, and was a substitute for butter, which was
only sent out in casks and giant crocks, one of which would exhaust the
transport resources of a regiment. Captain Smith was much more like his
great namesake of the Adelphi, when, in times gone by, he made up for a
smuggler-burglar-bandit, than the pride of the High-street of
Portsmouth, or than that hero of the Phoenix-park, with golden wings
like an angel, before the redness of whose presence little boys and
young ladies trembled. All this would be rather facetious and laughable,
were not poor Captain Smith a famished wretch, with bad chilblains,
approximating to frost-bites, a touch of scurvy, and of severe

This cold weather brought great quantities of wild fowl over the camp,
but it was rather too busy a spot for them to alight in. They could
scarcely recognize their old haunts in the Chersonese, and flew about
disconsolately over their much metamorphosed feeding-grounds. Solemn
flights of wild geese, noisy streams of barnacles, curlew, duck, and
widgeon wheeled over the harbour, and stimulated the sporting
propensities of the seamen who kept up a constant fusillade from the
decks. Balls and No. 1 shot whistled unpleasantly close to one's ears,
and one day a man was startled by receiving a bullet slap through his
arm. Huge flocks of larks and finches congregated about the stables and
the cavalry camps, and were eagerly sought by our allies, who much
admire a _petite chasse_, which furnished them with such delicate
reliefs to the monotony of ration dinners. They were rather reckless in
pursuit of their quarry; the enthusiastic Zouave in chase of a
fluttering bunting was frequently greeted by sounds which his ignorance
of English alone prevented him from considering a _teterrima causa

Lord Raglan's visit to Balaklava, on the 18th of January, was a
memorable event. Men were set to work throwing stones down into the most
Curtius-like gulfs in the streets.

Lord Raglan began to go about frequently and ride through the various

We were astounded, on reading our papers, to find that on the 22nd of
December, London believed, the coffee issued to the men was roasted
before it was given out! Who could have hoaxed them so cruelly? Around
every tent there were to be seen green berries, which the men trampled
into the mud, and could not roast. Mr. Murdoch, chief engineer of the
_Sanspareil_ mounted some iron oil casks, and adapted them very
ingeniously for roasting; and they came into play at Balaklava. I do not
believe at the time the statement was made, one ounce of roasted coffee
had ever been issued from any commissariat store to any soldier in the

The great variableness of the Crimean climate was its peculiarity. In
the morning, you got up and found the water frozen in your tent, the
ground covered with snow, the thermometer at 20°; put on mufflers,
greatcoat, and mits; and went out for a walk, and before evening you
returned perspiring under the weight of clothing which you carried at
the end of your stick, unable to bear it any longer, the snow turned
into slush, the thermometer at 45°. On the 16th the thermometer 10°
noon. On the 22nd it stood at 50°--an alternation of 40° in five days;
but the character of the weather exhibited a still greater difference.
In the southern Crimea the wind riots in the exercise of its
prescriptive right to be capricious. It plays about the tops of the
cliffs and mountain ridges, lurks round corners in ravines, nearly whips
you off your legs when you are expatiating on the calmness of the day,
and suddenly yells in gusts at the moment the stillness had tempted you
to take out a sketch-book for a memorandum of Sebastopol.


Desertions to the enemy, from the French and from our own ranks, took
place. The deserters generally belonged to the Foreign Legion, from the
young draughts and from regiments just sent out. We received a few
deserters in turn from the army in the rear, by scrambling along the
cliffs, and one of them told us he was three days coming from Baidar by
that route. These men stated that the part of the town built upon the
slope to the sea was very little injured by our fire, as our shot and
shells did not "top" the hill. To the south faced one steep slope
covered with houses and batteries and ruined works and battered suburbs.
The other descended to the sea, and was covered by public buildings,
fine mansions, warehouses and government edifices. This part had
suffered very little. The ships took refuge below this slope when
pressed by our fire; the workmen and soldiers and sailors found snug
quarters in the buildings.


     New Works--A Ghastly Procession--Reinforcements--Havoc amongst
     Horses--A Reconnaissance of Sebastopol--Russian
     Defences--Camps--Red Tape and Routine--Changes of
     Weather--Sickness--Sufferings of the French--Effect of the Author's
     Statements--Facts--Continual Drain of Men--Affair of Musketry
     between the Russians and the French--Sharp-shooting--State of our
     Batteries--Orders with reference to Flags of Truce--A Spy in the
     Trenches--Good Fellowship at the Outposts.

We gradually relinquished ground to our allies, and the front, which it
had cost so much strength and so much health to maintain, was gradually
abandoned to the more numerous and less exhausted army. Some of our
regiments were reduced below the strength of a company.

The French relieved the Guards of their outpost duties, and gradually
extended themselves towards Inkerman. What a difference there was in the
relative position of the two armies from that on the evening of the 17th
of October, when the French fire had been completely snuffed out, and
our own fire still maintained its strength.

There was a white frost on the night of the 22nd of January, the next
morning the thermometer was at 42°. A large number of sick were sent
into Balaklava on the 23rd on French mule litters and a few of our bât
horses. They formed one of the most ghastly processions that ever poet
imagined. Many were all but dead. With closed eyes, open mouths, and
ghastly faces, they were borne along two and two, the thin stream of
breath, visible in the frosty air, alone showing they were still alive.
One figure was a horror--a corpse, stone dead, strapped upright in its
seat, its legs hanging stiffly down, the eyes staring wide open, the
teeth set on the protruding tongue, the head and body nodding with
frightful mockery of life at each stride of the mule over the broken
road. The man had died on his way down. As the apparition passed, the
only remark the soldiers made was,--"There's one poor fellow out of
pain, any way!" Another man I saw with the raw flesh and skin hanging
from his fingers, the naked bones of which protruded into the cold air.
That was a case of frost-bite. Possibly the hand had been dressed, but
the bandages might have dropped off.

The French army received important reinforcements. The Eighth Division
arrived at Kamiesch; it consisted of 10,000 good troops. The Ninth
Division, under General Brunet was expected.

Our allies then would muster upwards of 75,000 bayonets. The Turks did
not seem to amount to more than 5000 or 6000. These unfortunate troops
received supplies of new clothing and uniforms from Riza Pasha, the War
Minister at Constantinople, and were assuming a respectable appearance.

It would have astonished a stranger to have seen the multitudes of dead
horses all along the road. In every gully were piles of their remains
torn by wild dogs and vultures. On a lone hillside I beheld the remnants
of the gallant grey on which Mr. Maxse rode to the mouth of the Katcha,
in company with Major Nasmyth, on the eve of the flank march to
Balaklava, and many of the equine survivors of the charge at Balaklava
lay rotting away by the side of the cavalry camp. Some had dropped down
dead, and were frozen still as they fell; others were struggling to rise
from their miry graves. The carcases had been skinned, by the Turks and
French, to cover their huts; many suspicious-looking gaps, suggestive of
horse-steak, were cut out in their flanks.

There was very smart fighting in the trenches and advanced works between
the French and Russians on the night of the 23rd and the morning of the

On the 24th, Lord Raglan, attended by Major-General Airey and a few
staff officers, rode over to Balaklava. He went on board the _Caradoc_
and had a long interview with Sir E. Lyons alone, previous to which
there was a council of war. Lord Raglan did not return to head-quarters
till it was nearly dusk.

I had a long _reconnaissance_ of Sebastopol on the same day, in company
with Captain Biddulph, of Artillery. It was a beautifully clear day, and
at times it was almost warm. We went up to the hill in advance and on
the left of the maison brulée, and swept every inch of ground. The
aspect of the place itself had changed very little, considering the
hundreds of tons of shot and shell thrown into it; but whitewashed
houses, roofed with tiles, and at most two stories high, in the suburbs,
were in ruins. The roofs, doors, and windows were off, but puffs of
smoke showed that the frames were covers for Russian riflemen. In front
and left, lay a most intricate series of covered ways, traverses,
zigzags, and parallels from the seaside, close to the Quarantine
Battery, over the undulating land to the distance of sixty-five metres
from the outer works of the Russians. Swarms of _Franctireurs_ lined the
advanced parallel, and kept up a continual pop, pop, pop, in reply to
the Russian riflemen behind their advanced works.


The works from the Quarantine Fort to the crenelated wall, and thence to
the Flagstaff Battery, seemed very much in the same state as the first
day I saw them, with the exception, that the guns were withdrawn, and
the defence left to riflemen. The Flagstaff parapets had been knocked to
atoms long before, and the large buildings around it were all in ruins;
but, on looking towards the ridge behind it, from which the streets
descend, and which shelters that part of the place, I could see but
little difference in its appearance to that which it presented on the
26th of September. People were walking about (relief coming up from the
sea-side) carrying baskets. Between the rear of the Flagstaff Battery
and this ridge, earthworks could be detected in the openings along the
lines of streets, and immediately behind the first Russian intrenchment
there was a formidable work armed which at two o'clock convinced us they
had pretty good range, by thundering forth an astounding broadside in
answer to fire from the French. There was a rattling fire from the
_enfans perdus_ at the embrasures, the Russians slackened their fire and
replied to the French sharpshooters only. When the smoke cleared away, I
could see the enemy and the French carrying away a few bodies on each
side to the rear.

At the other side of the harbour, Fort Constantine was shining brightly
in the sun, its white walls blackened here and there under the line of
embrasures by the smoke of the guns on the 17th of October. Behind it
were visible dark walls rising through the snow, and notched like saws
by the lines of embrasures. The waters of the harbour, as smooth as
glass, were covered with boats, plying from one side to the other, and
one full of men came round the head of the Dockyard Creek towards Fort
Alexander, with her white flag and blue St. Andrew's cross.

The large pile of Government buildings by the side of the Dockyard Creek
was much injured. Close to there was a large two-decker, with a spring
upon her cables lying so as to sweep the western slope of the town. A
small steamer with her steam up was near at hand, either for the use of
the garrison or to carry off the two-decker, in case heavy guns were
unmasked upon her. To the right, at the other side of this creek, we
could see into the rear of our left attack. The houses near the Redan
and Garden Batteries as well as those in front of the Right Attack, and
in the rear of Malakoff were in ruins. The part of the city beyond them
seemed untouched. To the rear of Malakoff, which was split up, from top
to bottom, as it was the first day of our fire, there was a perfect
miracle of engineering.

It is impossible to speak too highly of the solidity and finish of the
earthworks, thrown up to enfilade our attack, and to defend the key of
their works. One line of battery was rivetted with tin boxes, supposed
to be empty powder cases. This was the mere wantonness and surplusage of
abundant labour. Behind this we could see about 2,000 soldiers and
workmen labouring with the greatest zeal at a new line of batteries

At the rear of Malakoff there was a camp, and another at the other side
of the creek, close to the Citadel, on the north side. The men-of-war
and steamers were lying with topgallantmasts and yards down, under the
spit of land inside Fort Constantine. Our third parallel, which was
within a few hundred yards of the enemy's advanced works, was occupied
by sharpshooters, who kept up a constant fire, but from my position I
could not see so well into our approaches as upon those of the French.

A circumstance occurred in Balaklava on the 25th, which I stated for the
consideration of the public at home without one single word of comment.
The _Charity_, an iron screw steamer, was in harbour for the reception
of sick under the charge of a British medical officer. That officer went
on shore and made an application to the officer in charge of the
Government stoves for two or three to put on board the ship to warm the
men. "Three of my men," said he, "died last night from choleraic
symptoms, brought on from the extreme cold, and I fear more will

"Oh!" said the guardian of stoves, "you must make your requisition in
due form, send it up to head-quarters, and get it signed properly, and
returned, and then I will let you have the stoves."

"But my men may die meantime."

"I can't help that; I must have the requisition."

"It is my firm belief that there are men now in a dangerous state whom
another night's cold will certainly kill."

"I really can do nothing; I must have a requisition properly signed
before I can give one of these stoves away."

"For God's sake, then, _lend_ me some; I'll be responsible for their

"I really can do nothing of the kind."

"But, consider, this requisition will take time to be filled up and
signed, and meantime these poor fellows will go."

"I cannot help that."

"I'll be responsible for anything you do."

"Oh, no, that can't be done!"

"Will a requisition signed by the P. M. O. of this place be of any use!"


"Will it answer, if he takes on himself the responsibility?"

"Certainly not."

The surgeon went off in sorrow and disgust.

I appended another special fact for Dr. Smith, the head of the British
Army Medical Department. A surgeon of a regiment stationed on the cliffs
above Balaklava, who had forty sick out of two hundred, had been
applying to the "authorities" in the town for three weeks for medicines,
and could not get one of them. The list he sent in was returned with the
observation, "We have none of these medicines in store." The surgeon
came down with his last appeal:--"Do, I beg you, give me any medicine
you have for diarrhoea."

"_We haven't any._"

"Have you any medicine for fever? Anything you can let me have, I'll

"_We haven't any._"

"I have a good many cases of rheumatism. Can you let me have any

"_We haven't any._"

Thus, for diarrhoea, fever, and rheumatism there were no specifics.
Dr. Smith could prove, no doubt, that there were granaries full of the
finest and costliest drugs and medicines for fever, rheumatism, and
diarrhoea at Scutari, but the knowledge that they were there little
availed those dying for want of them at Balaklava.


But with all this, the hand of the plague was _not_ stayed.

Sickness clung to our troops, the soldiers who climbed the bloody steeps
of the Alma in the splendour of manly strength, and who defended the
heights over the Tchernaya exhausted, and "washed out" by constant
fatigue, incessant wet, insufficient food, want of clothing and of cover
from the weather, died away in their tents night after night. Doctors,
and hospitals, and nurses, came too late, and they sank to rest
unmurmuringly, and every week some freshly-formed lines of narrow mounds
indicated the formation of a new burial-place.

It must not be inferred that the French escaped sickness and mortality.
On the contrary, our allies suffered to a degree which would have been
considered excessive, had it not been compared with our own unfortunate
standard of disease and death, and to the diminution caused by illness,
must be added that from the nightly sorties of the Russians and the
heavy fire from the batteries.

According to what I heard from people, I was honoured by a good deal of
abuse for telling the truth. I really would have put on my Claude
Lorraine glass, if I could. I would have clothed skeletons with flesh,
breathed life into the occupants of the charnel-house, subverted the
succession of the seasons, and restored the legions which had been lost;
but I could not tell lies to "make things pleasant." Any statements I
had made I have chapter, and book, and verse, and witness for. Many,
very many, that I did _not_ make I could prove to be true with equal
ease, and could make public, if the public interest required it. The
only thing the partisans of misrule could allege was, that I did not
"make things pleasant" to the authorities, and that, amid the filth and
starvation, and deadly stagnation of the camp, I did not go about
"babbling of green fields," of present abundance, and of prospects of

Suppose we come to "facts." Do people at home know how many bayonets the
British army could muster? Do they believe we had 25,000, after all our
reinforcements? They might have been told--nay, it might have been
proved to them by figures at home--that the British army consisted of
55,000 men. From the 1st of December, 1854, to the 20th of January,
1855, 8,000 sick and wounded were sent down from camp to Balaklava, and
thence on shipboard! Shall I state how many returned?

Yet people at home told us it was "croaking" to state the facts, or even
to allude to them! The man who could have sat calmly down and written
home that our troops were healthy, that there was only an average
mortality, that every one was confident of success, that our works were
advancing, that we were nearer to the capture of Sebastopol than we were
on the 17th of October, that transport was abundant, and the labours of
our army light, might be an agreeable correspondent, but assuredly he
would not have enabled the public to form a very accurate opinion on the
real state of affairs in the camp before Sebastopol. The wretched boys
sent out to us were not even fit for powder. They died ere a shot was
fired against them. Sometimes a good draught was received; but they
could not endure long vigil and exposure in the trenches.

And now for another "fact." The battle of Inkerman was fought on the 5th
of November, as the world will remember for ever. About 40 per cent. of
the Brigade of Guards were killed or wounded on that occasion. They
received reinforcements, and the brigade which mustered about 2,500 men
when it left England had received some 1,500 men in various draughts up
to the end of the year. What was the strength in the last week of
January of the Brigade of Household troops--of that magnificent band who
crowned the struggle of the Alma with victory, and beat back the Russian
hordes at Inkerman? I think they could have mustered, including
servants, about 950 men in the whole brigade. Here is another fact.
Since the same battle of Inkerman, at least 1,000 men of the brigade had
been "expended," absorbed, used up, and were no more seen. The official
returns will show how many of that thousand were killed or wounded by
the enemy. Another fact. There were two regiments so shattered and
disorganised--so completely destroyed, to tell the truth, that they had
to be sent away to be "re-formed." Now, mark, one of these regiments was
neither at the Alma nor at Inkerman--the other was engaged in the latter
battle only, and did not lose many men.

January 28 was celebrated by an extremely heavy fire between the
Russians and the French. The volleys were as heavy as those at the Alma
or Inkerman, and from the numbers of Russian infantry thrown into the
works, it was evident the enemy intended to dispute the small space of
ground between the last French trench and the broken outworks of their
late batteries with the greatest vigour. Possibly, indeed, orders had
been received to resist any nearer approaches of the French, who had
burrowed up, zigzagged, paralleled, and parapetted the country from the
Quarantine Fort to the Flagstaff Fort.

It was not to be expected that such an affair could take place without
considerable loss on both sides. After daybreak the fire recommenced
with great fury, and about eight o'clock a regular battle was raging in
the trenches between the French and Russians. There could not have been
less than 3,000 men on each side firing as hard as they could, and the
lines were marked by thick curling banks of smoke. The fire slackened
about nine o'clock.

By general orders dated 29th of January, Lord Raglan communicated that
the Russian commanders had entered into an agreement to cease firing
whenever a white flag was hoisted to indicate that a burying-party was
engaged in front of the batteries. Admiral Boxer arrived to assume the
command of the harbour of Balaklava, and by incessant exertions
succeeded in carrying out many improvements, and in introducing some
order in that focus of feebleness, confusion, and mismanagement.


On the 31st, a spy _walked through some of our trenches_. He was closely
shaven, wore a blue frock-coat buttoned up to the chin, and stopped for
some time to look at Mr. Murdoch "bouching" the guns. Some said he was a
Frenchman, others that he "looked like a doctor." No one suspected he
was a Russian till he bolted towards the Russian pickets, under a sharp
fire of musketry, through which he had the good luck to pass unscathed.

Orders were issued, in consequence, to admit no one into the trenches or
works without a written permission, and all persons found loitering
about the camp were arrested and sent to divisional head-quarters for
examination. The French were in the habit of sending out working parties
towards the valley of Baidar, to cut wood for gabions and fuel. They
frequently came across the Cossack pickets, and as it was our interest
not to provoke hostilities, a kind of good-fellowship sprang up between
our allies and the outposts. One day the French came upon three cavalry
horses tied up to a tree, and the officer in command ordered them not to
be touched. On the same day a Chasseur left his belt and accoutrements
in a ruined Cossack picket-house, and gave up hope of recovering them,
but on his next visit he found them on the wall untouched. To requite
this act, a soldier who had taken a Cossack's lance and pistol, which he
found against a tree, was ordered to return them. The next time the
French went out, one of the men left a biscuit in a cleft stick,
beckoning to the Cossack to come and eat it. The following day they
found a loaf of excellent bread stuck on a stick in the same place, with
a note in Russian to the effect that the Russians had plenty of
biscuits, and that, although greatly obliged for that which had been
left, they really did not want it; but if the French had bread to spare
like the sample left in return, it would be acceptable. One day a
Russian called out, as the French were retiring, "Nous nous reverrons,
mes amis--Français, Anglais, Russes, nous sommes tous amis." The
cannonade before Sebastopol, the echoes of which reached the remote
glades distinctly, must have furnished a strange commentary on the


     French Demonstration--Opinions on the Siege--Suffering and
     Succour--The Cunning Cossack--The Navy's Barrow--Appearance of
     Balaklava--Supply of Water--Struggle between the French and the
     Russians--General Niel--Canards--A Spy--Omar Pash's Visit--The Bono
     Johnnies--Doing nothing--Change in the Temperature.

On the 1st of February the French made a demonstration on our right and
two divisions were marched down towards Inkerman, consisting of about
16,000 men; but the Russians who had been cheering loudly all along our
front, did not meet them.

Every day strengthened the correctness of Sir John Burgoyne's homely
saying about Sebastopol--"The more you look at it, the less you will
like it." Three months before, that officer declared his opinion to be
that the place ought to be assaulted. General Neil we heard, laughed at
the notion of our reducing the place by the fire of our artillery.

The thermometer on the 4th of February stood at 22°. In the afternoon a
party of Cossacks with two light field-pieces, were observed crossing
the head of the valley towards Inkerman, but the Russians mustered over
the heights and on the ridges between the Belbek and the south side of
Sebastopol. They must have suffered very severely during these cold
nights, for they were less able to bear the severity of the climate than
our own soldiers, being accustomed to spend their winters in hot close
barracks. The Cossacks alone are employed in the open country during
frost and snow.

As the spring advanced, all kinds of aid began to arrive, and even
luxuries were distributed. The Government sent out stores to be sold at
cost price. The Crimean Army Fund opened their magazines, and sold
excellent articles of all kinds. Our parcels and boxes and Christmas
presents turned up slowly in the chaos of Balaklava. The presents sent
by the Queen and Prince to the Guards, in the _St. Jean d'Acre_, were
after a time delivered to the men. Lord Rokeby was affected to tears
when the three regiments paraded, on his taking the command. He
communicated a most gratifying letter from the Queen to the officers, in
which Her Majesty expressed her admiration of the conduct of "her
beloved Guards."

Lord Raglan rode into Balaklava on the 5th, and remained some time,
inspecting the arrangements. A harbour was assigned for French ships to
unload stores for regiments which were nearer to Balaklava than to

As I was riding out on the same day towards the camp from Balaklava with
an officer of the Scots Fusileer Guards, I witnessed a refreshing
instance of vigilance. We rode towards the Woronzoff road, and kept a
little too much to our right, so that, happening to look towards the top
of a mound about 300 yards distant, the first thing that struck us was
the head of a Cossack as he crouched down to escape observation. A
little in advance was an English soldier, behind him, at the distance of
some 400 yards, another soldier was running, shouting, with his firelock
at the present. The first man kept walking rapidly on. The other halted
and fired. Still the fellow kept on, and we were riding up to see what
he was, when a Dragoon dashed at a gallop from the cavalry picket, and
rode between the man and the hill. The soldier turned back with the
Dragoon, who marched him to the picket-house, and then went up to the
other who was a sentry in front of the Highland Battery, and had run
after the would-be deserter, whom he had seen edging up towards the
Russian Lines along the plain. It was amusing to watch the Cossack.
Nothing could be seen of him for the time but his little bullet head
over the bank. He evidently imagined that by lying close he might get
one of us, but he was disappointed.


It is strange that the first use--perhaps the only use--the Crim-Tartar
will ever witness of the great invention of recent days should be to
facilitate the operations of war and to destroy life.[15] After the
expedition leaves the shores of the Crimea, and has become a tradition
among its people, the works of our railroad may serve to exercise the
ingenuity of Cimmerian antiquaries, and form the only permanent mark of
our presence on this bloodstained soil.

A new wooden world arose in a few days in early February along the
hill-side over the road to Balaklava. A little town was erected on the
right-hand side of the path, about three-quarters of a mile outside
Balaklava, for the sutlers expelled from the town, in which fires had
been suspiciously frequent; and, from the din and clamour, one might
imagine he was approaching some well-frequented English fair. A swarm of
men, in all sorts of grotesque uniforms, French, English, and Turks,
thronged the narrow lines between the huts and tents, and carried on
bargains in all the languages of Babel, with Greek, Italian, Algerine,
Spaniard, Maltese, Armenian, Jew and Egyptian, for all sorts of
merchandize. Here I beheld a runaway servant of mine--a vagabond
Italian--selling small loaves of bread for 2s. each, which he had
purchased from a French baker in Balaklava for 1s. 6d. As the
authorities did not interfere in such cases, I was left to solace myself
with the poor revenge of seeing him break his shins over a tent-stick as
he ran away to escape my horsewhip.

In the camp all the scoundrels of the Levant who could get across the
Black Sea, were making little fortunes by the sale, at the most enormous
prices, of the vilest articles of consumption, which necessity alone
forced us to use: and a few honest traders might also be seen sitting
moodily in their stalls and mourning over their fast-departing probity.
There was not then one Englishman, so far as I know, among these sutlers
of the British army, though the greatest vein of nuggets that ever
charmed multitudes to a desert was as dross and dirt to the wealth to be
realized in this festering crowd. Camel-drivers, arabajees, wild-eyed,
strange-looking savages from out-of the-way corners of Asia Minor,
dressed apparently in the spoils of the chorus of "_Nabucco_" or
"_Semiramide_," stalked curiously through the soldiery, much perplexed
by the conflicting emotions of fear of the Provost-Marshal and love of
plunder. Then there was an odd-looking acre or two of ground, with a low
wall round it, which looked as if all the moles in the world lived
beneath it, and were labouring night and day--so covered was it with
mounds of earth, through which peered rags and bones. This was the
Turkish burying-ground, and full well frequented was it. Little parties
might be seen flocking to it down the hill-sides all day, and returning
with the empty litters gravely back again. They also turned one or two
vineyards into graveyards, and they also selected a quiet nook up among
the hills for the same purpose. Our own more decent graveyard was
situated outside the town, in low ground, close to the sea. It was soon
afterwards crossed by the railway, and covered by sheds, so that all
traces of the graves were obliterated.

If Birnam Wood had been formed of deal boards, Macbeth might have seen
his worst suspicions realized. He would have beheld literally miles of
men, and of mules and ponies, all struggling through the mud with
boards--nothing but boards. In calm weather they got on well enough, but
a puff of wind put an end to progress, and a strong gust laid men and
horses in the mire. However, they were slowly working up towards the
camp, but how hard it was to take up even one hut, and what a great
quantity of timber had to be moved ere the building was complete.

The cold and frost had almost disappeared; but the inhabitants warned us
not to be misled; March was still to be endured, and we heard that he
roared right royally, and came in, and remained in, with bitter cold and
very strong winds, and heavy falls of rain, sleet, and snow. March was,
in truth, like November. The climate, was beyond all conception fickle.
A bird might be singing under the impression that he had done with foul
weather, and think of getting ready his nest, and shortly afterwards be
knocked down by a blow on the head from a hailstone.

An order was issued to supply charcoal in the trenches; but the
commissariat could not furnish either the charcoal or transport. In
default, the men were obliged to grub out the roots of brushwood or of
vines, and were often obliged to go down the hill-sides under the
enemy's fire, to gather enough to cook their meals.

The "navvies" worked away heartily, pulling down the rickety houses and
fragments of houses near the post-office of Balaklava, to form the
terminus of the first bit of the Grand Crimean Central Railway (with
branch line to Sebastopol). The frail houses dissolved into heaps of
rubbish under their vigorous blows, and the more friable remains were
carted off and shot into and over the ineffable horrors and nastiness of
the Turkish plague and charnel-houses. They landed a large quantity of
barrows, beams, rails, spades, shovels, picks, and other materials.

There was an extremely hot contest on the night of the 6th, between the
French and Russians: the cannonade, which sounded all over the camp,
lasted about an hour. The enemy, were labouring hard at the works in the
rear of the Malakoff (or the Round Tower), and at three o'clock on the
6th I saw they had about 1200 men employed on the earth slopes and
parapets of the batteries. While I was examining the place there was
scarcely a shot fired for two hours. The small steamers and boats were
particularly active, running across the creek and to and fro in the
harbour, and everything seemed to go on in the town much the same as
usual. One portion of the place containing some fine buildings, and a
large church with a cupola, as seen from the picket-house, put one in
mind of the view of Greenwich from the Park Observatory through a
diminishing glass. Lord Raglan ordered ten of our 13-inch mortars to be
lent to the French from the _Firefly_.


General Niel, expressed a decided opinion that the batteries were too
far off. When we first sat down before the place, it was proposed that
the first parallel should be at the usual distance of from 600 to 800
yards from the defences; but it was objected that there would be great
loss of life in making it so near, and that the old rule of war which
fixed the distance of the lines of the besiegers from those of the
besieged was abrogated by recent improvements in gunnery, and by the
increased power and range of siege guns. Our batteries were constructed
at upwards of 1000 and 1200 yards from the enemy, and the steadiness of
our artillerymen and the activity of our sailors were frustrated by the
length of the range.

On the 7th of February, the French took charge of the whole of the
Malakoff Attack--the key of the position,--and constructed two batteries
on our right, under the direction of M. St. Laurent. It was said that
Lord Raglan objected to this movement on the part of the French, and
suggested that the British should move towards the right, and that the
French should take our left attack; but his lordship failed to persuade
our allies to accede to his propositions, and they were permitted to
overlap and surround the English army.

"General Rumour" is a very efficient officer in the management of
"_alertes_." He is never surprised, and errs rather on the safe side of
caution than otherwise. On the morning of the 8th of February he turned
out all the troops in and about Balaklava, manned his guns, roused up
Admiral Boxer, awakened Captain Christie, landed the seamen, mercantile
and naval, and taking Sir Colin Campbell and his staff out on the hills,
awaited an attack which never was made, but which, no doubt, would have
been repelled with signal energy and success. It appeared that a spy
passing through the lines of the Rifle Brigade on his way to the
head-quarters of the French army, on being interrogated by a young
officer, informed him that the Russians had about a sotnia, or
demi-troop, in several of the villages towards the eastward of
Balaklava, such as Tchorgoun, and a large body, whom he estimated at
35,000 men, in their rear, removing round to the south-east of Baidar,
so as to approach our right on the heights over Balaklava. The rifleman,
imparted the result of his inquiries to an officer in a Highland
regiment. There is no place in the world like a camp for the hatching
and development of "_canards_." The egg thus laid was very soon matured,
and the young bird stalked forth and went from tent to tent, getting
here a feather and there a feather, till it assumed prodigious
dimensions and importance. How it became "official" did not come to my
knowledge, but at half-past ten o'clock at night orders were sent from
Sir Colin Campbell to the regiments along the entrenchments up the
heights to hold themselves in readiness for an attack, and the 71st
regiment was marched up to strengthen the bold crest occupied by the
Rifles and Marines. Later at night, or early next morning, Colonel
Harding, the Commandant of Balaklava, roused up the Quartermaster-General,
Major Mackenzie, who at once repaired into Sir Colin Campbell's
quarters, and learned that this attack was fixed to come off at
half-past four or five o'clock A.M.

The alarm spread. Captain Christie sent orders to the large merchant
steamers to be in readiness to render all the aid in their power;
Admiral Boxer ordered the men of the _Vesuvius_ to be landed, and the
sailors of the transports to be armed and in readiness for service.

The _Wasp_ and _Diamond_ cleared for action and moored so as to command
the approach of the harbour from the land side. At four o'clock Sir
Colin Campbell and his staff mounted the heights up to the Rifle camp.
It was bright moonlight. A deep blue sky sparkling with stars was
streaked here and there by light fleecy clouds of snowy whiteness, which
swept slowly across the mountain crags, or darkened the ravines and
valleys with their shadows, like masses of infantry on march. Scarcely a
sound was audible near us, except at long intervals the monotonous cry
of the sentries, "Number one, and all's well," or the bells striking the
hours on board the ships; but artillery and incessant volleys of
musketry from the front, told that the French and Russians had availed
themselves of the moonlight to continue their contest. The roar of the
heavy mortars which came booming upon the ear twice or thrice every
minute bespoke the deadly use which our allies were making against the
city of the beauty of the morning.

In the rear, around the deep valleys and on the giant crags towards the
sea, all was silent. The men behind the trench which defended our
position from Balaklava to the seaboard scarcely spoke above a whisper,
and were almost lost to sight, but the moonlight played on long lines of
bright barrels and sparkling bayonets, which just crested, as it were,
the dark outlines of the breastwork, beneath which English, French, and
Turk were lying in readiness for the enemy. The guns in the redoubts and
earthwork batteries were prepared for instant service. All the batteries
were fully manned, and, had the enemy come on at that time, he would
have met with an astonishingly warm reception. I had been roused out
before four o'clock in the morning, but, being rather incredulous in the
matter of _alertes_, I had contented myself with getting on my clothes
and having the horses saddled. The firing from Sebastopol became so very
heavy that the echoes sounded as if there was really a conflict taking
place, and I went out to the heights. An hour and a half of anxious
vigil brought the dawn. All eyes peered through the strange compound of
light, formed by the rays of the rising sun and the beams of his
fast-declining satellite, to discover the columns of the enemy, but
there were none in sight. Just as the sun rose, the eternal Cossack
vedettes came in view on the hill-tops to the east, each figure standing
out sharp and black against the glowing background. A few Russians were
seen about Kamara, but it was evident there was no preparation for an
attack, and Sir Colin Campbell gave orders for the men to return to
their tents.

The events of the day, however, proved that the spy brought trustworthy
intelligence. The Russians returned to the heights over the valley of
Balaklava towards the left of the Tchernaya, and reoccupied the hills
and ravines about Kamara and Tchorgoun in force.


Omar Pasha arrived at Kamiesch on the 8th, in the _Colombo_; and next
day visited General Canrobert and Lord Raglan. These interviews
constituted a council of war, and it is reasonable to suppose that the
operations of the campaign were finally determined upon and arranged
between the allied Generals.

It rained heavily all night on the 9th, and the ground was reduced to
such a state that the _reconnaissance_ which Sir Colin Campbell, aided
by the French, intended to have made was postponed. The atmosphere was
so obscure, that it was all but impossible to catch a glimpse of the
enemy's movements; but a break in the rain and a lift in the haze now
and then enabled us to see them working at some earthworks on the brow
of the hills before Kamara. They pushed vedettes up to the top of
Canrobert's Hill (formerly the site of Redoubt No. 1, held by the Turks
previous to the 25th of October). About the middle of the day three
columns, estimated at 3,000 men, were observed moving round from their
right by the back of Kamara towards the hills over Baidar with guns.
There was a swarm of Cossacks between Kamara and the road to Mackenzie's
farm, and their vedettes were posted along the heights over the
Woronzoff-road. Our vedettes on the mound over that road nearest to our
lines had also been doubled. Some of the Cossacks came so close to our
front that a shell was fired at them from No. 4 Battery, near Kadekeeva

An English artilleryman, for some fancied slight, set upon a Turk, gave
him a beating, and attacked "outrageously" a Turkish officer who came to
his countryman's assistance. He was found guilty of the double offence
by general court-martial, and sentenced to fifty lashes. Osman Pasha,
the commander of the Turkish troops, and the officer who had been
struck, interceded with Lord Raglan for the remission of the man's
punishment, and his lordship, in general orders, rescinded the sentence
of the court-martial.

A considerable number of sick men (217) were sent down on the 10th from
the camp to Balaklava. There were many bad cases of scurvy and of
scorbutic dysentery among the men; and yet vegetables of all sorts, and
lemons and oranges, were to be found in abundance, or could have been
purchased in any quantities, all along the shores of the Black Sea and
the Sea of Marmora. No one could say there were no ships to bring them.
Balaklava contained ships which had been lying here for weeks--ay, for
months--_doing nothing_. The splendid screw steamer _Jason_ fitted up
especially as a horse transport, came in many days before from Ismed
laden _with a cargo of wood for fuel_. The expenses of such a large
vessel must have been enormous, and yet she had been in harbour for
nearly a fortnight doing nothing.

The 11th was a day quite worthy of "General Février's" gratitude--bleak,
raw, and stormy; the wind raging furiously between intervals of profound
calm--the sky invisible in a murky sheet, from which fell incessant
showers of rain, sleet, or snow alternately, or altogether--and the
landscape shut out of sight at a few yards' distance by the grey walls
of drizzling clouds and vapour. It might be imagined that no one who
could help it stirred out; a few drenched fatigue parties and some
artillery wagons sent down for shot and shell were all one could see
between Balaklava and the camp, and in the front all was silent--not a
gun was fired the greater part of the day, and the popping of rifles
also nearly ceased.


     Sickness in the French Camp--Their System of Cooking--Ingenuity--A
     Crimean Dinner--Recipes--Cost of a Soldier--Lord Lucan's Recal--A
     Reconnaissance--Disappointment--An Adventure--Lose the Way--Russian
     Attack--Activity in The Harbour--Good View of Sebastopol--General
     Appearance--A Furious Cannonade--An Armistice--Pen-and-ink Work.

There was a good deal of sickness in the French camp, and one regiment
was said to have suffered as much from scorbutic diseases as any of our
own, and to have ceased to exist, like the 63rd Regiment. But the French
had no large steamers which they could send to forage in all the ports
of Asia Minor; and, with their deficient transport, they had less
sickness and less loss of life from disease cent. per cent. than our
troops, while they were better provided with food and soldiers'
luxuries. Had the French army undergone the same amount of vigil,
labour, and fatigue to which our army was exposed, I am convinced it
would have been in as bad a plight, and that it would have suffered very
nearly the same losses. Their system of cooking was better; their system
of hutting was better; instead of having twelve or fourteen miserable,
gloomy fellows, sitting moodily together in one tent, where each man ate
his meal, cooked or uncooked, as best he could, they had four men
together in a tent, who were neither miserable nor gloomy as a general
rule, because they had a good dish of soup and bouilli well made at the
mess fire, and carried away "piping hot" in the camp kettle of the tent.
The canvass of the _tente_ was in bad weather only a roof to a deep pit
in the shape of the parallelogram formed by the flaps of the canvass.
This pit was dug out of the earth; it contained a little fireplace at
one end, with a mud chimney outside, and was entered by a flight of two
or three steps, which descended to the dry floor. Our men rarely dug out
the earth, and their tents were generally pitched on the surface of the
ground. They had no time to do any better.


In cooking, our neighbours beat us hollow. I partook of a sumptuous
banquet in the tent of an officer of the Guards one night, the staple of
which was a goose, purchased for a golden egg in Balaklava, but which
assumed so many forms, and was so good and strange in all--coming upon
one as a _pièce de résistance_, again assuming the shape of a _giblotte_
that would have done credit to Philippe, and again turning up as a
delicate little _plat_ with a flavour of woodcocks, that the name of the
artist was at once demanded.

He was a grisly-headed Zouave, who stood at the door of the tent,
prouder of the compliments which were paid to him than of the few francs
he was to get for his services, "lent," as he was, by the captain of his
company for the day.

A few days after--these were Christmas times, or were meant to be
so--there was a dinner in another friendly tent. A Samaritan sea-captain
had presented a mess with a leg of English mutton, a case of preserved
turnips, and a wild duck. Hungry as hunters, the little party assembled
at the appointed hour, full of anticipated pleasure and good fare from
the fatherland. "Bankes, bring in dinner," said the host, proudly, to
his _chef de cuisine_. The guests were seated--the cover was placed on
the table--it was removed with enthusiasm, and, lo! there lay the duck,
burnt black, and dry as charcoal, in the centre of a mound of turnips.
"I thout vowls wor always ate vurst," was the defence of the wretched
criminal, as he removed the sacrifice for the time. Then he brought in
the soup, which was excellent, especially the bouilli, but we could not
eat soup all night, especially when the mutton was waiting. "Now then,
Bankes, bring in the leg of mutton." "The wawt, zur?" "The leg of
mutton, and look sharp, do you hear? I hope you have not spoiled _that_
too." "Woy, zur, thee's been 'atin oo't!" The miserable being had
actually _boiled_ down the leg of mutton in the soup, having cut large
slices off it to make it fit the pot!

We had great fun with the recipes for cooking rations which appeared in
the papers. M. Soyer's were good and simple, but every one of them had
been found out by experiment months before, and were familiar, however
little successful, to every camp cook. The recipes which taught the men
how to make rations palatable by the help of a "sliced turkey," nutmegs,
butter, flour, spices, and suet, were cruel mockeries. Can any one tell
us why the army was _compelled_ to eat salt pork? Why was this the only
meat except beef that was served out? The lean was always very hard and
tough, and required great care and trouble in cooking to make it
masticable--the fat was ever in undue proportion to the lean, and was
far too "rich" for a debilitated stomach. Are "pigs" a national
institution, to be maintained at any cost? Is the flesh of the bull a
part of the constitution? A soldier is a very dear animal. A crop of
them is most difficult to raise, and once they have been fully grown,
and have become ripe soldiers, they are beyond all price. Had we not
abundance of meals in our warehouses, of vegetables, of all kinds of
nutritious preparations, to bestow on those who were left to us, and who
were really "veterans," for in the narrow limits of one campaign they
had epitomized all the horrors, the dangers, and the triumphs of war?
The ration, with its accessories of sugar, tea or coffee, tobacco and
rice, was sufficient, as long as it was unfailing, and while the army
was in full health; but it was not sufficient, or, rather, it was not
suitable, when the men were debilitated from excessive labour.

What was the cost to the country of the men of the Brigade of Guards who
died in their tents or in hospital of exhaustion, overwork, and
deficient of improper nutriment? The brigade mustered in the middle of
February very little over 400 men fit for duty. It would have been
_cheap_ to have fed the men we had lost on turtle and venison, if we
could have kept them alive--and not only those, but the poor fellows
whom the battle spared, but whom disease took from us out of every
regiment in the expedition. It was the _men_ who were to be pitied--the
officers could, in comparison, take care of themselves; they had their
bât-horses to go over to Kamiesch and to Balaklava for luxuries; their
servants to send for poultry, vegetables, wine, preserved meats, sheep,
and all the luxuries of the sutlers' shops; and they had besides
abundance of money, for the pay of the subaltern is ample while he is in
the field.

Sir George Brown arrived on the 12th, and Lord Raglan went down to meet
him, and returned with him to head-quarters. The gallant old officer
seemed to have quite recovered from the effects of his Inkerman wound,
and was well received by his Division.

On the 14th the great topic of conversation was the recall of the Earl
of Lucan. On the previous forenoon Lord Raglan sent the noble Lord a
dispatch which he had received from the Duke of Newcastle, who stated
that as he had thought fit to find fault with the terms used in his
General's despatch respecting his conduct on the 25th of October, the
Government had resolved on recalling him. The impression was that Lord
Lucan was harshly and unjustly dealt with.

On February 19th, preparations were made for a _reconnaissance_ by Sir
Colin Campbell and Vinoy against the enemy between the Tchernaya and
Kamara. The weather had been unfavourable, but the few fine days from
the 15th to the 19th had made the country in tolerable order for the
movements of artillery and cavalry. The French were to furnish 11,600
men; Sir Colin Campbell's force was to consist of the 42nd, 79th, 93rd
Highlanders, the 14th and 71st Regts. detachments of cavalry, and two
batteries. Soon after dark the French began to get ready, and the hum of
men betrayed the movement. By degrees the rumour spread from one
confidant to the other, and by midnight a good number of outriders and
amateurs were aware of what was going on, and strict orders were issued
for early calls and saddling of horses "to-morrow morning at dawn."

Nothing excites such interest as a _reconnaissance_. Our army was
deprived of the peculiar attractions of most wars in Europe. There was
none of the romance of the Peninsular campaigns about it. We were all
shut up in one dirty little angle of land, with Cossacks barring the
approaches to the heavenly valley around us. There were no pleasant
marches, no halts in town or village, no strange scenes or change of
position; nothing but the drudgery of the trenches and of fatigue
parties, and the everlasting houses and works of Sebastopol, and the
same bleak savage landscape around. The hardest-worked officer was glad,
therefore, to get away on a _reconnaissance_, which gave him an
excitement, and varied the monotony of his life; it was a sort of
holiday for him--a hunt at Epping, if there be such a thing, to cockney


Before midnight the wind changed, and began to blow, and the stars were
overcast. About one o'clock the rain began to fall heavily, and
continued to descend in torrents for an hour. Then the wind chopped
round to the north and became intensely cold, the rain crystallized and
fell in hail, the gale rose higher and increased in severity every
moment. Then came down a heavy snow fall. It was evident that no good
could come of exposing the men, and that the attack would be a failure;
it certainly would not have enabled us to form any accurate conception
of the numbers or position of the enemy, inasmuch as it was impossible
for a man to see a yard before him. Major Foley was despatched by
General Canrobert to inform Sir Colin Campbell that the French would not
move, the regiments under arms were ordered back to their tents, which
they found with difficulty. When Major Foley arrived after many
wanderings, at head-quarters, one of Lord Raglan's aides-de-camp was
dispatched to Sir Colin Campbell to desire him to postpone any movement.
This officer set out about six o'clock in the morning for the heights
over Balaklava. On passing through the French camp he called upon
General Vinoy to inform him of the change which the weather had effected
in the plans agreed upon, but the General said he thought it would be
better to move down his men to support Sir Colin in case the latter
should have advanced before the counter-orders reached him. When our
aide-de-camp, after a struggle with the darkness, reached Sir Colin's
quarters, the General was gone. Another ride enabled him to overtake the
General, who was waiting for the French, and had his troops drawn up
near Kamara.

It may be imagined the news was not very pleasing to one who was all on
fire, cold as he was, for a brush with the enemy, but Vinoy's promise
put him into excellent spirits. It was four o'clock when the troops
moved towards the plain, through the snow-storm, which increased in
violence as the morning dawned. The Rifles preceded the advance, with
the Highland Light Infantry, in skirmishing order. Strict orders had
been given that there was to be no firing, it was hoped that we might
surprise the enemy, but the falling snow prevented our men from seeing
more than a few yards, and after daylight it was impossible to make out
an object six feet in advance. However, the skirmishers managed to get
hold of three sentries, belonging probably to the picket at Kamara, but
their comrades gave the alarm. As our troops advanced, the Cossacks and
vedettes fell back, firing their carbines and muskets into the darkness.
The drums of the enemy were heard beating, and through rifts in the veil
of snow their columns could be observed moving towards the heights over
the Tchernaya.

By this time our men had begun to suffer greatly. Their fingers were so
cold they could not "fix bayonets" when the word was given, and could
scarcely keep their rifles in their hands. The cavalry horses almost
refused to face the snow. The Highlanders, who had been ordered to take
off their comfortable fur caps, and to put on their becoming but less
suitable Scotch bonnets, suffered especially, and some of them were
severely frostbitten in the ears--indeed, there was not a regiment out
in which cases of "gelatio," chiefly of the ears and fingers, did not
occur. Scarcely had the enemy appeared in sight before the snow fell
more heavily than ever, and hid them from our view.

Sir Collin very unwillingly gave the order to return, and the men
arrived at their quarters about ten o'clock A.M., very much fatigued.

Being anxious to get a letter off by the post ere it started from
Kamiesch, and not being aware that the expedition had been
countermanded, I started early in the morning for the post-office
marquee through a blinding storm of snow. The wind howled fiercely over
the plain; it was so laden with snow that it was quite palpable, and had
a strange _solid_ feel about it as it drifted in endless wreaths of fine
small flakes, which penetrated the interstices of the clothing, and
blinded horse and man. For some time I managed to get on very well, for
the track was beaten and familiar. I joined a convoy of artillerymen,
but at last the drifts became so thick that it was utterly impossible to
see to the right or left for a horse's length. I bore away a little, and
soon after met a solitary pedestrian, who wanted to know the way to
Balaklava. I sincerely trust he got there by my directions. As he was
coming from Lord Raglan's he confirmed me in the justice of my views
concerning the route, and I rode off to warn my friends, the
artillerymen of their mistake. They were not to be found. I had only
left them three or four minutes, and yet they had passed away as
completely as if the earth had swallowed them up. So I turned on my way,
as I thought, and, riding right into the wind's eye, made at the best
pace I could force the horse to put forth, for my destination.

It was not above an hour's ride on a bad day, and yet at the end of two
hours I had not only not arrived, but I could not make out one of the
landmarks which denoted an approach to it. Tents, and hill-sides, and
jutting rocks, all had disappeared, and nothing was visible above,
around, below, but one white sheet drawn, as it were, close around me.
This was decidedly unpleasant, but there was no help for it but to ride
on, and trust to Providence. The sea or the lines would soon bring one
up. Still the horse went on snorting out the snow from his nostrils, and
tossing his head to clear the drift from his eyes and ears; and yet no
tent, no man--not a soul to be seen in this peninsula, swarming with
myriads of soldiery.

[Sidenote: A LUCKY ESCAPE.]

Three hours passed!--Where on earth can I be? Is this enchantment? Has
the army here, the lines of trenches, and Sebastopol itself, gone clean
off the face of the earth? Every instant the snow fell thicker and
thicker. The horse stopped at last, and refused to go on against the
storm. A dark form rushed by with a quick snarling bark--it is a wolf or
a wild dog, and the horse rushed on afrighted. The cold pierced my bones
as he faced the gale, now and then he plunged above the knees into
snow-drifts, which were rapidly forming at every hillock and furrow in
the ground; a good deep fallow--a well or pit--might have put a speedy
termination to one's fears and anxiety at a moment's notice.

My eyes were bleared and sore striving to catch a glimpse of tent or
man, and to avoid the dangers in our path. Suddenly I plunged in amongst
a quantity of brushwood--sure and certain signs that I had gone far
astray indeed, and that I was removed from the camp and the wood-cutter.
The notion flashed across me that the wind might have changed, and that
in riding against it I might have shaped my course for the Tchernaya and
the Russian lines. The idea of becoming the property of a Cossack picket
was by no means a pleasant ingredient in one's thoughts at such a
moment. Still what was to be done? My hands and feet were becoming
insensible from the cold, and my face and eyes were exceedingly painful.

There was no help for it but to push on before nightfall. That would
indeed have been a serious evil. There was a break in the snowdrift, and
I saw to my astonishment a church dome and spires which vanished in a
moment. I must either be close to Kamara or to Sebastopol, and that the
church was in either of those widely separated localities. The only
thing to do was to bear to the left to regain our lines, though I could
not help wondering where on earth the French works were, if it was
indeed Sebastopol. I had not ridden very far when, through the ravings
of the wind, I heard a hoarse roar, and could just make out a great
black wall rising up through the snow. The position was clear at once. I
was on the edge of the tremendous precipices which overhang the sea near
Cape Fiolente! I was close to the Monastery of St. George. Dismounting,
and leading my horse carefully, I felt my way through the storm, and at
last arrived at the monastery. A Zouave was shooting larks out of a
sentry-box; he took my horse to the stable, and showed me the way to the
guardhouse, where his comrades were enjoying the comforts of a blazing

Having restored circulation to my blood, and got the ice out of my hair,
I set out once more, and a Zouave undertook to show me the way to
head-quarters; but he soon got tired of his undertaking, and having
first adroitly abstracted my Colt's revolver out of my holster, deserted
me on the edge of a ravine, with some very mysterious instructions as to
going on always "_tout droit_," which, seeing that one could not see,
would have been very difficult to follow. By the greatest good fortune I
managed to strike upon the French wagon train, and halting at every
outburst of the tempest, and pushing on when the storm cleared a little,
I continued to work my way from camp to camp, and at last arrived at
Head-Quarters, somewhat before four o'clock in the afternoon, covered
with ice, and very nearly "done up." It was some consolation to find
that officers had lost themselves in the very vineyard, close to the
house, and that aides-de-camp and orderlies had become completely
bewildered in their passage from one divisional camp to another.

The Russians during the night made a slight demonstration against us,
thinking that the sentries and advanced posts might be caught sleeping
or away from their posts. Their usual mode of conducting a sortie was to
send on some thirty men in advance of a party of 500 or 800, in loose
skirmishing order. These men advanced stealthily, _en tirailleur_, up to
the line of our sentries and pickets, and felt their way cautiously, in
order to ascertain if there was a weak and undefended point for the
advance of the main body. If the firing was slack, the latter
immediately pushed on, rushed into the trenches, bayoneted as many as
resisted, and, dragging off all the men they could get as prisoners,
returned to the town as rapidly as possible. Any man, however weak, can
rush across a landing into the nearest room, and do damage in it before
he is kicked out. The French were so close to the Russians, they might
be said to live next door to them. The latter could form in a small
body, under cover of their works, at any hour in the night, and dash
into the works ere our allies could get together to drive them back
again. Some thirty-five men advanced upon the sentries stationed in
front of Major Chapman's batteries (the left attack), but were perceived
and challenged. They replied "Ruski!" and were fired upon. The Riflemen
in the pits in front of these lines gave them a volley, and the
Tirailleurs retreated. It was strange they should have given such a
reply to the sentries' challenge, but the men all declared that the
Russians used the word, which would seem to be the Russians' notion of
their own name in the English tongue.

Next day the sun came out, the aspect of the camps changed, and our
French neighbours filled the air with their many-oathed dialogues and
snatches of song. A cold Frenchman is rather a morose and miserable
being, but his spirits always rise with sunshine, like the mercury of a
thermometer. In company with two officers from the head-quarters camp, I
had a long inspection of Sebastopol from the ground behind the French
position, and I must say the result was by no means gratifying. We went
up to the French picket-house first (_la Maison d'Eau_ or _Maison
Blanche_ of the plans), and had a view of the left of the town, looking
down towards the end of the ravine which ran down to the Dockyard-creek,
the buildings of the Admiralty, the north side of the harbour, and the
plateaux towards the Belbek and behind Inkerman. As the day was clear
one could see very well through a good glass, in spite of the dazzling
effect of the snow and the bitter wind, which chilled the hands so as to
render it impossible to retain the glass very long in one position. The
little bridge of boats from the Admiralty buildings across to the French
side of the town was covered with men, who were busily engaged passing
across supplies, and rolling barrels and cases to the other side of the
creek, showing that there was a centre of supply or some kind of depôt
in the Government stores behind the Redan, and opposite to the fire of
our batteries.


Several large lighters, under sail and full of men, were standing over
from side to side of the harbour, and dockyard galleys, manned with
large crews of rowers all dressed in white jackets, were engaged in
tugging flats laden with stores to the south-western side of the town. A
tug steamer was also very active, and spluttered about in all
directions, furrowing the surface of the water, which was scarcely
"crisped" by the breeze, so completely was the harbour landlocked. The
men-of-war, with their large white ensigns barred by a blue St. Andrew's
cross flying from the peak, lay in a line at the north side, the
top-gallant yards and masts of two out of four being down; a two-decker
with bare topmasts lay on the south side, with her broadside towards the
Ville Civile; and the white masts of three vessels peered above the
buildings of the town further away on the right towards Inkerman.

The inner part of the town itself seemed perfectly untouched, the white
houses shone brightly and freshly in the sun, and the bells of a Gothic
chapel were ringing out lustily in the frosty air. Its tall houses
running up the hill sides, its solid look of masonry, gave Sebastopol a
resemblance to parts of Bath, or at least put one in mind of that city
as seen from the declivity which overhangs the river. There was,
however, a remarkable change in the look of the city since I first saw
it--there were no idlers and no women visible in the streets, and,
indeed, there was scarcely a person to be seen who looked like a
civilian. There was, however, abundance of soldiers, and to spare in the
streets. They could be seen in all directions, sauntering in pairs down
desolate-looking streets, chatting at the corners or running across the
open space, from one battery to another; again in large parties on
fatigue duty, or relieving guards, or drawn up in well-known grey masses
in the barrack-squares. Among those who were working on the open space,
carrying stores, I thought I could make out two French soldiers. At all
events, the men wore long blue coats and red trousers, and, as we worked
our prisoners and made them useful at Balaklava, where I had seen them
aiding in making the railway, I suppose the Muscovite commanders adopted
the same plan.

Outside the city, at the verge of the good houses, the eye rested on
great walls of earth piled up some ten or twelve feet, and eighteen or
twenty feet thick, indented at regular intervals with embrasures in
which the black dots which are throats of cannon might be detected.
These works were of tremendous strength. For the most part there was a
very deep and broad ditch in front of them, and wherever the ground
allowed of it, there were angles and _flèches_ which admitted of
flanking fires along the front, and of cross fires on centre points of
each line of attack or approach. In front of most of the works on both
the French and English sides of the town, a suburb of broken-down
white-washed cottages, the roofs gone, the doors off, and the windows
out, had been left standing in detached masses at a certain distance
from the batteries, but gaps had been made in them so that they might
not block the fire of the guns. The image of misery presented by these
suburbs was very striking--in some instances the havoc had been
committed by our shot, and the houses all round to the rear of the
Flagstaff Battery, opposite the French, had been blown into rubbish and
mounds of beams and mortar. The advanced works which the Russians left
on the advance of our allies still remained and it was hard to say
whether there were any guns in them or not, but they were commanded so
completely by the works in their rear that it would have been impossible
to hold them, and they would have afforded a good cover to the Russians,
while the latter could fire through the embrasures of the old works with
far greater ease than the enemy could get at them.

They threw up their new earthworks behind the cover of the suburb; when
they were finished, they withdrew their men from the outer line, blew
down and destroyed the cover of the houses, and opened fire from their
second line of batteries. Their supply of gabions seemed
inexhaustible--indeed, they had got all the brushwood of the hills of
the South Crimea at their disposal. In front of the huge mounds thrown
up by the Russians, foreshortened by the distance, so as to appear part
of them, were the French trenches--mounds of earth lined with gabions
which looked like fine matting. These lines ran parallel to those of the
enemy. The nearest parallel was not "armed" with cannon, but was lined
with riflemen. Zigzags led down from trench to trench. The troops inside
walked about securely, if not comfortably. The covering parties, with
their arms piled, sat round their little fires, and smoked and enjoyed
their coffee, while the working parties, spade in hand, continued the
never-ending labours of the siege--filling gabions here, sloping and
thickening the parapets there, repairing embrasures, and clearing out
the fosses. Where we should have had a thin sergeant's guard at this
work, the French could afford a strong company.

It was rather an unpleasant reflection, whenever one was discussing the
range of a missile, and was perhaps in the act of exclaiming "There's a
splendid shot," that it might have carried misery and sorrow into some
happy household. The smoke cleared away--the men got up--they gathered
round one who moved not, or who was racked with mortal agony; they bore
him away, a mere black speck, and a few shovelsful of mud marked for a
little time the resting-place of the poor soldier, whose wife, or
mother, or children, or sisters, were left destitute of all solace, save
memory and the sympathy of their country. One such little speck I
watched that day, and saw quietly deposited on the ground inside the
trench. Who would let the inmates of that desolate cottage in Picardy,
or Gascony, or Anjou, know of their bereavement?


We descended the hill slope towards Upton's house, then occupied by a
strong picket of the French, under the command of a couple of officers.
From the front of this position one could see the heights over Inkerman,
the plateau towards the Belbek, the north side, the flank of the
military town opposite the English, our own left attack, and the rear of
the redoubtable Tower of Malakoff. The first thing that struck one was
the enormous preparations on the north side, extending from the sea
behind Fort Constantine far away to the right behind Inkerman towards
the Belbek. The trenches, batteries, earthworks, and redoubts all about
the citadel (the North Fort) were on an astonishing scale, and indicated
an intention on the part of the Russians to fall back on the north
side, in case of our occupying the south side of the place.[16]

About three o'clock three strong bodies of cavalry came down towards the
fort, as if they had been in the direction of the Alma or the Katcha.
They halted for a time, and then resumed their march to the camp over
Inkerman. In this direction also the enemy were busily working, and
their cantonments were easily perceptible, with the men moving about in
them. At the rear of the Round Tower, however, the greatest energy was
displayed, and a strong party of men were at work on new batteries
between it and the ruined suburb on the commanding hill on which the
Malakoff stood.

Our own men in the left attack seemed snug enough, and well covered by
their works; in front of them, on the slopes, were men, French and
English, scattered all over the hill side, grubbing for roots for fuel;
and further on, in front, little puffs of smoke marked the pits of the
Riflemen on both sides, from which the ceaseless crack of the Minié and
Liège smote the ear; but the great guns were all silent, and scarcely
one was fired on the right during the day; even Inkerman and its
spiteful batteries being voiceless for a wonder. As one of the officers
began to rub his nose and ears with snow, and to swear they were
frostbitten, and as we all felt very cold, we discontinued our
_reconnaissance_, and returned to camp. The wind blew keenly, and at
night the thermometer was at 16°. There were few cases of illness in the
trenches; but sickness kept on increasing. Typhus fever, thank God!
nearly disappeared.

Major-General Jones declared the position was not so strong as he
expected to find it from the accounts he had heard, but it was only to
the eye of a practised engineer that any signs of weakness presented
themselves. The heights over the sea bristled with low batteries, with
the guns couchant and just peering over the face of the cliffs. Vast as
these works were, the Russians were busy at strengthening them. Not less
than 3,000 men could have been employed on the day in question on the
ground about the citadel. One could see the staff-officers riding about
and directing the labours of the men, or forming into groups, and
warming themselves round the camp fires.

I was woke up shortly after two o'clock on the morning of the 24th of
February by the commencement of one of the most furious cannonades since
the siege began. The whole line of the Russian batteries from our left
opened with inconceivable force and noise, and the Inkerman batteries
began playing on our right; the weight of this most terrible fire, which
shook the very earth, and lighted up the skies with incessant lightning
flashes for an hour and a half, was directed against the French.

The cannonade lasted from a quarter-past two to half-past three A.M.
When first I heard it, I thought it was a sortie, and rode in the
moonlight towards the fire; but ere I could get over the ground to
Inkerman, the tumult ceased, and it was only next morning that we found
out the cause of such a tremendous exhibition of power. It appeared that
the activity of the French in making their approaches against the
Malakoff had rendered the Russians so uneasy that they began to make
counter approaches, and pushed out trenches to rifle-pits placed on the
Mamelon and on the head of Careening Creek ravine. These were observed
by the French, and General Bosquet, acting by order of General
Canrobert, directed General de Monet and General de Meyran to attack
these works with 1,000 of the 2nd Zouaves, a battalion of the 6th of the
Line, a battalion of the 10th of the Line, and a strong body of Marines;
that operation was effected about two A.M. The Russians offered a very
vigorous resistance, the Zouaves were not properly supported by the
Marines, or the troops of the Line. De Monet was badly wounded; he lost
one hand, and the other was much mutilated. In the conflict the Zouaves
lost 3 officers killed, 13 wounded, 1 missing, 69 men killed and 159

The Zouaves were exceedingly irritated against the marine infantry, whom
they threatened in detail with exceedingly unpleasant "quarters of
an-hour" at some time to come for their alleged retreat on the morning
of the 24th. The Zouaves got it into their heads not only that the
marines bolted, but that they fired into those before them, who were the
Zouaves aforesaid. In their excessive anger and energy they were as
unjust to their comrades, perhaps, as they were complimentary to
ourselves, and I heard more than two of them exclaim, "Ah, if we had had
a few hundred of your English we should have done the trick; but these

On the night after this contest the enemy sunk four or five ships inside
the booms, so as to present a fourth barrier across the roads.

An armistice took place for an hour on the 27th. In the orders for the
day, Lord Raglan notified that at the request of General Osten-Sacken,
an armistice was granted from twelve till one o'clock to enable the
Russians to bury their dead. At twelve o'clock precisely, white flags
were run up on the battery flagstaffs on both sides, and immediately
afterwards a body of Russians issued from their new work near the
Malakoff, which had been the object of the French attack of the 24th,
and proceeded to search for their dead. The French were sent down from
Inkerman on a similar errand. A few Russian officers advanced about
half-way up towards our lines, where they were met by some of the
officers of the allies, and extreme courtesy, the interchange of
profound salutations, and enormous bowing, marked the interview. The
officers sauntered up and down, and shakos were raised and caps doffed
politely as each came near an enemy.


The exact object of the armistice it would have been hard to say, for
neither French nor Russians seemed to find any bodies unburied. Shortly
before one o'clock, the Russians retired inside their earthwork. At one
o'clock the white flags were all hauled down in an instant, and the last
fluttering bit of white bunting had scarcely disappeared over the
parapet, when the flash, and roar of a gun from Malakoff announced that
the war had begun once more. The French almost simultaneously fired a
gun from their batteries also; in a minute afterwards the popping of
rifles commenced as usual on both sides. The Cossacks about Balaklava
were particularly busy, and, having nothing better to do, I spent an
hour watching them through my glass from the artillery camp at Kadikoi.
They had a picket of ten horsemen at Kamara, from which the vedettes on
the top of Canrobert's Hill were furnished, and they had a similar body
of eight horsemen on the slope at the back of No. 2 Redoubt. There were
a few regular Hussars in a handsome dark blue or green uniform, with
white belts, on duty as sentries. The horses seemed to follow the
Cossacks about like dogs. The men all wore long loose grey coats and
round fur caps. They could not be very badly off for provisions,
inasmuch as the fields behind them towards the slope of the hill to
Mackenzie's farm were tolerably well filled with cattle.

From the top of Canrobert's Hill their vedette could see everything that
went on in the plains, from the entrance to Balaklava to the ridges on
which the French right rested. Not a horse, cart, or man, could go in or
out of the town which this sentinel could not see if he had good
eyesight, for he was quite visible to any person who gazed on the top of
Canrobert's Hill. The works of the railway must have caused this Cossack
very serious discomposure. What on earth could he think of them?
Gradually he saw villages of white huts rise up on the hill-sides and in
the recesses of the valleys, and from the Cavalry Camp to the heights of
Balaklava, he could behold line after line of snug angular wooden
buildings, each with its chimney at work, and he could discern the
tumult and bustle of Vanity Fair. This might have been all very
puzzling, but it could have been nothing to the excitement of looking at
a long line of black trucks rushing round and under the hill at Kadikoi,
and running down the incline to the town at the rate of twenty miles an
hour. A number of the Cossacks did gallop up to the top of the hill to
look at a phenomenon of that kind, and they went capering about, and
shaking their lances, in immense wonderment and excitation of spirits
when it had disappeared.

In addition to the old lines thrown up by Liprandi close to the
Woronzoff road, the Russians erected, to the rear and north of it, a
very large hexagonal work, capable of containing a large number of men,
and of being converted into a kind of intrenched camp. The lines of
these works were very plain as they were marked out by the snow, which
lay in the trench after that which fell on the ground outside and inside
had melted. There were, however, no infantry in sight, nor did any
movement of troops take place over the valley of the Tchernaya.
Emboldened by the success of the 24th, the Russians were apparently
preparing to throw up another work on the right of the new trenches, as
if they had made up their minds to besiege the French at Inkerman, and
assail their right attack. They sent up two steamers to the head of the
harbour, which greatly annoyed the right attack, and it occurred to
Captain Peel, of the _Diamond_, that it would be quite possible to get
boats down to the water's edge and cut these steamers out, or sink them.
Lord Raglan and Sir Edmund Lyons reconnoitred their position, but on
reflection the latter refused to sanction an operation which would have
gone far to raise the prestige of our navy, and to maintain their old
character for dash and daring.





     Preparations--The Railway in use--Vanity Fair, or Buffalo
     Town--Intrusion--Flowers and Birds--Exciting Sport--First Spring
     Meeting--Rumours--The Turkish Levies--The Electric Telegraph--News
     of the Death of Nicholas--Mismanagement--Progress of the Siege
     Works--Jack in Clover--Improved Condition of the Army--Admiral
     Boxer--Council of War--Affair between the Russians and the French.

It froze on the night of the 1st of March. The thermometer was at
twenty-four degrees at two A.M. next morning, the wind strong and very
cold. It was scarcely to be believed that, with all our immense stores
of warm clothing, boots and shoes were at that time by no means
plentiful in the army. About three hundred pairs of boots were served
out to the 14th Regiment, which was employed in fatigue duty in and near
Balaklava; but the thick heavy clay sucked the soles off, and for a week
some of the men went about without any soles to their boots--_ergo_,
their feet were on the ground, with the thermometer at thirty degrees:
that was not agreeable locomotion.

About 240 sick men were sent in from the front to Balaklava on French
ambulance mules, and were received and refreshed at the Caradoc
restaurant. The preparations for the renewal of our fire were pressed
on; and arrangements were made to send up 2000 rounds a day to the
front. About 200 mules were pressed into this service in addition to the
railway, and the Highlanders and the artillery horses were employed in
the carriage of heavy shell to the front, a duty which greatly
distressed them. The men of the Fourth Division, the 17th and 18th
Regiments, were armed with the Minié rifle.

The silence and calm were but the omens of the struggle which was about
to be renewed for the possession of Sebastopol. The Russians were silent
because the allies did not impede their works. The allies were silent
because they were preparing for the contest, and were using every energy
to bring up from Kamiesch and Balaklava the enormous mounds of
projectiles and mountains of ammunition which were required for the
service of the new batteries and to extend, complete, and strengthen
their offensive and defensive lines and trenches.

The railway had begun to render us some service in saving the hard
labour attendant on the transport of shot and shell, and enabled us to
form a sort of small terminal depôt at the distance of two miles and
three quarters from Balaklava, which was, however, not large enough for
the demands upon it, and it was emptied as soon as it was formed by
parties of the Highland Brigade, who carried the ammunition to the camp
depôt, three miles and a half further on. The railway was not
sufficiently long to induce Mr. Filder to avail himself of it largely
for the transport of provisions to the front, as he conceived a partial
use of it would impede the formation of the rail, derange his own
commissariat transport, and produce endless confusion at the temporary
terminus. The commissariat officers of the Second Division were,
however, allowed to use the rail between six and eight o'clock every

The navvies, notwithstanding the temptation of the bottle and of strange
society in Vanity Fair or Buffalo-town, worked honestly and well, with
few exceptions, and the dread of the Provost-Marshal had produced a
wholesome influence on the dispositions of the refractory. The Croat
labourers astonished all who saw them by the enormous loads they
carried, and by their great physical strength and endurance.
Broad-chested, flat-backed men, round-shouldered, with long arms, lean
flanks, thick muscular thighs, and their calfless legs--feeding simply,
and living quietly and temperately--the Croats performed daily an amount
of work in conveying heavy articles on their backs which would amaze any
one who had not seen a Constantinople "hamal." Their camp, outside the
town, was extremely picturesque, and, I am bound to add, dirty. A rich
flavour of onions impregnated the air for a considerable distance
around, mingled with reminiscences of ancient Parmesan, and the messes
which the nasty-handed Phillises dressed for themselves did not look
very inviting, but certainly contained plenty of nutriment, and were
better, I dare say, than the tough pork and tougher biscuit of our own
ration. The men were like Greeks of the Isles in dress, arms, and
carriage, but they had an expression of honest ferocity, courage, and
manliness in their faces, which at once distinguished them from their
Hellenic brethren. We had also a number of strong "hamals" in our
service, who were very useful as beasts of burden to the commissariat.


Parties of men were lent to Mr. Beatty to assist in the works of the
railway, and 200 men of the Naval Brigade detailed in order that the
construction of it might be hastened and facilitated as much as
possible. I was favoured by a striking proof of the energy of the
proceedings of the navvies one day. I had left my delectable premises in
their usual condition, in Balaklava, as I did each week, to spend some
days going from division to division, and regiment to regiment: outside
my den a courtyard of abominations unutterable, the favourite resort of
Tartar camel-drivers, when they had a few moments to devote to the
pursuit of parasites, and of drunken sailors, who desired dignified
retirement from the observation of the Provost-Marshal's myrmidons, was
surrounded by a wall which enclosed a few old poplar trees and a ruined
shed, in which stood some horses. I left on one post-day and returned on
another, and it was with difficulty I recognised the spot. A railway was
running right across my court-yard, the walls were demolished, a
severance existed between the mansion and its dependencies, and just as
my friends and myself entered the "saloon and bedchamber"--a primitive
apartment, through the floor of which I could investigate the
proceedings of my quadrupeds below--the navvies gave us a startling
welcome by pulling a poplar down on the roof, which had the effect of
carrying away a portion of the balcony, and pent-tiles, and smashing in
my two windows elegantly "glazed" with boards.

Unusual energy was displayed in most departments. The word "must" was
heard. Whether its use was attributable to the pressure of the French,
to instructions from home, to the necessity which existed for it, or to
any specific cause, I am unable to surmise. Certain it is that officers
were told that so many guns _must_ be in the batteries on such a day,
and that such a work _must_ be finished by such a time, and a _General_
visited the trenches every day, and saw that the men did not neglect
their duty. General Simpson, as a Chef d'Etat-Major, was expected to
harmonize the operations of the Quarter-master General's and
Adjutant-General's departments. A sanatorium was established on
Balaklava heights.

The soil, wherever a flower had a chance of springing up, poured forth
multitudes of snowdrops, crocuses, and hyacinths. The Chersonese abounds
in bulbous plants, some of great beauty, and rare shrubs. The finches
and larks had a Valentine's-day of their own, and congregated in flocks.
Brilliant goldfinches, buntings, golden-crested wrens, larks, linnets,
titlarks, tomtits, hedge sparrows, and a pretty species of wagtail, were
very common; and it was strange to hear them piping and twittering about
the bushes in the intervals of the booming of cannon, just as it was to
see the young spring flowers forcing their way through the crevices of
piles of shot, and peering out from under shells and heavy ordnance.

Cormorants and shags haunted the head of the harbour, which was also
resorted to by some rare and curious wildfowl, one like the _Anas
sponsa_[17] of Linnæus, another the golden-eyed pocher, and many sorts
of widgeon and diver. Vultures, kites, buzzards, and ravens wheeled over
the plateau in hundreds at a time for two or three days, disappeared,
and returned to feast on garbage. Probably they divided their attention
between the allies and the Russians. The Tchernaya abounded with duck,
and some of the officers had little decoys of their own. It was highly
exciting sport, for the Russian batteries over Inkerman sent a round
shot or shell at the sportsman if he was seen. In the daytime they
adopted the expedient of taking a few French soldiers down with them,
who, out of love of the thing, and for the chance of a _bonnemain_, were
only too happy to occupy the attention of the Cossacks, while their
patrons were after mallard. There were bustards and little bustards on
the steppes near the Monastery of St. George, and the cliffs presented
an appearance which led two or three officers acquainted with Australia
to make fruitless searches for gold ore. The ravines abounded with
jasper, bloodstone, and there was abundance of "black sand" in the
interstices of the rocks, which were of exceeding hardness; but
south-west of St. George, there were fountains of the fine blue

On the 4th of March the French and Russians had a severe brush about
daybreak. Generals Canrobert, Niel, Bosquet, Bizot rode over to the
English head-quarters in the course of the day, and were closeted with
Lord Raglan, assisted by Sir George Brown, Sir John Burgoyne, and
General Jones. They met to consider a proposition made by General
Canrobert to attack the north side, by the aid of the Turks, as it
seemed to him quite hopeless to attempt to drive the Russians from

On the morning of the 5th of March early there was a repetition of the
affair between the French and Russians, who began throwing a new redoubt
towards the Victoria Redoubt. In order to strengthen our right, which
the enemy menaced more evidently every day, the whole of the Ninth
Division of the French army was moved over there. Our first spring
meeting took place on the 5th, numerously attended. The races came off
on a little piece of undulating ground, on the top of the ridges near
Karanyi, and were regarded with much interest by the Cossack pickets at
Kamara and on Canrobert's Hill. They thought at first that the
assemblage was connected with some military demonstration, and galloped
about in a state of excitement, but it is to be hoped they got a clearer
notion of the real character of the proceedings ere the sport was over.


In the midst of the races a party of Russians were seen approaching the
vedette on No. 4 Old Redoubt in the valley. The Dragoon fired his
carbine, and ten turned and fled, but two deserters came in. One of them
was an officer; the other had been an officer, but had suffered
degradation for "political causes." They were Poles, and the ex-officer
spoke French and German fluently. They expressed great satisfaction at
their escape, and the latter said, "Send me wherever you like, provided
that I never see Russia again." They stated that they had deceived the
men who were with them into the belief that the vedette was one of their
own outposts, and advanced boldly till the Dragoon fired on them, when
they discovered their mistake. The deserters state that a corps of about
8000 men had joined the army between Baidar and Simpheropol. On being
taken to Sir Colin Campbell, they requested that the horses might be
sent back to the Russian lines, for, as they did not belong to them,
they did not wish to be accused of theft. Sir Colin granted the
request, and the horses were taken to the brow of the hill and set free,
when they at once galloped off towards the Cossacks. The races proceeded
after this little episode just as usual, and subsequently the company
resolved itself into small packs of dog-hunters.

The weather became mild, the nights clear. Our defensive line over
Balaklava was greatly strengthened, and its outworks and batteries were
altered and amended considerably. The health of the troops was better,
mortality and sickness decreased, and the spirits of the men were good.
The wreck of Balaklava was shovelled away, or was in the course of
removal, and was shot into the sea to form piers, or beaten down to make
roads, and stores and barracks of wood were rising up in its place. The
oldest inhabitant would not have known the place on his return. If war
is a great destroyer, it is also a great creator. The Czar was indebted
to it for a railway in the Crimea, and for new roads between Balaklava,
Kamiesch, and Sebastopol. The hill-tops were adorned with clean wooden
huts, the flats were drained, the watercourses dammed up and deepened,
and all this was done in a few days, by the newly-awakened energies of
labour. The noise of hammer and anvil, and the roll of the railway
train, were heard in these remote regions a century before their time.
Can anything be more suggestive of county magistracy and poor-laws, and
order and peace, than stone-breaking? It went on daily, and parties of
red-coated soldiery were to be seen contentedly hammering away at the
limestone rock, satisfied with a few pence extra pay. Men were given
freely wherever there was work to be done. The policeman walked abroad
in the streets of Balaklava. Colonel Harding exhibited ability in the
improvement of the town, and he had means at his disposal which his
predecessors could not obtain. Lord Raglan was out before the camps
every day, and Generals Estcourt and Airey were equally active. They
visited Balaklava, inspected the lines, rode along the works, and by
their presence and directions infused an amount of energy which went far
to make up for lost time, if not for lost lives.

The heaps accumulated by the Turks who perished in the foetid lanes of
Balaklava, and the masses of abomination unutterable which they left
behind them, were removed and mixed with stones, lime, manure, and
earth, to form piers, which were not so offensive as might have been
expected. The dead horses were collected and buried. A little naval
arsenal grew up at the north side of the harbour, with shears,
landing-wharf, and storehouses; and a branch line was to be made from
this spot to the trunk to the camp. The harbour, crowded as it was,
assumed a certain appearance of order. Cesspools were cleared out, and
the English Hercules at last began to stir about the heels of the oxen
of Augæus.

The whole of the Turks were removed to the hill-side. Each day there was
a diminution in the average amount of sickness, and a still greater
decrease in the rates of mortality. Writing at the time, I said a good
sanitary officer, with an effective staff, might do much to avert the
sickness to be expected among the myriads of soldiers when the heats of
spring began.[18] Fresh provisions were becoming abundant, and supplies
of vegetables were to be had for the sick and scurvy-stricken. The siege
works were in a state of completion, and were admirably made. Those on
which our troops were engaged proceeded uninterruptedly. A great
quantity of mules and ponies, with a staff of drivers from all parts of
the world, was collected together, and lightened the toils of the troops
and of the commissariat department. The public and private stores of
warm clothing exceeded the demand. The mortality among the horses
ceased, and, though the oxen and sheep sent over to the camps would not
have found much favour in Smithfield, they were very grateful to those
who had to feed so long on salt junk alone. The sick were nearly all
hutted, and even some of the men in those camps which were nearest to
Balaklava had been provided with similar comforts and accommodation.

An electric telegraph was established between head-quarters and Kadikoi,
and the line was ordered to be carried on to Balaklava. The French
preferred the old-fashioned semaphore, and had a communication between
the camps and naval stations.

The news of the death of the Emperor Nicholas produced an immense
sensation, and gave rise to the liveliest discussions as to its effect
upon the contest. We were all wrong in our surmises the day the
intelligence arrived. The enemy fired very briskly, as if to show they
were not disheartened.

The story of the guns of position, at this time available, was
instructive. It will be remembered that the Russians inflicted great
loss upon us by their guns of position at the Alma, and that we had none
to reply to them. Indeed, had they been landed at Kalamita Bay, it is
doubtful if we could have got horses to draw them. However, if we had
had the horses, we could not have had the guns. The fact was, that sixty
fine guns of position, with all their equipments complete, were shipped
on board the _Taurus_ at Woolwich, and sent out to the East. When the
vessel arrived at Constantinople, the admiral in charge, with
destructive energy, insisted on trans-shipping all the guns into the
_Gertrude_. The captain in charge remonstrated, but in vain--words grew
high, but led to no result. The guns, beautifully packed and laid, with
everything in its proper place, were hauled up out of the hold, and
huddled, in the most approved higgledy-piggledy _à la Balaklava
ancienne_, into the _Gertrude_, where they were deposited on the top of
a quantity of medical and other stores. The equipments shared the same
fate, and the hold of the vessel presented to the eye of the
artilleryman the realization of the saying anent the arrangement of a
midshipman's chest, "everything uppermost and nothing at hand." The
officer in charge got to Varna, and in vain sought permission to go to
some retired nook, discharge the cargo, and restow the guns. The
expedition sailed, and when the _Gertrude_ arrived at Old Fort, had
Hercules been set to clear the guns, as his fourteenth labour, he could
not have done it. And so the medicines, that would certainly have done
good, and the guns, that might have done harm, were left to neutralize
each other!


The weather was in the early part of March so mild and fine, that it was
scarcely generous to notice the few Black Sea fogs which swept over us
now and then like shadows and so departed. Our siege works were a kind
of Penelope's web. They were always approaching completion, and never
(or at least very slowly) attaining it. The matter was in this
wise:--Our engineers now and then saw a certain point to be gained by
the erection of a work or battery at a particular place. The plans were
made and the working parties were sent down, and after a few casualties
the particular work was executed; but, as it generally happened that the
enemy were quite alive to our proceedings, without waiting for their
copies of _The Times_, we found that the Russians had by the time the
work was finished, thrown up another work to enfilade or to meet our
guns. Then it became necessary to do something to destroy the position
and fresh plans were drawn up, and more trenches were dug and parapets
erected. The same thing took place as before, and the process might have
been almost indefinite but for the space of soil.

The front of Sebastopol, between English, French, and Russians, looked
like a huge graveyard, covered with freshly-made mounds of dark earth in
all directions. Every week one heard some such gossip as this--"The
Russians have thrown up another battery over Inkerman." "Yes, the French
are busy making another new battery in front of the redoubt." "Our fire
will most positively open about the end of next week." We were overdoing
our "positively last nights."

On the 8th a small work, armed with three heavy guns, which had been
constructed very quietly, to open on the two steamers near Inkerman,
under the orders of Captain Strange, began its practice early in the
morning, at about 1700 yards, and drove them both away after about sixty
rounds, but did not sink, or, as far as we knew, seriously disable them.

Every material for carrying on a siege--guns, carriages, platforms,
powder, shot, shell, gabions, fascines, scaling-ladders--we had in
abundance. The artillery force was highly efficient, notwithstanding the
large proportion of young gunners. Our engineers, if not quite so
numerous as they ought to have been, were active and energetic; and our
army must have consisted of nearly 20,000 bayonets, owing to the great
number of men discharged from the hospitals, and returned fit for duty,
and to the draughts which had been received. With the exception of the
Guards, who were encamped near Balaklava, reduced to the strength of a
company, nearly every brigade in the army could muster many more men
than they could a month before.

Of the Guardsmen sent to Scutari not more than sixty or seventy were in
such a state of convalescence as to permit them to join their regiments.
The men in Balaklava fared better, and the weather effected a marked
improvement in the health of the men in the field hospitals.

As for Jack, he was as happy as he would allow himself to be, and as
healthy, barring a little touch of scurvy now and then, as he could
wish; but it must be remembered that he had no advanced trenches, no
harassing incessant labour to enfeeble him, and that he had been most
successful in his adaptation of stray horseflesh to camp purposes, in
addition to which he had a peculiar commissariat, and the supplies of
the fleet to rely upon. It is a little out of place, perhaps, to tell a
story here about the extraordinary notions Jack had imbibed concerning
the ownership of chattels and the distinction between _meum_ and _tuum_,
but I may not have a better chance. A mild young officer went up one day
to the sailors' camp, which he heard was a very good place to purchase a
horse, and on his arrival picked out a likely man, who was gravely
chewing the cud of meditation and tobacco beside the suspension bridge,
formed of staves of casks, which leads across a ravine to their
quarters. "Can you tell me where I can get a good horse to buy, my man!"

"Well, sir, you see as how our horse parties ain't come in yet, and we
don't know what we may have this evening. If your honour could wait."

"Then you haven't got anything to sell now?"

"Ah! how I does wish your honour had a comed up yesterday. We had five
regular good 'uns--harabs some on 'em was, but they was all bought up by
a specklator from Ballyklava."

"So they're all gone?"

"All, that lot your honour. But," with his face brightening up suddenly,
"if you should happen to want a sporting out-and-out dromeydairy, I've
got one as I can let you have cheap." As he spoke, Jack pointed in great
triumph to the melancholy-looking quadruped, which he had "moored stem
and stern," as he expressed it, and was much disappointed when he found
there was no chance of a sale.

From hunger, unwholesome food, and comparative nakedness, the camp was a
sea of abundance, filled with sheep and sheepskins, wooden huts, furs,
comforters, mufflers, flannel shirts, tracts, soups, preserved meats,
potted game, and spirits. Nay, it was even true that a store of Dalby's
Carminative, of respirators, and of jujubes, had been sent out to the
troops. The two former articles were issued under the sanction of Dr.
Hall, who gave instructions that the doctors should report on the
effects. Where the jujubes came from I know not; but had things gone on
at this rate, we might soon have heard complaints that our Grenadiers
had been left for several days without their Godfrey's Cordial and
Soothing Syrup, and that the Dragoons had been shamefully ill supplied
with Daffy's Elixir.


"Hit high--hit low--there is no pleasing him;" but really, the fact is,
that the army was overdone with Berlin wool and flannel, and was
ill-provided with leather. The men wanted good boots and waterproofs,
for there was a rainy season. Medicine was not deficient, and there was
an unfortunately large demand for the remedies against the ravages of
low fever. Mutton and beef were so abundant, that the men got fresh meat
about three times a-week. Some of the mutton, &c., brought to the Crimea
ready killed, was excellent. Potatoes, cabbages, and carrots, were
served out pretty frequently as the cargoes arrived, and the patients in
hospital were seldom or never left short of vegetables. Admiral Boxer
was most anxious to clear the harbour, and exerted himself to reduce the
number of "adventurers" ships, and applied himself with success to the
improvement of the wharfage and of the roads to the north side of the
harbour. The dreamers had awakened, and after a yawn, a stretch, a gape
of surprise to find that what they had been sleeping over was not a
horrid nightmare, set to work with a will to clear away the traces of
their sloth. But while all this improvement was taking place, the enemy
were gathering strength. The Russians, on the night of the 11th,
developed their works on the hill in front of the Malakoff, called the
Mamelon Vert, under cover of their rapidly-increasing works at Mount
Sapoune, called by the French "les ouvrages blancs." On the 12th, Omar
Pasha arrived from Eupatoria, and a council of war was held, at which it
was decided that 20,000 Turks should be at once landed from the latter
place to co-operate in the attack on the city. The French stated they
were ready to begin their fire on the 13th, but that Lord Raglan
informed General Canrobert he was not prepared. Our right attack was
connected by a trench with the Inkerman attack.

On the 13th General Simpson, chief of the staff, arrived; and Lord
Raglan rode into Balaklava, and saw Sir John M'Neill and Colonel
Tulloch, the commissioners sent out by Lord Panmure to inquire into the
condition of the army.

On the 14th there was an affair with the Russians which was not so
fortunate for our allies as might be desired. The Russians advanced some
riflemen in front of the French on the right of our Second Division,
which caused considerable annoyance. A demi-brigade went down and drove
the Russians out. All the batteries opened at once with a tremendous
crash, and for half an hour there was a furious cannonade directed
against the darkness. In the midst of this fire a strong body of
Russians advanced on the French, and obliged them to retire. Assistance
was sent down, the French drove the Russians back; but lost sixty-five
men, killed and wounded.


     Spring Weather--Abundance of Provisions--Fourth Division Races--A
     Melancholy Accident--Struggles for the Rifle-pits--Reinforcements
     enter Sebastopol--Departure of Sir John Burgoyne--A Curious
     Fight--A Hard Struggle--More Contests for the Rifle-pits--Killed
     and Wounded.

About the middle of March we were blessed with all the genial influences
of a glorious spring. Vegetation struggled for existence beneath the
tramp of armed men and the hoof of the war horse, and faint patches of
green herbage dotted the brown expanse in which the allied camps had
rested so long. The few fruit-trees which had been left standing near
Balaklava were in blossom. The stumps on the hill sides were throwing
out green shoots as outlets for the welling sap; the sun shone brightly
and warmly from blue skies streaked with clouds, which were borne
rapidly along by the breeze that never ceased to blow from the high
lands. Of course, the beneficial effects of this permanent fine weather
on the health and spirits of the army were very great, and became more
striking day after day. The voice of song was heard once more in the
tents, and the men commenced turning up their pipes, and chanting their
old familiar choruses. The railway pushed its iron feelers up the
hill-side to the camp. The wire ropes and rollers for the trains had
been partially laid down. Every day the plains and hill-sides were
streaked with columns of smoke, which marked the spots where fire was
destroying heaps of filth and corrupt animal and vegetable matter as
sacrifices on the altar of Health. The sanatorium was working in the
most satisfactory manner, and had produced the best results. The waters
of little streamlets were caught up in reservoirs to provide against

Upwards of 700 huts had been sent to camp and erected. The army,
animated by the constant inspection of Lord Raglan, and by the
supervision of the heads of the great military departments, was nearly
restored, in all but numbers, to what it was six months before.
Bakeries, under the control of Government, were established and the
troops were fed on wholesome bread. The silence and gloom of despondency
had passed away with the snows and the deadly lethargy of our terrible
winter. The blessed sounds of labour--twice blessed, but that they spoke
of war and bloodshed--rang throughout the camp, from the crowded shore
to the busy line of batteries.

It must not be forgotten, however, that the enemy derived equal
advantage from the improvement in the weather. Valley and plain were now
as firm as the finest road, and the whole country was open to the march
of artillery, cavalry, infantry, and commissariat wagons. Each day the
Russian camps on the north of Sebastopol increased and spread out. Each
night new watchfires attracted the eye. We heard that a formidable army
had assembled around Eupatoria, and it was certain that the country
between that town and Sebastopol was constantly traversed by horse and
foot, who were sometimes seen from the sea in very great numbers. The
actual works of the siege made no progress to justify one in
prophesying. Actual increase of lines and batteries, and armament there
was no doubt, but it existed on both sides, and there had been no
comparative advantage gained by the allies. The impression which had
long existed in the minds of many that Sebastopol could not be taken by
assault, considering the position of the north forts, the fleet, and the
army outside, gained ground. It was generally thought that the army
outside ought to have been attacked and dispersed, or that the
investment of the place should be completed, before we could hope to
reduce the city and the citadel.


But coupled with this impression was the far stronger conviction that,
had our army marched upon the place on the 25th of September, it would
have fallen almost without resistance. A Russian officer, who was taken
prisoner and who knew the state of the city well, declared that he could
not account for our "infatuation" in allowing the Russians to throw up
works and regain heart, when we could have walked into the place, unless
under the supposition that the hand of the Almighty was in it, and that
He had blinded the vision and perverted the judgment of our generals.
"And now," said he, "He has saved Sebastopol, and we, with His help,
will maintain it inviolate."

However, let bygones be bygones on this and other points as well--they
will be matters for history and posterity.

Several sea-service mortars, with a range of 3,500 yards, were sent up
to the front, and the new batteries, now about to open, had the heaviest
armament ever used in war.

On the 17th of March the Fourth Division had races. The meeting was well
attended, and had this advantage over the races at Karanyi, that the
course was almost under long range fire of the forts, and that the
thunder of the siege-guns rose now and then above the shouts of the
crowd in the heat of the sport. Not a drunken man was visible on the
course. Every face beamed with good humour and joy and high spirits. As
it was St. Patrick's Day, many an officer had a bit of some sorry green
substitute for a shamrock in his cap. Some thoughtful people at home had
actually sent out to their friends real shamrocks by post, which arrived
just in the nick of time, and an officer of my acquaintance was
agreeably surprised by his servant presenting himself at his bedside
with a semblance of that curious plant, which he had cut out of some
esculent vegetable with a pair of scissors, and a request that he would
wear it, "and nobody would ever know the differ."

A melancholy accident occurred on the same night. Mr. Leblanc, surgeon
of the 9th Regiment, was coming home after dark, and got outside the
French lines. He was challenged; and either did not hear or understand
what the man said. The Frenchman challenged again, and, receiving no
reply, shot the officer dead. Heavy firing was going on at the time, and
a serious affair on our right, another struggle for the pits, which the
enemy had thrown up on the right opposite the French, and which our
allies carried gallantly, but did not succeed in retaining.

These rifle-pits, which cost both armies such a quantity of ammunition,
and led to so considerable a sacrifice on the part of our allies, were
placed in front and to the right and left of the Tower of Malakoff,
about 600 yards from our works. They were simple excavations faced with
sandbags, loopholed, and banked round with earth. Each of these pits
contained about ten riflemen. Practice made these soldiers crack shots
and very expert, so that if a man showed for a moment above the works in
front of these pits he had instantly a small swarm of leaden hornets
buzzing round his ears.

They were so well covered and so admirably protected by the nature of
the ground that our riflemen could do nothing with them, and the French
sharpshooters were equally unsuccessful. It was determined to try a
round shot or two at them from one of the English batteries. The first
shot struck down a portion of the bank of one of the pits, the second
went slap into the sandbags, right through the parapet, and out at the
other side, and the riflemen, ignorant of Sir John Burgoyne's advice to
men similarly situated to adhere the more obstinately to their work the
more they are fired at by big guns, "bolted," and ran across the space
to their works. The French sharpshooters, who were in readiness to take
advantage of this moment, at once fired on the fugitives, but did not
hit one of them.

As it was made a point of honour by General Bosquet that our allies
should take these pits, about 5,000 men were marched up to the base of
the hills in front of our position, close to the Second and Light
Divisions, before dusk on the night of the 17th, and shortly afterwards
sent down to the advanced trenches on our right. At half-past six
o'clock they were ordered to occupy the pits. About half-past seven
o'clock the Fourth Division was turned out by Sir John Campbell, and
took up its position on the hill nearly in front of its tents, Sir
George Brown at the same time marched the Light Division a few hundred
yards forward to the left and front of their encampment. These Divisions
remained under arms for nearly four hours, and were marched back when
the French finally desisted from their assault on the pits. The Second
and Third Divisions were also in readiness. The Zouaves advanced with
their usual dash and intrepidity, but they found that the enemy were
already in possession. A fierce conflict commenced, but the French could
not drive the Russians out. Some misapprehension led the men in the
trenches to fire before their comrades reached the pits, and the enemy
dispatched a large force to the assistance of the troops already engaged
with the French, so that the latter were at last forced back. The
contest was carried on incessantly for four hours and a half, and roused
up the whole camp. From the almost ceaseless roll and flashing lines of
light in front one would have imagined that a general action between
considerable armies was going on, and the character of the fight had
something unusual about it owing to the absence of any fire of

Had our allies required our assistance they would have received it, but
they were determined on taking and holding these pits, which, in fact,
were in front of their works, without any aid. The Zouaves bore the
brunt of the fight. Through the night air, in the lulls of the musketry,
the voices of the officers could be distinctly heard cheering on the
men, and encouraging them--"_En avant, mes enfans!_" "_En avant,
Zouaves!_" the tramp of feet and the rush of men followed; then a roll
of musketry was heard, diminishing to rapid file-firing--then a Russian
cheer--then more musketry--dropping shots--and the voices of the
officers once more. The French retired, with the loss of about 150 men
killed and wounded, and a few prisoners.


On the 18th a force, computed to number about 15,000 men, entered
Sebastopol from the north side. Large trains of carts and waggons were
seen moving round towards the Belbek, and a considerable force
bivouacked by the waterside below the citadel. About the same time a
portion of the army of Inkerman, numbering, according to the best
calculations, 15,000, marched down towards Mackenzie's Farm, and was
reported to have crossed the Tchernaya and to have gone towards Baidar.

About four o'clock, General Canrobert, attended by a small staff and
escort, passed down the Woronzo Road by our right attack, and carefully
examined the position of the "pits," and the works of the Mamelon and of
the square redoubt to its right. At nightfall a strong force of French,
with six field-guns of "12," were moved down on the left of their
extreme right, and another attempt was made to take the pits from the
Russians, but it was not successful. Both parties retired from the
contest, after an hour's combat.

Our batteries pitched shot and shell right into the Mamelon, which the
Russians were fortifying rapidly, and they also threw some
excellently-aimed missiles into the new pits which the Russians had
erected on the ground where the French were so severely handled some
nights before. This redoubt had been armed. It was square, and mounted
sixteen guns on the three faces visible to us. The fire at Inkerman, of
the forts across the Tchernaya, and of the works of the Malakoff covered
this redoubt, and converged on the approaches in front.

Nearly all the firing during the night of the 19th was from the French
mortars. The enemy scarcely replied.

Important changes now took place among the generals. On the 21st Sir
John Burgoyne left the camp and proceeded to Kamiesch, where he took
passage by the mail steamer to England. All kinds of opinions and acts
had been attributed to Sir John while he was superintending the earlier
operations of the siege, but no one ever denied the entire devotion and
zeal which the veteran General displayed in the prosecution of the works
so far as he could control them. If his manner exhibited that stoical
apathy and indifference which distinguish the few remaining disciples of
"the Great Duke," his activity and personal energy were far beyond his
years. He was succeeded by Major-General Jones, who possessed activity
and energy, and it was hoped that these two appointments would
contribute to the improvement of the social and internal economy of the
army, and to the accomplishment of the objects of the expedition. The
name of the Adjutant-General Estcourt was no longer appended to the
general orders. It was the Chief of the Staff, General Simpson, who
waited on Lord Raglan each day to ascertain his wishes, and to receive
orders, and he communicated those orders to the Quartermaster and
Adjutant-General, and saw that they were duly executed.

The Engineer officers alleged there was great difficulty in finding men
to execute the necessary works, notwithstanding the improved condition
of our army and the diminution of work and labour which had taken place
since the co-operation of the French on our right. We frequently had not
more than 900 men for duty in the trenches of the left attack, although
it was considered that they ought to be defended by at least 1,200 men,
and that 1,500 men would be by no means too many for the duty. I saw one
parallel in which the officer on duty was told to cover the whole line
of work. He had about 340 men with him, and when he had extended his
line they were each nearly thirty paces apart. This was in a work
exposed to attack at any moment. Notwithstanding the ground taken by the
French, we were obliged to let the men stay for twenty-four hours at a
time in the trenches. On an average the men had not more than three
nights out of seven in bed. The French had five nights out of seven in
bed. With reference to the observations which were made at home on the
distribution of labour between the two armies, it must be borne in mind
that when the French and English first broke ground before Balaklava we
were as strong as our allies, and that it was some time after the siege
began ere the relative proportions of the two armies were considerably
altered to the advantage of the French by the arrival of their

On the 22nd a furious fight raged along our front. About nine o'clock
8,000 Russians disposed themselves in the hollows of the ground, and
waited patiently till nightfall. Between eleven and twelve o'clock they
rushed on the French works in front of the Mamelon, and made a dash at
the trenches connecting our right with the French left. Their columns
came upon the men in our advanced trenches on the right attack, with the
bayonet, before we were quite prepared to receive them. When they were
first discerned, they were close, and, on being challenged, replied with
their universal shibboleth, "Bono Franciz." Taken at a great
disadvantage, and pressed by superior numbers, the 7th and 97th guarding
the trenches made a vigorous resistance, and drove the Russians out at
the point of the bayonet, but not until they had inflicted on us serious
loss, not the least being that of Captain Vicars of the 97th.


The 7th Fusileers had to run the gauntlet of a large body of the enemy,
whom they drove back _à la fourchette_. The 34th Regiment were attacked
by great numbers, and their Colonel, Kelly, was taken prisoner, and
carried off by the enemy. In the midst of the fight, on our right, where
the trench guards were at first repulsed, Major Gordon, of the Royal
Engineers, displayed that cool courage and presence of mind which never
forsook him. With a little switch in his hand, standing up on the top of
the parapet, he encouraged the men to defend the trenches, and hurl down
stones upon the Russians. He was struck by a ball which passed through
the lower part of his arm, and received a bullet through the shoulder.
After an hour's fight the enemy were driven back; but 3 officers and 14
rank and file were killed, 2 officers and 44 rank and file wounded, and
2 officers taken prisoners. Captain Chapman of the 20th
Regiment--Lieutenant Marsh, 33rd--Major Browne, 21st--Lieutenant Jordan,
34th (killed)--Captain Cavendish Browne, 7th (killed), and Captain
Vicars, 97th (killed), particularly distinguished themselves in the

The French lost 13 officers and 171 men killed, 12 officers and 359 men
wounded, and 4 officers and 83 men missing. Prince Gortschakoff admitted
a loss of 8 officers and 379 men killed, and 21 officers and 982 men
wounded. The hill-sides below the Round Tower and the Mamelon were
covered with their dead, mingled with the bodies of the French. The dead
were lying about among the gabions which had been knocked down in front
of the French sap in great numbers.

At the first charge at the Mortar Battery, the Russian leader, who wore
an Albanian costume, and whose gallantry was most conspicuous, fell

It was not known how many Albanian chiefs there were with the Russians;
but certainly the two who were killed led them on with intrepidity and
ferocious courage. One of them, who struggled into the battery in spite
of a severe wound, while his life-blood was ebbing fast, rushed at a
powder-barrel and fired his pistol into it before he fell. Fortunately
the powder did not explode, as the fire did not go through the wood.
Another, with a cimeter in one hand and a formidable curved blade, which
he used as a dagger, in the other, charged right into our ranks twice,
and fell dead the second time, perforated with balls and bayonets. They
were magnificently dressed, and were supposed to be men of rank.

When the Mortar Battery was carried, the enemy held it for about fifteen
minutes. At the time the heavy fire between the French and Russians was
going on, a portion of the 90th Regiment were employed on fatigue duty
on the right of the new advanced works on our right attack. They were in
the act of returning to their posts in the Gordon Battery just at the
moment the heavy firing on the right had ceased, when a scattered
irregular fusillade commenced in the dark on the left of their position
close to the Mortar Battery. Captain Vaughton, who commanded the party
of the 90th, ordered his men to advance along the covered way to the
works. They moved at the double time, and found the Russians in complete
possession of the Mortar Battery. The 90th at once opened a heavy fire
of musketry, when an alarm was given that they were firing upon the
French; but the enemy's fire being poured in with deadly effect, the
small party of the 90th were thrown into great confusion. With a loud
"hurrah," however, the gallant band sprang with the bayonet upon the
enemy, who precipitately retired over the parapet. In order to keep up
the fire, the men groped about among the dead Russians, and exhausted
the cartridges in the enemy's pouches.

As an act of justice, the names of the officers and men of the party of
the 90th Regiment whose conduct was distinguished in this affair should
be recorded. They are--Clarke, Brittle, and Essex (sergeants),
Caruthers, severely wounded (corporal), Fare, Walsh, Nicholson
(wounded), and Nash. Captain Vaughton received a severe contusion in the
affair. The courage displayed by Captain Cavendish Browne, of the 7th,
in another part of the works, was conspicuous. He was severely wounded
at the commencement of the attack, but he refused to go to the rear,
though nearly fainting from loss of blood. He led on his men,
encouraging them by voice and gesture, to the front. When his body was
found, it lay far in advance of our line, with three balls in the chest.

Early on Saturday morning a flag of truce was sent in by the allies with
a proposition to the Russians for an armistice to bury the dead, lying
in numbers--five or six Russians to every Frenchman and Englishman--in
front of the Round Tower and Mamelon, and after some delay, an answer in
the affirmative was returned, and it was arranged that two hours should
be granted for collecting and carrying away the dead on both sides. The
news spread through the camps, and the races which the Chasseurs
d'Afrique had got up in excellent style were much shorn of their
attractions by the opportunity afforded of meeting our enemies upon
neutral ground. The day was beautifully bright and warm. White flags
waved gently in the faint spring breeze above the embrasures of our
batteries, and from the Round Tower and Mamelon. Not a soul had been
visible in front of the lines an instant before the emblems of peace
were run up to the flagstaffs, and a sullen gun from the Mamelon and a
burst of smoke from Gordon's batteries had but a short time previously
heralded the armistice. The instant the flags were hoisted, friend and
foe swarmed out of the embrasures. The Riflemen of the allies and of the
enemy rose from their lairs in the rifle pits, and sauntered towards
each other to behold their grim handiwork. The whole of the space
between the Russian lines and our own was filled with groups of unarmed
soldiery. Passing down by the Middle Picket Ravine, which was then
occupied by the French, and which ran down in front of the Light
Division camp, I came out upon the advanced French trench, within a few
hundred yards of the Mamelon. The sight was strange beyond description.
French, English, and Russian officers were walking about saluting each
other courteously as they passed, and occasionally entered into
conversation, and a constant interchange of little civilities, such as
offering and receiving cigar-lights, was going on. Some of the Russian
officers were evidently men of high rank and breeding, their polished
manners contrasted remarkably with their plain, and rather coarse
clothing. They wore the invariable long grey coat over their uniforms.
Many of the Russians looked like English gentlemen in face and bearing.
One tall, fine-looking old man, with a long grey beard and strangely
shaped cap, was pointed out to us as Hetman of the Cossacks in the
Crimea. The French officers were all _en grande tenue_, and offered a
striking contrast to many of our own officers, who were still dressed _à
la_ Balaklava, and wore uncouth head-dresses, cat-skin coats, and
nondescript paletots. The Russians seemed to fraternize with the French
more than with us. The men certainly got on better with our allies than
with the privates of our regiments who were down towards the front.


While this civility was going on, we were walking over blood-stained
ground, covered with evidences of recent fight, among the dead. Broken
muskets, bayonets, cartouch-boxes, caps, fragments of clothing, straps
and belts, pieces of shell, little pools of clotted blood, shot--round
and grape--shattered gabions and sand-bags, were visible on every side.
Through the midst of the crowd stalked solemn processions of soldiers
bearing their departed comrades to their long home. I counted
seventy-seven litters borne past me in fifteen minutes--each filled with
a dead enemy.

At one time a Russian with a litter stopped by a dead body, and put it
into the litter. He looked round for a comrade to help him. A Zouave at
once advanced with much grace and lifted it, to the infinite amusement
of the bystanders; but the joke was not long-lived, as a Russian came up
brusquely and helped to carry off his dead comrade.

Some few French, dead, were lying far in advance among the gabions
belonging to the advanced trenches, which the Russians had broken down,
evidently slain in pursuit. The Russian soldiers were white-faced, many
of them had powerful frames, square shoulders, and broad chests. All
their dead near our lines were stripped of boots and stockings. The
cleanliness of their feet, and of their coarse linen shirts, was
remarkable. In the midst of this stern evidence of war, a certain amount
of lively conversation began to spring up, in which the Russian officers
indulged in badinage. Some of them asked our officers "when we were
coming in to take the place?" others "when we thought of going away?"
Some congratulated us upon the excellent opportunity we had of getting a
good look at Sebastopol, as the chance of a nearer view was not in their
opinion very probable. One officer asked a private confidentially in
English how many men we sent into the trenches? "Begorra, only 7,000 a
night, and a covering party of 10,000," was the ready reply. The officer
laughed and turned away. In the town we could see large bodies of
soldiery assembled at the corners in the streets, and in the public
places. Probably they were ordered out to make a show of their strength.
Owing to some misunderstanding or other, a little fusillade began among
the riflemen on the left during the armistice, but it soon terminated.
The armistice was over about three o'clock. Scarcely had the white flag
disappeared behind the parapet of the Mamelon before a round shot from
the sailors' battery went slap through one of the embrasures of the
Russian work, and dashed up a great pillar of earth inside. The Russians
at once replied, and the noise of cannon soon re-echoed through the

On the night of the 26th, Captain Hill, 89th Regiment, in proceeding to
post his pickets, made a mistake in the dark, and got too near the
Russian pickets. He was not very well acquainted with the country, and
the uncertain light deceived him. The Russians challenged, "Qui va là?"
"Français!" was the reply. The two pickets instantly fired, and Captain
Hill dropped. There were only two or three men with him, and they
retired, taking with them the Captain's great-coat. They went a few
yards to the rear to get assistance, and returned at once to the place
where Captain Hill fell, but his body had been removed, and the Russian
pickets had withdrawn.

On Monday the 2nd of April, M. St. Laurent, Commandant of French
Engineers in the right attack, was mortally wounded in the battery over
Inkerman. One of the most important works of the right attack bore his
name, and he did much to place that portion of our works in a most
efficient state.

The Russians now frequently amused themselves by shelling the camp. On
the 4th, when there was a large crowd of French and English, including
some of the staff, in front of the picket-house, near the Mortar
Battery, suddenly a shell fell right into the midst of the group. The
greater part of the assembly threw themselves down and rolled away on
the ground. At last the shell burst, and one of the fragments struck and
wounded a French sentry about fifty yards off. Led horses broke loose or
were let go and scampered off in all directions, and as the few officers
who had nerve to remain and enjoy the discomfiture of the runaways were
enjoying the joke, down came another shell into the very centre of them.
The boldest could not stand this, and in a few minutes not a soul was to
be seen near the ground. The Military Secretary lost his cap, owing to
the eccentric evolutions of his frightened quadruped, but he speedily
recovered it, and that was the only loss caused by the two shells,
excepting the poor fellow put _hors de combat_ for the time.


"Cathcart's Hill," in front of the Fourth Division camp, was the
favourite resort of sight-seers. The place derived its name from General
Cathcart using it as a look-out station, and as his resort of a morning.
The flag of the division, a red and white burgee, floated from a staff
on the left front angle of the parallelogram, and two stands were
erected for telescopes in front. A look-out man was stationed to observe
the movements of the enemy. To the front of the flagstaff on the left
was a cave in which Sir John Campbell lived. He found it a welcome
refuge during the storm of the 14th of November. It was marked by a
little wooden fence resting on cannon shot, around which there was an
impromptu flower-garden. The General's marquee and the tents of his
staff were close at hand. It commanded a view of the extreme French left
towards Kamiesch, and of their approaches to the Flagstaff Battery and
the crenellated wall. Taking up the view from this point on the left,
the eye rested upon the mass of ruins in front of the French lines,
seamed here and there with banks of earth or by walls of gabions, dotted
with embrasures. This part of Sebastopol, between the sea at Artillery
Bay and the Dockyard Creek, was exceedingly like portions of old London
after the first burst of the Wide-Street Commissioners upon it. There
was a strip of ruin the combined work of French and Russians, about two
miles long and 300 or 400 yards broad, and it swept round the town like
a zone. The houses inside were injured, but the tall white store-houses,
the domes of churches, the porticoes of palaces, and the public
buildings, shone pleasantly in the sunshine. Tier after tier of roofs
rose up the crest of the hill. In front of this portion of the town the
dun steppes were scarred all over by the lines of the French approaches,
from which at intervals arose the smoke-wreaths of cannon or the puffs
of the rifle, answered from the darker lines of the Russians in front of
the city. At night this space was lighted up incessantly by the
twinkling flashes of musketry. Cathcart's Hill commanded a view of the
whole position, with the exception of a portion of the left attack.

The ground in rear of the dark lines, serrated with black iron teeth
which marked our batteries, seemed almost deserted. The soldiers
sauntered about in groups just below the cover of the parapets, and a
deep greyish blue line denoted the artillerymen and covering parties. In
front were the Russian entrenchments and batteries with the black
muzzles of the guns peering through the embrasures. The grey-coated
Russians stalked about the inner parapets, busily carrying gabions and
repairing the damaged works. Suddenly a thick spirt of white smoke
bursts from the face of the Mamelon, the shot bounds into Gordon's
Battery, knocks up a pillar of earth, and then darts forward, throwing
up a cloud of dust at each ricochet. Scarcely has it struck the parapet
before another burst of smoke rushes out of one of the embrasures of the
Naval Battery, and a mass of whitish earth is dashed up into the air
from the Mamelon. Then comes a puff from one of the French batteries on
the right, and a shell bursts right in the devoted work. "Bravo the
sailors!" "Well done, French!" cry the spectators. As the words leave
their lips two or three guns from the Round Tower, and as many from the
Mamelon, hurl shot and shell in reply. A duel of this kind, with the
occasional _divertissement_ of a shell or round shot at working or
covering parties, sometimes lasted all day.

Now and then our sea-service mortars spoke out with a dull roar that
shook the earth. After what seems nearly a minute of expectation a cloud
of smoke and dust at the rear of the Round Tower denoted the effect of
the terrible missiles. About twelve o'clock in the day the Russians left
off work to go to dinner, and our men followed their example; silence
reigned almost uninterruptedly for two hours or more, and then towards
four o'clock the firing began again. Meantime our officers walked about
or lounged on the hill-side, and smoked and chatted away the interval
between breakfast and the hasty dinner which preceded the turn-out for
twenty-four hours' vigil in the trenches. Many a hospitable cigar and
invitation to lunch were given, the latter with the surer confidence,
and with a greater chance of a ready acceptance, after the Crimean Army
Fund had been established, and one was tolerably sure of a slice of a
giant game-pie, to be washed down by a temperate draught of that
glorious Welbeck ale which made the Duke of Portland's name a household
word in our army.

Our first railway trip, on the 5th of April, had rather an unfortunate
termination. A party of the 71st Regiment, which had been sent up from
Balaklava on Land Transport mules, came down before dark to
Head-Quarters, where they were inspected by Lord Raglan, who kept them
longer than Mr. Beatty, the engineer, desired. At last, as it was
getting dark, the men got into the waggons, which proceeded down the
steep incline towards Balaklava. The breaks became useless, the director
managed to check the waggons, but many were severely injured. One man
was killed upon the spot, and several had to undergo surgical


     Second Bombardment--Results--Visit to Balaklava--Watching the
     Fire--Casualties--Attitude of the Allied Fleet--Effects of the
     Cannonade--Turkish Infantry--Contest for the Rifle-pits--A Golden
     Opportunity--The Fire slackens.

On Easter Monday, April 9, the allied batteries simultaneously opened
fire. The English works were armed with twenty 13-inch mortars, sixteen
10-inch mortars, twenty 24-pounders, forty-two 32-pounders, fifteen
8-inch guns, four 10-inch guns, and six 68-pounders. Late on the 8th,
hearing that there was nothing likely to take place on Monday, I left
the front, and returned to Balaklava; but in the evening I received an
intimation that fire would open at daybreak the following morning. It
was then black as Erebus, and raining and blowing with violence; yet
there was no choice for it but to take to the saddle and try to make for
the front. No one who has not tried it can fancy what work it is to find
one's way through widely-spread camps in a pitch-dark night. Each camp
is so much like its fellow that it is impossible to discriminate between
one and the other; and landmarks, familiar in the day-time, are lost in
one dead level of blackness. So my two companions and myself, after
stumbling into Turkish and French lines, into holes and out of them,
found ourselves, after three hours' ride, very far indeed from our
destination in the front, and glad to stop till dawn, wet and tired, at
the head-quarters' camp.

At four o'clock A.M. we left for the front. The horses could scarcely
get through the sticky black mud into which the hard dry soil had been
turned by one night's rain. Although it was early dawn, it was not
possible to see a man twenty yards off. A profound silence reigned.
Suddenly three guns were heard on the left towards the French lines, and
then the whole line of batteries opened. The Garden and Redan Batteries
came into play soon after we opened fire, but some time elapsed before
the Round Tower or the Mamelon answered. The enemy were taken completely
by surprise, and for half an hour their guns were weakly handled.


The Inkerman and Careening Bay Batteries were almost silent for
three-quarters of an hour before they replied to the French batteries on
our right.

A driving rain and a Black Sea fog whirled over the whole camp, which
resumed the miserable aspect so well known to us during the winter.
Tents were blown down, and the ground, as far as it was visible, looked
like a black lake, studded with innumerable pools of dun-coloured water.
It was not easy, so murky was the sky and so strong the wind, to see the
flashes or hear the report of the Russian guns or of the French cannon
on either flank, though the spot from which I watched was within a
couple of hundred yards of the enemy's range; but we could tell that our
batteries in front were thundering away continuously in irregular
bursts, firing some twenty-five or thirty shots per minute. Early in the
morning they were firing from seventy to eighty shots per minute, but
they reduced the rate of fire. The sound was not so great as that of the
17th of October. Just as the cannonade opened, the sailors came over the
hills from the batteries, where they had been relieved, and a few men of
the Third Division turned out of the huts to the front, evidently very
much astonished at the sudden opening of the fire. On the extreme left
the French batteries were firing with energy on the loopholed wall, and
on the Flagstaff and Garden Batteries, which were replying very feebly.
Our left attack (Greenhill or Chapman's Batteries), directed its fire
principally against the Redan, which only answered by five or six guns.
Our right attack (Gordon's) aided by the advanced battery and by the
French redoubts, had silenced the Mamelon and fired three or four shots
for every one from the Round Tower. The Russian batteries to the right
of the Mamelon were voiceless. So much could be seen, when rain and mist
set in once more, and shut out all, save one faint blear of yellowish
haze to the west. The storm was so heavy that scarcely a soul stirred
out all day. It was dark as night. Lord Raglan stationed himself at his
favourite place. On Cathcart's Hill only Sir John Campbell and an
aide-de-camp were visible in front of the General's tent. Colonel Dacres
was the only officer in front of Cathcart's Hill when I went up, with
the exception of Sir John Campbell. The rain descended in torrents,
there was nothing to be seen, heard, or learnt, every one withdrew to
shelter after a long and hopeless struggle with the weather. The firing
slackened considerably after twelve o'clock.

About five o'clock in the evening the sun descended into a rift in the
dark grey pall which covered the sky, and cast a slice of pale yellow
light, barred here and there by columns of rain and masses of curling
vapour, across the line of batteries. The eye of painter never rested on
a more extraordinary effect, as the sickly sun, flattened between bars
of cloud, seemed to force its way through the leaden sky to cast one
look on the plateau, lighted up by incessant flashes of light; and long
trails of white smoke, tinged with fire, whirled away by the wind. The
outlines of the town, faintly rendered through the mists of smoke and
rain, seemed quivering inside the circling lines of fire around the
familiar outlines--the green cupola and roofs, long streets and ruined
suburbs, the dockyard buildings, trenches and batteries.

The only image calculated to convey an idea of the actual effect is a
vision of the Potteries seen at night, all fervid with fire, out of the
windows of an express train.

The practice from the left of the left attack and from the right of the
right attack, which was more under observation than other parts of our
works, was admirable. Our shell practice was not so good as it might
have been, on account of bad fuzes. A large proportion burst in the air.
Some of our fuzes were made in 1802. I have heard of some belonging to
the last century, but some recent manufacture turned out the worst.

A strange and almost unexampled accident occurred in one of our
batteries. A 13-inch mortar burst into two pieces, splitting up
longitudinally. One of the masses was thrown thirty yards to the right,
and another to the left, and though the fragments flew along the
traverses and parapet, not one person was killed or wounded. We were
less fortunate in the case of the Lancaster gun, which was struck by a
shot, killing and wounding severely six men. Several engineer officers
declared their satisfaction at getting rid of the gun, in which they
could place no confidence, on account of its wild and uncertain firing.

The French silenced eight or nine guns of the Bastion du Mât
(Flagstaff), and almost shut up the Inkerman Batteries. On our side we
had silenced half the guns in the Redan and Malakoff, and had in
conjunction with the French left the Mamelon only one out of seven guns,
but the Garden, the Road, and the Barrack Batteries were comparatively
uninjured, and kept up a brisk fire all day. General Bizot received a
fatal wound in our right attack just as he was lamenting the thinness of
our parapets. He was struck by a rifle-ball under the ear, and died
shortly after, much regretted by our allies and by ourselves.

The Russians, with great _sangfroid_, repaired the batteries, and
appeared to have acquired confidence, but their fire was by no means so
brisk as it was when the siege commenced. Omar Pasha visited Lord Raglan
again on Wednesday, the 11th, and there was another council of war, at
which General Canrobert and General Bosquet were present.


The expectation which the outsiders entertained that "the fleet would go
in" on the third day was not realized. At daybreak I was up at
Cathcart's Hill. The view was obscured by drizzling rain, but the hulls
and rigging of the steamers and line-of-battle ships were visible; and
though clouds of steam were flying from the funnels, it was quite
evident that the fleet had no intention of taking part in the
bombardment. Their presence there had, however, the effect of drawing
off a number of the Russian gunners, for the sea batteries on the north
and south sides were all manned, and we could see the artillerymen and
sailors inside the parapets standing by their guns. It was evident that
the Russians had more than recovered from their surprise, and laboured
to recover the ground they had lost with all their might. They resorted
to their old practice of firing six or seven guns in a salvo--a method
also adopted by the French. Large reserves of infantry were drawn up
near the north forts, and the corps over Inkerman were under arms. The
Russians could be seen carrying their wounded across to the north side.
The cannonade continued all day uninterruptedly, but I could not see
that any great change had been made in the profile of the enemy's works.
Several of the embrasures in the Redan had been destroyed, and the Round
Tower works were a good deal "knocked about;" but there was no reduction
in the weight of the enemy's fire.

Lord Raglan visited the front and spent some time examining the effects
of the fire. Sir John M'Neill, Colonel Tulloch, General Pennefather, and
Sir George Brown, were frequently among the spectators on the advanced
mounds commanding a view of the operations. During the night the French
attacked some rifle-pits at the Quarantine Cemetery, but were repulsed
after a very serious affair, in which they lost 300 men; not, however,
without inflicting great loss and damage on the enemy.

At dawn on Thursday, the 12th, the allied batteries and the Russians
recommenced. The enemy exerted themselves to repair damages during the
night, replaced damaged guns, mended embrasures and parapets, and were,
in fact, nearly as ready to meet our fire as they had been at any time
for six months. On our side, four of the guns for the advanced parallel,
which for the previous two nights we had failed to get into position,
were brought down after dark, and it was expected that material results
would be produced by their fire when they were in position. Orders were
sent to restrict the firing to 120 rounds per gun each day. The 13-inch
mortar battery fired parsimoniously one round per mortar every thirty
minutes, as it requires a long time to cool the great mass of iron
heated by the explosion of 16lb. of powder.

The bombardment did not cease during the day, but it was not so heavy on
the whole as it had been on the three previous days. At fifty minutes
past four the batteries relaxed firing, renewed it at six, and the fire
was very severe till nightfall. Then the bombardment commenced and
lasted till daybreak. The Sailors' Brigade suffered very severely. They
lost more men than all our siege-train working and covering parties put
together. Up to half-past three o'clock on Friday, they had had
seventy-three men killed and wounded, two officers killed, one wounded,
and two or three contused.

At four o'clock on Friday morning, April 13, the Russians opened a
destructive fire on our six-gun battery, which was in a very imperfect
state, and by concentrating the fire of twenty guns upon it, dismounted
some of the pieces and injured the works severely, so as to render the
battery useless. One of our 24-pounders was burst by a shot which
entered right at the muzzle as the gun was being discharged. Another
gun, struck by a shot in the muzzle, was split up to the trunnions, the
ball then sprang up into the air, and, falling at the breech, knocked
off the button. In the very heat of the fire on the 12th, a Russian
walked through one of the embrasures of the Round Tower, coolly
descended the parapet, took a view of the profile of the work, and
sauntered back again--a piece of bravado which very nearly cost him his
life, as a round shot struck within a yard of him, and a shell burst
near the embrasure as he re-entered.

Two divisions of Turkish infantry encamped near the English
head-quarters. They mustered about 15,000 men, and finer young fellows I
never saw. They had had a long march, and their sandal shoon afforded
sorry protection against the stony ground; and yet few men fell out of
the ranks. One regiment had a good brass band, which almost alarmed the
bystanders by striking up a quick step (waltz) as they marched past, in
excellent style, but the majority of the regiments were preceded by
musicians with drums, fifes, and semicircular thin brass tubes, with
wide mouths, such as those which may have tumbled the walls of Jericho,
or are seen on the sculptured monuments of primæval kings.

The colonel and his two majors rode at the head of each regiment, and
followed by pipe-bearers and servants, richly dressed, on small but
spirited horses, covered with rich saddle-cloths. The mules, with the
tents, marched on the right--the artillery on the left. Each gun was
drawn by six horses. The two batteries consisted of four 24lb. brass
howitzers, and two 9lb. brass field pieces; the carriages and horses
were in a very serviceable state. The ammunition boxes were rather
coarse and heavy. The baggage animals of the division marched in the
rear, and the regiments marched in columns of companies three deep, each
company on an average with a front of twenty rank and file. One of the
regiments had Minié rifles of English make; the others were armed with
flint firelocks, but they were very clean and bright. They displayed
standards, blazing with cloth of gold, and flags with the crescent and
star upon them. The men carried blankets, squares of carpet for prayer,
cooking utensils, and packs of various sizes and substances. As they
marched over the undulating ground they presented a very picturesque and
warlike spectacle, the reality of which was enhanced by the thunder of
the guns at Sebastopol, and the smoke-wreaths from shells bursting high
in the air.

At a council of war on the 13th, the question of assaulting the place
was discussed, but Lord Raglan and the other English generals who were
in favour of doing so were overruled by General Canrobert and General

Omar Pasha, attended by his suite, rode round the rear of our batteries
on the 15th, and Lord Raglan visited the Turkish encampment on the hills
to the west of the Col de Balaklava.


On Saturday night (14th), there was a severe and protracted conflict on
the left, for the French rifle-pits in front of the Quarantine Works. At
first, the weight of the columns which swept out of the enemy's lines
bore back the French in the advanced works, where the covering parties
were necessarily thin, and many lost their lives by the bayonet. Our
allies, having received aid, charged the Russians into their own lines,
to which they fled with such precipitation that the French entered
along with them, and could have spiked their advanced guns had the men
been provided with the means. As they were retiring, the enemy made a
sortie in greater strength than before. A sanguinary fight took place,
in which the bayonet, the musket-stock, and the bullet were used in a
pell-mell struggle, but the French asserted their supremacy, and in
defiance of the stubborn resistance of the Russians, evoked by the cries
and example of the officers, forced them battling back across their
trenches once more, and took possession of the rifle-pits, which they
held all night. The loss of our allies was considerable in this
brilliant affair. The energy and spirit with which the French fought
were beyond all praise.

The next morning our advanced batteries were armed with fourteen guns.
They opened at daybreak, and directed so severe a fire against the
Russian batteries throughout the day, that they concentrated a number of
guns upon the two batteries. We nevertheless maintained our fire.

At half-past eight o'clock in the evening (15th), three mines,
containing 50,000 pounds of powder, were exploded with an appalling
crash, in front of the batteries of the French, seventy yards in front
of the third parallel. The fourth and principal mine was not exploded,
as it was found to be close to the gallery of a Russian mine, and the
French were unable to make such a lodgment as was anticipated; but they
established themselves in the course of the night in a portion of the
outer work. The _etonnoirs_ were, after several days' hard labour and
nights of incessant combat, connected with the siege works. The
Russians, believing the explosion to be the signal for a general
assault, ran to their guns, and for an hour their batteries vomited
forth prodigious volumes of fire against our lines from one extremity to
the other. The force and fury of their cannonade was astonishing, but
notwithstanding the length and strength of the fire, it caused but
little damage to the works or to their defenders. Next day the magazine
of our eight-gun battery in the right attack was blown up by a shell,
and seven of our guns were silenced, but the eighth was worked with
great energy by Captain Dixon, R. A., who commanded in the battery.

On the 17th, the 10th Hussars arrived, and five hundred sabres were
added to the strength of our cavalry. Our fire had much diminished by
the 18th of April. The Russian fire slackened just in proportion as they
found our guns did not play upon them. The French batteries also relaxed
a little. In the night we carried a rifle-pit in front of our right
attack, and commenced a sap towards the Redan. The Russians made sorties
on the French in the third parallel, and were only repulsed after hard
fighting and loss.


     A Reconnaissance by the Turks--Relics of the Heavy Cavalry
     Brigade--Interior of a Church--A Brush with the Cossacks--Severe
     Struggles for the Rifle-pits--Gallantry of the French--Grand
     Military Spectacle--General Canrobert addressing the Troops--Talk
     in the Trenches--Rumours.

A reconnaissance was made by twelve battalions of Turkish troops under
the command of His Excellency Omar Pasha, assisted by French and English
cavalry and artillery, on the 19th. Orders were sent to the 10th Hussars
(Brigadier-General Parlby, of the Light Cavalry, in temporary command of
the Cavalry Division, during General Scarlett's absence), to the
head-quarters of the Heavy Cavalry Brigade, to the C troop of the Royal
Horse Artillery, to be in readiness to turn out at daybreak. The
Chasseurs d'Afrique and a French rocket troop accompanied the
_reconnaissance_, and rendered excellent service during the day. As the
morning was fine and clear, the sight presented by the troops advancing
towards Kamara across the plain from the heights was very beautiful. So
little was known about the _reconnaissance_, that many officers at
head-quarters were not aware of it, till they learnt that Lord Raglan,
attended by a few members of the staff, had started to overtake the
troops. A great number of amateurs, forming clouds of very irregular
cavalry, followed and preceded the expedition. The Pasha, who was
attended by Behrem Pasha (Colonel Cannon), and several Turkish officers
of rank, had the control of the movement.

The Turks marched in column; the sunlight flashing on the polished
barrels of their firelocks and on their bayonets, relieved the sombre
hue of the mass, for their dark blue uniforms, but little relieved by
facings or gay shoulder-straps and cuffs, looked quite black when the
men were together. The Chasseurs d'Afrique, in powder-blue jackets, with
white cartouch belts, and bright red pantaloons, mounted on white Arabs,
caught the eye like a bed of flowers. Nor did the rich verdure require
any such borrowed beauty, for the soil produced an abundance of wild
flowering shrubs and beautiful plants. Dahlias, anemones, sweetbriar,
whitethorn, wild parsley, mint, thyme, sage, asparagus, and a hundred
other different citizens of the vegetable kingdom, dotted the plain, and
as the infantry moved along, their feet crushed the sweet flowers, and
the air was filled with delicate odours. Rectangular patches of long,
rank, rich grass, waving high above the more natural green meadow,
marked the mounds where the slain of the 25th of October were reposing,
and the snorting horses refused to eat the unwholesome shoots that
sprang there.

[Sidenote: A SKIRMISH.]

The skeleton of an English dragoon, said to be one of the Royals, lay
extended on the plain, with tattered bits of red cloth hanging to the
bones of his arms. The man must have fallen early in the day, when the
Heavy Cavalry, close to Canrobert's Hill, came under fire of the Russian
artillery. There was a Russian skeleton close at hand in ghastly
companionship. The small bullet-skull, round as a cannon-ball, was still
covered with grisly red locks. Farther on, the body of another Russian
seemed starting out of the grave. The half-decayed skeletons of
artillery and cavalry horses covered with rotting trappings, harness,
and saddles, lay as they fell, in a _débris_ of bone and skin, straps,
cloth, and buckles. From the graves, the uncovered bones of the tenants
started through the soil, as if to appeal against the haste with which
they had been buried. With the clash of drums and the shrill strains of
the fife, with the champing of bits and ringing of steel, in all the
pride of life, man and horse swept over the remnants of the dead.

The relics of the Heavy Cavalry Brigade, Scots Greys and Enniskillens,
4th Dragoon Guards and 5th Dragoon Guards, passed over the scene of
their grand encounter with the Muscovite cavalry. The survivors might
well feel proud. The 10th Hussars were conspicuous for the soldierly and
efficient look of the men, and the fine condition of their light,
sinewy, and showy horses. As the force descended into the plain they
extended, and marched towards Kamara, spreading across the ground in
front of Canrobert's Hill from No. 2 Turkish Redoubt up to the slope
which leads to the village. A party of Turkish infantry followed the
cavalry in skirmishing order, and on approaching the village, proceeded
with great activity to cover the high wooded hill which overhung the
village to the right. The Turks were preceded by a man armed with a bow
and arrows, who said he was a Tcherkess. In addition to his bow and
arrows, he carried a quaint old pistol, and his coat-breast was wadded
with cartridges.

The few Cossacks in the village abandoned it after firing a few
straggling shots at the advanced skirmishers. One had been taken so
completely by surprise that he left his lance leaning against a wall. An
officer of the 71st espied it just as the Cossack was making a bolt to
recover it. They both rode their best, but the Briton was first, and
carried off the lance in triumph, while the Cossack retreated with
affected pantomime, representing rage and despair.

I looked into the church, the floor of which had been covered an inch in
depth with copper money, when the expedition first came to Balaklava.
The simple faith of the poor people in the protection of their church
had not been violated by us, but the Cossacks appeared to have had no
such scruples, for not a copeck was to be seen, and the church was bare
and desolate, and stripped of every adornment. As soon as the Turks on
the right had gained the summit of the hill above Kamara, three of the
columns advanced and drew up on the slope in front of the church. A
detachment was sent towards Baidar, but could see no enemy, and they
contented themselves with burning a building which the Cossacks had left
standing, the smoke from which led some of us to believe that a little
skirmish was going on among the hills.

Meantime the force, leaving three columns halted at Kamara, marched past
Canrobert's Hill, the sides of which were covered with the wigwams of
the Russians--some recent, others those which were burnt when Liprandi
retired. They passed by the old Turkish redoubts Nos. 1 and 2, towards a
very steep and rocky conical hill covered with loose stones, near the
top of which the Russians had thrown up a wall about 2-1/2 feet high. A
group of Cossacks and Russian officers assembled on the top to watch our
movements. The Turks ascended the hill with ardour and agility, firing
as they advanced, the Cossacks replied by a petty fusillade. Suddenly an
arch of white smoke rose from the ground with a fierce, hissing noise,
throwing itself like a great snake towards the crest of the hill; as it
flew onward the fiery trail was lost, but a puff of smoke burst out on
the hill-top, and the Cossacks and Russians disappeared with
precipitation. In fact, the French had begun their rocket practice with
great accuracy. Nothing could be better for such work as this than their
light rocket troops. The apparatus was simple and portable--a few mules,
with panniers on each side, carried the whole of the tubes, cases,
sticks, fuzes, &c., and the effect of rockets, though uncertain, is very
great, especially against cavalry; the skirmishers crowned the hill. The
Russians rode rapidly down and crossed the Tchernaya by the bridge and
fords near Tchorgoun. Omar Pasha, Lord Raglan, and the French generals
spent some time in surveying the country, while the troops halted in
rear, the artillery and cavalry first, supported by four battalions of
Egyptians. At two o'clock the _reconnaissance_ was over, and the troops
retired to the camp, the skirmishers of the French cavalry being
followed by the Cossacks, and exchanging long shots with them from time
to time, at a prudent distance. Altogether, the _reconnaissance_ was a
most welcome and delightful interlude in the dull, monotonous
"performances" of the siege. Every one felt as if he had got out of
prison at last, and had beaten the Cossacks, and I never saw more
cheering, joyous faces at a cover side than were to be seen on
Canrobert's Hill. It was a fillip to our spirits to get a gallop across
the greensward once more, and to escape from the hateful feeling of
constraint and confinement which bores us to death in the camp.

On the same night a very gallant feat of arms was performed by the 77th
Regiment. In front of the Redan, opposite our right attack, the Russians
had established capacious pits, from which they annoyed us considerably,
particularly from the two nearest to us on the left-hand side. Round
shot and shell had several times forced the Russians to bolt across the
open ground to their batteries, but at night they repaired damages, and
were back again as busy as ever in the morning. Our advanced battery
would have been greatly harassed by this fire when it opened, and it was
resolved to take the two pits, to hold that which was found most
tenable, and to destroy the other. The pits were complete little
batteries for riflemen, constructed with great skill and daring, and
defended with vigour and resolution, and the fire from one well
established within 300 or 400 yards of a battery was sufficient to
silence the guns and keep the gunners from going near the embrasures.


At eight o'clock the 77th, under Lieutenant-Colonel Egerton, with a
wing of the 33rd in support in the rear, moved down the traverses
towards these rifle-pits. The night was dark and windy, but the Russian
sentries perceived the approach of our men, and a brisk fire was at once
opened, to which our troops scarcely replied, for they rushed upon the
enemy with the bayonet, and, after a short struggle, drove them out of
the two pits and up the slope behind them. It was while setting an
example of conspicuous bravery to his men that Colonel Egerton fell
mortally wounded. Once in the pits, the engineers set to work, threw up
a gabionnade in front, and proceeded to connect the nearest rifle-pit
with our advanced sap. The enemy opened an exceedingly heavy fire on
them, and sharpshooters from the parapets and from the broken ground
kept up a very severe fusillade; but the working party continued in
defiance of the storm of shot which tore over them; and remained in
possession of the larger of the pits. The General of the day of the
right attack telegraphed to head-quarters that our troops had gained the
pits, and received directions to keep them at all hazards. At two
o'clock in the morning a strong column of Russians advanced against the
pits, and the combat was renewed. The enemy were met by the bayonet,
they were thrust back again and again, and driven up to their batteries.
The pit was most serviceable, not only against the embrasures of the
Redan, but in reducing the fire of the rifle-pits on its flank. A
drummer boy of the 77th engaged in the _mêlée_ with a bugler of the
enemy, made him prisoner and took his bugle--a little piece of juvenile
gallantry for which he was well rewarded.

Next night the Russians sought to reoccupy the pits, but were speedily
repulsed; the 41st Regiment had fifteen men killed and wounded. The pit
was finally filled in with earth, and re-abandoned.

On the 24th a council of war was held at head-quarters, and it was
resolved to make the assault at 1 P.M. on the 28th. The English were to
attack the Redan; the French the Ouvrages Blancs, Bastion du Mât,
Bastion Centrale, and Bastion de la Quarantaine. In the course of the
evening General Canrobert, however, was informed by the French admiral,
that the French army of Reserve would arrive from Constantinople in a
week,--it was said, indeed, the Emperor would come out to take the
command in person, and the assault was deferred.

During the night of the 24th the Russians came out of the Bastion du Mât
(Flagstaff battery) soon after dark, and began excavating rifle-pits
close to the French. Our allies drove them back at the point of the
bayonet. The enemy, stronger than before, returned to their labour, and,
covered by their guns, succeeded in making some progress in the work,
finally, after a struggle which lasted from eight o'clock till three
o'clock in the morning, and prodigious expenditure of ammunition. The
French loss was estimated at 200. The Russians must have lost three
times that number, judging from the heavy rolling fire of musketry
incessantly directed upon them. In the morning it was discovered that
the enemy were in possession of several pits, which they had succeeded
in throwing up in spite of the strenuous attempts made to dislodge

On the 25th General Canrobert sent to inform Lord Raglan that in
consequence of the information he had received of the probable arrival
of the Emperor, and of the Imperial Guard and reinforcements to the
strength of 20,000 men, he resolved not to make the assault on the 28th.
On the 26th General Bosquet's army of observation, consisting of
forty-five battalions of infantry, of two regiments of heavy dragoons,
and of two regiments of Chasseurs d'Afrique, with sixty guns, were
reviewed by General Canrobert, who was accompanied by a large and very
brilliant staff, by several English generals, and by an immense "field"
of our officers on the ridge of the plateau on which the allies were
encamped. The troops took ground from the point opposite the first
Russian battery over Inkerman to the heights above the scene of the
battle of Balaklava on the 25th of October. The ground was too limited
to contain such a body of men even in dense column, and a double wall of

General Canrobert, his hat trimmed with ostrich plumes, his breast
covered with orders, mounted on a spirited charger, with a thick stick
under his arm, followed by a brilliant staff, his "esquire" displaying a
tricolor guidon in the air, attended by his escort and a suite of
generals, passed along the lines. The bands struck up _Partant pour la
Syrie_. The vivandières smiled their best. The golden eagles, with their
gorgeous standards, were lowered.

As soon as General Canrobert had reviewed a couple of divisions, there
was "an officers' call." The officers formed a square, General
Canrobert, riding into the centre, addressed them with much elocutionary
emphasis respecting the speedy prospect of active operations against the
place, which he indicated by the illustration, "If one wants to get into
a house, and cannot get in at the door, he must get in at the window."


The address was listened to, however, with profound silence. The General
and staff took up ground near the centre of the position, and regiment
after regiment marched past. A sullen gun from the enemy, directed
towards the nearest column from the battery over the Tchernaya, denoted
the vigilance of the Russians, but the shot fell short against the side
of the plateau. The troops--a great tide of men--the coming of each
gaudy wave heralded over the brow of the hill, crested with sparkling
bayonets, by the crash of martial music--rolled on for nearly two hours.
Chasseurs à pied, infantry of the line, Zouaves, Voltigeurs, and Arabs
passed on column after column, till the forty-five battalions of gallant
Frenchmen had marched before the eyes of him who might well be proud of
commanding them. The Chasseurs Indigènes, their swarthy faces
contrasting with their white turbans, clad in light blue, with bright
yellow facings and slashing, and clean gaiters and greaves, showed like
a bed of summer flowers; the Zouaves rushed by with the buoyant,
elastic, springing tread which reminded one of Inkerman; nor was the
soldier-like, orderly, and serviceable look of the line regiments less
worthy of commendation. Then came the roll of the artillery, and in
clouds of dust, rolling, and bumping, and jolting, the sixty guns and
their carriages had gone by. The General afterwards rode along the lines
of the Chasseurs d'Afrique, and of the two regiments of dragoons, which
went past at a quick trot. It was said that there were 2,000 horsemen in
the four regiments. They certainly seemed fit for any duty that horse
and man could be called upon to execute. The horses, though light, were
in good condition, particularly those of the Chasseurs d'Afrique. The
inspection terminated shortly after six o'clock. Each regiment, as it
defiled past the General, followed the example of the colonel, and cried
"_Vive l'Empereur!_"

Next day the General reviewed Pelissier's corps, in rear of the
trenches, and passed through the 40,000 men of which it consisted, using
much the same language as the day previously.

Up to the 27th there was no material change in the position of the
allied armies before Sebastopol, or in the attitude of the enemy within
and outside the city. Every night there was the usual expenditure of
ammunition. Nothing, indeed, was more difficult to ascertain than the
particulars of these nocturnal encounters. After a cannonade and furious
firing, which would keep a stranger in a state of intense excitement all
night, it was common to hear some such dialogue as this the following
morning:--"I say, Smith, did you hear the row last night?"

"No, what was it?"

"Oh, blazing away like fury. You don't mean to say you didn't hear it?"

"Not a sound; came up from the trenches last night, and slept like a

"Hallo, Jones," (to a distinguished 'cocked hat' on horseback, riding
past,) "tell us what all the shindy was about last night."

"Shindy, was there? By Jove, yes; I think I did hear some firing--the
French and the Russians as usual, I suppose."

"No, it sounded to me as if it was in front of our right attack."

"Ah, yes--well--I suppose there was something."

Another thinks it was on the left, another somewhere else, and so the
matter ends, and rests for ever in darkness unless the _Invalide Russe_,
the _Moniteur_, or the _Gazette_ throw their prismatic rays upon it. I
need not say that all minute descriptions of charges or of the general
operations of war conducted at night are not trustworthy. Each man
fancies that the little party he is with bears the whole brunt of the
work, and does all the duty of repulsing the enemy; and any one who
takes his narrative from such sources will be sure to fall into
innumerable errors. From the batteries or from the hills behind them one
can see the flashes flickering through the darkness, and hear the shouts
of the men--but that is all--were he a combatant he would see and hear
even less than the spectator. In a day or two after the affair was over,
one might hear what really had taken place by taking infinite pains and
comparing all kinds of stories. It was, in fact, a process of
elimination. Nothing afforded finer scope to the exercise of fancy than
one of these fights in the dark--it was easy to imagine all sorts of
incidents, to conceive the mode of advance, of attack, of resistance, of
retreat, or of capture, but the recital was very inconsistent with the
facts. The generals whose tents were near the front adopted the device
of placing lines of stones radiating from a common centre towards the
principal points of the attack, so as to get an idea of the direction in
which the fire was going on at night. Even that failed to afford them
any very definite information as to the course of the fight.


     May-day in the Crimea--New Works--A tremendous Conflict--Movement
     of Russians--Sorties against the French--The abortive Kertch
     Expedition--Recal--The Russians repulsed--Fire from the
     Batteries--Arrival of the Sardinians--Second
     Expedition--Departure--Disembarkation--Capture of Kertch and
     Yenikale--Depredations--Destruction--"Looting"--Return to the

The May-day of 1854 in the Crimea was worthy of the sweetest and
brightest May Queen ever feigned by the poets in merry England! A blue
sky, dotted with milk-white clouds, a warm, but not too hot a sun, and a
gentle breeze fanning the fluttering canvas of the wide-spread streets
of tents, here pitched on swelling mounds covered with fresh grass,
there sunk in valleys of black mould, trodden up by innumerable feet and
hoofs, and scattered broadcast over the vast plateau of the Chersonese.
It was enough to make one credulous of peace, and to listen to the
pleasant whispers of home, notwithstanding the rude interruption of the
cannon before Sebastopol. This bright sun, however, developed fever and
malaria. The reeking earth, saturated with dew and rain, poured forth
poisonous vapours, and the sad rows of mounds, covered with long lank
grass, which, rose above the soil, impregnated the air with disease. As
the atmosphere was purged of clouds and vapour, the reports of the
cannon and of the rifles became more distinct. The white houses, green
roofs, the domes and cupolas of Sebastopol stood out with tantalizing
distinctness against the sky, and the ruined suburbs and masses of
rubbish inside the Russian batteries seemed almost incorporated with the
French intrenchments.


A very brilliant exploit was performed by seven battalions of French
infantry, in which the 46th Regiment were particularly distinguished,
during the night and morning of the 1st and 2nd of May. The enemy,
alarmed by the rapid approaches of the French, had commenced a system of
counter approaches in front of the Bastion of the Quarantine, Central
Bastion, and Bastion du Mât, which were assuming enormous proportions.
General Pelissier demanded permission to take them. General Canrobert,
whose indecision increased every day, at last gave orders for the
assault. Three columns rushed out of the works shortly before seven
o'clock P.M. The Russians came out to meet them--a tremendous conflict
ensued, in which the French, at last, forced the Russians back into the
works, followed them, stormed the outworks of the Batterie Centrale, and
took off nine cohorns. In this affair, which lasted till two o'clock
A.M., the French had nine officers put _hors de combat_, sixty-three men
killed, and two hundred and ten wounded.

On the 2nd of May, at half-past two P.M., Russian troops, in three
divisions, each about 2,500 strong, were seen marching into Sebastopol
from the camp over the Tchernaya. A very large convoy of carts and pack
animals also entered the town in the course of the day, and an equally
numerous string of carts and horses left for the interior. The day was
so clear that one could almost see the men's faces through the glass.
The officers were well mounted, and the men marched solidly and well.
Numbers of dogs preceded and played about the line of march, and as they
passed by the numerous new batteries, at which the Russians were then
working night and day, the labourers saluted the officers and stood
gazing on the sight, just as our own artisans would stare at a body of
troops in some quiet English town.

About four o'clock P.M., it was observed by us that the enemy was
forming in column in the rear of the Bastion du Mât. A few moments
afterwards, about 2,000 men made a rush out of the Batterie Centrale,
and with a loud cheer flung themselves on the French trenches. For a
moment their numbers and impetuosity enabled them to drive the French
out of the works as far as the parallel, but not without a desperate
resistance. The smoke soon obscured the scene of the conflict from
sight, but the French could be seen advancing rapidly along the
traverses and covered ways to the front, their bayonets flashing through
the murky air in the sun. In a few moments the Russians were driven back
behind their entrenchments, which instantly opened a heavy cannonade.
Several Russian officers were taken prisoners. The enemy did not succeed
in their object. Next day there was a truce; 121 French were found on
the ground, and 156 Russians were delivered to their burial parties.
While this affair was taking place our horseraces were going on behind
Cathcart's Hill. The monotony of the siege operations was now broken.

On the 3rd of May, the 42nd, 71st, and 93rd, part of the 2nd Battalion
Rifle Brigade, two companies of Sappers and Miners, 700 of the 71st
Highland Light Infantry, one battery of Artillery, 50 of the 8th
Hussars, and the First Division of the First Corps of the French army
under D'Autemarre, sailed from Kamiesch and Balaklava; the whole force
being under the command of Sir George Brown. The fleet, consisting of
about forty sail, with these 12,000 men on board, arrived at the
rendezvous, lat. 44·54, long. 36·28, on Saturday morning. There an
express steamer, which left Kamiesch on Friday night with orders from
General Canrobert, directed the immediate return of the French, in
consequence of a communication from the Emperor at Paris, which rendered
it incumbent on him to concentrate the forces under his command in the
Chersonese. Admiral Bruat could not venture to take upon himself the
responsibility of disregarding orders so imperative and so clear, and
Admiral Lyons was not in a position to imitate the glorious disobedience
of Nelson. Lord Raglan gave permission to Sir George Brown to go on
without the French, if he thought proper, but that gallant officer did
not consider his force large enough, and would not avail himself of such
a proof of his General's confidence. This abrupt termination of an
expedition which was intended to effect important services, excited
feelings of annoyance and regret among those who expected to win honour,
glory, and position.

The expedition returned on the 5th, and the troops were landed, and we
began to hear further rumours of dissensions in our councils, and of
differences between Lord Raglan and General Canrobert. The Emperor
Napoleon had sent out a sketch of operations, to which General Canrobert
naturally attached great importance, and from which Lord Raglan
dissented. General Canrobert proposed that Lord Raglan should take the
command of the allied armies. His lordship, after some hesitation,
accepted the offer, and then proposed changes in the disposition of the
two armies, to which General Canrobert would not accede. Finding himself
thus compromised, Canrobert demanded permission from the Emperor to
resign the command of the French army, and to take charge of a division.
The Emperor acceded to the request, and General Canrobert was succeeded
by General Pelissier, in command of the French army.

On the 8th of May, General Della Marmora and 5,000 Sardinians arrived in
the Crimea, and were attached to the English army. Two or three steamers
arrived every four-and-twenty hours laden with those excellent and
soldier-like troops. They landed all ready for the field, with horses,
carts, &c. Their transport cars were simple, strongly made, covered
vehicles, not unlike a London bread-cart, painted blue, with the words
"Armata Sarda" in black letters, and the name of the regiment to the
service of which it belonged. The officers were well mounted, and every
one admired the air and carriage of the troops, more especially the
melodramatic headdress--a bandit-looking hat, with a large plume of
black cock's feathers at the side--of the "Bersaglieri."






About one o'clock in the morning of the 10th of May, the camp was roused
by an extremely heavy fire of musketry and repeated cheering along our
right attack. The elevated ground and ridges in front of the Third and
Fourth Divisions were soon crowded with groups of men from the tents in
the rear. It was a very dark night, for the moon had not risen, and the
sky was overcast with clouds, but the flashing of small arms, which
lighted up the front of the trenches, the yell of the Russians (which
our soldiers christened "the Inkerman screech"), the cheers of our men,
and the volume of fire, showed that a contest of no ordinary severity
was taking place. For a mile and a half the darkness was broken by
outbursts of ruddy flame and bright glittering sparks, which advanced,
receded, died out altogether, broke out fiercely in patches in
innumerable twinkles, flickered in long lines like the electric flash
along a chain, and formed for an instant craters of fire. By the time I
reached the front--about five minutes after the firing began--the fight
was raging all along the right of our position. The wind was favourable
for hearing, and the cheers of the men, their shouts, the voices of the
officers, the Russian bugles and our own, were distinctly audible. The
bugles of the Light Division and of the Second Division were sounding
the "turn out" on our right as we reached the high ground, and soon
afterwards the alarm sounded through the French camp.


The musketry, having rolled incessantly for a quarter of an hour, began
to relax. Here and there it stopped for a moment; again it burst forth.
Then came a British cheer, "Our fellows have driven them back; bravo!" A
Russian yell, a fresh burst of musketry, more cheering, a rolling volley
subsiding into spattering flashes and broken fire, a ringing hurrah from
the front followed; and then the Russian bugles sounding "the retreat,"
and our own bugles the "cease firing," and the attack was over. The
enemy were beaten, and were retiring to their earthworks; and the
batteries opened to cover their retreat. The Redan, Round Tower, Garden
and Road Batteries, aided by the ships, lighted up the air from the
muzzles of their guns. The batteries at Careening Bay and at the north
side of the harbour contributed their fire. The sky was seamed by the
red track of innumerable shells. The French, on our right, opened from
the batteries over Inkerman and from the redoubts; our own batteries
sent shot and shell in the direction of the retreating enemy. The effect
of this combined fire was very formidable to look at, but was probably
not nearly so destructive as that of the musketry. From half-past one
till three o'clock the cannonade continued, but the spectators had
retired before two o'clock, and tried to sleep as well as they might in
the midst of the thunders of the infernal turmoil. Soon after three
o'clock A.M. it began to blow and rain with great violence, and on
getting up next morning I really imagined that one of our terrible
winter days had interpolated itself into the Crimean May.

Soon after General Pelissier took the command, another expedition
against Kertch and the Russians in the Sea of Azoff was organized. The
command of the British contingent was conferred, as before, on Sir
George Brown. On Tuesday evening (May the 22nd) the _Gladiator_,
_Stromboli_, _Sidon_, _Valorous_, _Oberon_, and _Ardent_, anchored off
Balaklava. The transports, with the British on board, hauled outside.

The force consisted of 7,500 French troops, under General d'Autemarre;
of 5,000 Turks, under Redschid Pasha; of 3,805 English, under Sir George
Brown--namely, 864 Marines, Lieutenant-Colonel Holloway; 168 Artillery,
Captains Barker, Graydon, &c.; the 42nd Highlanders, Colonel Cameron,
550 strong; the 79th Regiment of Highlanders, 430 strong, Colonel
Douglas; the 93rd Highlanders, 640 strong, Lieutenant-Colonel Ainslie;
the 71st Highland Light Infantry, 721 strong, Lieutenant-Colonel Denny;
50 Sappers and Miners, and 50 of the 8th Hussars, under Colonel de
Salis. The staff numbered forty persons, and the Transport Corps 310
officers and men. A flying squadron was organized under the command of
Captain Lyons, son of the Admiral, who was on board the _Miranda_, and
consisted of the following vessels:--_Vesuvius_, Captain Osborn;
_Stromboli_, Captain Cole; _Medina_, Commander Beresford; _Ardent_,
Lieutenant-Commander Horton; _Arrow_, Lieutenant Jolliffe; _Beagle_,
Lieutenant Hewett; _Lynx_, Lieutenant Aynsley; _Snake_, Lieutenant
M'Killop; _Swallow_, Commander Crauford; _Viper_, Lieutenant Armytage;
_Wrangler_, Lieutenant Risk; and _Curlew_, Commander Lambert.

There are not many people who ever heard of Kertch or Yenikale since
their schoolboy days until this war directed all eyes to the map of the
Crimea, but these towns represented, on a small scale, those favoured
positions which nature seemed to have intended for the seat of commerce
and power, and in some measure resembled Constantinople, which is
placed, like them, on a narrow channel between two seas, whose trade it
profited by and commanded. On approaching Cape Takli Bournou, which is
the south-western corner, so to speak, of the entrance to the Straits of
Kertch, the traveller sees on his left a wide expanse of undulating
meadow land marked all along the prominent ridges with artificial
tumuli, and dotted at wide intervals with Tartar cottages and herds. The
lighthouse at the cape is a civilized European-looking edifice of white
stone, on a high land, some height above the water; and as we passed it
on the 24th of May, we could see the men in charge of it mounted in the
balcony, and surveying the proceedings of the fleet through telescopes.

On the right of the Straits, or, in other words, at the south-eastern
extremity, the coast of Taman--famed for its horses, its horsemen, and
its buckwheat--offered a varied outline of steep cliffs, or of sheets of
verdure descending to the water's edge, and the white houses and
steeples of Fanagoria could be seen in the distance. The military road
to Anapa wound along a narrow isthmus further south on the right, below
the narrow Strait of Bourgas, leading to one of the estuaries which
indented the land in all directions in this region of salt lakes,
isthmuses, and sandbanks. From Cape Takil to the land on the opposite
side of the Straits the distance is about seven miles and a half. The
country on both sides, though bright and green, had a desolate aspect,
in consequence of the absence of trees, and enclosures, but the
numberless windmills on both sides of the Strait proved the fertility of
the soil and the comfortable state of the population.

From Cape Takil to Ambalaki, where the expeditionary forces landed, the
distance was about twelve miles. It was a poor place, built on a small
cliff over the sea, which at the south side swept down to the beach by
the margin of a salt-water lake. As there was no force to oppose the
landing, the men were easily disembarked on a sandy beach, out of range
of the batteries, and close to the salt-water lake. This movement
threatened to take the Russians who were in the batteries in the rear,
and to cut off their communication with Kertch, which was situated in a
bay, concealed from the view of Ambalaki by the Cape of Ak-Bournou.


At forty minutes past one P.M., on approaching Kara-Bournou, a huge
pillar of white smoke rushed up towards the skies, opened out like a
gigantic balloon, and then a roar like the first burst of a
thunder-storm told us that a magazine had blown up. At a quarter past
two another loud explosion took place, and a prodigious quantity of
earth was thrown into the air along with the smoke. A third magazine was
blown up at twenty-five minutes past two. A tremendous explosion, which
seemed to shake the sea and air, took place about three o'clock; and at
half-past, three several columns of smoke blending into one, and as many
explosions, the echoes of which roared and thundered away together,
announced that the Russians were destroying their last magazines. They
could be seen retreating, some over the hills behind Kertch, others
towards Yenikale.

A most exciting scene now took place towards the northward. One of the
enemy's steamers had run out of the Bay of Kertch, which was concealed
from our view by the headland, and was running for the Straits of
Yenikale. She was a low schooner-rigged craft, like a man-of-war, and it
was uncertain whether she was a government vessel or not. And, just as
she passed the cape, two Russian merchantmen slipped out and also made
towards Yenikale. A gunboat dashed after her across the shallows. At the
same moment a fine roomy schooner came bowling down with a fair breeze
from Yenikale, evidently intending to aid her consort, and, very likely,
despising the little antagonist which pursued her. The gunboat flew on
and passed the first merchantman, at which she fired a shot, by way of
making her bring-to. The forts at Kertch instantly opened, shot after
shot splashed up the water near the gunboat, which kept intrepidly on
her way. As the man-of-war schooner ran down towards the Russian
steamer, the latter gained courage, slackened her speed, and lay-to as
if to engage her enemy. A sheet of flame and smoke rushed from the
gunboat's sides, and her shot flying over the Russian, tossed up a
pillar of water far beyond her. Alarmed at this taste of her opponent's
quality, and intimation of her armament, the Russian took flight, and
the schooner wore and bore away for Yenikale again, with the gunboat
after both of them. Off the narrow straits between Yenikale and the
sandbank as the English gunboat, which had been joined by another, ran
towards them, a Russian battery opened upon her from the town. The
gunboats still dashed at their enemies, which tacked, wore, and ran in
all directions, as a couple of hawks would harry a flock of larks.

Sir Edmund Lyon sent off light steamers to reinforce the two hardy
little fellows, the French steamers also rushed to the rescue. The
batteries on the sandbank were silenced; they blew up their magazines,
and the fort at Yenikale soon followed their example.

There was a pretty strong current running at the rate of about three
miles an hour over the flats off the town of Yenikale, and the water was
almost as turbid as that of the Thames, and of a more yellow hue, as it
rushed from the Sea of Azoff. Two gunboats, carrying twelve small pieces
each, were moored off the forts of Yenikale, and there was a floating
battery close to them armed with two very heavy guns, the floor being
flush with the water, and the guns quite uncovered. One man was found
dead in the battery at Yenikale, lying, as he fell, with the match in
his hand, close to the gun he was about to fire, and two more Russians
were found dead on the beach, but they looked as if they had been killed
by the explosion of the magazine. The guns in Yenikale were new and
fine. Some of them were mounted on a curious kind of swivel--the
platforms were upon the American principle. One brass piece, which was
lying near the guard-house, was said to have been taken from the Turks
at Sinope. Two barks, armed on the main-deck with guns, and used as
transports, were resting on the sand, where they had been sunk by our
ships as they attempted to escape to the Sea of Azoff. It was suspected
that there were few regular troops in proportion to the numbers in and
about Kertch and Yenikale, and that there was a large proportion of
invalids, local militia men, and pensioners among the soldiers who made
such a feeble and inglorious defence. The appearance of our armada as it
approached must have been most formidable. The hospital, which was in
excellent order, contained sick and wounded soldiers, the former
suffering from rheumatism, the latter sent from Sebastopol. The enemy
fired the magazine close at hand without caring for these unfortunate
fellows, and every pane of glass in the windows was shattered to pieces
by the explosion. The total number of guns taken at Yenikale was about
twenty-five, of which ten were in a battery inside the old Genoese
ramparts, four in a detached battery, and eleven lying partially
dismounted about the works.

At about half-past six o'clock the batteries in the Bay of Kertch ceased
firing, and the Russians abandoned the town. Dark pillars of smoke,
tinged at the base with flame, began to shoot up all over the
hill-sides. Some of them rose from the government houses and stores of
Ambalaki, where we landed; others from isolated houses further inland;
others from stores, which the retreating Russians destroyed in their
flight. Constant explosions shook the air, and single guns sounded here
and there continuously throughout the night. Here a ship lay blazing on
a sandbank; there a farm-house in flames lighted up the sky, and
obscured the pale moon with volumes of inky smoke.

[Sidenote: A GENERAL "LOOT."]

As there was nothing to be done at sea, the ships being brought to
anchor far south of the scene of action with the gunboats, it was
resolved to land at the nearest spot, which was about one mile and a
half or two miles from Pavlovskaya Battery. A row of half a mile brought
us from our anchorage, where the ship lay, in three fathoms, to a
beautiful shelving beach, which was exposed, however, only for a few
yards, as the rich sward grew close to the brink of the tideless sea.
The water at the shore, unaffected by the current, was clear, and
abounded in fish. The land rose abruptly, at the distance of 200 yards
from the beach, to a ridge parallel to the line of the sea about 100
feet in height, and the interval between the shore and the ridge was
dotted with houses, in patches here and there, through which the French
were already running riot, breaking in doors, pursuing hens, smashing
windows--in fact, "plundering," in which they were assisted by all of
our men who could get away.

Highlanders, in little parties, sought about for water, or took a stray
peep after a "bit keepsake" in the houses on their way to the wells, but
the French were always before them, and great was the grumbling at the
comparative license allowed to our allies. The houses were clean outside
and in--whitewashed neatly, and provided with small well-glazed windows,
which were barely adequate, however, to light up the two rooms of which
each dwelling consisted, but the heavy sour smell inside was most
oppressive and disagreeable; it seemed to proceed from the bags of black
bread and vessels of fish oil which were found in every cabin. Each
dwelling had out-houses, stables for cattle, pens, bakeries, and rude
agricultural implements outside. The ploughs were admirably described by
Virgil, and a reference to _Adams's Antiquities_ will save me a world of
trouble in satisfying the curiosity of the farming interest at home.
Notwithstanding the great richness of the land, little had been done by
man to avail himself of its productiveness. I never in my life saw such
quantities of weeds or productions of such inexorable ferocity towards
pantaloons, or such eccentric flowers of huge dimensions, as the ground
outside these cottages bore. The inhabitants were evidently graziers
rather than agriculturists. Around every house were piles of a substance
like peat, which is made, we were informed, from the dung of cattle, and
is used as fuel. The cattle, however, had been all driven away. None
were taken that I saw, though the quantity which fed in the fields
around must have been very great. Poultry and ducks were, however,
captured in abundance, and a party of Chasseurs, who had taken a huge
wild-looking boar, were in high delight at their fortune, and soon
despatched and cut him up into junks with their swords. The furniture
was all smashed to pieces; the hens and ducks, captives to the bow and
spear of the Gaul, were cackling and quacking piteously as they were
carried off in bundles from their homes by Zouaves and Chasseurs. Every
house we entered was ransacked, and every cupboard had a pair of red
breeches sticking out of it, and a blue coat inside of it. Vessels of
stinking oil, bags of sour bread, casks of flour or ham, wretched
clothing, old boots, beds ripped up for treasure, the hideous pictures
of saints on panelling or paper which adorned every cottage, with lamps
suspended before them, were lying on the floors. Droles dressed
themselves in faded pieces of calico dresses or aged finery lying hid in
old drawers, and danced about the gardens. One house, which had been
occupied as a guard-house, and was marked on a board over the door "No.
7 Kardone," was a scene of especial confusion. Its inmates had evidently
fled in great disorder, for their greatcoats and uniform jackets strewed
the floors, and bags of the black bread filled every corner, as well as
an incredible quantity of old boots. A French soldier, who, in his
indignation at not finding anything of value, had with great wrath
devastated the scanty and nasty-looking furniture, was informing his
comrades outside of the atrocities which had been committed, and added,
with the most amusing air of virtue in the world, "_Ah, Messieurs,
Messieurs! ces brigands! ils ont volés tout!_" No doubt he had settled
honourably with the proprietor of a large bundle of living poultry which
hung panting over his shoulders, and which were offered to us upon very
reasonable terms. We were glad to return from a place which a soldier of
the 71st said "A Glasgae beggar wad na tak a gift o'."

In the evening the _Spitfire_ buoyed a passage past Kertch towards
Yenikale, and the _Miranda_, _Stromboli_, and gunboats ran up the newly
marked channel. Next morning (the 25th) the troops after a fatiguing
march entered Yenikale. Mr. Williams, master of the _Miranda_, buoyed a
channel into the Sea of Azoff. The allied squadrons, commanded by
Captain Lyons, _Miranda_, consisted of _Curlew_, _Swallow_, _Stromboli_,
_Vesuvius_, _Medina_, _Ardent_, _Recruit_, _Wrangler_, _Beagle_,
_Viper_, _Snake_, _Arrow_, and _Lynx_, entered the great Russian lake in
the afternoon.

Captain Lyons' squadron, in the Sea of Azoff, meantime inflicted
tremendous losses on the enemy. Within four days after the squadron
passed the Straits of Kertch they had destroyed 245 Russian vessels
employed in carrying provisions to the Russian army in the Crimea, many
of them of large size, and fully equipped and laden. Some of these ships
had been built for this specific purpose. Immense magazines of corn,
flour, and breadstuffs were destroyed at Berdiansk and Genitchi,
comprising altogether more than 7,000,000 rations, and the stores at
Taganrog were set on fire, and much corn consumed. Arabat was bombarded,
and the powder magazine blown up, but, as there were no troops on board
the vessels, and as the Russians were in force, it seemed more desirable
to Captain Lyons to urge on the pursuit of the enemy's vessels than to
stay before a place which must very soon fall into our hands. At
Berdiansk the enemy were forced to run on shore and burn four war
steamers, under the command of Rear-Admiral Wolff. At Kertch the enemy
destroyed upwards of 4,000,000lbs. of corn and 500,000lbs. of flour.


Yenikale derives its importance from its position on a promontory close
to the entrance of the Sea of Azoff, at the northern extremity of the
Straits of Kertch. Another of the singular banks to be found in this
part of the world, shooting from the north-eastern extremity of the
Taman Peninsula, runs through the sea in a southerly and westerly
direction for seven miles and a half towards Yenikale, and contracts the
strait to the breadth of a mile and three-quarters just before it opens
into the Sea of Azoff. On this bank, which is full of salt-water
marshes, and is two or three miles broad in some places, the Russians
had a strong battery commanding the ferry station, armed with long and
heavy 36-pounders, and a number of Government buildings of a mean
description, and there were great numbers of fishing huts and curing
sheds also upon it. The town consisted of two parts--one a suburb of
houses close to the water's edge, and commanded by a ridge of high land
rising gradually from the sea. The church, a handsome building in the
Byzantine style, stood on the hill-side, in the midst of this suburb.
The other part consisted of the fort, which was formed by a quadrangular
rampart, armed at the angles with bastions and small turrets. Each side
of the square was about a quarter of a mile long. The side parallel to
the sea-wall was on the top of the ridge, into which the ground rose
gradually from the sea, and the sea-wall itself had at its base a broad
quay by the water's edge. The ridge once gained, the country extended
before one in a spacious plateau, with conical mounds and tumuli,
forming natural advanced posts for vedettes in the distance. On the land
side the ramparts were provided with embrasures, and were crenellated
for musketry; the walls, though very old, were of great solidity, and
were tolerably well preserved. Inside the enclosure were the hospital,
the Government House, the barrack, the batteries, and the stores and
magazines. One of the magazines which was blown up completely destroyed
about two hundred feet of the curtain of the work on the land side.
There were marks of ancient entrenchments outside the walls, and the
moats, ditches, covered ways, &c., very well defined.

The march from Ambalaki to Yenikale was most distressing. The heat of
the day was overpowering, and water was scanty and bad. Of 864 Marines
who landed from the fleet, four-fifths fell out on the march, the men of
that gallant corps not being accustomed to such exertions. The
Highlanders fell out in great numbers also, and the tailing off was
extraordinary, although the distance was not six miles. When the men did
arrive it was found that the tents had not come, and the soldiers were
exposed to the blaze of the sun, aggravated by scarcity of water and by
salt meat. The officers' baggage was left behind at Ambalaki, and many
of them had to lie in their clothes on the ground in a season when night
dews are heavy and dangerous. The men had their blankets; the officers
had nothing.

Immense quantities of caviare, of dried sturgeon, and of a coarse-scaled
fish like a bream, were found in every village, and were relished by our
soldiers, but they had very imperfect means of gratifying the thirst
which followed, and the stores of country wine (some of it excellent, in
spite of the adulteration of essence of roses) were nearly all drank up.
The water of the straits was brackish, and our horses, as well as the
native cattle, drank it readily, but its taste was very mawkish and

As there was nothing doing at Yenikale, I took an opportunity of paying
Kertch a visit. It is only a run of some three or four miles by sea, but
the channel is very difficult. As we approached the town, long columns
of gray smoke were visible rising from the corn stores, and working
parties could be made out on the shore engaged in removing various
articles which could be turned to the account of the allies.

Sir George Brown took up his quarters in Yenikale. But the town was set
on fire in two places, and it required all the exertions of the
authorities to prevent the flames spreading and devastating the whole
place. The houses were smashed open, the furniture broken to pieces,
and "looting" and plundering were the order or the disorder of the day.
Two of the 42nd Highlanders, who were in a crowd assembled round a
house, were shot in a very extraordinary manner. A French soldier struck
at the closed door with the butt of his musket. The concussion
discharged the piece, and the ball killed one of the men on the spot,
and wounded the other severely.

The Austrian flag floated before one house, probably that of the
Imperial Consul; but the more significant standards of France and
England were waving at either end of the quay, and fluttered from
numerous boats glancing over the water. The quays were guarded by a few
sailors with drawn cutlasses stationed here and there, and with
difficulty holding their own against refractory merchantmen. In every
direction, wherever the eye turned, up or down the streets, men could be
seen hurrying away with bundles under their arms, with furniture on
their backs, or staggering under the influence of drink and bedding down
to the line of boats which were lying at the sea-wall, laden to the
thwarts with plunder. This kind of work is called by sailors "looting,"
from our Indian reminiscences. The fate of nearly every house of good
condition was soon apparent. The windows were broken, the doors smashed
open, and men went in and out like bees in a hive. All the smaller and
more valuable articles had been removed, either by the Turks or by the
Tartars, but big arm-chairs, pictures of the saints with metallic
glories round their heads, large feather-beds, card-tables, and books in
unknown tongues and type, seemed to possess a strange infatuation for
Jack, and to move him as irresistibly as horseflesh.


There were plenty of Tartars in the streets, dressed in black sheepskin
cap, or white turban, with handsome jackets and wide breeches of dark
silk or fine stuff, and gaudy sashes round their waists. These fellows
were of the true Calmuck type--with bullet head, forehead villanously
low, dark, piggish, roguish, twinkling eyes, obtuse, obstinate noses,
straight lips, and globular chin. Unlike most people, they improve in
looks as they grow old, for their beards, which only attain amplitude in
age, then give a grisly dignity and patriarchal air to their faces.
Groups of men in long lank frock-coats, long waistcoats, trousers tucked
into their boots or falling down over slipshod feet, sat on the
door-steps, in aspect and attire the very image of a congregation of
seedy Puseyites, if such a thing could be imagined. Most of these men
wore caps instead of hats, their clothing was of sober snuffy hues, to
match their faces, which were sombre and dirty and sallow. Their looks
were dejected and miserable, and as an Englishman or a Frenchman came
near, they made haste to rise and to salute his mightiness with
uncovered head and obsequious noddings and gesticulations. These were
the remnants of the Russian population, but there were among them Jews,
who might have stepped on any stage amid rounds of applause, in garb and
face and aspect so truly Shylock-like were they, cringing, wily, and
spiteful, as though they had just been kicked across the Rialto; and
there was also a sprinkling of Armenians and Greeks; they were all lean
and unhappy alike, and very sorry specimens of Muscovite _bourgeoisie_.

Tartar women, scantily covered, were washing clothes in the sea, like
tamed Hecates--withered, angular, squalid, and ugly in face and form.
The Russian fair, not much more tastily clad, might be seen flitting
about with an air of awkward coquetry, mingled with apprehension and
dislike of the intruders, their heads covered with shawls, and their
bodies with bright Manchester patterns. The boys, like boys all over the
world, were merry and mischievous. They hung out of the riggings of the
vessels near, pelted the street dogs, "chivied" the cats and pigeons,
and rioted in the gutted houses and amid the open storehouses in the
highest possible spirits, or fed ravenously on dried fish and "goodies"
of various kinds, which they picked up in old drawers and boxes in the
houses torn open by the "looters." The houses were well supplied with
poultry, nor were pigs, rabbits, cats, dogs, and other domestic animals
deficient. Each mansion was complete in itself; they were like those in
the older streets of Boulogne, and the interiors were furnished somewhat
in the same fashion--plenty of mirrors, and hard, inflexible, highly
varnished, unsubstantial furniture, no carpets, lots of windows
(doubled, by-the-by, to keep out the cold) and doors, and long
corridors; the windows and doors were, however, handsomely mounted with
brass work, and locks, bolts, and hinges, of great solidity, of the same
metal, were exclusively used in the better rooms. The Russian stove, as
a matter of course, was found in each apartment. Spacious vaults
underneath the houses were often used as storehouses for corn, and the
piles of empty and broken bottles marked the locality of the
wine-cellar. Icehouses were attached to many residences, and their
contents were very welcome to the ships.

The market-place is a large piece of ground of an oval shaper surrounded
by a piazza and shops and magazines of an inferior class. Most of them
were shut, and fastened up, but butchers displayed some good
English-looking beef, and the sounds of English revelry were very
distinct from the interior of a wine-shop at the end of an arcade, where
some sailors were drinking Russian champagne at 3_s._ a bottle, and
smoking cheap and nasty cigars of native manufacture. Amid the
distracting alphabetical mysteries of Cyrillus, which were stuck up on
most of these doors, where all one's knowledge of other languages led
him hopelessly astray, and where P was R, and H was N, there was
sometimes an intelligible announcement that Mdlle. So-and-so was a
_modiste_ from Paris, or that M. Brugger was a bootmaker "of the first
force" from Vienna. The greater number of the houses in the streets were
entered through a large courtyard, surrounded by the offices and
out-buildings, to which admission was gained by a _porte-cochère_. There
were baths, libraries, schools, literary associations, and academies in
Kertch of pretensions beyond its size.

All the military and civil archives of Kertch since 1824 were discovered
in a boat towed by the steamer which the _Snake_ had chased, huddled up
with the valuables of the Governor of Kertch. In general our army found
but little plunder--they had been reined tightly in; while the French
and the merchant sailors had the benefit of the pillage; but the 79th
Regiment were a little fortunate in finding at the advanced post to
which they were sent, near the Quarantine station, a considerable amount
of plate in one of the houses.

The hospital was a large, well-built, clean, and excellently ventilated
building. It was situated at the outskirts of the town, and was
surrounded by iron railings, inside which there was a plantation, which
furnished a pleasant shade from the noontide sun to the convalescents.
As we entered, some women, who were standing at the gate, retreated, and
an old man, with a good clear eye, and an honest soldierly air, came
forward to meet us with the word "Hospital," which he had learned as a
kind of safeguard and protection against intrusion. He led the way into
a dark corridor on the ground floor, on the walls of which the
regulations of the establishment (in Russian) were suspended. The wards
opened on each side of this corridor. The old man invited us to enter
the first: it was spacious and airy, but the hospital smell of wounded
men was there. Five wounded Russians and one drunken Englishman were the
occupants of the chamber. Two of the Russians had been blown up when the
magazines exploded. Their hands and heads were covered with linen
bandages, through which holes were cut for the eyes and mouth. What
could be seen of these poor wretches gave a horrible impression of their
injuries and of the pain which they were enduring, but they gave no
outward indication of their sufferings. Their scorched eyes rolled
heavily upon the visitors with a kind of listless curiosity. The other
men had been shot in various parts of the body, and had probably been
sent there from Sebastopol: in one or two I recognized the old Inkerman
type of face and expression. The bed and bedclothes were clean and good,
and at the head of each bed black tablets of wood were fixed to receive
the record of the patient's name, his disease, &c.

On reaching the street we found the people returning to the town--that
is, the Tartars were flocking back from the villages where they had been
hiding, with bundles of property, much of which they had probably stolen
from the Russian houses.


As every wrecked house bore a strong family likeness to its fellow, we
entered only one or two, and then wandered through the streets, which
were almost deserted by the inhabitants during the heat of the day.
Towards evening a number of wounded Russians--forty-seven, I
believe--were brought down from Yenikale, whither they had been taken by
the gunboats from various places along the coast, and were landed on the
quay. They were subsequently sent to the hospital. The Tartar arabas and
droschkies were pressed into the service. As each wounded man passed,
the women crowded round to look at him out of the houses; but there was
more of curiosity than compassion in their looks; and they took care to
inform us they were Jews, and had no sympathy with the Muscovite. Once
they stared with wonder at the taste and inborn politeness of a French
soldier, who joined the group as a Russian was borne by on a litter.
The man's eyes were open, and as he went past he caught sight of the
Frenchman and smiled feebly, why or wherefore it is impossible for me to
say, but the Frenchman at once removed his cap, made a bow to the
"brave," and stood with uncovered head till the latter had been carried
some yards beyond him.

In the evening all the inhabitants remaining in the town flocked out of
their houses and conversed at the corners of the streets, or at
favourite gossip-posts. They were an unhealthy and by no means
well-favoured race, whether Tartars, Greeks, Jews, or Muscovites. It
must be remembered, however, that all the people of rank had fled. Some
of the tradespeople, with greater confidence in our integrity than could
have been expected, kept their shops open. In a well-fitted _apteka_ or
apothecary's shop, we got a seidlitzy imitation of soda-water, prepared
from a box, marked in English, "Improved Sodaic Powders, for Making
Soda-water;" and some of our party fitted themselves at a bootmaker's
with very excellent Wellingtons, for which they paid at their
discretion, and according to a conqueror's tariff, 15_s._ a pair; the
proprietor seemed rather apprehensive that he was not going to receive
anything at all. Indeed it would have been well if the inhabitants had
remained to guard their houses, instead of flying from them, and leaving
them shut up and locked, the very thing to provoke the plunderer.

The dockyard magazines at Kertch contained quantities of military and
naval stores--boiler plates, lathes, engineers' tools, paint, canvas,
hemp and chain cables, bales of greatcoats, uniform jackets, trowsers
and caps, knapsacks, belts, bayonets, swords, scabbards, anchors, copper
nails and bolts, implements of foundry, brass, rudder-pintles, lead, &c.
The French were busy for a few days in taking the clothing, &c., out of
the storehouses and destroying it. The valuable stores were divided
between the allies, according to their good fortune and energy in
appropriation. Numbers of old boats, of large rudders, covered with
copper and hung on brass, of small guns, of shot, shell, grape, and
canister, were lying in the dockyard. An infernal machine of curious
construction attracted a great deal of attention. Like most devices of
the kind, it had failed to be of the slightest service. Outside the
walls of the dockyard, which was filled with oxen and horses, was
another long range of public buildings and storehouses, which had been
nearly all gutted and destroyed. Soldiers' caps, belts, coats, trowsers,
cartouche-boxes, knapsacks, and canteens, were strewn all over the quay
in front of them. In a word, Kertch had ceased to be a military or naval
station, and the possession which Russia so eagerly coveted a few years
before was of no more use to her than the snows of the Tchatir Dagh.

On Friday night the work of destroying Russian stores began; the French
hurled guns into the sea, tore up the platforms, and exploded the shells
found in the magazines. Parties of boats were sent in all directions to
secure and burn prizes, to fire the storehouses and huts on the
sandbanks; by day the sky was streaked with lines of smoke, and by
night the air was illuminated by the blaze of forts, houses, magazines,
and vessels aground on the flats for miles around us.

The Austrian Consul was found to have a large store of corn, which he
concealed in magazines painted and decorated to pass as part of his
dwelling-house. It was all destroyed. Amid the necessary destruction,
private plunderers found facility for their work. The scene presented by
the town could only be likened to that presented by Palmyra, fresh from
the hands of the destroyer, or some other type of desolation. Along the
quay there was a long line of walls, which once were the fronts of
storehouses, magazines, mansions, and palaces. They were empty shells,
hollow and roofless, with fire burning luridly within them by night, and
streaks and clouds of parti-coloured smoke arising from them by day. The
white walls were barred with black bands where the fire had rushed out
of the window-frames. These storehouses belonged to Russians, and were
full of corn--these magazines were the enemy's--these mansions belonged
to their nobles and governors--and these palaces were the residences of
their princes and rulers; and so far we carried on war with all the
privileges of war, and used all the consequences of conquest. In the
whole lengthened front facing the sea, and the wide quay which bordered
it, there was not an edifice untouched but one. This was a fine mansion,
with a grand semicircular front, ornamented with rich entablatures and a
few Grecian pillars. The windows permitted one to see massive mirrors
and the framework of pictures and the glitter of brasswork. Inside the
open door an old man in an arm-chair received everybody. How deferential
he was! how he bowed! how graceful, deprecatory, and soothing the
modulation of his trunk and arms! But these were nothing to his smile.
His face seemed a kind of laughing-clock, wound up to act for so many
hours. When the machinery was feeble, towards evening, the laugh
degenerated into a grin, but he had managed with nods, and cheeks
wreathed in smiles, and a little bad German and French, to inform all
comers that this house was specially under English and French
protection, and thus to save it from plunder and pillage. The house
belonged, _on dit_, to Prince Woronzoff, and the guardian angel was an
aged servitor of the Prince, who, being paralytic, was left behind, and
had done good service in his arm-chair.

The silence of places which a few days before were full of people was
exceedingly painful and distressing. It reigned in every street, almost
in every house, except when the noise of gentlemen playing on pianos
with their boot-heels, or breaking up furniture, was heard within the
houses, or the flames crackled within the walls. In some instances the
people had hoisted the French or Sardinian flag to protect their houses.
That poor device was soon detected and frustrated. It was astonishing to
find that the humblest dwellings had not escaped. They must have been
invaded for the mere purpose of outrage and from the love of mischief,
for the most miserable of men could have but little hope of discovering
within them booty worthy of his notice.

[Sidenote: SPIT OF ARABAT.]

It was decided to occupy Pavlovskaia, because it was in a fine position
to command the entrance to Kertch and Yenikale, at a place where the
channel is narrowed by one of the sandbanks from Taman to the breadth of
a mile and a half. Defensive lines were thrown up around Yenikale of the
most massive and durable character. They enclosed the ramparts of the
old town, and presented on every side towards the land a broad ditch, a
steep parapet defended by redoubts, and broken into batteries, which
were aided by the fire of the pieces on the walls.

The point or bank of Tcherhka, opposite Yenikale, is one of the many
extraordinary spits of land which abound in this part of the world, and
which are, as far as I know, without example in any other country. Of
all these the Spit of Arabat, which is a bank but a few feet above the
water, and is in some places only a furlong in breadth, is the most
remarkable. It is nearly 70 miles in length, and its average width less
than half a mile from sea to sea. The bank of Tcherhka (or Savernaia
Rosa), which runs for nearly eight miles in a south-westerly direction
from Cape Kammenoi past Yenikale, closes up the Bay of Kertch on the
west, and the Gulf of Taman on the east, is a type of these formations,
and is sufficiently interesting to deserve a visit. It only differs from
Arabat in size, and in the absence of the fresh-water wells which are
found at long intervals on the great road from Arabat to Genitchi. It is
so low that it is barely six feet above the level of the sea. A bank of
sand on both sides of the spit, piled up three or four feet in height,
marks the boundary of the beach. The latter, which is a bank of shingle,
shells, and fine sand, is only a few yards broad, and is terminated by
the sand and rank grass and rushes of the spit, which rises up a foot or
two above the beach.

In the interior, or on the body of the bank, there are numerous
lagunes--narrow strips of water much more salt than that of the adjacent
sea. Some of these are only a few yards in length and a few feet in
breadth, others extend for a quarter of a mile, and are about 100 yards
broad. They are all bounded alike by thick high grass and rushes. The
bottom, at the depth of a few feet--often at two or three
inches--consists of hard sand covered with slimy green vegetable matter.
The water abounds in small flounders and dabs, and in shrimps, which
jump about in wild commotion at an approaching footstep. Every lagune is
covered with mallards and ducks in pairs, and the fringes of the spit
are the resort of pelicans and cormorants innumerable. The silence, the
dreary solitude of the scene is beyond description. Even the birds, mute
as they are at the season of my visit, appeared to be preternaturally
quiet and voiceless. Multitudes of old, crustaceous-looking polypous
plants sprang up through the reeds; and bright-coloured flycatchers,
with orange breasts and black wings, poised over their nests below them.


The first day I went over, we landed upon the beach close to the battery
which the Russians placed on the spit at the Ferry station. It consisted
of a quadrangular work of sandbags, constructed in a very durable
manner, and evidently not long made. In the centre of the square there
was a whitewashed house, which served as a barrack for the garrison. The
walls only were left, and the smoke rose from the ashes of the roof and
rafters inside the shell. Our men had fired it when they landed. A pool
of brackish water was enclosed by the battery, which must have been the
head-quarters of ague and misery. The sailors said the house swarmed
with vermin, and had a horrible odour. Nothing was found in it but the
universal black bread and some salt fish. The garrison, some 30 or 40
men probably, had employed themselves in a rude kind of agriculture, and
farming or pasturage. Patches of ground were cleared here and there, and
gave feeble indications that young potatoes were struggling for life
beneath. Large ricks of reeds and coarse grass had been gathered round
the battery, but were reduced to ashes. At the distance of a hundred
yards from the battery there was another whitewashed house, or the shell
of it, with similar signs of rural life about it, and an unhappy-looking
cat trod gingerly among the hot embers, and mewed piteously in the
course of her fruitless search for her old corner. The traces of herds
of cattle, which were probably driven down from the mainland to feed on
the grass round the salt marshes, were abundant. There was a track
beaten into the semblance of a road over the sand from the battery to
Taman, and it was covered with proofs of the precipitate flight of the
garrison. Pieces of uniform, bags containing pieces of the universal
black bread, strings of onions, old rags, empty sacks and bottles, were
found along the track, and some of our party came upon a large chest,
which was full of Government papers, stamps, custom-house and quarantine
dockets, stamped paper for Imperial petitions and postage, books of
tariff and customs in Russian, French, German, and English, and tables
of port dues, which we took away to any amount. The heat of the sun, the
vapours from the salt lakes, the mosquitoes, the vermin, and the odour,
must have formed a terrible combination of misery in close barracks in
the dog-days, and have rendered going out, staying in, lying down, and
standing up, equally desperate and uncomfortable. The enemy relied
considerably on the shallow water to save him from attack, but he was
also prepared with heavy metal for gunboats, such as they were in the
old war, and he was no doubt astonished when the large shot from the
Lancaster guns began to fall upon his works from the small hulls of our
despatch gunboats. One of the gunboats which lay off the fort--a mere
hulk, without masts or cordage, of 150 tons burden, with embrasures
through her sides on the deck for nine small guns--was found to be
filled below with the most complete series of galvanic apparatus,
attached to vessels full of powder, intended to explode on contact with
the keel of a vessel. The submarine machines with their strange cups and
exploding apparatus were recognized by Mr. Deane, the diver, as portions
of the same kinds of instruments as those he employed in submarine
operations. All were regularly numbered, and, as there was a break in
the series, it afforded reason for believing that some of them were
actually sunk; but the wires connecting them with the battery on board
the ship were cut the night we forced the Straits, and the vessel
itself was scuttled subsequently. There were many miles of wire, and the
number of cells indicated a very powerful battery.

The pillage of Kertch still went on; the inhabitants fled. Even the
Tartars were in terror. For two or three days the beach was crowded by
women and children, who sat out under the rays of the scorching sun to
find safety in numbers. They were starving, and miserably clad, and in
charity were taken on board the _Ripon_, which sailed with them for some
Russian port. They were about two hundred in number. Mothers had lost
their children, and children were without their mothers. In the
confusion which prevailed they were separated, and the _Caton_ carried
some off to the Sea of Azoff, and the _Ripon_ took others off to Odessa
or Yalta. Our attempts to prevent outrage and destruction were of the
feeblest and most contemptible character. If a sailor was found carrying
any articles--books, or pictures, or furniture--they were taken from him
at the beach and cast into the sea. The result was that the men, when
they got loose in the town, where there was no control over them, broke
to pieces everything that they could lay their hands on. We did not
interfere with French or Turks, and our measures against our own men
were harsh, ridiculous, and impotent.

Prince Woronzoff's house was said to be under the protection of the
English and French. Was he protected because he was a Prince, or merely
because he was supposed to be friendly to the Englishmen, and connected
with some English families? Sir George Brown assuredly had no natural
sympathy with pure aristocracy or with anything but pure democratic
soldiery and military good fortune. It might have been--nay, it
was--right to save Prince Woronzoff's house, but would it not have been
equally proper to protect the stock-in-trade of some miserable Russian
mechanic who remained in the town trusting to our clemency, and who was
ruined by a few brutal sailors? Prince Woronzoff had many palaces. His
friendly feelings towards England were at best known to but few, and
were certainly of no weight with Frenchmen, because those sentiments, if
they existed at all, dated from a period antecedent to the true _entente
cordiale_, and were suggestive of anything but good liking towards
Frenchmen. However, the house was so far safe, and if we were sorry that
the museum was sacked, we might be proud that the palace was spared. The
marks of useless destruction and of wanton violence and outrage were too
numerous and too distressing to let us rest long on the spectacle of
this virgin palace.

The following extract from a "General After Order," which came out
subsequently, gives a summary of the operations effected by our
expeditionary force:--

     "Berdiansk has been destroyed, with four war steamers.

     "Arabat, a fortress mounting thirty guns, after resisting an hour
     and a half, had its magazine blown up by the fire of our ships.

     "Genitchi refused to capitulate, and was set fire to by shells.
     Ninety ships in its harbour were destroyed, with corn and stores to
     the amount of £100,000.

     "In these operations the loss to the enemy during four days has
     amounted to four war steamers, 246 merchant vessels, and corn and
     magazines to the amount of £150,000. Upwards of 100 guns have been
     taken. It is estimated that four months' rations for 100,000 men of
     the Russian army have been destroyed.

     "On the Circassian coast the enemy evacuated Soudjak Kaleh on the
     28th of May, after destroying all the principal buildings and sixty
     guns and six mortars.

     "The fort on the road between Soudjak Kaleh and Anapa is also

[Sidenote: THE FIRST "MONITOR."]

Subsequently an attack was made on Taganrog, but the depth of water off
the port did not permit the larger vessels to approach near enough to
cover the landing of armed parties, to destroy the immense stores of
corn effectually; nevertheless a good deal of harm was done to the
Russians, and public and private property largely injured. It was on the
occasion of the demonstration against this important town, apparently,
that the germ of the great idea of the _Monitor_, which has
revolutionized the navies of the world, was developed by Lt. Cowper
Coles, R.N. He mounted a gun on a raft and defended it with gabions, and
he was enabled to bring this floating battery, which he called the _Lady
Nancy_, into action with great effect against Taganrog. In the
development of that idea called the _Captain_ he lost his life in 1870.
These operations along the coasts of the Sea of Azoff certainly caused
losses to the enemy, and may have done something to create temporary
inconvenience; they were effected in a legitimate if rather barbarous
exercise of the rights of war, but when a few months subsequently the
British Army before Sebastopol was in such need of corn that contractors
were sent out to buy it in the United States, it must have occurred to
the authorities that they had countenanced senseless waste, and
authorized wanton destruction, to their great eventual detriment. As the
naval forces were obliged to retire after each bombardment, and the
landing of armed parties was only temporary, the enemy generally claimed
the credit of having repulsed them, and Russia was inundated with
accounts of the disasters caused by the bravery of priests and peasants,
and divine interposition, to the audacious invaders who had ventured to
pollute her holy soil. Cheap prints of the defence of Taganrog, &c.,
were published and sold by the thousand, and the people were excited by
accounts of the death of innocent people, of the sacking of undefended
cities, and of arson and pillage and wreck. Kertch and Yenikale were
placed in a state of defence and garrisoned, and eventually the Turkish
Contingent was stationed on the coast and in the town, and a small force
of infantry and cavalry was detached from the British to aid them. The
Contingent, composed of Turks under British officers, became a highly
disciplined body, fit for any duty, but its value and conduct were not
exhibited in the field, and it was employed as a corps of defence and
observation on the Bay of Kertch till the war was over, when it and the
other corps raised abroad under British officers, such as the Swiss
Legion, the German Legion, &c., were disbanded. The Russians soon sent a
corps to observe the movements of the force stationed at Kertch and
Yenikale, and hemmed them in with Cossacks, and some slight affairs of
outposts and reconnoitring parties occurred during the autumn and
winter, in one of which a party of the 10th Hussars had difficulty in
extricating itself, and suffered some loss from a larger body of the
enemy. The work of the expedition to Kertch having been accomplished by
the occupation of the town and straits, and by obtaining complete
command of the entrance of the Sea of Azoff, the Allied fleets returned
to Kamiesh and to the anchorage off Sebastopol, to participate as far as
they could in the task of the siege.




     Preparations for the Attack--Important News--The Assault--The
     Quarries and the Mamelon--A Desperate Attempt--Plan of another
     Attack--Assault of the Malakoff and the Great Redan--Failure--Naval
     Brigade--An Armistice--Inside the Mamelon--Sad Scenes.

Whilst I was away with the Kertch expedition, the siege was pressed on
by the French with great vigour, and our army was actively employed in
preparing for the bombardment which was to precede the fall of the
place, as all fondly hoped and believed. There were intervals in the day
when you might suppose that "villanous saltpetre" had no more to do with
a modern siege than an ancient one, and that all this demonstration of a
state of conflict was merely an amicable suit upon an extensive scale.
There were times at night when angry and sudden explosions sprang up as
if by some unaccountable impulse or conjuration, and continued with an
impetuosity which seemed as if it intended to finish the whole business
in a moment. There were times when the red fusees turned and tumbled in
the air like hot coals belched out of a volcano, and danced successive
hornpipes upon nothing; then the clatter of small arms broke upon the
ear in distant imitation of the heavy artillery, like a little dog
yelping in gratuitous rivalry of a big one. The fighting was done by
jerks and starts, and the combatants, like Homer's heroes, stood at ease
the best part of the time, and took it coolly, meaning deadly mischief
all the while. The sharpest onset was generally on the side of our
allies, about the Flagstaff or the Quarantine Battery, where they were
sedulously advancing their endless mileage of trench and parallel, and
promising themselves a result before long.

For the third time our fire was opened along the whole range of
positions on the 6th of June. At half-past two o'clock on that day 157
guns and mortars on our side, and above 300 on that of the French, awoke
from silence to tumult.


The two armies--one might say the four armies, but that the Turks and
Sardinians were not expected to take a very prominent part in the
trench-work and assault--were in strength equal to any achievement, and
in spirits ever chiding the delay, and urging that one touch of the
bayonet which made all the world scamper. If the strategic necessity
pointed to some more decisive action this time, so, on the other hand,
the intention of going beyond a vain cannonade was tolerably plain. Our
fire was kept up for the first three hours with excessive rapidity, the
Russians answering by no means on an equal scale, though with
considerable warmth. On our side the predominance of shells was very
manifest, and distinguished the present cannonade in some degree even
from the last. The superiority of our fire over the enemy became
apparent at various points before nightfall, especially in the Redan,
which was under the especial attention of the Naval Brigade. The
Russians displayed, however, plenty of determination and bravado. They
fired frequent salvos at intervals of four or six guns, and also, by way
of reprisals, threw heavy shot up to our Light Division and on to the
Picquet-house-hill. After dark the animosity on both sides gave signs of
relaxing, but the same relative advantage was maintained by our
artillery. It was a sultry day, with the dull mist of extreme heat
closing down upon the valleys, and with no air to rend away the curtain
of smoke which swayed between the town and our batteries; and at night
flashes of lightning in the north-east made a counter-illumination on
the rear of our position.

A still and sluggish atmosphere, half mist, half gunpowder, hung about
the town in the early morning of June the 7th, and the sun enfilading
the points of view from the horizon, telescopes were put out of joint.
The Redan, however, which rose up boldly in front of the hills that
sloped from Cathcart's Mound, gave some evidence of having yielded to
rough treatment, the jaws of its embrasures gaping, and its fire being
irregular and interrupted.

At nine a cool, strong breeze sprang up, and continued throughout the
day. The whole range of fire from right to left became visible in a
bright sun, that for once was not scorching. The enemy either could not
or would not keep up a very vigorous reply. All the early part of the
day we had the work very much to ourselves.

About eleven o'clock a shell from the Russians exploded a magazine in
our eight-gun battery, and a yell of delight followed. Very slight harm
resulted--one man was killed, one wounded, and a few scorched a little.
As the day wore on, it leaked out that the double attack would probably
commence at five or six P.M. An immense concourse of officers and men
was gathered on Cathcart's Hill, and along the spines of the heights
which wind towards Sebastopol. The fire on our side assumed a sudden
fury about three o'clock.

Between five and six o'clock Lord Raglan and his staff took up a
position on the edge of the hill below the Limekiln, where it commanded
our four-gun battery, and looked straight into the teeth of the Redan.
About half-past six the head of the French column came into view, as it
climbed to the Mamelon. A rocket was thrown up, and instantly our men
made a rush at the Quarries. After one slight check they drove out the
Russians, and, turning round the gabions, commenced making themselves
snug; but the interest was so entirely concentrated upon the more
exciting scene, full in view upon the right, that they had to wait a
good while before attention was directed to their conflict.


The French went up the steep to the Mamelon in loose order, and in most
beautiful style. Every straining eye was upon their movements, which the
declining daylight did not throw out into bold relief. Still their
figures, like light shadows flitting across the dun barrier of
earthworks, were seen to mount up unfailingly--running, climbing,
scrambling up the slopes on to the body of the work, amid a plunging
fire from the guns, which did them as yet little damage. As an officer,
who saw Bosquet wave them on, said, "They went in like a clever pack of
hounds." In a moment some of these dim wraiths shone out clear against
the sky. The Zouaves were upon the parapet, the next moment a flag was
hoisted up as a rallying-point and defiance, and was seen to sway hither
and thither, now up, now down, as the tide of battle raged. It was seven
minutes and a half from the commencement. Then there came a rush of the
French through the angle, where they had entered, and momentary
confusion outside. Groups were collected on the hither side in shelter.
But hardly had the need of support become manifest, and a gun or two
again flashed from the embrasure, than there was another run in, another
sharp fight, and this time the Russians went out spiking their guns.
Twice the Russians made head against the current, for they had a large
mass of troops in reserve, covered by the guns of the Round Tower; twice
they were forced back by the onsweeping flood of French. For ten minutes
or so the quick flash and roll of small arms declared how the uncertain
fight waxed and waned inside the enclosure. Then the back door, if one
may use an humble metaphor, was burst open. The noise of the conflict
went away down the descent on the side towards the town, and the arena
grew larger. It was apparent by the space over which the battle spread,
that the Russians had been reinforced. When the higher ground again
became the seat of action,--when there came the second rush of the
French back upon their supports, for the former one was a mere reflux or
eddy of the stream,--when rocket after rocket went up ominously from the
French General's position, and seemed to emphasize by their repetition
some very plain command, we began to get nervous. It was growing darker
and darker, too, so that with our glasses we could with difficulty
distinguish the actual state of affairs. There was even a dispute for
some time as to whether our allies were going in or out of the work, and
the staff themselves were by no means clear as to what was going on. At
last, through the twilight, we discerned that the French were pouring
in. After the interval of doubt, our ears could gather that the swell
and babble of the fight was once more rolling down the inner face of the
hill, and that the Russians were conclusively beaten. "They are well
into it this time," says one to another, handing over the glass. The
musket flashes were no more to be seen within it. There was no more
lightning of the heavy guns from the embrasures. A shapeless hump upon a
hull, the Mamelon was an extinct volcano, until such time as it should
please our allies to call it again into action. Then, at last, the more
hidden struggle of our own men in the hollow on the left came uppermost.
"How are our fellows getting on?" says one. "Oh! take my word for it,
they're all right," says another. And they were, so far as taking the
Quarries was concerned, but they had nevertheless to fight all night.

As it grew dark our advanced battery under the Green-hill made very
pretty practice by flipping shells over our men's heads at the Russians.
From the misshapen outline of the Quarries a fringe of fire kept blazing
and sparkling in a waving sort of curve, just like a ring of gas
illuminating on a windy night; the attempt to retake them out of hand
was desperately pushed, the Russians pouring in musketry, which caused
us no small loss, and as it came up the gorge, contending with the fresh
wind, sounded in the distance like water gulped simultaneously from a
thousand bottles.

Meanwhile the fall of the Mamelon did not by any means bring the combat
to an end on the side of our allies. The Zouaves, emboldened by their
success, carried their prowess too far, and dreamt of getting into the
Round Tower by a _coup de main_. A new crop of battle grew up over all
the intervening hollow between it and the Mamelon, and the ripple of
musket shots plashed and leaped over the broad hill-side. The combatants
were not enough for victory there too, but they were enough for a
sanguinary and prolonged contest, a contest to the eye far more violent
than that which preceded it. The tower itself, or rather the inglorious
stump of what was once the Round Tower, took and gave shot and shell and
musketry with the most savage ardour and rapidity. The fire of its
musketry was like one sheet of flame, rolling backwards and forwards
with a dancing movement, and, dwarfed as it was by the distance, and
seen by us in profile, could scarcely be compared to anything, small or
large, except the notes of a piano flashed into fire throughout some
rapid tune. Our gunners, observing the duration and aim of the skirmish,
redoubled their exertions, and pitched their shells into the Round Tower
with admirable precision, doing immense mischief to the defenders. It
was dark, and every one of them came out against the heavens as it rose
or swooped. From Gordon's Battery and the Second parallel they streamed
and plunged one after another into the enceinte up to which the Zouaves
had won their way unsupported, heralded every now and then by the prompt
and decisive ring of a round shot. The Russian defence, rather than
their defences, crumbled away before this tremendous fire, but, on the
other hand, the attack not being fed, as it was not designed, began to
languish, and died gradually away.

During the night repeated attacks, six in all, were made upon our men in
the Quarries, who defended their new acquisition with the utmost courage
and pertinacity, and at a great sacrifice of life, against superior
numbers, continually replenished. The strength of the party told off for
the attack was in all only 1,000, of whom 600 were in support. At the
commencement 200 only went in, and another 200 followed. More than once
there was a fierce hand-to-hand fight in the position itself, and our
fellows had frequently to dash out in front and take their assailants in
flank. The most murderous sortie of the enemy took place about three in
the morning; then the whole ravine was lighted up with a blaze of fire,
and a storm of shot was thrown in from the Strand Battery, and every
other spot within range. With a larger body in reserve, it was not
doubtful that our men could have been into the Redan. This was asserted
freely both by officers and privates, and the latter expressed their
opinion in no complimentary manner. They were near enough up to it to
see that it was scarcely defended, and one officer lost his life almost
within its limits. On our side 365 rank and file, and 35 officers, had
been killed and wounded. Our loss in officers killed was great. The 88th
were the severest sufferers, having three officers killed, one missing
and conjectured to be killed, and four wounded--all indeed who were
engaged. The four senior officers of the 62nd were put _hors de combat_.
On the French side nearly double the number of officers, and a total of
not less than 1,500 men, probably more. It was stated as high as 3,700.
When morning dawned, with the wind blowing even stronger than the day
before, the position held by both parties was one of expectation. The
French were in great force within and on the outer slopes of the
Mamelon, and also in possession of two out of the three offsets attached
to the Mamelon on the Sapoune-hill. Their dead were seen lying mixed
with Russians upon the broken ground outside the Malakoff Tower, and
were being carried up to camp in no slack succession. In the rear of the
Mamelon their efforts to intrench themselves were occasionally
interrupted by shells from the ships in the harbour, and from a battery
not previously known to exist further down the hill, while, on their
left front, the Round Tower, showing still its formidable platforms of
defence and its ragged embrasures above, fired upon their working
parties, in the western face, and upon their reserves in the background.

The ammunition waggons, the ambulance carts, the French mules, with
their panniers full freighted, thronged the ravine below our Light
Division, which is the straight or rather the crooked road down to the
attack on the right. Troops of wounded men came slowly up, some English,
the greater portion French, begrimed with the soil of battle. On the
left a party of Zouaves had stopped a while to rest their burden, it
being the dead bodies of three of their officers. A little lower an
English soldier was down on the grass exhausted and well nigh
unconscious from some sudden seizure. A party of French were gathered
round him, supporting him on the bank, and offering water from their
canteens, which he wildly motioned aside. On the right, lining a deep
bay in the gorge, was dotted over half a mile of ground a French
reserve, with their muskets piled, attending the signal to move forward.
They were partially within view of the Malakoff, and the round shot and
shell came plumping down in the hollow, producing every minute or so
little commotions of the _sauve qui peut_ order, replaced the next
moment by the accustomed nonchalance, and the crack of stale charges,
fired off by way of precaution.


A lively and even pretty vivandière came striding up the ascent, without
a symptom of acknowledgment to the racing masses of iron, and smiling as
if the honour of her corps had been properly maintained. At ten o'clock
the little incidents of the halting war perceptible through the
telescope from the crown of the hill below the Picket-house were
these:--At the head of the harbour the Russians were busily engaged
burying their dead; outside the abattis of the Round Tower several
corpses of Zouaves were to be distinguished; about the Mamelon the
French troops were hard at work, some of them stripped for coolness to
their drawers, and were seen creeping down the declivity on the side
towards the Malakoff, and making themselves a deep shelter from its
fire. Our people, meanwhile, on the right attack were calmly shelling
the Malakoff in a cool matter-of-business sort of way, but the eternal
gun on its right, which has been endowed with nine months of strange
vitality, launched an indirect response into the Mamelon. From and after
eleven o'clock the Russians, as usual, slackened fire, nor was there any
duel of artillery on a great scale until after dark.

On the 9th a white flag from the Round Tower and another on the left
announced that the Russians had a petition to make. It was a grave one
to make in the middle of a fierce bombardment with events hanging in the
balance, and success, perhaps, depending upon the passing moments; but
made it was, and granted. From one o'clock until six in the evening no
shot was fired on either side, while the dead bodies which strewed the
hill between the Mamelon and the Round Tower, or remained in front of
the Quarries, were removed from the field. Both of the French and of the
Russians large numbers were scattered over the ground of the chief
conflict; among the former a large proportion were swarthy _indigenes_
of Arab blood, or, as they were popularly termed by the French soldiers,
Turcos, and to their contingent of the killed some were added from the
very inside of the Malakoff, showing how near the impromptu attack was
delivering the place into our hands. Of the Russians there lay still
upon the spot some 200, a sufficient testimony to the severity of their
losses in the struggle. The third battery on the Sapoune-hill was
abandoned the night before, and its guns either withdrawn or tumbled
down the hill.

In the early part of the day there had been a popular impulse to believe
that an end of the affair would be made at night by a combined assault
upon the Malakoff and the Redan. That both were within scope of capture
was considered in camp as proved to demonstration. But the news of the
suspension of arms dissipated the hope, and when the divisions got their
orders for the night, it was no longer thought that aggression was
likely, though defence might be. The enemy, with their wonted
perseverance, had been making very comfortable use of their time, and
when the firing recommenced, which it did instantly on the flags being
lowered, a few minutes before six o'clock, it was plain that the
Malakoff and Redan had both received a reinforcement of guns. Six and
eleven were the numbers of remounted _bouches de feu_--exactness in such
a calculation was not easy, for the Russians were laboriously artful in
disguising the strength of their artillery, and frequently by moving
guns from one embrasure to another make a single one play dummy for two
or three. From six until nine o'clock the duel continued without special
incidents; then there came a sudden splash of musketry, which lasted
some few minutes and died away as unexpectedly. Another trifling
musketry diversion took place about three in the morning, to relieve the
monotony of the great artillery, which kept up its savagery throughout
the night--ten guns for one of the enemy's--but slacked a little towards
morning. We had a great number of casualties during the night in our new
position on the left, into which the Russians kept firing grape and
canister from the batteries which protect the rear of the Redan. They
also occupied the dismantled houses above the ravine, and leisurely took
shot at our people from the windows. Not unnaturally, it was a subject
of the bitterest anger and complaint among the soldiers that they had to
stand still and be riddled, losing day by day a number which was swollen
in a week to the dimensions of a battle-roll of killed and wounded.

Through the occupation and arming of the White Batteries, situated on
the edge of the ridge of Mount Sapoune, the head of the harbour was more
or less in our power. The Russians themselves seemed to acknowledge this
by taking outside the boom the vessels which had before been lying in
that direction, and would have been commanded from the works which the
French were then constructing on the site of the White Batteries of the
Russians. But this was not all. These new works were to act against the
two Strand batteries which the Russians had behind the Mamelon, and
which, not being much commanded by any of our works, could do a good
deal of harm without being exposed to much danger. The construction of
French works on the Mamelon brought us to about 500 yards from the
Malakoff works; it gave us a footing on the plateau on which these works
lie; it furnished us with the means of approaching the rear of them, and
at the same time of operating successfully on the annoying batteries in
the rear of the Mamelon, which, taken thus in a cross fire, could not
long resist. The Quarry was scarcely more than 200 yards from the Redan.
The battery which it contained worked successfully on the six-gun
battery in the rear between the Redan and the Malakoff Tower works; and
from the advanced posts our riflemen were able to prevent a good number
of the guns in the Redan from working.

But, for all this, the keeping of the Quarry was, especially in the
beginning, not at all an easy thing; not so much, perhaps, from the
attempts of the Russians to retake a point of such vital importance to
them, but rather on account of the fire to which it was exposed from
other Russian batteries besides the Redan. The Garden Battery on our
flank, the six-gun battery in the rear, and the Malakoff works could
touch it on nearly all sides. Moreover, the work, when it was taken
being directed against us, offered very little protection against the
riflemen of the Redan, until its face could be converted.


The French in the Mamelon had to maintain themselves under a not less
heavy fire than the English in the Quarries. Some parts of the Malakoff
works, the shipping, the Strand batteries behind, and even some of the
Inkerman batteries, could bear upon them, and they suffered considerable
loss in the first days after their instalment there. Night attacks were
commenced by the fleets; on the 16th the _Tribune_, _Highflier_,
_Terrible_, _Miranda_, _Niger_, _Arrow_, _Viper_, _Snake_, and _Weser_,
stood in at night, and opened a heavy fire upon the town, in company
with some French steamers, whilst the _Danube_ and the launches of the
_Royal Albert_ fired rockets into the place. On the 17th, the _Sidon_,
_Highflier_, _Miranda_, _Viper_, _Snake_, and _Princess Royal_ ran in
again, but the enemy had got their range, and hulled some of the ships
repeatedly; and we had to mourn the loss of Captain Lyons of the
_Miranda_, who was wounded by a piece of shell, of which he died soon
afterwards, at the Hospital of Therapia.

On the 16th of June it was decided at a council of war that, after three
hours' cannonade from the whole of the allied batteries, the assault
should take place on the morning of the 18th of June. Our armament
consisted of thirty 13-inch mortars, twenty-four 10-inch mortars, seven
8-inch mortars, forty-nine 32-pounders, forty-six 8-inch guns, eight
10-inch guns, eight 68-pounders: total, one hundred and sixty-six guns.
The French had about two hundred and eighty _bouches-à-feu_. The
despatch of Lord Raglan, dated 19th June, states that it was decided
that the fire should be kept up for two hours after dawn; but, on the
evening of the 17th, Marshal Pelissier sent over a despatch to our
head-quarters, to the effect that, as the French infantry could not be
placed in the trenches in the morning without the enemy seeing them, he
had decided on attacking the place at daybreak, without any preliminary
cannonade in the morning. Lord Raglan accepted this change of the plan
of attack, although it was opposed to his private judgment, and sent
orders to the divisional generals to carry it out. Sir George Brown, who
was understood to be of opinion that an assault against the Redan was
very doubtful, was ordered to make the arrangements.

The assaulting force, which consisted of detachments of the Light,
Second, and Third Divisions, was divided into three columns. Sir John
Campbell had charge of the left, Colonel Shadforth, of the 57th
Regiment, of the right, and Colonel Lacy Yea, of the 7th Fusileers, of
the centre column. Brigadier (afterwards Sir Henry) Barnard was directed
to take his brigade of the Third Division down the Woronzoff Ravine,
whilst Major-General Eyre moved down his brigade of the same Division
still further to the left, with orders to threaten the works on the
proper right of the Redan and in front of the Dockyard Creek, and, in
case of the assault being successful, to convert the demonstration of
his brigade into a serious attack on the place. The right column was
destined to attack the left face of the Redan between the flanks of the
batteries; the centre column was to assault the salient of the Redan;
and the left column was to assault the re-entering angle formed by the
right face and flank of the work; the centre column was not to advance
till the other columns had well developed their attack. On the French
left, assaults under General de Salles were to be directed against the
Quarantine Bastion, the Central Bastion, and the Bastion du Mât, each by
a division 6,000 strong. On the French right, General d'Autemarre, with
a column of 6,000 men, was to assault the Gervais Battery and the right
flank of the Malakoff; General Brunet, with a similar force, from the
Mamelon, was to attack the left flank of the Malakoff and the little
Redan; General Mayran, from the extreme of the French right, was to fall
upon the Russian batteries near Careening Creek, and the works
connecting No. 1 Bastion with the Little Redan. In order to give greater
completeness to the arrangements, it was decided that the French should
make a demonstration against the Mackenzie Heights; and General Bosquet,
who commanded the Second Corps d'Armée, because it was known that he was
unfavourable to an assault, and preferred operations in the field, was
displaced from his command by General Regnault de St. Jean d'Angely. It
will thus be seen that the French were to assault in six columns,
constituting a force of not less than 36,000 men, with reserves of
25,000. Our assaulting columns were only 1,200 men, although there was a
force in reserve of nearly 10,000 men.

The fire which opened on Sunday morning (the 17th) was marked by great
energy and destructiveness. In the first relief the Quarry Battery,
commanded by Major Strange, threw no less than 300 8-inch shells into
the Redan, which was only 400 yards distant. Throughout Sunday 12,000
rounds, and on the following day 11,946 rounds of shot and shell were
fired against Sebastopol from the British lines.

[Sidenote: A FATAL ADVANCE.]

Early on Monday morning (18th of June), the troops, who had been under
arms soon after midnight, moved down to the trenches. Lord Raglan and
his staff were stationed in the trench in rear of the Quarries Battery.
Marshal Pelissier took up his post in a battery to the rear of the
Mamelon and on our right front, a considerable way from Lord Raglan.
Just as some faint tinge of light in the east announced the approach of
dawn, we heard a very irregular but sharp fire of musketry on our right,
close to the Malakoff. In an instant all the Russian works on the right
woke up into life, and the roar of artillery, mingled with musketry,
became incessant. The column under General Mayran had made a premature
attack! A rocket fired unintentionally misled the French general, who
fell mortally wounded. In a few minutes the column was driven back with
great loss. The musketry ceased. Then three rockets flew up into the
gloomy sky. This was the signal for the assault, which Mayran had
anticipated with such unfortunate results. General d'Autemarre's column,
at the double, made a dash up the ravine which separated the Redan from
the Malakoff. General Brunet led his men to attack the left of the work.
The Russians received them with a tremendous fire, for the grey dawn
just gave light sufficient to indicate the advance of these large
masses. General Brunet fell dead, and his column was obliged to retreat,
with great loss. The other column on the right of the Malakoff was
somewhat more fortunate. They dashed across the ditch and over the
parapet of the Gervais Battery, and drove the enemy before them. Some
few get into the Malakoff itself; certainly, unless my eyes deceived me,
I saw a tricolor flag waving in the centre of the work, and a few French
actually reached the dockyard wall. Although it was understood that the
English were not to attack until the French had carried the Malakoff,
Lord Raglan resolved to assist the French at this stage of the assault,
and the two rockets which was the signal for the advance were sent up.
At the moment, the French were fighting outside the Malakoff, but were
in possession of the Gervais battery on the right flank. Brunet's column
had been driven back. A second attack on the extreme right by Mayran's
column, though aided by 4,000 of the Imperial Guard under General
Mellinet, had completely failed. The Russians, warned by the assault on
their left, were prepared; in the Redan, they held a great force in
reserve. Their guns, loaded with grape, were manned, and the parapets
were thickly lined with infantry.

The party to assault the left face of the Redan consisted of 11 officers
and 400 men of the 34th Regiment, under Major Gwilt, preceded by a
covering party of the Rifle Brigade and a ladder party from the Sailors'
Brigade. When the signal was given, the men carrying the ladders and
wool-bags rushed out of the trench; they were swept down at once by the
tremendous fire. Major Gwilt ordered the 34th to lie down; but on the
extreme right the men who did not receive the order advanced in sections
at the double, and the whole of the storming party made a run at the
re-entering angle of the left face of the Redan. On crossing the trench,
our men, instead of coming upon the open in a firm body, were broken
into twos and threes. This arose from the want of a temporary step above
the berm, which would have enabled the troops to cross the parapet with
regularity; instead of which they had to scramble over it as well as
they could; and, as the top of the trench was of unequal height and
form, their line was quite broken. The moment they came out from the
trench the enemy began to direct on their whole front a deliberate and
well-aimed _mitraille_, which increased the want of order and
unsteadiness caused by the mode of their advance. Yea saw the
consequences. Having in vain tried to obviate the evil caused by the
broken formation and confusion of his men, who were falling fast around
him, he exclaimed, "This will never do! Where's the bugler to call them
back?" But, at that critical moment, no bugler was to be found. The
gallant officer, by voice and gesture, tried to form and compose his
men, but the thunder of the enemy's guns close at hand and the gloom
frustrated his efforts; and as he rushed along the troubled mass of
troops, endeavouring to get them into order for a rush at the batteries,
a charge of their deadly missiles passed, and the noble soldier fell
dead in advance of his men, struck at once in head and stomach by grape
shot. A fine young officer, Hobson, the adjutant of the 7th, fell along
with his chief, mortally wounded. They were thrown into confusion on
getting up to the abattis, by finding a formidable barrier before them.
When the 34th came up, there was only _one_ ladder at the abattis.[20]
Major Gwilt, who was about sixty yards from the abattis, was soon
severely wounded and obliged to retire. Colonel Lysons, who now took the
command, ordered the men to retire. But ere the 34th regained the
trenches, Captain Shiffner, Captain Robinson, and Lieutenant Hurt, were
killed; Captain Jordan, Major Gwilt, Lieutenant Harman, Lieutenant
Clayton, and Lieutenant Alt, were severely wounded, the last two dying
of their injuries.

The column on the left told off for the attack of the re-entering angle
and flank of the right of the Redan, was exposed to the same fire. There
were no scaling ladders at the abattis, much less at the ditch of the
Redan, nor could the Rifles keep down the enemy's artillery. Colonel
Shadforth was killed whilst leading on his men most gallantly. Sir John
Campbell fell dead close to the abattis. In a few moments the assaulting
columns had disappeared.

On our extreme left, the brigade under Major-General Eyre, consisting of
the 18th on the left of the line, of the 9th Regiment and 28th Regiment
in reserve, the 38th Regiment and 44th Regiment on the right, advanced
to threaten the Dockyard Creek and the Barrack Batteries. Four
volunteers from each company, under Major Fielden, of the 44th Regiment,
covered the advance. The brigade was turned out before dawn, and marched
down the road on the left of the Greenhill Battery to the Cemetery,
while the necessary dispositions were being made for the attack. General
Eyre, addressing the 18th, said, "I hope, my men, that this morning you
will do something that will make every cabin in Ireland ring again!" The
reply was a loud cheer, which instantly drew a shower of grape. Just as
the general attack began, they rushed at the Cemetery, which was very
feebly defended; but the moment the enemy retreated their batteries
opened a heavy fire upon it from the left of the Redan and from the
Barrack Battery. They also kept up a heavy fire of musketry from a
suburb close to the Dockyard Creek, by the side of the Woronzoff Road,
and from a number of houses at the other side of the Creek, below the
Barrack Battery. The 18th charged and carried the houses. The Russians
could not depress their guns sufficiently to fire down upon our men;
they directed a severe flanking fire upon them from an angle of the
Redan. The 44th made a dash at the houses under the Barrack Battery, and
the 38th seized hold of the suburb over the Creek Battery, so that the
Russians were obliged to abandon it.

While portions of the 9th, 18th, 28th and 44th were in the houses, the
38th kept up a hot fire from the Cemetery on the Russians in the
battery. One part of the brigade was exposed to a destructive fire in
houses, the upper portion of which crumbled into pieces or fell in, and
it was only by keeping in the lower stories, which were vaulted, that
they were enabled to hold their own. The rest of the brigade, far
advanced from our batteries, were almost unprotected, and were under a
constant _mitraille_ and bombardment from guns which our batteries
failed to touch.


A sergeant and a handful of men actually got possession of a small work,
in which there were twelve or fourteen artillerymen; but the Russians,
seeing that they were alone, came down upon them and drove them out. An
officer and half-a-dozen men got up close to the Flagstaff Battery, and
were advancing into it when they saw that they were by themselves, and
retreated. About fifteen French soldiers on their left aided them, but
they were unsupported and they all had to retire. Another officer with
twelve men took one of the Russian rifle-pits, and held possession of it
throughout the day.

This partial success, however, did not change the fortunes of the day.
The French were driven out of the Gervais' Battery because they received
no reinforcements, though not till they had held it for upwards of forty
minutes. Marshal Pelissier made proposals to Lord Raglan to renew the
assault. Lord Raglan, though agreeing with the French General in the
practicability of a renewed assault, was of opinion that it ought not to
be attempted till a heavy bombardment had been continued for some hours.
As there was a considerable distance between them, Lord Raglan had to
ride over to Marshal Pelissier, to confer with him on the arrangements
for the proposed assault. During the interval, the French, who were
suffering heavily from the enemy's fire, became dispirited by their
losses and by the inaction which followed the check they had sustained.
The Russians were evidently in great force at the Malakoff; and General
d'Autemarre was so convinced that the assault would not succeed, that he
sent a pressing message to Marshal Pelissier to beg that he would not
expose the men in a fruitless assault. Marshal Pelissier was obliged to
yield to such an expression of opinion, and, Lord Raglan coinciding with
him, the renewal of the assault did not take place. Although the attack
upon the Redan had been discussed at a council of war, and the Engineer
officers of both our attacks (Colonel Chapman and Colonel Gordon) had
been called upon to assist the Generals with their advice, the result
proved that the arrangements were defective and inadequate. Our officers
were outwitted by the subtlety of the Russians, who had for some time
masked their guns, or withdrawn them from the embrasures, as if they
were overpowered and silenced by our fire. No more decisive proof of the
inefficiency of our force could be afforded than this fact--that in no
case did the troops destined to assault and carry the Redan reach the
outer part of the work; that no ladders were placed in the ditch; and
that a very small portion indeed of the storming party reached the
abattis, which was placed many yards in front of the ditch of the Redan.
It cannot be said that on this occasion our men exhibited any want of
courage; but so abortive and so weak was the attack, that the Russians
actually got outside the parapet of the Redan, jeered and laughed at our
soldiers as they fired upon them at the abattis, and mockingly invited
the "Inglisky" to come nearer. A few dilettanti have since started a
theory, which has not even ingenuity to recommend it, and which, if well
founded, would convey the weightiest accusation ever yet made against
our commanders--and that is, that our assault against the Redan was
never meant to be successful, and that it was, in fact, a mere
diversion, to assist the French in getting into the Malakoff. To any one
acquainted with the facts, or to those who were present, this theory
must appear, not only _not ingenious_, but ludicrous and contemptible.
Indeed, the truth is, that an assault was not merely intended to be
successful, but that it was looked upon as certain to succeed. No one
hinted a doubt of the carrying of the Redan, though there was a general
expression of opinion, among those who knew the case, that the force
detailed for the storm was perilously small, and some few, as I heard,
also found fault with the position of the reserves, and thought they
were placed too far in the rear to be of service in case of a check.

Our losses were severe, and they were not alleviated by the consolations
of victory. No less than 22 officers and 247 men were killed, 78
officers and 1,207 men were wounded. The French lost 39 officers killed
and 93 wounded; 1,600 rank and file killed or taken prisoners, and about
the same number wounded--so that the loss of the Allies, on the 18th of
June, amounted to nearly 5,000 officers and men. The Russians admitted a
loss of 5,800; but it is remarkable in their return that the proportion
of their officers killed is very much less than ours. In our army one
officer was killed to every eleven men--one was wounded to every
fifteen. In the French army one officer was killed to thirty men, and
one was wounded to every sixteen men. In the Russian army the proportion
of killed was about one officer to forty-nine men--of wounded, one
officer to thirty-one men. General Jones was wounded over the trench.
General Eyre was disabled by a severe cut on the head, but kept with his
men till they were established in the Cemetery.


The detachments from the Naval Brigade consisted of four parties of
sixty men each, one for each column, but only two of them went out, the
other two being kept in reserve; they were told off to carry
scaling-ladders and wool-bags, and to place them for our storming
parties. Captain Peel, who commanded, was wounded. His aide-de-camp,
Lieutenant Wood, midshipman of H.M.S. _Queen_, though badly wounded, got
up to the abattis, and rendered himself so conspicuous for a gallantry
of which he had given several proofs on previous occasions, that Lord
Hardinge presented him with a commission of the 13th Light Dragoons on
his expressing a desire to exchange into the army. In No. 1 party,
Lieutenants Urmston, Dalyell, and Parsons, were wounded. In No. 3,
Lieutenant Cave was wounded, and Lieutenant Kidd killed. No. 2 and No. 4
party did not advance, and lost no officer. When the men retreated,
overwhelmed by the storm from the enemy's battery, several officers and
men were left behind wounded. Lieutenant Kidd got into the trench all
safe, and was receiving the congratulations of a brother officer, when
he saw a wounded soldier lying out in the open. He at once
exclaimed--"We must go and save him!" and leaped over the parapet in
order to do so. He had scarcely gone a yard when he was shot through the
breast, and died an hour after. A private soldier of the 33rd, a native
of Cork, named Richard Worrell, displayed the most touching devotion on
the same occasion. When the regiment returned to the trenches it was
discovered that a young officer named Heyland was missing. The enemy's
guns were sweeping the front of the trenches. Worrell did not hesitate
for a moment. "I'll go out," said he, "and bring him in if he's
wounded, or die beside him." He kept his word. His body was found
pierced with balls, close to that of his officer.

All the advantage we gained was the capture of the Cemetery, and the
small Mamelon near it. The French sent over an engineer to examine the
ground, and as that officer expressed an opinion that it was desirable
to hold the place with a view to ulterior defensive works being erected
upon it, General Eyre was assured that a strong body of men would be
marched into it at night. As these troops never arrived, Colonel Adams
retired from the Cemetery at night, leaving only a picket, which was
also withdrawn in compliance with the instructions General Eyre received
from head-quarters, which were to the effect that if the French did not
occupy the work our troops were to withdraw. On the following morning,
Lieutenant Donnelly of the Engineers heard that the position for which
we had paid so dearly was not in our possession. He appreciated its
value--he saw that the Russians had not yet advanced to reoccupy it,
begged and borrowed some thirty men, with whom he crept into the
Cemetery. As soon as the armistice began, the Russians flocked down to
the Cemetery, which they supposed to be undefended, but to their great
surprise they found our men posted there, and in the evening the party
was strengthened, and the Allies constructed most valuable works and
batteries there.

The natural consequence, in civilized warfare, of such a contest as that
recorded above, is an armistice to bury the dead. It was our sad duty to
demand it next day, for our dead lay outside our lines, and there were
no Russian corpses in front of the Redan or Malakoff. We hoisted a white
flag in the forenoon, but there was no such emblem of a temporary peace
displayed by the Russians. Officers and soldiers eager to find the
bodies of their comrades, waited patiently and sadly for the moment when
friendship's last melancholy office could be performed. At last it
became known that the armistice was to take place at four o'clock in the

It was agonizing to see the wounded men lying under a broiling sun,
parched with excruciating thirst, racked with fever, and agonized with
pain--to behold them waving their caps faintly, or making signals
towards our lines, over which they could see the white flag waving. They
lay where they fell, or had scrambled into the holes formed by shells;
and there they had been for thirty hours! how long and how dreadful in
their weariness! A soldier who was close to the abattis saw a few men
come out of an embrasure, and fearing he should be unnoticed, raised his
cap on a stick and waved it till he fell back exhausted. Again he rose,
and managed to tear off his shirt, which he agitated in the air till his
strength failed him. His face could be seen through a glass; and my
friend, who watched him, said he could never forget the expression of
despair with which the poor fellow folded his shirt under his head to
await the mercy of Heaven.

The red-coats lay thick over the broken ground in front of the abattis
of the Redan. Blue and grey coats lay in piles in the raincourses before
the Malakoff. I rode down with some companions past the old 13-inch
mortar battery in advance of our Picket-house into the Middle Picket
Ravine, at the end of which began the French approaches to their old
parallel, which was extended up to their recent conquest, the Mamelon. A
body of light cavalry moved down the Woronzoff road a little later, and
began extending their files right and left in a complete line across the
whole of our front, with the object of preventing any, except those who
were on duty, getting down to the neutral ground. However, my companions
and myself got down into the ravine before the cavalry halted just
behind the Picket-house. This ravine was paved with shot and shell. The
earth gleamed here and there with bullets and fragments of lead. In one
place there was a French picket posted in a bend of the ravine, sleeping
under their greatcoats, raised on twigs, to protect them from the sun,
smoking or talking gravely. Yes, for a wonder, the men were grave and
looked almost sullen; but they were thinking of the comrades whose
bodies they would have to inter. By the side of this ravine--your horse
must needs tread upon them, if you were not careful in guiding him--was
many a mound, some marking the resting-place of individual soldiers,
others piled over one of those deep pits where rank and file reposed in
their common glory.

In the ravine were mules with litters, ambulances, and Land Transport
Corps. English and French were mixed together. I saw in one place two of
our men, apart from the rest, with melancholy faces. "What are you
waiting here for?" said I.

"To go out for the Colonel, sir," was the reply.

"What Colonel?"

"Why, Colonel Yea, to be sure, sir," said the good fellow, who was
evidently surprised at my thinking there could be any other colonel in
the world. And indeed the Light Division felt his loss. Under
brusqueness of manner he concealed a kind heart. A more thorough
soldier, one more devoted to his men, to the service, and to his
country, never fell in battle than Lacy Yea. Throughout the winter his
attention to his regiment was exemplary. His men were the first who had
hospital huts. When other regiments were in need of every comfort, and
almost of every necessary, the Fusileers, by the care of their colonel,
had everything that could be procured by exertion and foresight. Writing
of him, and of similar cases, I said, "At Inkerman his gallantry was
conspicuous. He and Colonel Egerton are now gone, and there remains in
the Light Division but one other officer of the same rank who stands in
the same case as they did. Is there nothing to be done? No recognition
of their services? No decorations? No order of merit?"[21] Two French
soldiers approached, with an English naval officer, whom they were
taking off as a spy. He told us he was an officer of the _Viper_, that
he walked up to see some friends in the Naval Brigade, got into the
Mamelon, and was taken prisoner. The Frenchmen pointed out that the
Naval Brigade was not employed on the Mamelon, that spies were abundant
and clever; but they were at last satisfied, and let their captive go
with the best grace in the world. We were close to the Mamelon, and the
frequent reports of rifles and the pinging of the balls proved that the
flag of truce had not been hoisted by the enemy. We were in the zigzag,
a ditch about six feet broad and six feet deep, with the earth knocked
about by shot at the sides, and we met Frenchmen laden with water
canteens or carrying large tin cans full of coffee, and tins of meat and
soup, cooked in the ravine close at hand, up to the Mamelon.


I entered along with them. The parapets were high inside the work, and
were of a prodigious thickness. It was evident the Mamelon was overdone.
It was filled with traverses and excavations, so that it was impossible
to put a large body of men into it, or to get them in order in case of
an assault. The stench from the dead, who had been buried as they fell,
was fearful; and bones, and arms, and legs stuck out from the piles of
rubbish on which you were treading. Many guns were also buried, but they
did not decompose. Outside were plenty of those fougasses, which the
Russians planted thickly. A strong case containing powder was sunk in
the ground, and to it was attached a thin tube of tin or lead, several
feet in length; in the upper end of the tube was enclosed a thin glass
tube containing sulphuric or nitric acid. This portion of the tube was
just laid above the earth, where it could be readily hid by a few blades
of grass or a stone. If a person stepped upon it he bent the tin tube
and broke the glass tube inside. The acid immediately escaped down the
tin tube till it met a few grains of chlorate of potash. The mine
exploded, and not only destroyed everything near it, but threw out a
quantity of bitumen, with which it was coated, in a state of ignition. I
very nearly had a practical experience of the working of these mines,
for an English sentry, who kindly warned me off, did not indicate the
exact direction till he found he was in danger of my firing it, when he
became very communicative upon the subject. They made it disagreeable
walking in the space between the works.

I turned into the second English parallel on my left, where it joined
the left of the French right. What a network of zigzags, and parallels,
and traverses! You could see how easy it was for men to be confused at
night--how easy to mistake.

I walked out of the trench of the Quarries under the Redan, in which we
had then established a heavy battery, at the distance of 400 yards from
the enemy's embrasures. The ground sloped down for some few hundred
yards, and then rose again to the Redan. It was covered with long rank
grass and weeds, large stones, tumuli, and holes ranging in depth from
three feet and a half or four feet, to a foot, and in diameter from five
feet to seven or eight feet, where shells had exploded. It is impossible
to give a notion of the manner in which the earth was scarred by
explosions, and shot. The grass was seamed in all directions, as if
ploughs, large and small, had been constantly drawn over it.

The litter-bearers were busy. Most of our dead were close to the abaths
of the Redan, and many, no doubt, had been dragged up to it at night for
plunder's sake. Colonel Yea's body was found near the abattis on the
right of the Redan. His head was greatly swollen, and his features, and
a fine manly face it had been, were nearly undistinguishable. Colonel
Shadforth's remains were discovered in a similar state. Sir John
Campbell lay close up to the abattis. It was but the very evening before
his death that I saw him standing within a few feet of his own grave. He
had come to the ground in order to attend the funeral of Captain
Vaughan, an officer of his own regiment (the 38th), who died of wounds
received two days previously in the trenches, and he laughingly invited
me to come and lunch with him next day at the Clubhouse of Sebastopol.
His sword and boots were taken, but the former was subsequently restored
by a Russian officer. The body was interred on Cathcart's Hill--his
favourite resort, where every one was sure of a kind word and a cheerful
saying from the gallant Brigadier.

The bodies of many a brave officer whom I had known in old times--old
times of the war, for men's lives were short in the Crimea, and the
events of a life were compressed into a few hours--were borne past us in
silence, and now and then men with severe wounds were found still
living. The spirit of some of these noble fellows triumphed over all
their bodily agonies. "General!" exclaimed a sergeant of the 18th Royal
Irish to Brigadier Eyre, as he came near the place in the Cemetery where
the poor fellow lay with both his legs broken by a round shot, "thank
God, _we_ did _our_ work, any way. Had I another pair of legs, the
country and you would be welcome to them!" Many men in hospital, after
losing leg or arm, said they "would not have cared if they had only
beaten the Russians." The wounded lay in holes made by shells, and were
fired at by the Russian riflemen when they rolled about. Our men report
that the enemy treated them kindly, and even brought them water out of
the embrasures. They pulled all the bodies of officers within reach up
to the abattis, and took off their epaulettes and boots, but did not
strip them.

A line of sentries was formed by the Russians so far in front of the
abattis, that General Airey was obliged to remonstrate with an
aide-de-camp of General Osten-Sacken, who ordered them to retire. These
men were remarkably fine, tall, muscular fellows, and one could not but
contrast them with the poor weakly-looking boys in our regiments, or
with the undergrown men of the French line. They were in clean new
uniforms. Many of them wore medals. Their officers turned out with white
kid gloves and patent leather boots.

One stout elderly Russian of rank asked one of our officers, "How are
you off for food?"

"Oh! we get everything we want; our fleet secures that."

"Yes," remarked the Russian, with a knowing wink, "yes; but there's one
thing you're not so well off for, and that your fleet can't supply you
with, and that's sleep."


"We're at least as well off for that as you are," was the rejoinder.
Another officer asked if we really thought, after our experience of the
defence they could make, that we could take Sebastopol.

"We must; France and England are determined to take it."

"Ah! well," said the other, "Russia is determined France and England
shall not have it; and we'll see who has the strongest will, and can
lose most men."

In the midst of these brief interviews, beginning and ending with bows
and salutes, and inaugurated by the concession of favours relating to
cigars and lights, the soldiers bore dead bodies by, consigning the
privates to the burial-grounds near the trenches, and carrying off the
wounded and the bodies of the officers to the camp.

The armistice lasted for upwards of two hours.


     Effects of Failure of Assault on Health--General order of Lord
     Raglan--Death of Lord Raglan--His Character--Orders of General
     Simpson, successor to Lord Raglan--Personal Qualifications of
     General Simpson to command the Army--Confirmation as
     Commander-in-chief by the Queen--Other Appointments.

Immediately after the failure of the assault, Sir George Brown, Generals
Pennefather, Codrington, Buller, and Estcourt, were obliged to take to
their beds, to seek change of air, or to sail for England. Lord Raglan
was affected. It was observed by his staff that the failure had
"affected his health;" and an officer, writing home to his friends, on
the 23rd of June, remarked, "he (Lord Raglan) looks far from well, and
has grown very much aged latterly."

General Estcourt, Adjutant-General of the Army, died on the morning of
the 24th of June, after three days' illness.

On the 28th Lord Raglan published the following order:--

     "The Field-Marshal has the satisfaction of publishing to the army
     the following extract from a telegraphic despatch from Lord
     Panmure, dated the 22nd of June.

     "'I have Her Majesty's commands to express her grief that so much
     bravery should not have been rewarded with merited success, and to
     assure her brave troops that Her Majesty's confidence in them is

Within a very few hours after the appearance of this order, the electric
telegraph brought the startling intelligence to the head-quarters of the
various divisions that the Field-Marshal was dead.

On Tuesday evening, after his usual devotion to the desk, he was seized
with symptoms of a choleraic character, and took to his bed, where he
died on the night of the following Thursday. Lord Raglan possessed
qualities which, if not those of a great general, were calculated to
obtain for the English army more consideration than that to which it was
entitled by its numerical strength. Although he was frequently obliged
to give way to their councils, in opposition to his declared
convictions, his calmness in the field--his dignity of manner--his
imperturbable equanimity--exercised their legitimate influence over the
generals of the French army.

That Lord Raglan was an accomplished gentleman, as brave a soldier as
ever drew a sword, an amiable, honourable man, zealous for the public
service, of the most unswerving truth, devoted to his duty and to his
profession, cannot be denied; but he appears to me to have been a man of
strong prejudices and of weak resolution, cold to those whom, like Omar
Pasha, he considered "vulgar," coerced without difficulty by the
influence of a stronger will, and apt to depend upon those around him
where he should have used his own eyes. There was something of the old
heroic type in his character, which would have compensated for even
graver defects, if their results had not been, in many instances, so
unfortunate for our arms; his death on a foreign soil whilst in command
of an English army touched the hearts of his countrymen.

The following General Orders were issued next day:--


     "No. 1. It becomes my most painful duty to announce to the army the
     death of its beloved commander, Field-Marshal Lord Raglan, G.C.B.,
     which melancholy event took place last night about nine o'clock.

     "No. 2. In the absence of Lieutenant-General Sir George Brown, the
     command of the troops devolves on me, as the next senior officer
     present, until further orders are received from England.

     "No. 3. Generals of Divisions and heads of departments will be
     pleased to conduct their respective duties as heretofore.

"J. SIMPSON, Lieutenant-General."


General Simpson was destitute of those acquirements and personal
characteristics which in Lord Raglan compensated for a certain apathy
and marble calmness. He was a veteran who had seen a year's service in
the Peninsula in 1812-13, and in the campaign of 1815, and who thirty
years afterwards held the post of Quartermaster-General to Sir C.
Napier, in his Indian war of 1845. Lord Raglan had, at all events, by
the dignity of his personal character, secured a position for the troops
he commanded to which they were not numerically entitled; but no one can
say by what sacrifices that position was maintained till the battle of
Inkerman forced us to abandon it. It was believed at the time, and it is
now notorious, that General Simpson opposed his own appointment, and
bore testimony to his own incapacity; but the Government--or Lord
Hardinge and Lord Panmure--insisted, and General Simpson became
Commander-in-Chief of the British Army. Writing at the time respecting
our future General I said:--

     "Rumours prevail that a new Commander-in-Chief is to come out from
     England. Whether this be true I have not yet learnt, but it is to
     be hoped that the Peninsula and Waterloo, at twenty-three or
     twenty-four years of age, will not be the only qualification. It
     seems to all here that the best school for Sebastopol is Sebastopol
     itself, and that a man who has been six months in the Crimea is
     more likely to be an efficient general than any one who may be sent
     out in reliance upon vague reminiscences of campaigns in the field
     forty years ago. It takes some little time to gain an acquaintance
     even with the ground, and as autumn is drawing on there is no need
     for delay. The only reason that can be conceived for sending out a
     general from England is that some man of European reputation may be
     appointed, who may give a _status_ to the British army beyond what
     its present numbers are calculated to obtain for it in the eyes of
     the world. There is no doubt that Lord Raglan did this. His rank,
     his high character, his manners, his superiority to petty
     jealousies, and his abstinence from petty intrigues, commanded the
     respect of even those who were disposed to question his capacity
     and energy. If this war be prosecuted for any length of time, and
     England is not prepared to embark more fully in the struggle with
     men as well as money, there is some danger that the British Army
     will be looked upon as a mere contingent. A general of established
     reputation may add a lustre to the British name, but, after all,
     the best reliance is upon skill and energy, and there are many men
     at present before Sebastopol upon whom the command might devolve
     with satisfaction to the army, and with a reasonable hope of a
     creditable performance of the duties of the post."

On the 21st of July, General Simpson published the following order:--

     "General Simpson announces to the army that he has had the honour
     to receive from her Majesty the Queen the appointment of
     Commander-in-Chief of the Army in the Crimea.

     "The Lieutenant-General, though deeply impressed with the
     responsibility of the position in which he is placed, is most proud
     of the high and distinguished honour, and of the confidence thus
     reposed in him by his Sovereign.

     "It will be the Lieutenant-General's duty to endeavour to follow in
     the steps of his great predecessor, and he feels confident of the
     support of the generals, and of the officers and soldiers, in
     maintaining unimpaired the honour and discipline of this noble

(Signed)                     "JAMES SIMPSON,
"Lieutenant-General Commanding."

The personal Staff of his Excellency consisted of Captain Colville,
Rifle Brigade; Captain Lindsay, Scots Fusileer Guards; Major Dowbiggen,
4th Foot (appointed by electric telegraph). Lieut.-Colonel Stephenson
was appointed Military Secretary, although Colonel Steele remained at
head-quarters; and Colonel Pakenham was confirmed as Adjutant-General,
at the request of Lord Raglan, in the last despatch he ever penned.

On the 21st, Captain Lushington, who had been promoted to the rank of
Admiral, was relieved in the command of the Naval Brigade by Captain the
Hon. H. Keppel. Commissary-General Filder, at the same date, returned
home on the recommendation of a Medical Board.





     Survey of the Position of the Allied Armies--Renewed preparations
     of the Russians--Operations of the Allied Armies--Their
     Defectiveness--Renewed defence of the Malakoff--Strength of our
     Armament--Inactivity of the Allies, especially the Turks--Public
     feeling respecting the non-participation of the latter in the Siege
     Operations--Gloomy view of the Position of the Allies--Anticipated
     renewal of Hostilities--Curious Russian Letter on the
     Situation--Violent Storm of Wind and Rain--Continuous Supply of
     Russian Soldiers--Military discipline and composition of
     Piedmontese Army--Medical board and system of Invaliding--Desultory
     Russian firing--Eager anticipations by our Army of a general
     Attack--Arrival of British reinforcements--Turkish demand for Black
     Mail--French Malpractices.

The time is not yet come for the disclosure of all the truth; but it may
even now be asked, how it was that on the 6th of February, 1855, we
abandoned our ground opposite the Malakoff to the French, if we really
knew it to be the key of the Russian position? A change was indeed
necessary, and it was evident that the English army was much too weak to
occupy the space from the Dockyard Creek ravine on the left, to the
valley of the Tchernaya on the right. But why, instead of allowing the
French (I use that word "allowing," inasmuch as we are given to
understand that Sir John Burgoyne objected to the change)--why, instead
of allowing the French to take from us the favourable ground upon our
right attack, did we not move to our right, and leave the French to
occupy the spot held by our left, which we maintained to the end of the
siege? It seems but natural that as we had defended the right of the
Allied Army at Inkerman, with so much loss, and so much courage, we
should have continued to occupy a position we had rendered glorious for
ever. A cession of it to the French appears to be a tacit reproach. By
concentrating our left on our right attack, we could have readily
carried on the siege works, and have preserved to ourselves the attack
against the Malakoff, which was originally opened by us on the 17th of
October, 1854. It was said that the French objected to take Chapman's
attack, on the plea that they could not serve our artillery. Sir John
Burgoyne then offered that our artillerymen should be left to work the
English guns; but the objection, if ever it was made, was futile,
inasmuch as at a subsequent period of the siege the French demanded and
received the loan of more than twenty-four 32-pounders, which they used
with great vigour at the final bombardment. The compliance of Sir John
Burgoyne upon this point is the more to be wondered at, inasmuch as it
was he who discovered the great importance of the position we so readily
yielded, and it was he who announced that the Malakoff, of which he
relinquished the attack to our Allies, was the veritable key of the
whole of the defences of Sebastopol.

Between the death of Lord Raglan and the middle of July, no decided
progress was made in the siege approaches, and the Russians contented
themselves with strenuous preparations to meet another assault. But as
sickness diminished, and reinforcements and fresh supplies of material
were poured into the Crimea later in the month, the Allies set to work
with renewed energy, and not only gained ground before Sebastopol, but
began to feel their way towards the left of the enemy's position on the
Belbek. At the same time they extended their operations in the direction
of Mangoup-Kale, and Kutchuk Sevren, first by way of reconnaissance, and
finally by the establishment of standing camps of sufficient strength to
defy a sudden attack by any force short of an army. In these operations
the French performed the active work. They were aided to some extent by
the Sardinians encamped at Komara, and by the Turks, who completed the
friendly investment of Balaklava from the Sardinian right to the cliffs
over the sea near Cape Aiya.


After the 18th of June, 1855, it became quite evident that our left
attack was utterly useless for the purposes of an assault, and
accordingly one would have thought that the whole energy of the chiefs
of the British Army and of the Engineers would have been directed to
push on our saps in the direction of the only point of attack the
British Army had to deal with; but in effect the Redan was not
approached much more closely by our Engineers subsequently to the 18th
than it had been previously, and most of our efforts were directed to
the augmentation of the weight and vigour of our fire from batteries
already established, or to the strengthening of the Quarries Battery,
which we took on the 7th of June. In fact, we seemed determined to take
the place by the fire of artillery alone; and yet, when the time came we
combined with it an assault, which was of course an interference with,
and an abandonment of, that determination. Although our officers had the
Mamelon before their eyes, they overlooked the fact that the Russians
could screen a very large body of men inside their casemates and
bomb-proofs, and that the garrison would suffer very little from our
fire so long as it failed to search out and destroy those retreats. When
the garrison of these casemates was warned, by the cessation of our
fire, of the coming assault, they swarmed out in masses more numerous
than the assailants, who were besides broken, and almost breathless,
owing to their run from the trenches, and repulsed them ere they reached
the abattis. Whenever the Russians felt our energy was overpowering them
at any one particular point they withdrew their guns behind the
traverse or parapet, and trusted to the strength of their earthworks, so
that it was difficult to say what was the exact effect of our cannonade
upon their guns. Thus, on the 18th of June, our soldiers were raked with
grape and canister from points where we had imagined the guns were
dismounted and silenced, and it was evident that our artillery had not
gained that mastery over the enemies' pieces which was requisite to
ensure success. We subsequently endeavoured to secure a better chance
for our troops, at the next assault, by establishing batteries to crush
the flanking fire of the angles of the Redan, and of the curtains in the
direction of the salient; but the tackles broke in raising the guns, and
these batteries were never armed.

From the attack of the 18th of June to the 10th of July, the enemy were
employed in strengthening their works; they made such progress at the
Redan, that it was judged expedient to open a heavy fire upon them. This
commenced at five o'clock on the morning of the 10th of July, and lasted
for four hours. Several embrasures were destroyed, and the enemy's reply
was feeble; but they did not cease from their labours, and we were
obliged to reserve our ammunition for general bombardment. The English
cavalry, long inactive, began to look forward to service in the field,
as hopes were held out that a movement would be made against the Russian
corps on the Upper Belbek. On the 12th July, General Barnard was
appointed Chief of the Staff.

Major-General Markham arrived on the 19th of July, and assumed the
command of the Second Division; but he had materially injured his health
by the exertions he made in travelling through India to get to the
Crimea, and he did not add to the high reputation he had gained in the

The arrival of Sir Harry Jones to replace Sir John Burgoyne was regarded
with hope, but no change in the plan of attack was originated by that
officer, nor did the French engineers at any time appear to appreciate
the importance of the ground between them and the Malakoff, till the
Russians significantly demonstrated the value of the Mamelon by seizing
upon and fortifying it in the spring of the year. Sir Harry Jones,
although younger than Sir John Burgoyne, was not blest with the health
of that veteran soldier, and for some time the works were carried on
without the benefit of his personal supervision. If the ground in front
of our trenches and saps towards the Redan was difficult, that through
which the French drove their approaches close to the Bastion du Mât, and
notably to the Bastion Centrale, was literally a mass of oolite and hard

Our armament, on the 17th of June, consisted of thirty 13-inch mortars,
seventeen 10-inch mortars, and eight 8-inch mortars; of forty-nine
32-pounders, of forty-six 8-inch guns, of eight 10-inch, and eight
68-pounder guns--an increase of thirty guns and mortars on the armament
with which we opened fire on the 7th June; and 2,286 13-inch bombs, 884
10-inch bombs, 9,746 32-lb. shot, 6,712 8-inch shot, 1,706 10-inch shot,
1,350 68-pounder shot, were fired into the town, in the bombardment,
previous to the assault. Still, this weight of metal did not crush the
fire of the place, and the enemy were enabled to continue to reply, and
to mount fresh guns, owing to the constant command of men from the
armies outside the town. The capture of Kertch and Yenikale, the command
of the Sea of Azoff, the partial possession of the Spit of Arabat, had
not produced the results we expected on the resources of the garrison;
they received supplies of men and food by Perekop and Tchongar--no
matter by what exertions or at what sacrifices the communications might
be effected. The Allies advanced from Eupatoria, towards Simpheropol,
but invariably found the enemy in superior force, in strong positions,
except on the single occasion of General d'Allonville's brilliant affair
with the Russian cavalry, under General Korte, near Sak, which ended in
the utter rout of the latter and the loss of a battery of field
artillery. The nature of the country, the difficulty of transport, and
the distance of the base of operations, have all been pleaded as reasons
for the failure of the attempts to advance from Eupatoria; but it seems
rather strange that no effort was made to march, by either the Buljanak
or the Alma, to the capital of the Crimea: the troops of Omar Pasha,
instead of being kept idle at Komara or Eupatoria, could have been
employed with the French and English in making a serious diversion,
which would have paralyzed the energies of the enemy, and which might
have led to the fall of Sebastopol. It was not till the 11th July that
Omar Pasha, dispirited at the inactivity to which himself and army had
been doomed, proposed to General Simpson to embark the Turks from the
Crimea, and to land near Kutais, in order to relieve Kars by menacing a
march upon Tiflis. On the 15th of July a conference of the Allied
Generals was held at General Pelissier's to consider the position of the
Turks in Asia Minor, and it was with much difficulty the Turkish
Generalissimo succeeded in persuading them that 25,000 Turks operating
in Asia were much better employed than if they were doing nothing at
Komara. However, it was long ere he could obtain the means of carrying
out his plans; and there is no doubt but that his assistance in
operating from Eupatoria would have been of the utmost importance during
the time he was compelled to maintain an attitude of hopeless


It will be observed that all this while the Turks never took part in the
siege. The justice of the following remarks, which was apparent enough
in July, 1855, seems still more evident at the present moment:--"It is a
singular thing, that while the French and British troops consider their
most harassing work to be the duty in the trenches, the Turks, who are
equally interested in the event of the war, and will be the most
benefited by its success, do not take any share in actual siege
operations, and amuse themselves with the mere pastime of foraging, or
actually sitting in indolence for hours together, following the shadows
of their tents as they move from west to east, smoking stolidly, or
grinning at the antics of some mountebank comrade. Omar Pasha goes
hither and thither without object, merely that his army may seem to be
employed; its actual services are of little importance. It is said that
an agreement was made between the allied Generals and the Porte that the
Turks were not to assist in the siege. But why not? and can such an
arrangement be binding when the public good demands a different course?
If the Ottoman troops be so excellent behind fortifications, there can
be no objection to their relieving their hard-worked allies in some of
the less important positions; or they might at least be employed in some
more active manner than merely moving to and fro occasionally, as if for
the purpose of impressing the mind of Europe with a false idea of

"The rumour has spread within the last few days that Omar Pasha is to go
to Kars, in order to relieve the place and oppose the advance of the
Russians in Asia. But this, if seriously contemplated, can be intended
only as a measure of preparation for next year's campaign, and the
object will be rather to save Erzeroum than Kars. Should the
transportation of the Turkish army to Trebizonde be determined upon, it
will not take less than two months, even with the help of the British
Navy, to convey it across, a longer term having been required for the
transport from Varna to Eupatoria, which places are not so far apart.
Allowing a month for the march from Trebizonde to Kars, it would be
November before the army could reach its new position; and at that
season the lofty table-land of Armenia is deep in snow, and all military
operations will be suspended until the ensuing spring. But it is more
than probable that the report of the movement has no foundation. It
arises from a belief that the affairs of Asia have been grievously
neglected, that the present year has not bettered the position of the
Turks, and that there is danger lest the Russians should actually
succeed in wresting away an important province as well as consolidating
their reputation among the inhabitants of Central Asia."

The first great phase in the siege had been passed--we found that the
Russians could resist the Allied forces with vigour, and that they were
capable of acting upon the defensive with greater energy than we gave
them credit for, from their conduct at the Alma. The constant passage up
the Bosphorus of vessels with troops on board from France, and artillery
and material from England, evinced the preparations made by the Allies
for the renewal of the struggle; but there were many who thought that
the siege would not be over till the following year, and that the Allies
would have to undergo the miseries of another winter in the open
trenches. Sir George Brown, who had ever entertained a most gloomy view
of our position--the falseness and danger of which, in a military sense,
he rather exaggerated than undervalued--left the army on sick
certificate two days after Lord Raglan's death, and the Generals in
command were new and untried men, in comparison with those who first led
our army to the Crimean campaign.

On the 12th of July, the Turks and French went out foraging and
reconnoitring towards Baidar. According to the officers who accompanied
this reconnaissance, there was no weak point towards the Belbek, and an
attack on the Russian position from Inkerman to Simpheropol was
considered hopeless. Nature seems as if she had constructed the plateau
they occupied as a vast defensible position which 50,000 men might hold
against four times their number. Writing on the 12th of July, I
said,--"Of the reduction of Sebastopol proper before the winter I have
no kind of doubt. The Russian generals, though brave and determined on
an obstinate defence, deserve credit for prudence and forethought. As
long as a place can be held with a chance of success, or even of
damaging the enemy, they will hold it; but all their proceedings induce
the belief that they will not allow their troops to be cut to pieces
merely for the credit of having made a desperate resistance, and of
having maintained, without advantage, for a short time longer, a
position which, in a military sense, is untenable. When they perceive
that their retreat is seriously endangered, it is not improbable that
they will altogether abandon the southern side, which they can hardly
hope to hold should the Allies be able to command the harbour. They, no
doubt, count at least on being able to prolong their resistance until
the winter sets in; if that be impossible, they will most likely
withdraw to the northern side, to which it may be impracticable to lay
siege before the spring of 1856."

On the night of the 22nd, the Russians, who were either under the
impression that the Allies were about to make an assault, or wished to
stop our working parties, opened a heavy fire of musketry along their
line, and after a great expenditure of ammunition, they retired from the
parapets. The casualties in the trenches became so heavy, that the
Commander-in-Chief, in several despatches, expressed his regret at the
loss, which he attributed to the proximity of the works, the lightness
of the nights, and the rocky nature of the ground. From the 27th to the
29th July, thirteen men were killed, and five officers and 108 men were
wounded, in addition to casualties in the Naval Brigade. However, some
little progress was made--our advanced parallels were strengthened, and
our unlucky fifth parallel was deepened. The French engineers were
pressing on with indefatigable energy on the right and left of our
position, and were close to the Malakoff on the right, and the Central
and Flagstaff Bastion on the left; and it was evident that, at the next
bombardment, it would scarcely be possible to preserve the town from
destruction. The Russians prepared to strike a blow, the influence of
which would be felt in the councils of Vienna, and in the Cabinets of
every State in Europe.

The French had now pushed their works almost to the abattis of the
Malakoff, and were so near that a man might throw a stone into the
Russian position. It began to be understood by all engaged that the real
point of attack would be the Malakoff works, the capture of which would
render the Redan untenable, and make the surrender of the south side of
the place merely a question of time.


The following letter, which was found in Laspi, near Baidar, affords a
curious insight into the feeling of Russian civilians. It was written
from a village close to the north Fort of Sebastopol, and ran thus:--

     _May 26_ (_June 7_).

     "You are not, my dear sister, in a very safe position; according to
     my judgment, the enemy is only a few steps from you at Foross. The
     Baidar road is broken up. We have already sent pioneers to the
     coast to break up the roads in case of the arrival of the enemy;
     they have taken a sufficient quantity of powder. In your letter of
     the 12th of May (24th) you said all was quiet about you, but it
     cannot be so now. Kertch is taken; at Arabat there was a battle, in
     which we were victorious. They even say that a Russian army is
     marching upon Paris. Up to to-day all was quiet in Sebastopol.
     To-day the enemy bombarded heavily, but did nothing but bombard,
     and will do nothing; they can do nothing at all against us. Mother,
     who has just come from there, says it is impossible to recognize
     the town, it is so much changed by the fortification continually
     added to it. At the Severnaya, you enter as through a gate, with
     enormous batteries on each side. Mother was there a day when it was
     quite quiet; she even slept in the town that night. At ten o'clock
     a shell fell into the gallery near the window; happily it did not
     fall into the room, or she might have been hurt. * * * They say
     that the seat of war will soon be transferred to the Danube. It is
     time that these gentlemen should leave us, and let us have a little
     rest. As soon as they go, the town of Sebastopol will be built
     where the Chersonese was, and what is now Sebastopol will be
     entirely a fortress. How curious it will be, till one gets
     accustomed to it," &c.

The writer goes on to speak of her yellow dress being ready, and of her
intention of going in it to Sebastopol in order to have her portrait
taken. The Severnaya alluded to in the letter was what we called the
Star Fort, or is more probably the name for the whole northern faubourg.

After the sortie of the 23rd of July, nothing of importance, or even of
interest, occurred. The desultory fire, to which we were accustomed,
continued by day, usually swelling into a roar of artillery for a
portion of every night. The casualties continued much as before, not
very heavy, although some days were unlucky, and on the night of the
28th the Guards had twenty-five or thirty men killed and wounded.

Soon after five o'clock on the morning of the 31st of July a most
violent storm of wind and rain commenced. It caused much discomfort and
actual damage in the camp, over which it raged with combined fury and
obstinacy which I do not remember to have seen surpassed. The extensive
portion of the camp, of which I commanded a view from my hut, was
converted into a lake, the rain descending much faster than it could
sink into the earth. Over the surface of this lake the rain was borne in
clouds by the driving wind, and formed a sort of watery curtain through
which the soaked tents looked dreary and dismal enough. The shelter
which they offered, imperfect as it was, was sought, and only here and
there a drenched figure was to be seen struggling through the blast. In
the pens the mules and horses hung their heads mournfully, enduring,
with melancholy philosophy, the inevitable and unwelcome _douche_. In
sundry nooks and corners to the leeward of tents, and under the eaves of
huts, the camp fowls took refuge, with drooping plumes, and that look of
profound discomfort peculiar to poultry under difficulties. Even the
furious war of the elements did not arrest the strife between man and
man, and from time to time, above the roar of the wind and the plash of
the rain, the boom of a gun reached us.

I was told by a French officer of Artillery, that General Pelissier, on
being asked when offensive siege operations would be again resumed,
said, "Well, I don't know: the Russians are losing every day 300 or 400
men by sickness. If we wait a week, they will have lost a brigade; if we
wait a month, they will have lost a _corps d'armée_." But if the
Russians lost many men by sickness, they managed to replace them.
Numbers of stories were in circulation about the formidable forces which
had come, and kept coming, and apprehensions of an attack upon the
Tchernaya line gained ground daily.

On the night of August 2nd, between ten and eleven o'clock, P.M., the
Russians sallied out of the town by the Woronzoff Road, and advanced to
the heavy iron frieze placed across the Woronzoff Road, between the left
and right attacks. The advanced picket at the _chevaux de frise_ was
commanded by Lieutenant R. E. Carr, of the 39th Regiment, who behaved
with coolness and gallantry. He fell back slowly, keeping up a fire on
the Russians, to the advanced trench guard, under Captain Lackie, 39th
Regiment. The trench guard on the right of the fourth parallel, under
Captain Boyle, 89th, and Captain Turner, 1st Royals, checked the enemy,
and they retired after ten minutes' firing, leaving a few men killed
behind them, and carrying off a part of the barrier.


Piedmont, placed as it is between two great military Powers--France and
Austria--has evidently watched with attention the progress and
improvements which have been introduced into the military systems of
these two neighbouring empires, and adapted their experiments in these
matters to her own advantage. In the autumn of every year a
concentration of troops takes place in Lombardy, and before the war of
1848 numbers of Piedmontese officers used to assemble there. The same
was, and I think is still, the case whenever a camp is collected in the
south of France. Thus they had the opportunity of studying two, in many
respects, very different systems. The result is a blending of the two in
arms, accoutrements, administration, and movements. For instance, the
infantry is dressed in French fashion, with leather gaiters under the
trousers, the long coat reaching to the knees; the only exception being
the shako, which more resembles the Austrian shako than the French kepi.
The cavalry and the artillery, on the contrary, wear the short tunic of
the Austrian cavalry and artillery. For the movements of infantry as
well as of cavalry the French manual has been exclusively adopted, and
at some distance one could scarcely distinguish French cavalry
manoeuvring from Piedmontese, were it not for the difference in the
seat of the riders. The _manège_ is decidedly Austrian.

The spirit of the Piedmontese army--I mean, the relations existing
between soldiers and officers, and of the intercourse of the latter with
one another--is, however, more analagous to that of the English than to
that of either the French or Austrian armies. It is neither the easy
familiarity which exists between the French officer and soldier, nor
that "beggar-on-horseback"-like tyranny of the officer and the unwilling
slavishness of the soldier which characterize the Austrian army. The
officers in the Piedmontese, like those in the English Army, belong
almost exclusively to the higher classes, and only rarely does an
officer rise from the ranks, so that the distance between officer and
soldier is not one of mere discipline, but social; and, however the
spirit of Republicanism and the longing for equality may be developed in
other states of Italy, Piedmont does not seem to be impregnated with it,
and the system adopted of choosing for officers men from the higher
classes answers very well. On the other hand, the officers themselves
associate much in the same manner as in the English Army. When official
business is over and social intercourse begins, the difference between
the higher and lower officer entirely ceases, and they associate as
gentlemen are wont to do.

On the 30th of July a medical board was ordered on Lieutenant-General
Sir R. England, G.C.B., commanding Third Division, and he was
recommended to return to England. He was the last of the generals who
left England in command of a division. Major-General Eyre succeeded him
in the Third Division.

On the 5th, Brigadier Lockyer was in orders for Ceylon, and Colonel
Windham, C.B., was nominated to succeed him in the command of the Second
Brigade, 2nd Division. On the 3rd of August General Canrobert was

At an early hour on the 7th, General Simpson went round the lines,
examining the works. A council of war was held on Wednesday evening,
8th, at the British head-quarters. The principal medical officers of
Divisions received orders to clear the hospitals, to send to Balaklava
such patients as could safely be moved, and to complete the preparations
for the reception of wounded men.

Leave of absence continued to be granted to a very large extent. Taking
five of the then latest general orders, those of the 3rd, 5th, 6th, 7th,
and 8th of August, we find the names of no less than seventy officers
who had received permission to absent themselves. Of these, twenty-nine
proceeded to England--twenty-six of them in virtue of medical
certificates, and three upon "urgent private affairs," or in
consideration of peculiar circumstances: twenty-seven went to Scutari
and Therapia for periods varying from two to five weeks; twelve on board
ship, and two to the Monastery of St. George, where there were ten rooms
fitted up for ailing or convalescent officers. I heard a colonel declare
that he had but one captain and three subalterns on duty in his
battalion, and that he, consequently, had to send one hundred men into
the trenches under charge of a youth of eighteen. If this state of
things could not have been helped, it, at least, was very unfortunate.
Enough officers did not come out to replace those who went home. The
protracted siege--if siege it could be called, which in reality was a
tedious struggle between two rows of detached forts--was certainly not
popular with the officers of the army, few of whom cared to remain if
they had a respectable pretext for returning home, while fewer still
desired to return hither when they once got away. I am persuaded that if
there had been more movement in the campaign--if, instead of monotonous
trench duty we had been engaged in ordinary warfare, manoeuvring,
marching, fighting, there would have been both less sickness and fewer
seeking leave. I do not attempt to decide the question whether leave was
sometimes too easily granted, and more to interest than to necessity.
The French were thought to fall into the other extreme, and instances
were cited to me in which the lives of valuable officers would have been
saved had they been allowed to exchange severe duty (one night out of
three in the trenches, independently of ordinary guards and parades,
cannot be considered light labour) for a period of relaxation in a more
salutary climate.

On the 9th the Russians amused themselves by throwing a few round shot
into the camp of the Fourth Division. Two of these buried themselves in
the ground, close to a hospital hut of the 17th Regiment, shaking the
edifice and astonishing the wounded, but doing no other damage; another
killed a man of the field-train as he lay in his tent. It was said the
missiles were intended for General Bentinck's tents, which were near the
Fourth Division flagstaff on Cathcart's Hill. The Duke of Newcastle was
staying there. A new kitchen, building for the General, was thought to
have attracted the attention of the Muscovite gunners.


Late in the evening of the 13th of August orders were given for the
troops to be under arms by three in the morning. Of course, Malakoff was
immediately the word, and most persons supposed that the long-talked-of
assault was to be made. This, however, was soon found not to be the
case. Without tap of drum or sound of bugle, the camp was afoot at the
prescribed hour, the troops forming up in profound silence. The entire
army was out, including the cavalry and artillery from Balaklava. The
first grey of morning found a number of officers and amateurs assembled
on Cathcart's Hill, the best point of observation. There was unusually
little firing the day before and during the night, and all expected that
this tranquillity was quickly to be broken by the din of an engagement.
The interest of the situation grew stronger as the morning advanced, and
as the scarlet columns became visible, massed along the lines,
motionless and expectant. Superior officers, with their staff, moved to
and fro; aides-de-camp traversed the heights with orders; here and
there, through the still imperfect light, which began to be tinged with
the first red flush of sunrise, waved the pennons of a Lancer escort.
With broad day, the brief excitement ended. Before the upper edge of the
sun's disc rose above the hills, the troops were marching briskly back
to their tents. The morning was beautifully clear, and the spectacle was
striking. In fine order, in serried columns, looking hardy, active, and
cheerful, and up to any work, the Crimean army regained its canvas
quarters. For the day, the danger was over--to commence again, it was
believed, at night. From certain orders that were given with respect to
ammunition, mules, &c., I inferred that the army would again be under
arms early the next morning. The officers were warned to be ready at a
moment's notice. It was believed that reinforcements had reached
Sebastopol. They had been expected for some time previously. Four
divisions were talked of, two of them Imperial Guards. Word was sent up
from the fleet to head-quarters that large bodies of troops had been
seen collecting behind the Redan, and others behind the Tchernaya, and
there were grounds for expecting a general attack along our lines. The
Generals of Division assembled in the afternoon at the quarters of the
Commander-in-Chief. General Simpson was indisposed, and it was reported
that he intended going on board ship for a few days. It is not
impossible that this turn-out of the Army was a mere rehearsal, intended
to ascertain whether all the actors were perfect in their parts, and in
case of need would be promptly at their posts. The report in camp was,
that the Archduke Michael was in Sebastopol. We learned from deserters
that he had been expected. General Pelissier held 40,000 men in
readiness to operate on the line of the Tchernaya, which, from its
extent, was perhaps the most attackable part of our position; but it was
vigilantly guarded.

The _Orinoco_ arrived at Balaklava with Dragoons and horses. Mr. Doyne,
Superintendent-in-Chief of the Army Working Corps, also arrived. He came
as far as Constantinople in the _Simoom_, with 450 of his men, who were
to follow him to the Crimea. The casualties from the 10th to the 12th
were 19 killed; one officer, and 112 wounded. On the afternoon of the
13th, a distinguished young officer, Major Hugh Drummond, Scots Fusileer
Guards, was killed as he was posting his sentries in front of the
trenches. Drafts arrived to the Light Division; the 71st Regiment, and
one squadron of 1st Dragoon Guards, landed at Balaklava.

The troops turned out every morning before dawn, and the Sardinians and
French made reconnaissances. The Russian villas in the lovely valley of
Baidar suffered, in which the Turks discovered, in a little
country-house on the sea-shore, called Laspi, an old French doctor, who
had been established many years in Russia. One fine morning a complaint
was made to the French General by his countryman, that five Turkish
soldiers had come to pay a visit to Laspi. They were received and fed,
but before going away they asked for "_madjar_" (Hungarian ducats, the
best known foreign money among the Turks). The old doctor, who of course
understood nothing of their language, thought it was a polite inquiry
about his nationality; and, wishing to rectify the mistake of his
guests, pointed to the French cockade which he had fixed on his cap,
saying at the same time, "_Je suis Français, Français._" But when one of
the soldiers took hold of his watch and chain, and the others began to
search the persons of the ladies of the family, he was aware that it was
he, and not the Turks, who had made the mistake, and the soldiers
departed with objects to the value of about £200. General Pelissier
addressed a complaint to the Turkish head-quarters. The answer was, that
the Turks had the strictest orders not to plunder; that the marauders
could not have been Turkish soldiers; and that the dress and flint
muskets must have been borrowed or taken in order to make people believe
that they were Turks.

After the French and English cavalry occupied the valley, the visits to
the country-houses became much more systematic. The Russians having
entirely withdrawn from the coast up to Yalta, the whole of the
country-houses on the shore were opened to enterprising individuals, and
every morning arabas and pack-horses came into camp, loaded with the
most heterogeneous objects; chairs, beds, crockery, carpets, pictures,
albums, ladies' work-baskets, embroidered cushions, cooking utensils,
wine, and hundreds of other things, were brought back and sold all along
the road. In order to put a stop to these excursions, an English cavalry
picket was stationed at the Phoros Pass, which is erected on the highest
point of the Woronzoff Road, just before it begins to descend towards
the sea, and nobody was allowed to enter except with a pass. But this
mended things only half--that is to say, no English soldier was
permitted to indulge in a roaming disposition; but French marauders, as
before, came duly provided with a pass, and returned with as much
plunder as they could possibly carry.


     Defeat of the Russians--Renewal of hostilities--Bravery of the
     Allied Armies--Tenacity of Russian Attack--Usual prognostication of
     Retreat--Letter of Emperor read to Russian troops--Enumeration of
     troops engaged on the side of the Allies--Despatch of Marshal

On the 16th of August the long-threatened attack of the Russians took
place, and ended in their complete defeat. Movements of large numbers of
troops in the neighbourhood of Sebastopol, the unanimous reports of the
deserters, of whom several came in every day, and information gained
from Tartars, had given intimation that the Russians intended to try
their luck once more in an offensive operation. Although, at first, the
line of the Tchernaya suggested itself as the point which the Russians
would most probably attack, a supposition which was moreover confirmed
by all the deserters, yet, as large numbers of newly-arrived troops were
seen concentrated in and about the Russian works, apprehensions were
entertained that they might attempt the positions before Sebastopol.


Several deserters came in on the 15th, and spoke with the utmost
certainty of an intended attack on the Tchernaya; but no particular
attention was paid to their reports, and no special orders were given to
the troops, except "to be prepared;" and this had been so often repeated
that it made no impression. In Baidar, whence the English cavalry had
been withdrawn, two regiments of heavy French cavalry, and detachments
of Chasseurs and Zouaves, were stationed. On the 15th, General
d'Allonville sent word by semaphore, that large numbers of Russian
troops were concentrated on the heights, and that he expected to be
attacked. Late in the evening, notice of this message was sent to
General Della Marmora and Osman Pasha. No additional precautions were
taken on the Tchernaya line, and the advance was scarcely less a
surprise than that of Inkerman. The first news of the attack was brought
about daybreak by some Chasseurs forming part of a patrol who fell into
an ambuscade and escaped, while their comrades were taken prisoners.
Soon afterwards the outposts across the Tchernaya were driven in, and at
daybreak the cannonade began.

The Tchernaya, issuing from the narrow gorge in which it runs after
leaving the Valley of Baidar, at the Tower of Karlovka, flows between a
succession of hillocks, which formed the basis of the position of the
allied armies. On the extreme right, the Turks were stationed. They
occupied two hillocks, between which are two roads leading from Higher
Tchorgoun and the Tower of Karlovka into the Woronzoff Road. The
Sardinians leant on the little mountain stream which limited the Turkish
position to the left, and on the large hillock above the road from
Balaklava to Tchorgoun, and occupied a position of the utmost importance
in the defence of the line of the Tchernaya. In front, and divided from
it by the aqueduct, was another hillock, smaller but equally steep,
accessible from the first by a stone bridge on which the Sardinians had
a small _épaulement_. They had outposts at the other side of the
Tchernaya, on the hillock near the Mackenzie Road. The French occupied
three hillocks to the left of the Sardinians, and guarded the road
leading to Balaklava over the Traktir Bridge from Mackenzie's Farm. The
first of these, to the right, was separated from the others by the road
to the bridge; and the third, on the left, was protected by the basin of
the aqueduct. In front of the bridge there was an _épaulement_, beyond
which were the outposts.


AUGUST 16th 1855.

Reduced from the Q.M. General's Plan.

The first attack of the Russians was against the outposts of the
Sardinians. Corresponding to the hillocks on the south side of the
Tchernaya were three plateaux from which their guns could command not
only the ground opposite occupied by the Sardinians and Turks, but the
plain which opens towards the French position. A company of infantry,
and a company of bersaglieri, formed the Sardinian outposts. They were
attacked at dawn. As the troops were not under arms, it was necessary to
hold this position for a while, and General Della Marmora sent Major
Govone, of the Etat-Major, with a company of bersaglieri, to reinforce
the companies. They crossed the aqueduct and the river, and went up the
plateau; but, when they arrived on the crest, the two companies had
just left the _épaulement_, which had become untenable, as it was swept
by the guns which the Russians had brought up on the plateaux, and was
exposed to be taken in the rear. The Sardinians retired in good order
across the river, and went to reinforce the post which occupied the
second hillock on the aqueduct.

The cannonade on both sides commenced. Scarcely had the cannonade opened
when three compact columns of infantry advanced towards the French
position, and attacked the bridge and the hillock to the right.

The French outpost beyond the bridge consisted of a company of the 2nd
regiment of Zouaves. The other _avant postes_, to the right of the
Zouaves up to the Sardinian outposts, were furnished by the 20th _léger_
and the 22nd of the line. The _réveillée_ had not yet gone in camp, when
the sentinels were alarmed by hearing the tramp of men, whose forms were
yet invisible in the darkness. The posts had not time to stand to their
arms ere they were driven across the river; but the desultory firing had
given timely warning to the main guards and to the camps, and the men
turned out just as a storm of round shot began to rush over the ground.

The Russian columns, protected by the fire of their artillery, moved in
excellent order down to the river side, notwithstanding the heavy fire
of artillery which greeted them in front from the French, and in flank
from the Sardinians. At the river the first column detached itself from
the rest, and dividing into two parts crossed the river, which is easily
fordable in summer.

Before the troops were properly under arms the Russians were at the
bridge and at the foot of the hillock. The 20th _léger_ and the 2nd
battalion of Zouaves had to stand the first shock, and they certainly
stood it gallantly. The Russians, without losing time in firing,
advanced with an _élan_ scarcely ever seen in Russian troops. They were
new troops, belonging, according to the prisoners and wounded, to the
5th division of the 2nd _corps d'armée_, lately arrived from Poland.

The aqueduct which ran close to the foot of the hillock, formed the
chief defence of the French. About nine or ten feet wide and several
feet deep, it skirts the steep hills so close, that it is nearly in all
places supported by a high embankment, offering considerable
difficulties for an advancing force, and exposing them as soon as they
reach the top of the embankment, to commanding musketry fire.
Notwithstanding this, the Russians crossed it on the right, and were
beginning to scale the heights, when, taken in flank by the Sardinian
batteries, which fired with admirable precision, they were swept down
wholesale and rolled into the aqueduct.


This first rush did not last ten minutes. The Russians fell back.
Scarcely had they gone a few hundred yards when they were met by a
second column, which was advancing at the _pas de charge_, and both
united and again rushed forward. This second attempt was more successful
than the first. They forded the river on the right and left, at the
bridge, and forced its defenders to fall back. The moment the bridge was
free two guns of the 5th Light Brigade of Artillery crossed it and took
position between two of the hillocks on the road which leads to the
plain of Balaklava. A third gun crossed the river by a ford, and all
three began to sweep the road and the heights. The infantry, without
waiting for the portable bridges, the greater part of which had been
thrown away during the advance, rushed breast-deep into the water,
climbed up the embankment, and began to scale the heights. They
succeeded in getting up more than one-half of the ascent, where the dead
and wounded afterwards showed clearly the mark they reached; but by this
time the French met them in the most gallant style. The Russians were by
degrees forced back, and driven across the bridge, carrying away their

While this conflict took place on the bridge, the other column attacked
the French right in such a swarm that they could neither be kept back by
the aqueduct, nor cowed by the Sardinian guns, which were ploughing long
lanes through their ranks. On they came, as it seemed, irresistible, and
rushed up the steep hill with such fury that the Zouaves, who lined the
sides of it, were obliged to fall back. The officers might be seen
leading the way and animating their soldiers. This furious rush brought
the advancing column to the crest of the hillock, where it stopped to
form. But the French had not been idle. Scarcely did the column of the
enemy show its head, ere the guns opened upon it with grape, and a
murderous fire was poured in by the French infantry. The column began to
waver; but the impetus from those behind was so powerful that the head
was pushed forward a few yards more, when the French, giving one mighty
cheer, rushed upon the enemy, who, shaken already, immediately turned
round and ran. But the mass was so great that all the hurry could not
save them, and more than 200 prisoners were taken, the banks of the
aqueduct, the aqueduct itself, and the river side were covered and
filled with the dead and the wounded. The Sardinian and French artillery
poured a murderous cross-fire into the scattered remains of the column.
It was a complete rout. The French drove them far across the plain. This
defeat completely depressed them; nothing more was attempted against
this side.

Not so on the bridge. Notwithstanding the heavy loss suffered in the
second attack, the Russians collected the scattered remains of the
column which had been routed on the right of the French, and brought up
all their reserves. They crossed the river, and the aqueduct too, but
the French were now thoroughly prepared, and the tenacity of the
Russians only served to augment their losses. This last failure was
decisive, and immediately the advance of the artillery--the usual
Russian preparation for retreat--showed they were on the point of
retiring. Three batteries, each of twelve guns, began to open fire,
while the remains of the infantry rallied behind a rising ground leading
up towards the plateau of Ayker, or Mackenzie's Height.

The Sardinians, who, with the exception of the little outpost fight on
the opposite side of the Tchernaya, had only supported the French by
their artillery, began to move across the aqueduct. The Russian
riflemen, after the last defeat on the right, had retired behind the
banks of the Tchernaya. A battalion of Piedmontese, preceded by a
company of bersaglieri, advanced in beautiful order as if on parade, and
soon drove these riflemen from their position. It even advanced some
way, but it was not intended to force the heights. The French brought up
a new division (Dulac's). The English and French cavalry were in
readiness on the ground of the Light Cavalry charge, to receive the
enemy if they should debouch on the plain. But General Morris would not
risk the cavalry on the plain, intersected as it was by the branches of
the river, and defended, as it was still, by the Russian guns on the
height; so only two squadrons of Chasseurs d'Afrique followed the
retreating enemy.

The guns which the Russians had brought up to cover their retreat
suffered so much by the fire, which from our side was increased by
Captain Mowbray's battery from the open ground between the Sardinian and
the French positions, that they made off. As the guns retired, a
brilliant line of cavalry appeared from behind the rising ground. I
could distinguish five regiments--three in line and two other regiments
in second line. They advanced at a gallop, and wheeling round, allowed
twelve guns to pass, which again opened fire, but at half-past nine or
ten o'clock black lines moving off, through clouds of the dust on the
Mackenzie Road, were the only traces which remained of the so long
threatened attack of the Russians.

Although not quite so obstinate and sanguinary as the Battle of
Inkerman, this affair resembled it in many points. The Russians gave up
manoeuvring, and confided entirely in the valour of their troops. The
difference was in the manner of fighting. At Inkerman the Russians fell
under file firing; on the Tchernaya it was the artillery which did the
greatest execution. On the banks of the aqueduct particularly, the sight
was appalling; the Russians, when scaling the embankment of the
aqueduct, were taken in flank by the Sardinian batteries, and the dead
and wounded rolled down the embankment, sometimes more than twenty feet
in height.

According to the account of the prisoners, and judging from the straps
on the shoulders of the wounded and dead, three divisions were engaged
in the actual attack,--the 5th of the 2nd _corps d'armée_ (of General
Paniutin), then lately arrived from Poland, under the command of General
Wrangel; the 12th division of the 4th _corps d'armée_ (Osten Sacken's),
formerly under the command of General Liprandi, afterwards under General
Martinolep; and the 17th division of the 6th _corps d'armée_
(Liprandi's), under Major-General Wassielkosky. Before the attack began,
General Gortschakoff, who commanded in person, read a letter from the
Emperor before them, in which he expressed a hope that they would prove
as valorous as last year when they took the heights of Balaklava; and
then there was a large distribution of brandy. Besides the three
divisions which attacked, the 7th occupied Tchorgoun and the heights,
but was not engaged except in the small outpost affair of the

The French had three divisions engaged--the Division Faucheux to the
right, the Division d'Herbillon in the centre, and the Division (Camou)
on the left of the bridge; their loss was about 1,000 in killed and
wounded. The Sardinians had only one division engaged (the Division
Trotti), and lost but a few hundred men; they had to regret the loss of
a distinguished general officer, the Brigadier-General Count de
Montevecchio, who died of his wounds; but they gained great confidence
from the day, and were proud of holding their own so well under the eyes
of their allies.

The battle had been raging for an hour ere I reached the line of the
French works at Fedukhine. From the high grounds over which I had to
ride, the whole of the battle-field was marked out by rolling columns of
smoke, and the irregular thick puffs of the artillery. All our cavalry
camps were deserted; but the sun played on the helmets and sabres of the
solid squadrons, which were drawn up about two miles in advance of
Kadikoi, and just in rear of the line of hills which the French and
Sardinians were defending, so as to be ready to charge the Russians
should they force the position. The French cavalry, chasseurs, hussars,
and two regiments of dragoons, were on our left. Our light and our heavy
cavalry brigades were formed in two heavy masses, supported by artillery
in the plain behind the second Fedukhine hillock, and seemed in splendid
case, and "eager for the fray." The Allies had, in fact, not less than
6,000 very fine cavalry that day in the field; but they were held in
check, "for fear" of the artillery, which there is no doubt they could
have captured, in addition to many thousands of prisoners, if handled by
a Seidlitz or a Murat. But the French General would not permit a charge
to be executed, though French and English cavalry leaders were alike
eager for it, and so this noble force was rendered ineffective.

Having passed by the left of the cavalry, I gained the side of the hill
just as a large body of French troops crowned it at the _pas double_,
deployed, and at once charged down towards the aqueduct, where a strong
column of Russians, protected by a heavy fire of artillery on the crest
of the ridge, were making good their ground against the exhausted
French. This new regiment attacking them with extraordinary impetuosity
on the flank, literally swept the Russians like flies into the aqueduct,
or rolled them headlong down its steep banks; and at the same moment a
French battery on my right, belonging, I think, to the Imperial Guards,
opened on the shattered crowd with grape, and tore them into atoms. This
column was the head, so to speak, of the second attack on the lines, and
emerging through the flying mass, another body of Russian infantry, with
levelled bayonets, advanced with great steadiness towards the aqueduct
once more. As far as the eye could see towards the right, the flat caps
and grey coats were marching towards the Allied position, or detaching
themselves from the distant reserves, which were visible here and there
concealed amid the hills. As the French battery opened, a Russian
battery was detached to answer it, and to draw off their fire; but our
gallant Allies took their pounding with great gallantry and coolness,
and were not diverted for a moment from their business of dealing with
the infantry column, the head of which was completely knocked to pieces
in two minutes. Then the officers halted it, and tried in vain to deploy
them--the column, wavering and wriggling like a great serpent, began to
spread out from the further extremity like a fan, and to retreat towards
the rear. Another crashing volley of grape, and they are retreating over
the plain.

And now there breaks high over all the roar of battle, heavier thunder.
Those are the deep, angry voices of the great English heavy battery of
18-pounders and 32-pounder howitzers, under Mowbray, which search out
the reserves. These guns were placed far away on my right, near the
Sardinians, and it is acknowledged by all that they did good service
upon this eventful day. The advance I had just witnessed was the last
effort of the enemy. Their infantry rolled in confused masses over the
plain on the other side of the Tchernaya, were pursued by the whole fire
of the French batteries and of the 8-inch English howitzers in the
Sardinian redoubt, and by a continuous and well-directed fusillade, till
they were out of range. Their defeat was announced by the advance of
their cavalry, and by the angry volleys of their artillery against the
positions of the Allies. Their cavalry, keeping out of range, made a
very fair show, with lances and standards, and sabres shining brightly;
but beyond that they did nothing--and, indeed, they could do nothing, as
we did not give them a chance of action. The Russians were supported by
guns, but they did not seem well placed, nor did they occupy a good
position at any time of the fight. The infantry formed in square blocks
in the rear of this force, and then began to file off towards the
Mackenzie Road, and the French rocket battery opened on them from the
plateau, and, strange to say, reached them several times. It was about
eight o'clock when their regular retreat commenced, and the English
cavalry and artillery began to retire also at that hour to their camps,
much discontented, because they had had no larger share in the honours
of the day.

The march of the Russians continued till late in the day--their last
column gained the plateau about two o'clock. It must have been a
terrible march for them--not a drop of water to be had; and even when
they gained their arid camp, it is only too probable that they had
nothing to drink; indeed, the prisoners told us the men were encouraged
to the attack by being told that if they gained the Tchernaya they would
have abundance of water--the greatest inducement that could be held out
to them. I rode down towards the _tête-du-pont_. In order to get a good
view of the retreat, I descended to the bridge, which was covered with
wounded men. Just as I gained the centre of it, a volley of shells was
pitched right upon it, and amid the French, who, with their usual
humanity, were helping the wounded. Some burst in the shallow stream,
the sides of which were crowded with wounded men; others killed poor
wretches who were crawling towards the water,--one in particular, to
whom I had just an instant before thrown a sandwich; others knocked
pieces out of the bridge, or tore up the causeway. As the road was right
in the line of fire, I at once turned off the bridge, and pulling sharp
round, dashed under an arch just as the battery opened on us a second
time, and there I remained for about ten minutes, when the Russians
seemed ashamed of themselves, and gave us a respite for a few moments.
The next time they fired was with round shot; and as I retreated up the
road, to obtain shelter behind the hills, one of these knocked a wounded
Zouave to pieces before my eyes. In the rear of the hill, there was a
party of about five hundred Russian prisoners _en bivouac_. Many of them
were wounded; all were war-worn, dirty, ill-clad,--some in rags, others
almost bootless. The French sentries who guarded them seemed to
commiserate the poor fellows; but two or three of their own officers,
who sat apart, did not look at them, but smoked their cigars with great
nonchalance, or talked glibly to the French officers of the fortune of
war, &c.

In a short time I returned to the front, and saw General Simpson and a
few staff-officers descending from the Sardinian position, whence they
had watched the battle. They were on their way back to head-quarters;
but Captain Colville, aide-de-camp to the General, a young officer of
ability and promise, and always of an inquiring turn of mind, turned
back with me, and we rode over the bridge. The French were, however,
obdurate, and would not let us cross the _tête-du-pont_, as we were _en
pleine portée_ of the guns posted behind a white scarp on a hillock on
the opposite side. We could see that the Sardinians had recovered their
old ground, and occupied the height from which their advanced posts were
driven early in the day. Further, we could see the Russian cavalry, but
the great mass of infantry was in full retreat; and at nine o'clock the
road to Mackenzie's Farm was thronged with a close column of thirsty,
footsore, beaten Russians. The aspect of the field, of the aqueduct, and
of the river, was horrible beyond description;--the bodies were closely
packed in parties, and lay in files two or three deep, where the grape
had torn through the columns. For two days the bodies rotted on the
ground which lay beyond the French lines, and the first Russian burying
party did not come down till the 18th, when the stench was so very great
that the men could scarcely perform their loathsome task. General Read
was killed early in the battle; and the Russians lost every officer in
command of an attacking column. Their total loss was, we estimated, at
from 12,000 to 15,000 men.


     Spoil of Camp-followers and Sutlers--Renewal of Cannonade--Nature
     of Russian Artillery firing--Unwillingness of the Turks to throw up
     Earthworks--List of British Wounded, Killed and Missing--British
     Reinforcements--Reports of Russian attack on Balaklava--Rumours of
     Peace--Peace party in Camp--Tenacity and Endurance of Russians
     underrated by them--Desire of English Cavalry to avenge their

After the affair of the 16th, the siege operations monopolized, in great
measure, the military interest which the Tchernaya had attracted for one
moment. But the Tchernaya became a point of attraction for all
curiosity-seeking persons, whose name was legion, in the Allied armies.
Officers and soldiers, although numerous enough, were few in proportion
to the merchant sailors, suttlers from Balaklava and Kamiesch, and other
nondescript camp-followers, who formed a class of themselves, and were
as sure to appear after an action was over as vultures. Everything was
acceptable. They had little chance of getting hold of medals, amulets,
and crosses, and other more valuable spoil, for these disappeared
marvellously; but they were not particular. The Russian muskets were
most in request--cartridge-boxes, riflemen's swords, bayonets, &c., were
taken _faute de mieux_. There were some excellent rifles, with
sword-bayonets, which were in great request; they were, as was usually
the case with all valuable things, picked up by the Zouaves, who
certainly had the best right to them, having won them by their bravery.
The Zouaves sold them, and the gendarmes took them away again, leaving
the purchaser free to single out the Zouave who sold the rifle, and to
get back his purchase-money. But the gendarmes confiscated all arms,
whether paid for or not, as, according to the regulations of the French
army, they ought to have been collected on the battle-field by the
Artillery--a thing which was never done.

The fire, which opened at daybreak on Friday, continued the whole of
Saturday and Sunday, but slackened on Monday. The progress of the French
works was considerable, and the French seemed duly sensible of the
service of our cannonade. I heard a French officer say on Saturday
evening that it had enabled them to do in four hours what they
previously could not have done in fifteen days. Their foremost parallel,
which had been begun at the two ends, could not be completed, owing to
its near proximity to the Malakoff. As soon as a gabion was put up, a
storm of projectiles was hurled against it and the working party;
afterwards the extremities were connected under the cover of our fire.
The distance was indeed so greatly reduced between the French trenches
and the Russian defences, that a vigorous assault seemed certain to


The Russians always considered it a point of honour to go off in great
style on the first day of a bombardment; after which they ran their guns
behind the parapets, covered them with sandbags, and allowed us to blaze
away without making frequent reply. Although earthworks take a deal of
hammering before they show its marks, both the Redan and Malakoff began
to present a very battered appearance. We had, of course, no means of
ascertaining the Russian loss of men. Every night our people kept up the
musketry against the proper right and the curtain of the Malakoff to
protect the French workmen, and shells and bouquets of shells flew all
along the lines right and left--very pretty to look at, but unpleasant
to meet.

At sunset on Saturday evening, the 18th of August, a party of the Naval
Brigade, commanded by Lieutenant Gough, dragged a 68-pounder up to No.
11 Battery left attack to bear on the mole-head and on the bridge across
the creek, but it did not appear to impede the movements of the enemy.

On the afternoon of the 20th, between five and six o'clock, the French
batteries on the left opened a furious fire, to which the Russians
warmly replied. General Pelissier, in his open carriage, with his
aides-de-camp and usual hussar escort, passed through the English camp
and went up to Cathcart's Hill. The fire lasted until nightfall, and
then diminished. At midnight it had almost ceased, and one saw but an
occasional shell in the air. At 2 A.M. orders came for the army to turn
out. This was rapidly done; the troops moved to the front, and remained
there until daylight. A line of telegraphic lights had been observed,
commencing at Sebastopol, and running along the Inkerman heights, and it
was supposed that an attack was intended. These "turns-outs" were
frequent and harassing during this period of the siege.

The French, who were convinced that in the face of a strong force of the
enemy, who might come down with his battalions in a few hours during the
night, field fortifications were never _de trop_, threw up three
redoubts to command the bridge, which was the weakest point of their
defence. They were named Raglan Redoubt, Bizot Redoubt (in honour of the
fallen general of Engineers), and La Bussonière Redoubt (in honour of
the colonel of Artillery of that name who fell on the 18th of June).

The Sardinians strengthened their position. Their works assumed the
shape of an entrenched camp, and every variation in the ground was taken
advantage of. The hills were particularly suited for fortified lines.

The Turks, who occupied the extreme right of our position, and who had
to guard the two roads leading from the valley of Varnutka, did nothing
in the _tabia_ line. In vain did the Sardinian engineers throw out
gentle hints about the propriety of erecting a couple of _épaulements_,
and point out divers hills and heights peculiarly suited for a redoubt;
they turned a deaf ear to all these suggestions, and, except the works
which had been previously thrown up by the Piedmontese, when they held
some of the positions guarded by the Turks, not a shovelful of earth
was turned up. This would have seemed so much the more surprising, as
the Turks had become notorious by their fortification, at Kalafat,
Giurgevo, Silistria, and Eupatoria.


On the 25th, the Highland division under General Cameron encamped close
to the Piedmontese. On the same day, General Simpson reconnoitred with
great care the position of the enemy, who had massed a considerable
number of troops on the Mackenzie Plateau at Taura and Korales, and had
pushed forward strong parties as far as Makoul. It was understood from
the spies that two regiments of the Grenadier Corps had been sent down
in light carts from Simpheropol. At the same time the Russians were busy
at a line of earthworks connecting all their defences from the sea to
the West Inkerman Lighthouse Hill. Their bridge of boats or pontoons
from north to south, across the road, was completed. It passed from the
western curve of Fort Nicholas on the south, to the creek between
Nachimoff Battery and Fort Michael. From the 20th to the 23rd of August
inclusive, we lost 2 sergeants, 24 rank and file killed; 8 officers, 8
sergeants, 168 rank and file wounded--total, 220 _hors de combat_. On
the 20th, Lieutenant Home, 48th, was contused on the shoulder;
Lieutenant Campbell, 72nd, slightly wounded; Lieutenant McBarnet, 79th,
ditto; Captain Dickson, R.A., ditto;--on the 21st, Lieutenant Smith,
28th, ditto;--on the 22nd, Lieutenant Campbell, Scots Fusileer Guards,
ditto; Lieutenant Wield, 95th, severely;--on the 23rd, Lieutenant de
Winton, R.A., slightly. The casualties from the 24th to the 26th of
August were--24 rank and file killed; 9 officers, 6 sergeants, and 137
rank and file wounded and missing. On the 24th, Major Warden, 97th, and
Lieutenant Bigge, 23rd, were slightly, and Captain J. F. Browne, R.E.,
was severely wounded. On the 25th, Captain R. Drummond was dangerously
wounded. Colonel Seymour (who was wounded in the thumb at Inkerman) was
hit in the head by a piece of a shell. Lieutenant Laurie, 34th, was
slightly wounded the same day; on the 26th, Lieutenant Rous, of the
90th, and Captain Arbuthnot, R.A., were wounded severely. On the 28th,
Captain Forbes, Grenadier Guards, received a very slight flesh scratch.
On the 29th, Captain Farquharson, Scotch Fusileer Guards, and Major
Graham, 41st Regiment, were wounded, the first slightly, the latter
severely; and on the 30th, Captain Wolsley, of the 90th acting as
Engineer, was severely wounded. From the 27th to the 30th August, 1
officer, 1 sergeant, and 20 rank and file were killed; 6 officers, 4
sergeants, and 152 rank and file were wounded. The casualties from 31st
August to 2nd September were 1 officer, 1 sergeant, 22 rank and file
killed; 6 officers, 7 sergeants, 106 rank and file wounded; 1 officer, 1
rank and file missing. Captain Fraser, 95th, was killed on the 31st, and
on the same night Lieutenant Burningheim, of the 3rd Regiment, was
slightly, and Lieutenant Forbes, 30th Regiment, mortally wounded; and
Captain Ross, of the Buffs, was missing. On 1st September, Lieutenant
Price, R.A., was slightly, and Lieutenant Cary, Rifle Brigade, was
severely wounded. On the 2nd September, Lieutenant Roberts, R.A., and
Captain Smith, 90th, were slightly wounded. On the 4th, the 82nd
Regiment disembarked from Corfu, and relieved the 13th at Balaklava.

The 56th Regiment, about 800 strong, arrived at Balaklava, and were
annexed to the First Division. The army continued to get under arms
before daybreak. On the 26th the cavalry turned out 2,950 sabres, and
500 or 600 more could have been brought into the field.

Reports that the Russians meditated an attack upon Balaklava caused the
Admiral to order the _Leander_ and _Diamond_ to moor by a single cable,
and the _Triton_ was ordered to be ready to get steam up at brief
notice, in order to tow them out to a position whence their guns could
bear on the Marine Heights.

Notwithstanding these preparations, there were many rumours of peace. We
had a peace party in camp, who reasoned that the Russians could sustain
the contest no longer. According to these authorities, in a couple of
months the British Army was to go home again. But there is no magic in
wishes any more than in words, and these prophets of peace underrated
the tenacity and endurance of the Russian Government and people. Our
works on the left continued to advance. Several new batteries--one of 15
mortars--were constructed in front of what had been our most advanced
positions on that part of the line.

The English cavalry came down to the valley every morning, as if
haunting the ground where its comrades fell, and watching an opportunity
to revenge them. The effect was imposing--perfect, one might say, if
anything human could be called so. Horses and men were in excellent
condition, as fit for work as any cavalry could be.


     A few days quietude--Languishment of British firing--Prince
     Gortschakoff's opinion of our feeble Squibs--Number of little
     globules thrown into Sebastopol in a Month--Efforts to suppress the
     number of Sutlers' houses--Conversation with John Bull as to
     Composition of Allied Forces, &c.--Terrific and Destructive
     Explosion--Heavy and fierce Cannonading--Rumours of Disorganization
     in Sebastopol--Heavy Losses in Allied Armies--Naval
     Theatricals--Crisis of the Siege--Rumours of a last Grand Attack or
     a Sortie by Russians--Eagerness of Allies for a Battle--Dangerous
     work of the Trenches--Proposal for a Trench service
     Decoration--Condition of Sardinians and French--Fatalities amongst
     New and Amateur Trenchmen--Renewed Musketry and Artillery
     firing--Crowded state of our Trenches--Effective ruse of the

All the latter part of August passed quietly away: the Russians on the
alert to resist an assault--we prepared to meet the rumoured attack upon
our lines. After the failure of June 18, our cannonade languished. We
talked of it as slackening, and considered it extinct. Prince
Gortschakoff assured the world that it was a mere squib, a feeble
firework, which did those tough Russians no harm, and caused their
troops no inconvenience; and yet, somehow or other, between the 18th of
June and 18th of July, not less than eight thousand pretty little
globules of iron, eight, ten, and thirteen inches in diameter, and
falling with a weight equivalent to fifty and to ninety tons, were
deposited inside the lines of Sebastopol, and every one that burst sent
forth some six or eight fragments, of several pounds weight each, a
distance of two or three hundred yards, unless they were stopped _in
transitu_ by traverse or sinew.

The authorities took active measures to curtail the proportions of the
vast village of suttlers' houses at Kadikoi. As there was a report that
the fair was a nest of spies--that strange fires were occasionally
lighted up on the hills behind it, towards Karanyi, and were answered by
the Russians on the Plateau Mackenzie, and people came and departed as
they listed without any interference with their movements, it was
resolved to keep its limits more under control and supervision.

Some divisions managed to get together a considerable accumulation of
stores in advance, and almost in anticipation of the winter, but fuel
was brought up _de die in diem_ by a most thriftless process. It was no
unusual thing to see a string of fine Spanish mules and ponies, each of
which cost a good round sum, coming from Kasatch or Balaklava with a
couple of stout boughs lashed to each side of their pack-saddles, the
ends trailing on the ground, and the drivers urging them at full speed.
The proper load of wood for a mule is 200lb. Judging from