The Project Gutenberg eBook of The British Expedition to the Crimea

This ebook is for the use of anyone anywhere in the United States and most other parts of the world at no cost and with almost no restrictions whatsoever. You may copy it, give it away or re-use it under the terms of the Project Gutenberg License included with this ebook or online at If you are not located in the United States, you will have to check the laws of the country where you are located before using this eBook.

Title: The British Expedition to the Crimea

Author: Sir William Howard Russell

Release date: July 10, 2014 [eBook #46242]
Most recently updated: January 25, 2021

Language: English

Credits: Produced by Chuck Greif and the Online Distributed
Proofreading Team at (This file was
produced from images available at The Internet Archive)


Every attempt has been made to replicate the original as printed.

No attempt has been made to correct or normalize the spelling of non-English words.

Some typographical errors have been corrected; a list follows the text.

Some illustrations have been moved from mid-paragraph for ease of reading.

In certain versions of this etext, in certain browsers, clicking on this symbol will bring up a larger version of the image.


(etext transcriber's note)


B R I T I S H   E X P E D I T I O N





G E O R G E   R O U T L E D G E   A N D   S O N S


In crown 8vo, cloth, price 7s. 6d.


In the Year 1858-9.






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 importance.

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.































Index: A, B, C, D, E, F, G, H, I, J, K, L, M, N, O, P, Q, R, S, T, U, V, W, Y, Z





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{2} 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 blood.

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{3}—"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 together.

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{4} 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 insubordinate.

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.{5}

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{6} 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.


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{7} 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{8} 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 Caradoc.

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 Gallipoli.

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{9} 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{10} 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{11} 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,{12} 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—Eubœa 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]



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"{14} 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,{15} 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,{16} "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 arrived.


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{17} 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 miser{18}able 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,{19} 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{20} 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.{21}


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,{22} 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 (4d. or 5d.) a bottle, soon sold for 1s. 6d. or 2s. 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 1s. 6d. a bottle; a hard little old Yankee ham fetched about 20s.; 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 8s. 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 profit.


As change was very scarce, there was great difficulty in obtaining articles of small value, and a sum of 19s. 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{23} 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 Indifference.

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{24} 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{25} 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 speedily.

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 5½ 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 dawn.

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{26} 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.


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{27} 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{28} 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{29} 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{30} 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.


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;{31} 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{32} 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{33} 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 atmosphere.

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 communications.

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{34} 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{35} the fleet to proceed up the Black Sea with stores on the evening of the same day.

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{36} 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 system.


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


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 regard{37}ing 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{38} 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.


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{39} 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 obscured.

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, re{40}mained 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{41} 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—1s. 2d.; 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{42} 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.


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{43} 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{44} 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 poverty.

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 3s. 4d. 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 dust.


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{45} 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{46} 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;{47} 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 knew.

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 useful.{48}


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{49} 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 manœuvres 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 field.

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 doing.

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{50} 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 diarrhœa 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'œil 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{51} 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 manœuvres, 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 Pasha.

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{52} 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.


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{53} 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{54} 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{55} 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 war.

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 men.

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{56} 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, Lebœuf, 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.


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.{57} 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 diarrhœa 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{58} 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 Balkans.


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 Transports—Suspense.

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. Diarrhœa 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 diarrhœa 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 diarrhœa; 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.


The Heavy Dragoons at Varna, although encamped on a lovely{59} 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 1½lb. 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 10s. or 12s. 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{60} 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.


The French losses from cholera were frightful. The hospital had{61} 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{62} 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 amphibœan 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{63} 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{64} 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 health.

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{65} 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{66} 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 reinforcements.

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.)

"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 appeal.

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) Dragoons.

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{68} 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.{69}





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 commis{70}sariat 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 Mœsian 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,{71} 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 Rear-Admiral.

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{72} 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 dislike.


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{73} 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 sky.

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{74} 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. ½ 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.


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,{75} 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 Lebœuf, 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 there.

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{76} 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 horizon.

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 action.

"W. Deans Dundas."


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{77} 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{78} 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.


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{79} 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{80} 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,{81} 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 morning.

"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 occupations.{82}

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!"{83} in good style. The French were thus the first to take possession and seisin of the Crimea.[9]

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{84} 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{85} 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{86} 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{87} 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 in{88}stalled 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 Muscovite.


They told us that the ground round Sebastopol had been mined for{89} 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.{90} 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 lamented.

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{91} 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.{92} 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{93} 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 shore.

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{94} 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{95} 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 manœuvring 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{96} 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 Division.

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.{97}


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{98} 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.


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{99} be fully illustrated, I think it best to let Sir De Lacy Evans speak for himself.

"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 done.

"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{100} 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{101} 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 steamers.

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{102} 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 manœuvres. 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{103} 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{104} 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{105} 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 Crimea.

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{106} 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 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.{107}



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{108} 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{109} 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 smoke.


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{110} 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.


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,{111} 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{112} 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, manœuvred 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.{113} 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,{114} "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{115} 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{116} 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{117} 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{118} 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{119} 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{120} 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.{121}


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 manœuvre 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 manœuvres; 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{122} 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 follows:—{123}


  Battalions. Guns.

The 1st Brigade of the 14th Division of the 5th Army Corps, consisting of regiment No. 27 Volhynia, and regiment No. 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 (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 light batteries, and No. 3 battery of position


4 Reserve battalions of the 13th


The rifle and sapper battalions of the 6th Corps


2 battalions of sailors, with 4 guns

  Squadrons. Guns.
2nd Brigade of 6th Cavalry Division, 2 regiments, each of 8 squadrons160
16 sotnias of Cossacks, or regiment of 4 squadrons80
No. 12 light battery of horse artillery08
No. 4 Cossack battery08
Total—Infantry, between 33,000 and 34,000
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{124} 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{125} 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 manœuvring 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{126} 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 preserved.


The quantity of firelocks, great coats, bearskin caps, shakos, helmets and flat forage caps, knapsacks (English and Russian),{127} 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{128} 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{129} 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{130} 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{131} his entry remained unfinished. Beside his account-book lay a volume of "Madame de Sévigné's Letters" in French, and a Pharmacopœia 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.


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 passage.

Lord Raglan occupied a very pretty villa for the night, but most of the furniture had been destroyed by the Cossacks. Orders were{132} 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),{133} 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{134} 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{135} 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{136} 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 3000l.). 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 20s. to 30s. a-piece. Fine large winter cloaks of cloth, lined with rich furs, were found in abundance.


This plunder put the soldiers in good humour, and they marched{137} 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 Balaklava.

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{138} 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.{139}


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.{140}




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{141} 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{142} 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.{143} 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{144} 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 Traktir.{145}


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{146} 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{147} 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 vigorous.

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 ex{148}plain 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{149} 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{150} 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{151} 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.{152}


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 manœuvred 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 ever.


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{153} 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{154} 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{155} 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 men.

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 manœuvring 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{156} 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{157} 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,{158} 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{159} 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.


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{160} 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 clothes.

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, manœuvred in front on our right.


At twenty-eight minutes after twelve the allies again got into{161} 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.

"My Lord,

"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 enemy.{162}

"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 admiration.

"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.


"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, {163}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.

"My Lord Duke,

"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 protection.

"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 notice.{164}

"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{165} 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 diarrhœa, 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.{166}

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 embrasures.


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{167} 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.

{168}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 necessary."

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{169} 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 Division.

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{170} 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{171} 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 hours.

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 guns.

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{172} 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 expired.

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.{173}



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{174} 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 Battery.

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 them!

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{175} 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 retired.

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{176} 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 life.{177}





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 con{178}fusion 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 men.
4 Polks=1 division =16,000 men. 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{179} 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,"{180} 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 them.

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{181} 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.


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{182} 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 fate.

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{183} 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{184} 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{185} 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{186} 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{187} 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){188} 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{189} 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.{190} 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{191} 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{192} 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 fœtid 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.{193}



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 Prospects.

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{194} 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 com{195}paratively 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 soupe!"{196}

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?{197}


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){198} 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 Cavendish.

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, diarrhœa, 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.{199}

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{200} 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{201} 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 5l. 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{202} 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{203} 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 Phœnix-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 rheumatism.

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{204} 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 belli.

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 camps.

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 Crimea.

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{205} 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.{206}

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 24th.

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{207} 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 undisturbedly.

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{208} 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 follow."

"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 safety."

"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 diarrhœa."

"We haven't any."

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

"We haven't any."

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

"We haven't any."

Thus, for diarrhœa, 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 diarrhœa at Scutari, but the knowledge that they were there little availed those dying for want of them at Balaklava.{209}


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 victory.

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;{210} 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{211} 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 assurance.


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{212} 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 Kamiesch.

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{213} 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{214} 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{215} 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.{216}

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.{217}


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 (Kadikoi).

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{218} 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.{219}

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{220} 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 existence.{221}


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—{222}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.


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.{223}

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 fire.

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{224} 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{225} 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{226} 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{227} 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{228} 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 wounded.

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 marines—bah!"

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{229} 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{230} 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.{231}





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 ammu{232}nition 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 morning.

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{233} 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{234} 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 limestone.

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 Inkerman.

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{235} 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 fœtid 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{236} 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{237} 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{238} 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{239} 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,{240} 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 drought.

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.{241}


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.{242}

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 artillery.

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.{243}


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{244} 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 reinforcements.

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{245} Browne, 7th (killed), and Captain Vicars, 97th (killed), particularly distinguished themselves in the affair.

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 dead.

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{246} 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.{247}


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 ravines.

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{248} 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{249} 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{250} 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 operations.[19]


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 out{252}lines—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{253} 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{254} 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 Niel.

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{255} 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.{256}


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.


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{257} 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{258} 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 2½ 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,{259} 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{260} throwing up in spite of the strenuous attempts made to dislodge them.

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 battalions.

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 regi{261}ments 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 top."

"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{262} 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 Crimea.

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{263} 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{264} 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{265} 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{266} 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.{267}


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{268} 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.


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{269} 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,{270} 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{271} 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 disagreeable.

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{272} 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{273} 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 3s. 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.{274} 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{275} 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, 15s. 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{276} 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.{277}


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{278} 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{279} 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.{280}

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 evacuated."


Subsequently an attack was made on Taganrog, but the depth{281} 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.{282}




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{283} 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.{284}


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{285} 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{286} 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{287} 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.{288} 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,{289} 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{290} 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.


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{291} 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,{292} 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{293} 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{294} 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{295} 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 afternoon.

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{296} 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{297} 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{298} 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.{299} 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 entire.'"

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.{300}

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:—

"Head-quarters before Sebastopol, June 29.

"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 Govern{301}ment—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 army.

(Signed) "James Simpson,
"Lieutenant-General Commanding."

The personal Staff of his Excellency consisted of Captain Colville, Rifle Brigade; Captain Lindsay, Scots Fusileer Guards;{302} 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.{303}





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{304} 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{305} 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 East.

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 rock.

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,{306} 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 inactivity.


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{307} 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 activity.

"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{308} 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{309} 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{310} 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{311} one could scarcely distinguish French cavalry manœuvring 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 recalled.

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{312} 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, manœuvring, 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{313} 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