Maneuvres of the Fleets - Bombardment of Sebastopol - Battle of Balaklava - The Two Battles of Inkermann - Storm in the Crimea, etc.
The English and French nations, auguring from the success attending the Allied forces at the battle of the Alma, imagined that the progress of the troops was to be one continued series of uninterrupted triumphs, and consequently became very impatient. The newspapers endeavoured to allay the anxiety and impatience of the people by representing the formidable nature of the work the Allies had to perform; but few had any idea that the Siege of Sebastopol, which was now about to commence, would be protracted to ten or eleven months, ere the Allies could enter this stronghold of the Russian power. The sanguinary contests, however, at Balaklava and Inkermann, which will be narrated in this chapter, were sufficient, one would imagine, to satisfy the most voracious appetite for slaughter and bloodshed; and served, for a time, to pacify the grumblers, who were comfortably enjoying their ease and luxuries at their own firesides.
We have, in the last chapter, brought the operations of the Allies to the point of getting a portion of the fortifications and batteries into something like order, preparatory to the bombarding of the city; we will now briefly allude to the manoeuvres of the naval portion of the armament.
Two or three minor operations by portions of the fleets had been performed during the flank march of the army—minor we mean as to their immediate effects—but still of such importance as to convince the Russians that they had no contemptible foe to contend with.
Sebastopol, however—the great Sebastopol—was the object yearned for, the place towards which the thoughts of the admirals and seamen were chiefly directed. Occasionally, during the first two weeks in October, a steamer would approach to reconnoitre; or an audacious little gun-boat, proud of its one gun, would fire away at Forts Constantine or Alexander, to try the effect of iron against stone at a distance of a mile and a half or two miles. Admiral Dundas, in a despatch to the Admiralty, dated the 13th of October, stated that Sir Edmund Lyons continued to be busily occupied with the steam-squadron, assisting the British army at Balaklava; that Admiral Bruat, with a French squadron, was aiding the French in their position at Kamiesch and Arrow Bays; that the Sidon, Inflexible, Cacique, and Caton, were off Odessa, preventing any communication by sea with the Crimea; and that the principal sailing-vessels of both fleets, under Admirals Dundas and Hamelin, were anchored off the mouth of the Katcha. Four days after this, the great bombardment commenced.
On the 16th, the night before the bombardment, a boat was sent in with muffled oars, to examine two shoals near Forts Constantine and Alexander; the boat rounded the shoals, and approached so near the forts that the sailors could overhear conversation: two small Russian steamers were outside the line of sunken vessels; but the crews either did not see the boat or mistook it for a Russian. The boat-party ascertained that the small water-spaces left between the sunken vessels and the forts were too uncertain in depth to allow great ships to enter; and it became evident, as had long been suspected, that the fleets could effect little in the actual capture of the forts; they could only co-operate by creating a diversion in favour of the land-forces, and helping to reduce the place if the land-besiegers should be successful.
Morning dawned on the 17th of October, amid tremendous preparations for bombarding Sebastopol. The land-cannonade was to begin about six o'clock; and, at the urgent request of Lord Raglan and General Canrobert, the admirals agreed that the whole of the ships should assist the land-attack by engaging the sea-batteries north and south of the harbour, on a line across the port. In accordance with this arrangement, the magnificent fleets took up positions opposite the forts and batteries. The great sailing men-of-war were lashed to smaller steamers, as a means of moving more readily from place to place ; but the crew of each steamer regarded its bulky neighbour as an incubus, which retarded its own movements, and lessened the probability of obtaining a shot at the enemy. Meanwhile, the French had not been idle. Admiral Hamelin went from the Katcha to Kamiesch, in the Mogador, on the 13th; had an interview with Canrobert on the 14th; and arranged the plan of naval attack with Dundas on the 15th. According to this plan, the French fleet was to be placed southward of the harbour, at seven cables' length from the cliff, to operate against the Quarantine, Alexander, and Artillery forts or batteries; whilst the English were to be similarly engaged opposite the northern forts; and the Turks to anchor midway between the two. The magnificent array of ships thus drawn up, broadsides on toward the forts of Sebastopol, was little less than two miles and a half in extent, from Wasp Battery on the north to the Bay of Cherson.
Few were the sentences in which the admirals described the events of the 17th in their despatches. Admiral Dundas, after naming the ships and explaining the intended plan of attack, dismissed the naval bombardment itself in the following few words:—"The action lasted from about half-past one to half-past six p.m., when, being quite dark, the ships hauled off." Admiral Hamelin described the operations somewhat more fully. " On the morning of the 17th," he said, " the attack by the siege-batteries commenced; but, as the weather was calm, it was necessary to attach the ships-of-the-line to the steam-frigates before developing against Sebastopol the line of the twenty-six ships of the Allied squadrons. Nevertheless, in spite of this difficulty, and the separation which had taken place between the ships of the Allied squadrons, a part of which bad anchored at Kamiesch, and part before the Katcha, I have the satisfaction to announce that the ships of our first line advanced about half-past twelve in the day under fire of the batteries of Sebastopol, which they stood against at first during more than half an hour without replying. A few minutes afterwards, they replied vigorously to the fire, which did not fail to incommode them, from their small number. Afterwards, the other French and English vessels successively arrived, and the attack became general. Towards half-past two o'clock, the fire of the Russian batteries slackened; it was stopped at the Quarantine Battery. This was the exact object desired by the French squadron, but our firing was redoubled and continued without interruption till night. At the time I am writing, I am not aware of what was the success of our siege-batteries, whose fire had commenced before ours, and which attacked the Russian fortifications on the land-side. If the Russians had not closed the entrance to Sebastopol by sinking their ships, I do not doubt that the vessels of the squadrons, after the first fire, would have been able successfully to enter the port, and place themselves in communication with the army. Perhaps they would not have lost many more men in doing this than we have now to regret; but the extreme measure which the enemy adopted of sacrificing a portion of his ships, forced us to confine ourselves to attacking for five hours the sea-batteries of Sebastopol, with the object of silencing them more or less, of occupying a great many men of the garrison at the guns, and of giving thus to our army, material as well as moral assistance."
When night closed in and put an end to the firing, and when the morning of the 18th enabled the crews to look around them, it was found that the Russians had been severe opponents to deal with. The Agamemnon received sixteen shots near the water-line, but none had gone through; several had penetrated the main and lower decks; the masts, sails, and rigging, were perforated in all directions; the main-sail had been three times on fire. The Albion and the Arethusa suffered severly; when anchored before the Wasp Battery, the cables by which they were lashed to the steamers were cut by shot, and they became unmanageable just when facility of movement was most desirable; the Albion, after being set on fire three times by the fierce cannonade from the battery, was on the point of getting on shore, when the Cambria steamer ran in and extricated her, suffering fearfully from deaths and wounds among her crew; the Arethusa was hulled in all directions by shot. The Rodney, lashed to the Spiteful steamer, went on shore close under the fort about dusk, and would there have been lost but for the assistance rendered by the Orinoco ; through an unlucky mistake, this ship threw a shell that burst against the main-mast of the Retribution and the Trafalgar lashed to it. The Sanspareil and Bellerophon also received some rough usage. But when the crews were counted up, the loss was found to be more serious than any which the injuries to the ships entailed. Admiral Dundas's despatch told of 44 killed and 266 wounded in the British portion of the fleet; twenty-one vessels shared in this loss, whereof the Albion and the Sanspareil bore, the former 10 killed and 71 wounded, and the latter 11 killed and 59 wounded. The Agamemnon, owing probably to the fine steaming qualities of the ship and the masterly way in which was handled, had only 4 killed and 25 wounded, although this was the vessel in which the greatest interest of the day's proceedings centered. The French had a fair share in the activity and loss. The Charlemagne and the Ville de Paris were hotly engaged, giving and receiving shot during many hours; and Admiral Hamelin, in the latter-named ship, had a narrow escape; for a shell, bursting on the stern, shattered the poop to fragments, and killed one and wounded three of the four aides-de-camp who were by the admiral's side. The total loss of the French in killed and wounded was little less than that of their Allies.
And now the all-absorbing inquiry arose whether any of the forts had succumbed to the terrible missiles which had been hurled against them; and whether Sebastopol had suffered much from a bombardment by sea ? The answer to this important inquiry was anything but satisfactory to the Admirals and the fleet; for apparently little injury had been sustained by the besieged. A few words contained in a letter written on board the Sampson, tell in a simple way of the trifling injury received by the forts from the cannonade, and of the mingled surprise and disappointment evidently felt by the cannonaders: " Our liners were not close enough in, and therefore their shot did not tell with full force. The Sampson stationed herself right opposite a square fort mounting eight guns, and did her work by silencing it three times, knocking some good pieces out of it; but the worst of it was that, not being able to take possession of it, as soon as we turned our attention and guns to some other point, the fellows came running down into it again, and re-opened fire on us." The "fellows" did indeed bravely defend Sebastopol, as our soldiers as well as seamen full well knew.
We will now allude to the military operations connected with the bombardment.
The great day arrived- the day on which many hopes were entertained that Sebastopol might fall. Instructions were issued by Lord Raglan on the previous evening for the guidance of the siege train, and the army divisions. The principal points dwelt upon were the following:—That the cannonade would commence at half-past six in the morning, indicated by a discharge of three mortars; that all troops off duty would be ready for any immediate service in their respective camps, without knapsacks, great coats, or blankets; that horses would be attached to the field-batteries, to move the field-guns, if required; that each division would be provided with a body of sappers, supplied with picks, shovels, crow-bars, sledge-hammers, felling axes, scaling-ladders, and bags of powder, in the event of any assault being attempted; that each division would also have a corps of engineers provided with rockets and gun-spikes; that reserved musket-ammunition would be placed at ready disposal of the infantry divisions; and that the cavalry, together with all the regiments placed near Balaklava, would be ready for action in any immediate need.
At the appointed hour on the morning of the 17th, the bombardment began—such a bombardment as the annals of war had seldom equalled. The troops of all the nations—British, French, Turkish, Russians—and non-combatants who were within sight and hearing— all appear to have been vividly impressed with the tremendous outburst. Lieutenant-colonel Hamley says: "The silence was broken by such a peal of artillery as has scarcely ever before, in the most famous battles or sieges, shaken the earth around the combatants. One hundred and twenty-six pieces, many of them of the largest calibre, opened at once upon the Russian defences, and were answered by a still larger number, of equal range and power. The din was so incessant, and the smoke in the batteries so dense, that after a few rounds the gunners laid their pieces rather by the line on the platform than by view of the object aimed at." Lieutenant Peard, who had been ordered into the trenches at four o'clock on that morning, to unmask the guns by opening the embrasures, speaks thus: " At daylight, the guns in the British batteries, and in the French, presented their muzzles to the enemy. At 6. 30 a.m.. our batteries opened fire, which was as sharply responded to by the Russians. It was now three weeks since we had been before Sebastopol, and it is impossible to say how relieved we were to be able to answer their fire. Our guns were loaded and fired as fast as it was possible to do it. The fire from the enemy was beyond all conception; and their shell and shot were accompanied with canister-shot, which, skimming the parapet, and coming through the embrasures, made a most unpleasant whizzing."
Lord Raglan, in a despatch sent to the government, at this time, said: " On this occasion, we employed about sixty guns of different calibres, the lightest being 24-pounders. It may here be proper to observe, that the character of the position which the enemy occupied on the south side of Sebastopol is not that of a fortress, but rather that of an army in an intrenched camp on very strong ground, where an apparently unlimited number of heavy guns, amply provided with gunners and ammunition, are mounted. The guns having opened as above stated (about a quarter after seven), a continuous and well-directed fire was carried on from the works of the two armies until about ten o'clock a.m, when unfortunately, a magazine in the midst of the French batteries exploded, and occasioned considerable damage to the works, and, I fear, many casualties, and almost paralysed the efforts of the French artillery for the day. The British batteries, however, manned by sailors from the fleet, under the command of Captain Lushington and Captain Peel, and by the Royal Artillery, under the superintendence of Lieutenant-colonel Gambier, kept up their fire with unremitting energy throughout the day, to my own and the general satisfaction, as well as to the admiration of the French army, who were witnesses of their gallant and persevering exertions: materially injuring the enemy's works, and silencing the heavy guns on the top of the loophole (Malakoff) tower, and many of the guns at its base, and causing an extensive explosion in the rear of a strong redoubt in our immediate front. The enemy, notwithstanding, answered to the last from a number of guns along their more extended line."
When night closed in, and the gunners retired wearily from their work, the Allies could not conceal from themselves that the results were unsatisfactory. Hopes had mounted high during many days. Some authorities had pronounced that the Russian batteries would be silenced in three days; while others limited the time to a few hours. Many parts of the Russian works, it is true, were injured; the Malakoff Tower was deeply scarred by the heavy 68-pounder shot, and many of its guns dismounted, although at a range of more than 2000 yards; a magazine was fired in the rear of the Redan by a shell, and many guns silenced thereby; and all the defence-works were shaken and scarred by the tremendous force brought against them. Still, the damage was of small amount, considering that the works were mostly of earth, and that Sebastopol contained a large number of men wholly at the disposal of Menschikoff. Those Russians who, whether soldiers or civilians, had not worked severely during the day, were set to repair the parapets and embrasures at night; insomuch that, when morning dawned, the Allies had the mortification of finding that the battering of the preceding day had left the Russians little the worse. Prince Menschikoff, in his despatch to the czar, stated that in one of his forts nearly all the guns, thirty-two in number, had been dismounted; that Fort Constantine had been much damaged by the ships; but that most of the other forts had suffered slightly. He estimated his loss at about 500 killed and wounded; among whom General Kornileff was killed, and Admiral Nachimoff and Captain Yerganyscheff wounded.
The progress of the siege, from the first day onward, was governed by the circumstance that Sebastonol was never invested. In most other sieges the town is generally surrounded by the besiegers: but in this case, the available force of the Allies was too small, and the circuit of the place too large, for this desirable object to be accomplished. The southern side of the harbour was only invested; leaving the formidable forts on the north unassailed, and the roads from Simferopol and Eupatoria free for the passage of supplies.
The incidents of the siege to the end of October were not distinguished by any important result; sometimes the besiegers made some apparently decided hits; then in turn, the besieged effected some trifling advantage; but nothing of moment occurred.
A few brief passages from familiar letters, written by officers engaged, and afterwards published, will suffice to convey a notion of the state of the Russian works at that time, of the picket-duty on the part of the British, and of the trench-duty. After adverting to the supposed disappointment of friends in England at the protracted duration of the siege, one officer thus speaks of the state of the town: " We can knock the civilian part of the town to pieces; but the great difficulty is to get at the dockyards, arsenals, &c., which are completely protected from straight shooting by the high cliffs of the harbour; they, therefore, can only be reached by shells and rockets. Thus, in long range, it is very difficult to fire at exactly the right elevation; consequently we pitch almost as many shells into the harbour as we do into the stores. Again, I suspect all their roofs are bomb-proof, as we have not succeeded in setting them on fire to any great extent, although there have been almost nightly blazes of small huts, &c., in the outskirts. It must ultimately be taken by assault, and, therefore, the sooner that takes place the better. We have had a great many deserters, and they all agree in declaring that the streets are strewed with dead; and they add, that as soon as resistance becomes useless, the troops will all go over to the other side, where they have immensely strong batteries, which, together with Fort Constantine, completely overlook the southern shores, and will, I suspect, prevent us from holding the place long." Next comes the English side of the field of struggle. "I am on picket. This is a duty that begins at four in the morning, and ends at four the next morning. Each regiment furnishes two companies of pickets daily; therefore it takes place every fourth day. A picket is an advanced guard thrown out close to the enemy's lines, in order to protect the camp from a surprise; consequently the sentries can see each other, and we can see large masses of Russians manoeuvring in the hollow all day. We command, from our position, a road which is a short-cut for the enemy into Sebastopol; and, as they often try to dodge past our sentries, hardly a day passes that we have not a brush with the enemy." A Zouave in a French rifle-pit furnishes another phase of outpost-duty. " I am almost like a poacher. I go out every day to shoot Russians. This is the way we do. As early as two o'clock in the morning, our toilet being completed—and that of a Zouave is not long—we leave, carrying with us ammunition and one or two biscuits. Arrived in the intrenchments, we take sand-bags, a spade, and a pickaxe; then, at a given signal, we leap from the parapets with the rapidity of deer, and establish our homes close to the forts. There we dig a hole, a sort of warren, to hide ourselves in. We place our sand-bags to protect us, and our residence is then furnished. We remain in these pits all the day, and it is not until night is rather advanced that we are permitted to leave them. This we often do in the midst of a shower of grape-shot. You will ask me what we do in the pits all day. Very good work, I assure you. We fire almost as fast as we can, and every discharge demolishes a Russian artilleryman." The trench-duty had its own peculiar severities: " We have five batteries, and these require a large armed guard and fatigue-party day and night—a fatigue-party to keep the works in repair after the enemy's fire, and a guard to defend them from sorties. This is the most dangerous of our recreations, and not a day passes that two or three fatal cases do not occur. At night, they shell us incessantly from the forts; but night shells are not so dangerous as in the day, because we can always track their fiery course for half a minute through the air. Sometimes, after lying on the wet ground all night, my limbs are all pains, and my teeth quite loose in my gums." When the same officer congratulates himself on having been "lucky enough" to purchase two flannel-shirts for £2, and a tooth-brush for 8s., he just touched the beginnings of that terrible winter, the incidents of which will be mentioned in the next chapter.
The Allied generals had reason to believe that while they were busily engaged in the siege, Prince Menschikoff was feeling his way round by a winding road along by the Tchernaya from Sebastopol, by the Traktir Bridge from Baktcheserai, hoping to attack his opponents in the rear of their camps and siege-works. Sometimes the flashes of the guns at night would render dimly visible a dark battalion of Russian infantry, moving at a distance that portended no immediate danger, but indicating the existence of some plan or scheme. On another occasion, an alarm having been given that the Russians were marching to attack the rear on the Balaklava road, Lord Eaglan and his staff, with a body of troops, moved in that direction, and found that the Russians had taken advantage of a fog to creep up to the vicinity of the Turkish redoubts, but that their number had not been so large as to endanger the position occupied by the Turks. On another morning, signals having been given by the vedettes that Russian infantry were approaching, the Scots Greys and other cavalry, with the horse-artillery and the 93rd Highlanders, quickly made ready for an encounter; and the Turks fired from their redoubts on small bodies of the enemy within sight: but the Russians, not calculating on so much alertness, retreated for the night. The next day witnessed a similar approach of Russian cavalry, a similar alertness on the part of Sir Colin Campbell and his Highlanders, and a similar retreat of the enemy as the evening drew on.
A body of cavalry would post itself on the Baktcheserai road, perhaps accompanied by artillery, and would then wind out of sight behind the hills. Thus matters continued day by day; until at length, on the morning of the 25th of October, General Liprandi appeared openly on the plain, having drawn from the defiles and behind the hills an army of 30,000 Russians, ready to meet the Allies in fair fight.
The incidents of this eventful day, varied and frequently confused as they may appear, resolve themselves into five struggles or contests, forming collectively the battle of Balaklava—namely, the capture by Russian infantry of a series of earthen redoubts, manned by the Turks; the heroic repulse, by the 23rd Highlanders, of a furious cavalry charge; the defeat, by the British cavalry, of a much larger body of Russian cavalry; the mistaken but wonderful onslaught, by a handful of British Light Cavalry, against a complete army of artillery, cavalry, and infantry; and a dashing charge of the Chasseurs d'Afrique, which finished the work of the day, and left the Allies victors—although with such a modification of defence-works as afforded Menschikoff a pretext for claiming, in his despatch to the Czar, a brilliant victory.
Balaklava was defended by a line of earthen redoubts covering the crests of the hills in its front; the right resting on high cliffs, covered by our marines, and the left on the elevated plain, held and fortified by two French divisions. The redoubts before Balaklava were armed with heavy guns—32-pound howitzers and 18-pounders belonging to the English artillery train. The guns were manned by our artillerymen, supported by companies of Turks. At ten o'clock on the morning of the 25th of October, the Russians having mustered in force in the vale leading up towards the extreme right of our position, advanced at considerable speed to the redoubt on their extreme left, and charged the Turks with the bayonet. Our artillery had barely time to fire one round when the Turks were seized with a sudden panic, and, throwing away their pieces and packs, ran down the declivity to Balaklava.
As the Russians advanced, the panic increased; and, when it came to close quarters, there was a general run. The wretched Turks swarmed down the hill like bees; and our artillerymen, seeing the rout, spiked the guns and retired. The Turks in the other redoubts, finding that their comrades on the right had fled, took the alarm, and the whole of them were in a few minutes, running out of the redoubts, abandoning our guns and artillerymen to their fate. This disgraceful flight took place, when no enemy was threatening, except cavalry, which, witnessing the route of our allies, instantly followed in pursuit, and were observed in a few moments, crowning the height and occupying the whole line of our forts. Happily, the guns in all the works had been spiked, and the enemy were not able to fire into us with our own artillery. The Russians lined the crests in time to see the 93rd Highlanders deployed in line on our right, and the Heavy and Light Brigades drawing up in order to the left, on the very ground where they had struck their tents. Their astonishment must have been considerable to see the 93rd pour in a volley at the flying Turks, to prevent them from running. Elated by their success, and seeing our cavalry and the 93rd below, immoveable, two regiments of Hussars, the Weimarski and Leuchtenborgski, charged down the slope, at the Highlanders, with a tremendous cheer. On they came, at the top of their speed, as if to annihilate everything. The Highlanders, however, headed by their gallant Colonel (Ainslie), disdained to form into square to receive them, but poured in a sharp fire at fifty yards, which made them sheer off to their right. As they turned they found themselves in front of our Heavy Cavalry Brigade, which, after a pause, they charged with considerable vigour. They were met by a squadron of Scots Greys, headed by Colonel Griffith, and by a squadron of the Enniskillings, headed by Colonel White. A tremendous hand-to-hand conflict was the instant result. The thick woollen cloaks of the Russians, being admirably calculated to ward off steel, deadened at first the effect of our blows. But our men attacked the head instead of the limbs, and several of the enemy were laid in the dust. Colonel White, in the first shock, received a tremendous blow, which cut through his helmet, but did him no injury. The number of the enemy being greater than ours, they had by this time considerably outflanked us. The Hussars, who had been followed by numerous Cossacks, were beginning to attack us on both flanks, as well as in front, when Major Shute gave the word to his squadron of Enniskillingers; the Royals moved at the same moment; and the enemy, being overlapped in his turn, began to flag, and commenced a retreat. This they did under cover of some field-pieces moved up by the Russians to the crest, but not without damage from our artillery, which now advanced to the front, and from our guns in position before Katichioi. The last charge of British cavalry in the battles of Europe was called the charge of the National Brigade, because it was furnished by the Royals, Enniskillings, and Scots Greys. The first charge of our cavalry in the Crimea was made by the National Brigade, and resulted in considerable loss to the enemy. Upwards of thirty men and horses remained killed or wounded on the field; but the numbers who retired wounded cannot be counted, the Russians having the habit of strapping themselves to their saddles, that their horses may carry them out of action when they are wounded. All the men who fell with their horses were found to have been thus buckled. As the cavalry moved on in pursuit of the enemy, the ground had the strangest aspect imaginable. The tents had been struck at the signal of alarm, but no time was given to pack them. They lay on the ground with the kits of the men and baggage of the officers, and in the midst of these lay dead men and wounded, whilst a skulking Turk or Greek might be seen here and there turning up the effects with a view to plunder. Many valuables were unfortunately lost in this way. Would that this had been the only disaster to record during the day.
As our cavalry moved on, supported by our artillery, the enemy retired from the redoubts on our left, and held their ground in two of those on our extreme right. The 93rd remained in line before Katichioi, and the infantry from divisions in front of Sebastopol, were observed coming down. Several companies from the 1st battalion of the Rifle Brigade moved up, and having taken possession of the centre redoubt abandoned by the enemy, advanced beyond in skirmishing order. The Third Division, under Sir G. Cathcart, followed; and whilst a wing of the 20th occupied the ditch of the redoubt, the other wing lay down behind, with the 63rd, 57th, and 68th behind them, and the rest of the division in the rear. The Guards, under the Duke of Cambridge, were placed so as to cover the road to Balaklava. Whilst these movements were going on, two regiments of French Chasseurs d'Afrique moved down from the heights, and took up a position on our left, amidst tremendous cheers. The position of the Russians and Allies at this time formed almost a parallelogram. Our infantry and guns occupied one side; and at right angles with them were the French Chasseurs and our Heavy Brigade of Cavalry. The Russians occupied with artillery and infantry a line of heights parallel to that which we occupied, whilst their masses of infantry and cavalry fronted the French Chasseurs. The Russians, however, had the additional advantage of holding two of our intrenched redoubts. They were thus enabled to pour in a destructive fire upon us from right, left, and front.
At the moment when the contending parties occupied these positions, Captain Nolan was observed galloping up to Lord Lucan, who headed the Light Brigade of Cavalry. He was the bearer of an order from Lord Raglan to charge the enemy. It is not known whether any discretion was left to Lord Lucan to obey or disobey, nor is it even certainly known what was the exact wording of the order; but, at the signal of command, the Light Brigade, which was posted on the left of the redoubt occupied by General Cathcart's division, was observed to move. The 17th Lancers led with 150 sabres, the 11th followed with 150, the 4th with 140, the 13th with 100, and the 8th with 100 sabres. Right at the enemy's guns the devoted column started with Lord Cardigan at its head. Trot, canter, gallop—on they rushed in the midst of a most dreadful fire. A field-battery, on the heights of the Russian right, decimated them; whilst another fire, equally terrific, spread destruction through them, from the guns on the Russian left; and a third mowed them down in front. It was a fearful sight to behold our brave fellows falling in fifties to the ground, most of them to rise no more; others, dismounted, rushing to the horses of their dead comrades, and following up; whilst others, again, endeavoured to limp back through the fire of the enemy. On, however, the Light Brigade proceeded, like lightning; Lord Cardigan was the first man at the enemy's guns. Down went the gunners at their sides as our men rushed at them: not one, save those who fled at the onset, remained alive. Fourteen guns were, for a moment, in our possession. But the Russian cavalry was on them; they cut in between the guns and the Light Brigade, and it became time to retreat. The 11th and 4th covered the 17th, the 8th, and the 13th. Lord Cardigan charged back through the Russian Lancers with his two regiments, and the enemy opened to let them pass; but a file fire from numerous Russian squares kept up a quick and deadly discharge of Minie balls; whilst the triple fire of the enemy's cannon continued to overwhelm them with showers of shell and shrapnell. Fortunately for the shattered remnant of this brigade, the French Chasseures d'Afrique had charged up the heights on the Russian right, and caused the artillery there to retire. One squadron advanced right up, and into a Russian square, which had not entirely formed; the Adjutant-Major was killed in the centre of the square; and another officer, with fifteen men, were laid low. The Light Brigade rallied behind the Scots Greys, Enniskillings, Royals, and the rest of the Heavy Brigade. It was fearfully diminished in numbers. Of the 11th, there were hardly 40 men safe; of the 17th, barely the same number; of the 13th, 34; of the 4th, 39 ; and of the 9th, but a handful. Captain Nolan, who brought the fearful order, was the first man who fell; he had not gone 200 yards before he was shot throught the heart. A ball ripped off the top of Lord W. Paulett's cap, and took the head off Charteris, Lord Lucan's Aide-de-Camp. Of the 13th, Captains Goade and Oldham, and Lieut. Montgomery, were killed. Of the 17th, Captain Winter was killed, Morris and Webb severely wounded, Chadwick and Thompson missing, Captain White shot through the leg. Cornet Wombwell, who had been taken prisoner after being dismounted, was rescued, as well as Morris, by the home charge of the 11th. Of this, Lord Cardigan's own regiment, Houghton and Trevelyan were wounded, the latter through the leg; Lockwood missing ; and Colonel Douglas was only saved from a rifle shot by the revolver at his side. The lead alighted on one of the nipples, which exploded the barrel of the pistol, which did no harm. Captain Maxse, Lord Cardigan's Aide-de-Camp, was wounded slightly in the foot by the bursting of a shell in the beginning of the charge. There was a grim pause as the shattered Light Brigade re-appeared. The firing ceased, and was not resumed during the rest of the day. Both sides remained observing each other till evening, when Lord Raglan ordered the whole of the redoubts still in our possession to be evacuated. The Russians maintained themselves in the position they had taken, having gained possession of seven guns. Such is the faithful description of the attack on Balaklava and its losses. The Russians may have suffered to the extent of 200 men; on our side, no less than 600 men, killed, wounded, or taken prisoners, filled the list of casualties.
The following graphic description is given of the Light Cavalry Charge:—" The whole brigade scarcely made one effective regiment according to the numbers of the Continental armies; and yet it was more than we could spare. As they passed towards the front, the Russians opened on them from the guns in the redoubt on the right, with volleys of musketry and rifles. They swept proudly past, glittering in the morning sun in all the pride and splendour of war. We could scarcely believe the evidence of our senses. Surely that handful of men are not going to charge an army in position ? Alas! it was but too true—their desperate valour knew no bounds; and far indeed was it removed from its so-called better part—discretion. They advanced in two lines, quickening their pace as they closed towards the enemy. A more fearful spectacle was never witnessed than by those who, without the power to aid, beheld their heroic countrymen rushing to the arms of death. At the distance of 1200 yards the whole line of the enemy belched forth, from thirty iron mouths, a flood of smoke and flame, through which hissed the deadly balls. Their flight was marked by instant gaps in our ranks, by dead men and horses, by steeds flying wounded or riderless across the plain. The first line is broken—it is joined by the second—they never halt or check their speed an instant ; with diminished ranks, thinned by those thirty guns, which the Russians had laid with the most deadly accuracy, with a halo of flashing 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 strewn with their bodies and with the carcasses of horses. They were exposed to an oblique fire from the batteries on the hills on both sides, as well as to a direct fire of musketry. Through the cloud of smoke we could see their sabres flashing as they rode up to the guns and dashed between them, cutting down the gunners as they stood. We saw them riding through the guns, as I have said; to our delight we saw them returning, after breaking through a column of Russian infantry, and scattering them like chaff—when the flank fire of the battery on the hill swept them down, scattered and broken as they were. Wounded men and dismounted troopers flying towards us told the sad tale—demigods could not have done what we had failed to do. At the very moment when they were about to retreat, an enormous mass of Lancers was hurled on their flank. Colonel Shewell, of the 8th Hussars, saw the danger, and rode his few men straight at them, cutting his way through with fearful loss. The other regiments turned and engaged in a desperate encounter. With courage too great almost for credence, they were breaking their way through the columns which enveloped them, when there took place an act of atrocity without parallel in the modern warfare or civilised nations. The Russian gunners, when the storm of cavalry passed, returned to their guns. They saw their own cavalry mingled with the troopers who had just ridden over them, and, to the eternal disgrace of the Russian name, the miscreants poured a murderous volley of grape and canister on the mass of struggling men and horses, mingling friend and foe in one common ruin. It was as much as our Heavy Cavalry Brigade could do to cover the retreat of the miserable remnant of that band of heroes as they returned to the place they had so lately quitted in all the pride of life. At 11,35 not a British soldier, except the dead and the dying, was left in front of these terrible Muscovite guns."
Equally thrilling is the description of the heroic Charge of the Heavy Brigade;—" The Russian cavalry, about 4000 in number, rapidly advanced with the evident intention to attack our cavalry. No sooner was this perceived, than the bugle sounded the advance for our men, who instantly moved forward at a canter. As they approached the enemy, and began to ascend the hill, the canter merged into a charge, and the pace was terrific. The Scots Greys and the Enniskillings went right at the Russian centre. For a moment it was a glorious sight. The glittering helmets and weapons and varied uniforms of our fellows as they pressed forward to the charge, with sabres raised and lances levelled, made the mere spectacle beautiful; but, accompanied with all its terrors, it was one of most awful grandeur. The solid earth shook and reverberated with a sound like thunder, as a thousand horses spurred to their utmost speed, went tearing up the hill, scattering the turf and grass like a cloud of sand behind them. The enemy were nothing loth to accept the challenge, and, indeed, they had little reason, for their numbers were as nearly three to one. In a line of two-thirds of a mile they swept down from the hill upon our men, meeting them about half way up. The dull heavy noise with which they closed could be heard at the distance of a mile, and made the listener's blood run cold.
" With the first shock, about a hundred men and horses instantly fell; and both sides seemed to recoil and clutch their weapons closer for a deadly hand-to-hand combat. In another moment there was nothing to be seen but a confused crowd of Hussars, Cossacks, Scots Greys, and Lancers, who were shooting, cutting, and stabbing at one another in all directions. It was impossible to say which did best, for the dust, smoke, and confusion were too great to permit anything like accuracy of observation; but it was quite evident both fought well, for neither gave way, though the bodies of men and horses cumbered the ground. After a minute's contest, part of the Greys drew off for a few yards, and turning at a gallop made a desperate attempt to break the Russian line; they were almost successful at the first onset, and the 17th, imitating the example, levelled their lances, and charging for a few yards, made an awful gap in the enemy's ranks. To crush these attempts before they had time to be successful, the Russian line, which, from their immense superiority of number completely outflanked ours on both sides, tried, by wheeling round, to inclose our gallant Greys; but before the manoeuvre could bo effected, the supporting regiments of the Heavy Brigade, the First Dragoon Guards and Sixth Enniskillings, came down like a thunderbolt upon the Russian flanks. The charge was well timed and well executed, and attended with complete success. The light wheeling Cossacks disappeared like snow before the charge of our Dragoons; the Hussars broke up in disorder, and in another instant the Dragoon Guards, Greys, and Enniskillings were among them, sabring and pistoling right and left. Unlike our regiments, the Russians, while disordered, made no attempt to rally. The instant their line was broken, they scattered and fled like hares to the top of the hill and across the high road, closely harassed in the rear by our men. Unfortunately they were unable to continue the pursuit, from the proximity of the Russian batteries; and the instant our cavalry halted, the Russians halted also, and commenced re-forming their line (still twice as numerous as ours), in order to renew the contest; our men in the meantime were compelled to withdraw under cover of the hill, as while exposed on the heights and high road, the cannonade of the enemy told severely among them. After an interval of ten minutes, during which the Russians poured a perfect shower of shot and shell into our lines, and during which also the long wished-for reinforcements from the intrenched camp were discerned coming up to our assistance, the enemy's cavalry again advanced to the attack. This time they came in with a battery of Horse Artillery; and, after a severe cannonade of a few minutes upon our men, again descended the valley, and advanced to the charge. The whole of our Heavy Cavalry in one strong line met them on this occasion. There was the same desperate charge, the same shock, but not the same fighting. After a minute's resistance, the enemy's whole line gave way, and retired in confusion towards the heights. On this, the Russian cavalry General—who, to do him but bare justice, conducted himself with undoubted skill and bravery throughout the day—halted the flying squadrons, and persuaded them to stand again and face our men, who were within ten yards in hot pursuit. The contest was, therefore, for a moment, renewed on the heights. But the struggle lasted only for a few minutes; the remnants of the Light Cavalry came up in proper time; and the ferocity with which they dashed into the enemy's flanks carried all before them. The Russians again broke and fled; but, this time, our men were among them strewing the plain with carcasses. To save themselves from the slaughterous attack, the Russians sought shelter under the batteries in that fatal valley where our Light Cavalry had suffered so severely. Two or three troops of our horse imprudently followed in pursuit close up, and were terribly mauled by the batteries as they retired."
When the day's sanguinary work was ended, it was found that the cavalry—as may be inferred from the nature of the attacks—had suffered more severely than the infantry. There were about 40 cavalry and artillery officers killed or wounded, together with 400 noncommissioned officers and privates, and nearly as many horses. The infantry loss was trifling. Menschi-koff acknowledged to a loss of 300 Russian infantry, without naming the numbers in cavalry.
Listf of officers, killed or missing, at the Battle of Balaklava:—Hon. W. Charteris, Capt. G. Lockwood, staff; Lieut. A. Sparke, 4th Light Dragoons; Lieut. J. C. Viscount Fitzgibbon, Cornet G. Clowes, 8th Hussars; Capt. J. A. Oldham, Capt. T. H. Goad, Capt. H. Montgomery, 13th Light Dragoons; Capt. J. P. Winter, Lieut. J. H. Thompson, Cornet and Adjutant J. Chadwick, 17th Lancers; Capt. S. Childers, Artillery; Capt. L. C. Nolan, 88th regiment. There were 27 officers wounded; some severely, others slightly.
Such was the Battle of Balaklava. It became speedily evident that some misconception had led to the light cavalry charge. Lord Raglan, scrupulously avoiding all occasions of disagreement, passed the matter lightly over in his despatch, in these words : " From some misconception of the instruction to advance, the lieutenant-general considered that he was bound to attack at all hazards; and he, accordingly, ordered Major-general the Earl of Cardigan to move forward with the light brigade." It did not escape notice, however, that while praising the officers of the light brigade, the commander withheld praise from the Earl of Lucan. Time passed; the subject was much discussed at the camp; and at length the London newspapers containing Lord Raglan's despatch reached the army. The Earl of Lucan, still retaining his position as chief of the cavalry, then addressed a long letter to Lord Raglan, which at a later date was read before the House of Lords and printed in the debates. After complaning of the serious nature of the "misconception" attributed to him, the earl gave an account of the transaction. Whether or not any correspondence immediately followed the writing of this letter, it became afterwards fully evident that each officer retained his own opinion, and that an estrangement existed between them as long as the earl remained at the camp. Lord Raglan deemed the letter one that ought not to have been addressed to him, and recommended its withdrawal: the earl declined; whereupok the commander wrote home to the Minister of War, inclosing a copy of the earl's letter, and giving such a version of the transaction as appeared to Lord Raglan to be correct. This imparted a more serious aspect to the discussion; for Lord Raglan now dwelt upon two misconceptions, instead of merely one, which he had to attribute to the earl. Taking the two consecutive orders into consideration, and the periods of the battle at which they issued, it appears to have been Lord Raglan's intention that the cavalry should aid in regaining the heights surmounted by the redoubts taken from the Turks, or, in default of this, to prevent the Russians from carrying off the guns from the redoubts. In what sense the earl understood these instructions, his own letter explains. Whether Captain Nolan rightly interpreted and rightly conveyed the message intrusted to him, can never be known: he fell gallantly in the charge that followed. The Earl of Lucan, addressing the House of Lords on the subject, made a comment which seems to show that a mere verbal error may in part have occasioned the sad misconception. Speaking of Lord Raglan's first order, he said: " The order put into my hands was: ' The cavalry to advance, and take advantage of any opportunity to recover the heights. They will be supported by infantry, which had been ordered. Advance on two fronts.' The original order did not say ' to advance;' but it is possible that the word ' to ' may have been inserted by mistake in the copy which I furnished to Lord Raglan, and I therefore wish to impute nothing to his lordship with respect to it. There was a full stop after the word 'ordered ' there was no 'to,' and there was a large 'A' to 'advance.' It would have made a great difference if 'to' had been inserted and ' advance' had commenced with a small ' a,' so as to make the whole one sentence. But the sentence, ' Advance on two fronts,' stood by itself." If a small error like this led to the calamity, the occurrence is, perhaps, still more to be regretted.
The earl, feeling more and more severely the position in which he was placed, demanded a court-martial, that the whole subject might be investigated: this demand was refused by Lord Hardinge, the commander, in-chief, with the sanction of the government; and the House of Lords showed a disinclination to permit lengthened discussions on the matter during its sittings.
The newspapers then became the vehicles of communications, together with pamphlets, and even volumes: and during many months a vehement, and often acrimonious, contest was kept up between the advocates on different sides. The controversy was never satisfactorily closed. It was never clearly shown whether the blame was distributable between Lord Raglan, General Airey, Captain Nolan, and the Earl of Lucan, or in what proportions: or whether the earl and the captain, or the earl only, were responsible for the error. All that the nation knew was—that two-thirds of the numbers in a gallant body of men were struck down in attempting to achieve something, they knew not what, against a force that rendered success almost impossible.
Exciting and startling events now rapidly succeeded each other in the Crimea; for scarcely had one portion of the Allied army at Balaklava been permitted to sheath their swords after a most sanguinary conflict on the 25th of October, than another portion on the Heights of Sebastopol, on the following day, were called upon to bear the brunt of a formidable host of Russians, maddened by religious enthusiasm and drink. This encounter was preparatory to the more formidable one which occurred a few days afterwards; and therefore we may justly style these affairs as the Two Battles of Inkermann. An eye-witness thus describes the attack on the 26th:—
"This day, at two o'clock in the afternoon, the Russians advanced to the attack of our positions in front of Sebastopol, and were repulsed with loss. The boldness of the enemy in advancing to force our right— which they did with 8000 men and 32 guns—is explained by the following circumstance:—On the 25th (after the affair at Balaklava) special messengers were sent into Sebastopol with the exaggerated tidings of a great victory gained over the English. Our troops in the trenches heard the tremendous cheer which was sent forth by the garrison of Sebastopol when it received the intelligence. Yesterday the troops were all drawn out to hear a general order read, detailing the losses of the enemy, the capture of its positions and guns, and the annihilation of its cavalry. A prayer cf thanksgiving and "Te Deum" were then solemnly chanted in the great church; and, after a distribution of extra grog to the troops, they became so enthusiastic, that the Russian general took advantage of the moment to make an attack upon the right of our positions. The Russians moved up on our right along the road which leads towards the Inkermann ruins; and, turning off to their right, they ascended the heights near which was encamped the Second Division, under Sir de Lacy Evans. The hill which they ascended is called Shell-hill by our men, who have always met with a warm reception there whenever they showed themselves above a small ruin on its summit, which serves as a protection to our pickets. To our left of the ruin, a strong force is usually in observation. To our right an equally strong party lines a stone intrenchment, erected across the road, which winds down towards Sebastopol; and further on, a fourth picket covers a spur over-hanging the road on the other side. The Russians advanced in three columns of 1500 men each, and drove in the small picket in the ruins. They deployed to the right and left; and, whilst their right moved down into the dip on our side of Shell-hill, their left stretched down, crossed the Sebastopol road, and endeavoured to turn our position by getting round the spur which covers the camp of Sir de Lacy Evans' division. Their advance was made with great confidence and in good order ; but our pickets behaved admirably; they retired in complete order, firing through the intervals with such regularity and precision that the Russians were loth to advance any but skirmishers; and two hours were spent before the grand attack came on. There is no record, I believe, of pickets, amounting in all to five companies, keeping an enemy of such force at bay for so long a time; and it is therefore with a feeling of pride that we record the admirable conduct of Captain Conolly of the 49th, the clever resistance of Captain Atcherley of the 30th, at the ruins, and that of Major Champion of the 95th, on our right. Captain Conolly had fought manfully for a considerable time, when a few of the enemy closed in upon him, and he defended himself with his sword in one hand and his telescope in the other, until he was rescued ; unfortunately at that moment he was shot through the side by a conical ball, and fell badly wounded.
" In the meanwhile the division had been speedily moved out and covered its pickets. The 30th marched out to the right with the 95th, whilst Captains Turner and York's batteries moved to a position above the enemy on our right, and the 55th supported them. General Adams's brigade moved forward on the left, toward the ruins; the 41st, 47th, 49th, taking commanding positions. The Russians advanced with considerable vigour, and in good order, to the attack, under cover of their guns. They seemed, however, to have had considerable diificulty in moving their artillery, for they could only get five of their guns into play, and these were so mauled in a few minutes, by our batteries, that they ceased firing, and were withdrawn. This was the moment when the Russians began to waver; they quailed before the fire of our men, and as we advanced upon them, they gave way, retiring in disorder over the scrubby ground which they had taken up. Their masses at the moment offered a deadly aim to our Artillery, which poured in volleys of grape and shells into them, and committed tremendous havoc. Their disorder increased, and then a general pursuit commenced. General Pennefather's brigade followed them over the hills, in their headlong flight, almost down to the trenches of Sebastopol, from whence it made its way back under the old familiar fire of Inkermann Lighthouse, and a stream with which every man in Sir de Lacy Evans's division is well acquainted. The Lancaster gun on the right of Gordon's attack could not miss so fine an opportunity, but sent shell right into the retreating Russians with immense execution.
" The loss of the Russians in this affair was 500 killed and wounded; and we may say, without exaggeration, that we had all our own way during the time the affair lasted. Our loss only amounted to seventy men killed and wounded. We took sixty-nine prisoners, amongst whom were four officers, and one of them was the identical man who had a few days previously captured Lord Dunkelin. It may afford Lord Clanricarde pleasure to know that his son is well, and cared for, in Prince Gortschikoff's own house. The Prince himself, however, is said to have been seriously wounded during this affair, and there is even a rumour of his death. We regret to say, that in this encounter Captains Atcherley and Baily, of the 30th, were badly wounded; Captain Cahill, of the 49th, also badly hit, as well as Captain Harriot, of the 40th. Captain Conolly has spent a good night, and is doing well. Captain Harriott has a ball lodged under his shoulder-blade, and will, in all probability, recover; and the rest of the wounded are in a fair way. Though none but the Second Division was engaged in this affair, it was supported by detachments from the Light, the First, and Third Divisions, and by three regiments, sent up by General Bosquet. So that, had the enemy been three times as numerous as they were, they would have been overmatched. Besides prisoners, several trophies were taken—such as drums, colours, trumpets, and quantities of musketry and ammunition."
An heroic achievement, quite characteristic of the British sailor, attracted much attention during and after this engagement. Captain Lushington commanded the naval brigade employed in the siege, and under him was Mr. Hewett, acting mate of the Beadle, who had charge of one of the Lancaster guns. From a despatch sent by Admiral Lushington to Admiral Dundas, and forwarded to the Admiralty, it appears that when the Russians made their sortie in such force on the 26th, this gun was in jeopardy; indeed, Russian skirmishers approached within 300 yards, and poured in a volley of Minie bullets upon the gunners. An order was received to "spike the gun and retreat;" but Hewett, surmising that a mistake might have occurred in the conveyance of this order from the officer of the picket, sent this simple reply: " Such an order does not come from Captain Lushington, and I will not obey it until it does." He then pulled down the earthen parapet of the battery on which the gun was placed, obtained the aid of some of the soldiers in swinging the gun round to a position it could not have occupied while the parapet remained, and poured a most destructive fire of grape-shot into a large column of Russians ; and, on their retreating from the British, he followed them down the hill with 68-pound shot, and fired with fatal precision into the Russian masses. The happy audacity which induced this disregard of an order, or supposed order, contributed materially to the success of the Allies on this day; and the Admiralty marked their sense of the service rendered, by conferring on Mr. Hewett the rank of lieutenant. About this period, the fleets had so few opportunities of rendering service in their own characteristic way, that such an adventure on shore as that of Hewett, afforded great delight to the seamen. For the rest, the ships con. tinued to be simply assistants to the armies. After the threatened attack on Balaklava on the 26th, the Agamemnon, Sanspareil, Wasp, Cyclops, Vesuvius, and other steamers, were sent to the little port, to render aid in the event of any more serious contingency; while the Firebrand, Niger, Beadle, and Arrow, performed the office of couriers between Balaklava and Katcha: carrying sick and wounded from the former place to the latter, and stores and ammunition from the latter to the former.
Lord Raglan, in his despatches, at the close of October and the beginning of November, alluded to a perceptible accumulation of Russian troops, not only in Sebastopol, but also in the valleys and plains north and east of the plateau. The Russian force in tha Valley of the Tchernaya was greatly augmented, and was pushed on to the heights near to Balaklava. The Allies therefore immediately strengthened their lines of defence; but it does not appear that Lord Raglan made mention of strengthening at the point opposite to the valley of Inkermann, where the ascent from the valley is sufficiently easy to permit an attack if the heights be undefended. Lord Raglan said:—" The movements of the Russians have induced me to place as strong a force as I can dispose of on the precipitous ridge in that direction (the plain of the Tchernaya,) in order to prevent any attempt to get round to Balaklava : and the whole line is strengthened by a breastwork which has been thrown up by the Highland brigade, the royal marines, and the Turkish troops-thus circumscribing that part of the position ; while immediately in front of the gorge leading into that town, a strong redoubt is in course of being constructed, which is to be garrisoned by the 93rd regiment, and armed with several guns; and on the high ground behind and to the left is a battery manned by seamen, which terminates the position to be defended by the troops under tho command of Major-general Sir Colin Campbell." Still, he makes no mention of the position at Inkermann, although this despatch was written on the 3rd of November. His Lordship watched Menschikoff on one side, and Liprandi on the other; and even in regard to those two opponents he said: " I should be more satisfied if I could have occupied the position in considerably greater strength." He appears to have been entirely ignorant of Dannenberg's movements at that time.
Being fully aware that his army was far too weak for the onerous duties imposed on it; foreseeing that he had an anxious responsibility to look forward to; believing that the Russians, besides strengthening their works, had obtained large reinforcements,—the British commander was still far from suspecting the formidable nature of the preparations made by the enemy for the 6th of November, the day of the great battle of Inkermann: he did not know that priestly fanaticism and imperial encouragement were to be added to military ardour. Shortly before that day, General Dannenberg arrived at Sebastopol, via Perekop and Simferopol, with a well-appointed army of 30,000 men, to augment those already under Menschikoff and Liprandi: it was composed of the 10th, 11th, and 12th divisions, each consisting of sixteen battalions of infantry, two batteries of artillery, and a strong force of cavalry. To impart greater importance to this army and its mission, Dannenberg was accompanied by the Grand, dukes Michael and Nicholas, the third and fourth sons of the czar—young men who, it was doubtless hoped, would for tho first time witness a splendid victory gained by Russian troops. On the 3rd, at a council of war, it was determined that an attack should be made upon the Allied forces two days afterwards; the army was to advance towards Inkermann, take possession of the fortified works crowning the heights, and surround the plain or valley of the Tchernaya: this accomplished, the eastern defence-works of the Allies on the plateau and near Balaklava were to be attacked; while, at a concerted period, a vigorous sortie was to be made from the south-west of Sebastopol upon the French siege-works. Menschikoff took upon himself the command of the town and the management of the sortie; while one of the Gortschikoffs was intrusted with the command of the army of operation in the field—the two grand-dukes being placed upon the staff.
On th 4th of November, an extraordinary scene was witnessed amongst the Russian troops. A number of Bishops had accompanied Dannenberg's army; and these prelates performed a mass with all the pomp and ceremony imaginable; and then one of them addressed the Russian soldiers, praising their military qualifications, and depreciating those of their opponents. He ended by invoking a blessing, and distributing medals.
It rained most incessantly throughout the night of the 4th of November, and the early morning gave no promise of any cessation of the heavy showers which had fallen for the previous four-and-twenty hours. Towards dawn a heavy fog settled down on the heights and on the valley of Inkermann. The pickets and men on outlying posts were thoroughly saturated, and their arms were wet, despite their precautions: and it is scarcely to be wondered at if there were some of them who were not quite as alert as sentries should be in face of an enemy, for it must be remembered that the small British army was almost worn out by its incessant labours, and that men on picket are frequently men who had but a short respite from work in the trenches or from regimental duties. The fog and vapours of drifting rain were so thick as morning broke that one could scarcely see two yards before him. At four o'clock the bells of the churches in Sebastopol were heard ringing drearily through the cold night air, but the occurrence had been so usual that it excited no particular attention. During the night, however, a sharp-eared sergeant on an outlying picket of the Light Division heard the sound of wheels in the valley below, as though they were approaching the position up the hill. He reported the circumstance to Major Bunbury, but it was supposed that the sound arose from ammunition carts or arabas going into Sebastopol by the Inkermann road. No one suspected for a moment that enormous masses of Russians were creeping up the rugged sides of the heights over the Valley of Inkermann on the undefended flank of the Second Division. There all was security and repose. Little did the slumbering troops in camp imagine that a subtle and indefatigable enemy were bringing into position an overwhelming artillery, ready to play upon their tents at the first glimpse of daylight. It must be observed that Sir de Lacy Evans had long been aware of the insecurity of this portion of our position, and had repeatedly pointed it out to those whose duty it was to guard against the dangers which threatened us. It was the only ground where we were exposed to surprise, for a number of ravines and unequal curves in the slope of the hill towards the valley led up to the crest and summit, against the adverse side of which our right flank was resting, without guns, intrenchments, abattis, or outlying defence of any kind. Every one admitted the truth of the representations addressed to the authorities on this subject ; but indolence, or else false security and an overweening confidence, led to indifference and procrastination. A battery was thrown up with sandbags and gabions and fascines on the slope of the hill over Inkermann on the east, but no guns were mounted there, for Sir de Lacy Evans thought that two guns in such a position, without any works to support them, would only invite attack and capture. In the action of the 26th of October, the enemy tried their strength almost on the very spot selected by them this morning, but it may now be considered that they merely made a reconnaissance en force on that occasion, and that they were waiting for reinforcements to assault the position where it was most vulnerable, and where they might speculate with some certainty on the effects of a surprise on a sleeping camp on a winter's morning. Although the arrangements of Sir de Lacy Evans on repulsing the sortie were, as Lord Eaglan declared, " so perfect that they could not fail to insure success," it was evident that a larger force than the Russians employed would have forced him to retire from his ground, or to fight a battle in defence of it with the aid of the other divisions of the army; and yet nothing was done. 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."
It was a little after five o'clock on this eventful morning, when Brigadier-General Codrington, in accordance with his usual habit, visited the outlying pickets of his own brigade of the Light Division. It was reported to him that " all was well," and the General entered into some conversation with Captain Pretyman, of the 33d Eegiment, who was on duty on the ground, in the course of which it was remarked that it would not be at all surprising if the Russians availed themselves of the gloom of the morning to make an attack on our position, calculating on the effects of the rain in disarming our vigilance and spoiling our weapons. The Brigadier, who has proved a most excellent, cool, and brave officer, turned his pony round at last, and retraced his steps through the brushwood towards his lines. He had only proceeded a few paces when a sharp rattle of musketry was heard down the hill and on the left of the pickets of the Light Division. It was here that the pickets of the Second Division were stationed. General Codrington at once turned his horse's head in the direction of the firing, and in a few moments galloped back to turn out his division. The Russians were advancing in force upon us. Their gray greatcoats rendered them almost invisible when close at hand. The pickets of the Second Division had scarcely made out the advancing lines of infantry, who were clambering up the steep sides of the hill through a drizzling shower of rain, when they were forced to retreat by a close sharp volley of musketry, and wrre driven up towards the brow of tha hill, contesting every step of it, and firing as long as they had a round of ammunition on the Russian advance. The pickets of the Light Division were assailed soon afterwards, and were also obliged to retreat and fall back on their main body, and it was evident that a very strong sortie had been made upon the right of the position of the allied armies, with the object of forcing them to raise the siege, and, if possible, of driving them into the sea. About the same time that the advance of the Russians on our right flank took place, a demonstration was made by the cavalry, artillery, and a few infantry in the valley against Balaklava, to divert the attention of the French on the heights above, and to occupy the Highland Brigade and Marines, but only an interchange of a few harmless rounds of cannon and musketry took place, and 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 our retreating troops to pieces should the assault on our right be successful. A Semaphore post had been erected on the heights over Inkermann in communication with another on the hill over their position, from which the intelligence of our defeat was to be conveyed to the Cavalry General, and the news would have been made known in Sebastopol by similar means, in order to encourage the garrison to a general sortie along their front. A steamer with heavy shell guns and mortars was sent up by night to the head of the creek at Inkermann, and caused much injury throughout the day by the enormous shells she pitched right over the hill upon our men. Everything that could be done to bind victory to their eagles—if they have any—was done by the Russian Generals. The presence of their Grand Duke Michael Nicholavitch, who told them that the Czar had issued orders that every Frenchman ami Englishman was to be driven into the sea ere the year closed, cheered the common soldiers, who regard thn son of the Emperor as an emanation of the Divine presence. They had abundance of a coarser and more material stimulant, which was found in their canteens and flasks; and, above all, the priests of the Greek Catholic Church " blessed" them ere they went forth upon their mission, and assured them of the aid and protection of the Most High. A mass was said for the army, and the joys of Heaven were freely offered to those who might fall in the holy fight, and the favours of the Emperor were largely promised to those who might survive the bullets of a heretical enemy. The men in our camps had just begun a struggle with the rain in endeavouring to light their fires for breakfast when the alarm was given that the Russians were advancing in force. Brigadier-General Pennefather, to whom the illness of Sir de Lacy Evans had given for a time the command of the Second Division, at once got the troops under arms. One brigade, under Brigadier-General Adams, consisting of the 41st, 47th, and 40th Regiments, was pushed on to the brow of the hill to check the advance of the enemy by the road through the brushwood from the valley. The other brigade (Brigadier-General Pennefather's own), consisting of the 30th, 65th, and 95th Regiments, was led to operate on their flank. They were at once met with a tremendous fire of shell and round shot from guns which the enemy had posted on the high grounds in advance of our right, and it was soon found that the Russians had brought up at least 40 pieces of heavy artillery to bear upon us. Meantime the alarm had spread through the camps. Sir George Cathcart with the greatest promptitude turned out as many of his division as were not employed in the trenches, and led the portions of the 20th, 21st, 46th, 57th, 63d, and 68th Regiments, which were available against the enemy, directing them to the left of the ground occupied by the columns of the Second Division. It was intended that one brigade, under Brigadier-General Torrens, should move in support of the brigade under Brigadier-General Goldie; but it was soon found that the enemy were in such strength that the whole force of the division, which consisted of only 2,200 men, must be vigorously used to repel them. Sir George Brown had rushed up to the front with his brave fellows of the Light Division—the remnants of the 7th Fusiliers, of the 19th Regiment, of the 23rd Regiment, of the 33rd Regiment, and the 77th and the 88th Regiments, under Brigadiers Codrington and Buller. As they began to move across the ground of the Second Division, they were at once brought under fire by an unseen enemy. The gloomy character of the morning was unchanged. Showers of rain fell through the fogs, and turned the ground into a clammy soil, like a freshly-ploughed field; and the Russians, who had, no doubt, taken the bearings of the ground ere they placed their guns, fired at random indeed, but with too much effect on our advancing columns. While all the army was thus in motion, the Duke of Cambridge was not behind-hand, in bring up the Guards under Brigadier Bentinck—all of his division now left with him, as the Highlanders were under Sir Colin Campbell at Balaklava. These splendid troops with the greatest rapidity and ardour rushed to the front on the right of the Second Division, and gained the summit of the hill, towards which two columns of the Russians were struggling in the closest order of which the nature of the ground would admit. The Third Division, under Sir R. England, was also got under arms as a reserve, and one portion of it, comprising the 50th, part of the 28th and of the 4th Regiments, was engaged with the enemy ere the fight was over.
And now commenced the bloodiest struggle ever witnessed since war cursed the earth. It has been doubted by military historians if an enemy have ever stood a charge with the bayonet, but here the bayonet was often the only weapon employed in conflicts of the most obstinate and deadly character. We have been prone to believe that no foe could ever withstand the British soldier wielding his favourite weapon, and that at Maida alone did the enemy ever cross bayonets with him, but at the battle of Inkermann not only did we charge in vain—not only were desperate encounters between masses of men maintained with the bayonet alone—but we were obliged to resist bayonet to bayonet the Russian infantry again and again, as they charged us with incredible fury and determination. The Battle of Inkermann admits of no description. It was a series of dreadful deeds of dating, of sanguinary hand-to-band fights, of despairing rallies, of desperate assaults—in glens and valleys, in brushwood glades and remote dells, hidden from all human eyes, and from which the conquerors, Russian or British, issued only to engage fresh foes, till our old supremacy, so rudely assailed, was triumphantly asserted, and the battalions of the Czar gave way before our steady courage and the chivalrous fire of France. No one, however placed, could have witnessed even a small portion of the doings of this eventful day, for the vapours, fog, and drizzling mist obscured the ground where the struggle took place, to such an extent as to render it impossible to see what was going on at the distance of a few yards. Besides this, the irregular nature of the ground, the rapid fall of the hill towards Inkermann, where the deadliest fight took place, would have prevented one under the most favourable circumstances seeing more than a very insignificant and detailed piece of the terrible work below. It was six o'clock when all the Head-Quarter carnp was roused by roll after roll of musketry on the right, and by the sharp report of field guns. Lord Raglan was soon informed that the enemy were advancing in force, and soon after seven o'clock he rode towards the scene of action, followed by his staff, and accompanied by Sir John Burgoyne, Brigadier-General Strangways, R.A., and several aides-de-camp. As they approached the volume of sound, the steady, unceasing thunder of gun, and rifle, and musket told that the engagement was at its height. The shells of the Russians, thrown with great precision, burst so thickly among the troops that the noise resembled continuous discharges of cannon, and the massive fragments inflicted death on every side. One of the first things the Russians did, when a break in the fog enabled them to see the camp of the Second Division, was to open fire on the tents with round shot and large shell, and tent after tent was blown down, torn to pieces, or sent into the air, while the men engaged in camp duties and the unhappy horses tethered up in the lines were killed or mutilated. Colonel Gambier was at once ordered to get up two heavy guns (18-pounders) on the rising ground, and to reply to a fire which our light guns were utterly inadequate to meet. As he was engaging in this duty, and was exerting himself with Captain D'Auilar to urge them forward, Colonel Gambier was severely but not dangerously wounded, and was obliged to retire. His place was taken by Lieutenant-Colonel Dickson, and the conduct of that officer in directing the fire of those two pieces, which had the most marked effect in deciding the fate of the day, was such as to elicit the admiration of the army, and to deserve the thanks of every man engaged in that bloody fray. But long ere these guns had been brought up there had been a great slaughter of the enemy, and a heavy loss of our own men. Our generals could not see where to go. They could not tell where the enemy were—from what side they were coming, nor where they were coming to. In darkness, gloom, and rain they had to lead their lines through thick scrubby bushes and thorny brakes, which broke our ranks and irritated the men, while every pace was marked by a corpse or man wounded by an enemy whose position was only indicated by the rattle of musketry and the rush of ball and shell.
Sir George Cathcart, seeing his men disordered by the fire of a large column of Russian infantry which was outflanking them, while portions of the various regiments composing his division were maintaining an unequal struggle with an overwhelming force, rode down into the ravine in which they were engaged, to rally them. He perceived at the same time that the Russians had actually gained possession of a portion of the hill in rear of one flank of his division, but still his stout heart never failed him for a moment. He rode at their head, encouraging them; and when a cry arose that the ammunition was failing, he said coolly, " Have you not got your bayonets ?" As he led on his men it was observed that another body of men had gained the top of the hill behind them on the right, but it was impossible to tell whether they were friends or foes. A deadly volley was poured into our scattered regiments. Sir George cheered them, and led them back up the hill, but a flight of bullets passed where he rode, and he fell from his horse close to the Russian columns. The men had to fight their way through a host of enemies, and lost fearfully. They were surrounded and bayonetted on all sides, and won their desperate way up the hill with diminished ranks and the loss of near 500 men. Sir George Cathcart's body was afterwards recovered, with a bullet wound in the head and three bayonet wounds in the body. In this struggle, where the Russians fought with the greatest ferocity, and bayonetted the wounded as they fell, Colonel Swyny, of the 63rd, a most gallant officer, Lieutenant Dowling, 20th, Major Wynne, 68th and other officers, met their death; and Brigadier Goldie (of the 57th Regiment) received the wounds from which he has since died. The conflict on the right was equally uncertain and equally bloody. In the Light Division, the 88th got so far into the front that they were surrounded and put into utter confusion, when four companies of the 77th, under Major Straton, charged the Russians, broke them, and relieved their comrades. The fight had not long commenced before it was evident that the Russians had received orders to fire at all mounted officers. Sir George Brown was hit by a shot, which went through his arm and struck his side; and deep was the regret when he was borne on a litter from the field; for it was well known that the troops had lost the services of a good soldier that day. Further to the right a contest, the like of which, perhaps, never took place before, was going on between the Guards and dense columns of Russian infantry of five times their number. The Guards had charged them and driven them back, when they perceived that the Russians had out-flanked them. They were out of ammunition too. They were uncertain whether there were friends or foes in the rear. They had no support, no reserve, and they were fighting with the bayonet against an enemy who stoutly contested every inch of ground, when the corps of another Russian column appeared on their right far in their rear. Then a fearful mitraille was poured into them, and volleys of rifle and musketry. The Guards were broken; they had lost 14 officers, who fell in the field; they had left one-half of their number on the ground, and they retired along the lower road of the valley. They were soon reinforced, however, and speedily avenged their loss. The French advanced about 10 o'clock, and turned the flank of the enemy.
The Second Division, in the centre of the line, were hardly pressed. The 41st Regiment in particular were exposed to a terrible fire, and the 86th were in the middle of such disorganizing volleys that they only mustered 64 men when paraded at two o'clock. In fact, the whole of the division numbered only 300 men when assembled by Major Eman in the rear of their camp after the fight was over. The regiments did not take their colours into the battle, but the officers nevertheless were picked off wherever they went, and it did not require the colour staff to indicate their presence. Our ambulances were soon filled, and ere nine o'clock they were busily engaged in carrying loads of men, all covered with blood, and groaning, to the rear of the line.
About half-past nine o'clock, Lord Raglan and his staff were assembled on a knoll, in the vain hope of getting a glimpse of the battle which was raging below them. Here General Strangways was mortally wounded, and he met his death in the following way: —A shell came right in among the staff—it exploded in Captain Somerset's horse, ripping him open; a portion of the shell tore off the leather overalls of Captain Somerset's trousers, it then struck down Captain Gordon's horse and killed him at once, and then blew away General Strangways' leg, so that it hung by a shred of flesh and a bit of cloth from the skin. The poor old General never moved a muscle of his face. He said merely, in a calm and gentle voice, "Will any one be kind enough to lift me off my horse?" He was taken down and laid upon thie ground, while his life blood ebbed fast, and at last he was carried to the rear. But the gallant old man had not sufficient strength to undergo an operation, and in two hours he had sunk to rest, leaving behind him a memory which will ever be held dear by every officer and man of the army.
The fight about the battery, to which allusion has been made, was most sanguinary. It was found that there was no banquette to stand upon, and that the men inside could not fire upon the enemy. The Russians advanced mass after mass of infantry. As fast as one column was broken and repulsed, another took its place. For three long hours about 8,500 British infantry contended against at least four times their number. No wonder that at tunes they were compelled to retire. But they came to the charge again. The admirable devotion of the officers, who knew they were special objects of attack, can never be too highly praised. Nor can the courage and steadiness of the few men who were left to follow them in this sanguinary assault on the enemy be sufficiently admired. At one time the Russians succeeded in getting up close to the guns of Captain Wodehouse's and of 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 them suddenly, bore all resistance down before them, drove away or bayonetted the gunners, and succeeded in spiking some of the guns. Their columns gained the hill, and for a few moments the fate of the day trembled in the balance, but Adams's Brigade, Pennefather's Brigade and the Light Division made another desperate charge, while Dickson's guns swept their columns, and the Guards, with undiminished valour and steadiness, though with a sadly decreased front, pushed on again to meet their bitter enemies. The rolling of musketry, the crash of steel, the pounding of the guns were deafening, and the Russians as they charged up the heights yelled like demons. They advanced, halted, advanced again, received and returned a close and deadly fire; but the Minie is the king of weapons— Inkermann proved it. The regiments of the French division and the Marines, armed with the old and much belauded Brown-Bess, could do nothing with their thin line of fire against the massive multitudes of the Muscovite infantry, but the volleys of the Minie cleft them like the hand of the Destroying Angel, and they fell like leaves in autumn before them. About ten o'clock a body of French infantry appeared on our right, a joyful sight to our struggling regiments. The Zouaves came on at the pas de charge. The French artillery had already begun to play with deadly effect on the right wing of the Russians. Three battalions of the Chasseurs d'Orleans rushed by, the light of battle on their faces. They were accompanied by a battalion of Chasseurs Indigenes—the Arab Sepoys of Algiers. Their trumpets sounded above the din of battle, and when their eager advance was seen right on the flank of the enemy it was known the day was won. Assailed in front by our men—broken in several places by the impetuosity of our charge, renewed again and again —attacked by the French infantry on the right, and by artillery all along the line, the Russians began to retire, and at twelve o'clock they were driven pell-mell down the hill towards the valley, where pursuit would have been madness, as the roads were all covered by their artillery. They left mounds of dead behind them. Long ere they fled, the Chasseurs d'Afrique charged them most brilliantly over the ground, difficult and broken as it was, and inflicted great loss on them, while the effect of this rapid attack, aided by the advance of our troops, secured our guns, which were only spiked with wood, and were soon rendered fit for service. The British cavalry, the remnant of the Light Brigade, were removed into a position where it was hoped they might be of service, but they were too few to attempt anything, and while they were drawn up they lost several horses and some men. One officer, Cornet Cleveland, was struck by a piece of shell in the side, and has since expired. There are now only two officers left with the fragment of the 17th Lancers— Captain Godfrey Morgan and Cornet George Wombwell. At twelve o'clock the battle of Inkermann seemed to have been won, but the day, which had cleared up for an hour previously so as to enable us to see the enemy and meet him, again became obscured. Rain and fog set in, and as we could not pursue the Russians, who were retiring under tbe shelter of their artillery, we had formed in front of our lines and were holding the battle-field so stoutly contested, when the enemy, taking advantage of our quietude, again advanced, while their guns pushed forward and opened a tremendous fire upon us.
General Canrobert, who never quitted Lord Raglan for much of the early part of the day, at once directed the French to advance and outflank the enemy. In his efforts he was most ably seconded by General Bosquet, whose devotion was noble. Nearly all his mounted escort were down beside and behind him. General Canrobert was slightly wounded. His immediate attendants suffered severely. The renewed assault was so admirably repulsed that the Russians sullenly retired, still protected by their crushing artillery.
The Russians, about ten, made a sortie on the French lines, and traversed two parallels before they could be resisted. They were driven back at last with great loss, and as they retired they blew up some mines inside the Flagstaff Fort, evidently afraid that the French would enter pell-mell after them.
At one o'clock the Russians were again retiring. At 1. 40 Dickson's two guns smashed their artillery, and they limbered up, leaving five tumbrels and one gun carriage on the field.
In the account written by General Bosquet to General Canrobert concerning the share borne by the former in the day's proceedings, he commented on three points of attack selected by the Russians: namely near the bridge of Inkermann; opposite the telegraph (where the Woronzow road ascends from the plain to the plateau); and further south towards Kadikoi. He formed an opinion that the two latter were mere feints and that the serious point of attack would be at the extreme right of the English. To this quarter, therefore, he sent assistance. He placed the whole of his troops under arms as quickly as possible; and sent to the scene of struggle portions of his Zouaves, Algerine tirailleurs, and chasseurs, together with battalions of the 6th, 7th, and 50th regiments. It was with these troops that Bosquet aided the heroic band of English to drive the enemy finally over the crest, and pursue them with a crushing fire towards the bridge. The time was indeed critical: the British had been fighting several hours, sinking rapidly in numbers and in physical strength, though not in moral determination How much longer they could have maintained the unequal contest is doubtful; but when Bosquet brought forward his chasseurs and Zouaves, and when these nimble fellows dashed at the Russians with all the energy of ardent French troops, the repulse of the enemy became most signal and rapid. And when, in the afternoon, the enemy made one last grand attempt to regain the lost fortunes of the day, it was mainly the French who repulsed them, and drove them finally across the valley. It is the opinion of all, that without this aid the British must ultimately have given way, despite their heroism.
General Forey bore a share in the labours of this tremendous day, as commander of the French siege-army. It was he who was called upon to check and defeat the sortie from the town, constituting part of the Russian system of operations. At nine o'clock in the morning, while the British Guards were so fiercely engaged near the redoubt, he was suddenly attacked by a force of 5000 strong, which emerged from the streets of Sebastopol, crossed the lines of defence, and approached his siege-works—the force, according to Forey's despatch, consisting of four battalions of the regiment of Minsk, one of the regiment of Volhynia, and a body of volunteers. The Russians left the town by the Quarantine bastion, and advanced along the ravine situated between that bastion and the French works: enveloped in a damp November mist, they approached unperceived and threw their force upon the French batteries No. 1 and No. 2. The defenders of those batteries, apparently unable to contend against the large numbers opposed to them, retired to a short distance, as did likewise a portion of the troops placed in defence of the trenches. Forey speedily brought some of his regiments—including the 19th and 39th, with battalions of chasseurs and of the Foreign Legion —to the rescue; these advanced upon the Russians, who abandoned the two batteries, and retired beyond the ravine. Generals de Lourmel and D'Aurelle were sent forward in pursuit of the enemy, while General le Vaillant and Prince Napoleon held themselves in readiness to support these movements. Forey placed himself at the head of the chasseurs and the artillery, with a view to cut off the retreat of the enemy in case they should attempt to advance beyond the two batteries. The Russians speedily found themselves pursued in great force, besides being reached by a destructive storm of shot from artillery brought by the French up to the heights overlooking the Quarantine ravine; they were driven back into the town, and thus the sortie ended. General de Lourmel was wounded by a ball while pursuing them almost to the very walls of the place. Forey owned to a very serious loss, and estimated the Russian loss at 1500. The whole affair was simply a frustrated attack, leaving each side in possession of the same works and positions as before; the Russians spiked the eight guns in the two French batteries, but this mischief was soon afterwards repaired. The French had to mourn the loss of a favourite officer in General de Lourmel; for the wound received during the action proved fatal. When struck in the breast by a ball, the general betrayed neither emotion nor suffering, but told his orderlies to keep secret the fact of his being wounded. Half an hour elapsed before he would consent to be taken from his horse; when he did so, he attempted to walk, but his strength speedily failed him, and he submitted to be carried. Still, he required his attendants to stop every few moments, that he might look back at his troops, give orders, and correct movements. Arrived at his tent, and placed under the care of the surgeons, his wound speedily exhibited fatal symptoms: the ball had passed completely through the body; and after many hours of pain, borne with a soldier's fortitude, General de Lourmel ceased to live.
A third point on which the French were engaged was on the south-east margin of the plateau, where Liprandi made an attack, supposed to be intended as a feint, to draw off the attention of the Allies from the heights of Inkermann. It shows how alarming was the danger the Allies escaped on that day. Three distinct armies, in three different places of the plateau whereon the Allies were encamped, and this, too, with overwhelming numbers, and in a manner completely unexpected. Lord Raglan, speaking of the Russians actually engaged, said: "I am led to suppose that they could not have been less than 60,000. Their loss was excessive; it is calculated that they left on the field near 5000 dead, and that their casualties amounted in the whole, in killed, wounded, and prisoners, to not less than 15,000, The number of British troops actually engaged little exceeded 8000 men; whilst those of General Bosquet's divison only amounted to 6000, the remaining available French troops on the spot having been kept in reserve."
So obstinate a conflict would not fail to supply numerous examples of personal hazards or escapes. A sergeant was left alone for a few minutes, in advance of his regiment, and five Russians were speedily on him; he shot one, bayonetted a second, and fell under the attacks of the other three, being wounded in five places; at this moment a horse's hoofs were heard; the Russians fled; a British colonel pulled up the sergeant on his horse, and galloped off with him in safety. A sergeant of artillery was seen alone in the midst of a body of Russians who had made an attack on a British battery; he had one arm round the muzzle of his gun, as if to guard it, and with the other was defending himself fiercely, sword in hand, against those around him: he fell at last, and when his body was found, it had received upwards of fifty bayonet-wounds. Lieutenant Crosse, of the 88th, was wounded by four Russians: he shot two in front of him with his revolver ; Private Houlaghan rushed out of the ranks, shot a third Russian, bayonetted the fourth, took up the lieutenant in his arms, and ran back with him in safety to the rear of the regiment. When Captain Nicholson, of the 77th, was lying wounded on the ground, a dastardly Russian approached and bayonetted him; but the captain, getting at his revolver, shot the fellow dead on the spot. An English gun was on the point of being captured, when Major Townsend, in command at that spot, turned round to the few artillerymen near, and cried out in the agony of a soldier's pride: "You won't disgrace me!" On the instant a shell from the enemy's battery killed him on the spot; whereupon a young lieutenant drew his sword, galloped towards the gun, rode over one Russian, killed another, thrust several more aside, and the gun was recaptured. One of the Fusilier Guards describes his part in the terrific contest around the redoubt in language which, while it commands credence for its straightforward clearness and simplicity, illustrates the insensibility to pain exhibited by men at such moments.
" We fought about an hour upon the high ground before I was struck. My front rank was shot dead. I took his place, and was firing away as fast as ever. In a few moments, a musket-ball went through my right arm. It was just like a pin touching me at the time. I continued firing about five minutes; then I got a ball in the left breast. I never fell ; but, thank God, the ball passed quick as lightning through my back, just below my shoulder. The wound is three or four inches higher before than it is behind, because the enemy were higher than we, they firing in a slanting direction. I thought at this time the ball was in my chest. I fired thrice after this—then I reeled like a drunken man. I could scarcely stand for the want of blood. I was not able to load the fourth time after this shot. We were now within ten yards of some of the Russians, and every moment walking over their dead and wounded. We just got the word 'charge bayonets' as I fell to the rear. I threw my firelock from me. I had my blanket and great coat on my back ; I pitched them off. I was staggering down the hill as well as I could, when I was soon struck on the arm with a bit of shell. I had not time to say a word till another ball went through my left thigh. I got about twenty yards further down, and then fell on my face. I never got timorous till then. The balls were flying over me by wholesale. I tried to get up, and, with the help of God, I got to my feet once more. I was not one minute on my feet till a ball struck me on the first joint of the middle finger of my left hand, and broke it. I still kept my feet, and got to the bottom of the hill, where I fell and lay for four hours before I was carried away. In my next, I will tell you how I got off the field."
A soldier of the 49th was engaged for four hours defending a battery of English guns before he was shot, during which he fired nearly a hundred times; a musket-ball at length struck him in the thigh, but as he could not retire without certain destruction, he simply tied a handkerchief round his wound, and resumed his duties. Presently he saw four Russian soldiers and an officer creeping through the brushwood and stabbing the British wounded—an atrocious proceeding so frequently adopted during the day as to excite the most intense indignation on the part of the Allies ; the soldier fired his rifle, and struck down one of the Russians; three others rushed at him with the bayonet: he hurled his bayonet at one like a knee, and pierced him; then, picking up a revolver, dropped by some wounded or killed officer, he shot the two others, and took the officer prisoner. While carrying him off, and stooping to pick up a water-bottle to refresh them both, he received a cowardly stab from the officer, whom he speedily despatched for his treachery.— But, in truth, the soldiers' letters after the Battle of In-kermann were full of exciting incidents. It is worthy of remark, that the men were enabled, after the battle of the Alma, to give, each in his own simple way, an account of the battle itself; but after the more deadly struggle of the 6th of November, the recitals were of terrific personal encounters, in which each man had to fight for very life: he had no time to understand or think of tactics.
Lord Raglan's description of the battle :— "My Lord Duke,— I have the honour to report to your Grace that the army under my command, powerfully aided by the Corps of Observation of the French army, under the command of that distinguished officer, General Bosquet, effectually repulsed and defeated a most vigorous and determined attack of the enemy on our position overlooking the ruins of Inkermann, on the morning of the 5th.
" In my letter to your grace, of the 3rd, I informed you that the enemy had considerably increased their force in the Valley of the Tchernaya. The following day this augmentation was still further apparent, and large masses of troops had evidently arrived from the northward, and on two occasions persons of rank were observed to have joined the Russian camp.
"I have subsequently learnt that the 4th corps d'armee, conveyed by the carriages of the country, and in the slightest possible order, had been brought from Moldavia, and were to be immediately followed by the 3rd corps.
"It was therefore to be expected that an extensive movment would not be long deferred.
"Accordingly, shortly before daylight on the 5th, strong columns of the enemy came upon the advanced pickets covering the right of the position. The pickets behaved with admirable gallantry, defending the ground foot by foot against the overwhelming numbers of the enemy, until the Second Division, under Major-General Pennefather, with its field-guns, which had immediately been got under arms, was placed in position.
"The Light Division, under Lieutenant-General Sir George Brown, was also brought to the front without loss of time; the First Brigade, under Major-General Codrington, occupying the long slopes to the left towards Sebastopol and protecting our right battery, and guarding against attack on that side ; and the Second Brigade, under Brigadier-General Buller, forming on the left of the becond Division, with the 88th regiment, under Lieutenant-Colonel Jeffreys, thrown in advance.
"The Brigade of Guards, under his Royal Highness the Duke of Cambridge and Major-General Bentinck, proceeded likewise to the front, and took up most important ground to the extreme right on the alignement of the Second Division, but separated from it by a deep and precipitous ravine, and posting its guns with those of the Second Division.
"The Fourth Division, under Lieutenant-General Sir George Cathcart, having been brought from their encampment, advanced to the front and right of the attack; the First Brigade, under Brigadier-General Goldie, proceeded to the left of the Inkermann road; the Second Brigade under Brigadier-General Torrens, to the right of it, and on the ridge overhanging the valley of the Tchernaya.
"The Third Division, under Lieutenant-General Sir Eichard England, occupied in part the ground vacated by the Fourth Division, and supported the Light Division by two regiments under Brigadier-General Sir John Campbell; while Brigadier-General Eyre held the command of the troops in the trenches.
"The morning was extremely dark, with a drizzling rain, rendering it almost impossible to discover any thing beyond the flash and smoke of artillery and heavy musketry fire.
"It, however, soon became evident that the enemy, under cover of a vast cloud of skirmishers, supported by dense columns of infantry, had advanced numerous batteries of large calibre to the high ground to the left and front of the Second Division; while powerful columns of infantry attacked with great vigour the Brigade of Guards.
"Additional batteries of heavy artillery were also placed on our left by the enemy on the slopes to our left ; the guns in the field amounting in the whole to ninety pieces, independently, however, of the ship guns and those in the works of Sebastopol.
"Protected by a tremendous fire of shot, shell, and grape, the Russian columns advanced in great force, requiring every effort of gallantry on the part of our troops to resist them.
"At this time two battalions of French infantry, which had on the first notice been sent by General Bosquet, joined our right, and materially contributed to the successful resistance of the attack, cheering with our men, and charging the enemy down the hill with great loss.
"About the same time a determined assault was made on our extreme left, and for a moment the enemy possessed themselves of four of our guns ; three of which were retaken by the 88th, while the fourth was speedily recaptured by the 77th Regiment, under Lieutenant-Colonel Egerton.
"In the opposite direction, the Brigade of Guards, under his Royal Highness the Duke of Cambridge, was engaged in a severe conflict.
"The enemy, under the cover of thick brushwood, advanced in two heavy bodies, and assaulted with great determination a small redoubt which had been constructed for two guns, but was not armed. The combat was most arduous; and the Brigade, after displaying the utmost steadiness and gallantry, was obliged to retire before very superior numbers, until supported by a wing of the 20th Regiment, of the Fourth Division, when they again advanced, and retook the redoubt.
" The ground was afterwards occupied in gallant style by French troops, and the Guards speedily reformed in rear of the right flank of the Second Division.
"In the meanwhile, Lieut-General the Honourable Sir G. Cathcart, with a few companies of the 68th Regiment, considering that he might make a strong impression by descending into the valley, and taking the enemy in flank, moved rapidly forward; but, finding the heights above him in full occupation of the Russians, he suddenly discovered that he was entangled with a superior force; and, while attempting to withdraw his men, he received a mortal wound ; shortly previous to which, Brigadier-General Torrens, when leading the 68th, was likewise severely wounded.
"Subsequently to this, the battle continued with unabated vigour and with no positive result, the enemy bringing upon our line not only the fire of all their field batteries, but those in front of the works of the place, and the shipguns, till the afternoon, when the symptoms of giving way first became apparent; and, shortly after, although the fire did not cease, the retreat became general, and heavy masses were observed retiring over the bridge of Inkermann, and ascending the opposite heights, abandoning on the field 5000 to 6000 dead and wounded, multitudes of the latter having been already carried off by them. I never before witnessed such a spectacle as the field presents, but upon this I will not dwell."
General Canrobert's description of the battle:—
"The action, summarily expressed in my last despatch, was one of the hottest and most violently contested. From the very first musket shots that were fired, the deserters that came over to us revealed the true state of the Russian army with respect to its effective strength, and we are enabled to calculate the reinforcements it has successively received since the battle of the Alma. There are—1st, some contingents from the Asiatic coast, from Kertch and Kaffa ; 2ndly, six battalions and some detachments of Marines from Nicolaieff ; 3rdly, four battalions of the Cossacks of the Black Sea; 4thly, a great part of the army of the Danube; 10thly, 11thly, and 12thly, some divisions of infantry, forming the 4th corps, commanded by General Dannenberg. These three divisions were transported by post horses, with their artillery, from Odessa to Simferopol in a few days. Finally arrived the Grand Dukes Michael and Nicholas, whose presence could not fail to overexcite the army, which forms, with the garrison of Sebastopol, a total of at least 100,000 men.
"It was in this condition that 45,000 men of this army surprised the point of the heights at Inkermann, which the English army bad not been able to occupy with sufficient forces. Only 6000 English took part in the action, the remainder being employed on the siege-works; they valiantly sustained the shock until the moment when General Bosquet, arriving with a part of his division, could render them such aid as might insure success. One hardly knows which most to praise, the energetic firmness with which our allies braved for a long time the storm, or the intelligent vigour displayed by General Bosquet, when conducting a part of the brigades Bourbaki and d' Autemarre, in order to attack the enemy, who extended beyond them on their right.
"The 3rd Regiment of Zouaves, under the chefs de batailon, Montaudon and Dubos, there justified most signally the old reputation of the arm. The Algerian Rifles (tirailleurs) Colonel de Wimpffen ; a battalion of the 7th Light Infantry, Commander Vaissier; the 6th Regiment of the Line, Colonel de Camas, vied with them in ardour. Three times they crossed bayonets with the enemy, who only yielded ground after the third charge, upon which he left it strewed with his dead and wounded. The Russian heavy artillery and their field-pieces were very superior in number, and had a commanding position. Two horse batteries, Commander de la Boussiniere, and one battery of the Second Division of Infantry, Commander Barral, the whole under the orders of Colonel Borgeot, sustained concurrently with the English artillery, the struggle during the entire day.
"The enemy decided on beating a retreat, leaving behind more than 3000 dead, a very large number of wounded, a few hundred prisoners, as well as several powder chests, in the hands of the Allies. His losses in the gross aggregate, cannot be put down at less than from 8000 to 10,000 men.
"While these events were taking place on the right, about 6000 men of the garrison made a vigorous sortie on the left of our attack siege line, undercover of a thick fog, and along the ravines that facilitated their approach. The troops on duty in the trenches, under the orders of General de la Motterouge, marched against the enemy, who had already invaded two of our batteries, and repulsed him, killing more than 200 men on the site of these batteries.
" Lieut-General Forey, commanding the siege corps, arrived by rapid and skilful evolutions with the troops of the Fourth Division to the support of the Guards in the trenches, and himself marched at the head of the 5th Battalion of the Chasseurs a pied. The Russians, repulsed along the whole line, retired precipitately on the fortification, with considerable loss ; when General Lourmel, seeing them fly before him, and carried away by a chivalrous courage, fiung himself headlong in the rear, with his brigade, and fell wounded under the very walls of the fortification. General Forey had much difficulty in extricating him from the very advanced position to which, yielding to the impulse of superabundant courage, he had led his brigade. The Brigade of Aurelle, which had occupied an excellent position on the left, covered his retreat, which was effected not without a certain loss under the fire of the fortification. Colonel Niol, of the 26th Regiment of the Line, who lost his two chefs de batailon, had taken the command of the brigade, the energetic conduct of which was beyond all praise. The enemy in this sortie lost a thousand men killed, wounded, or made prisoners; and, in addition to this, received a very considerable moral and physical check.
"The battle of Inkermann, and the contest maintained by the body of besiegers has shed great glory on our forces, and has augmented the moral strength which the Allied armies have always possessed. At the same time, we have suffered severe losses, which must be regretted. The English army has lost 2400 men killed or wounded, among whom are to be reckoned seven Generals, three of whom are killed. The French army has suffered to the extent of 1726 killed or wounded. We have bitterly to regret the loss of General de Lourmel, since dead from his wounds, whose brilliant qualities promised a grand career in the future. It is my painful duty also to acquaint you with the death of Colonel du Cumas, of the 6th Regiment of the Line, killed at the head of his troop, at the very instant in which they came in contact with the enemy.
"The vigour of the Allied troops—subject as they were to the twofold struggles of a siege of unprecedented difficulty, and of battles which recall the greatest struggles of our military history—cannot be too highly praised."
Prince Menschikoff's description of the battle:—
"Yesterday the 5th, a sortie was made from Sebastopol, on the ride of the bastion No. 1; the following troops took part in it:—Of the Tenth Division of Infantry: the regiments of Catherineborg, Tomsk, and Kolyvon. Of the Eleventh Division of Infantry: the regiments of Selinghinsk, Yakoutsh, and Okhotsk. Of the Sixteenth Division of Infantry: the regiments of Vladimir, Souzdal, and Ouglitch; and of the Seventeenth Division of Infantry : the regiments of Boutirsk, Borodino, and Taurautino. As many guns were employed as the difficulty of the gates permitted the men to take with them.
"The command of the troops was confided to General Dannenberg, the Commander-in-Chief of the Fourth Infantry corps.
"Our first attack on the heights was very fortunate; the English fortifications were carried, and eleven of their guns spiked. Unfortunately, in the first movement, the commanders of the troops, who were attacking the intrenchments and redoubts, were wounded. While these events were passing, the French forces arrived in aid of the English. The siege artillery of these last was placed in position on the field of battle, and it was no longer possible for our field-pieces to contend with it to advantage. The numerical superiority of the enemy's infantry, armed with rifles, occasioned great losses in horses, artillerymen and infantry officers.
"This circumstance made it impossible for us to complete, except by a great sacrifice of troops, the redoubts which during the fighting we had begun to throw upon points which the enemy's position commanded, even as far as the town of Sebastopol itself.
"The retreat was effected in good order on Sebastopol and over the bridge of Inkermnann, and the dismounted guns were carried off the field of battle back into their place.
"The Grand Dukes Nicholas Nicholaievitch and Michael Nicholaievitch were in the midst of this terrible fire, setting an example of calm courage in the fight.
"Simultaneously with this sortie the infantry regiment of Minsk, with a light battery of artillery, under the command of the Major-General of Artillery, Timofeieff, executed another sortie against the French batteries, and spiked fifteen of their guns.
"Our loss in dead is not yet exactly known, but the number of the wounded amounts to 3500 men and 109 officers. Among the latter there are:—Lieutenant-Genera Soimonoff shot through the body, and who soon sank beneath the effects of his wound: the Major-Generals Villebois and Ochterlone; the Colonels Alexandroff, commanding the infantry regiment of Catherinebourg; Poustovoitoff, commanding the infantry regiment of Tomsk; Bibikoff, commanding the Okhotsk Chasseurs; Baron Delwig, commanding the infantry regiment of Vladimir; and Vereuvkine-Scheluta II., commanding the regiment of Borodino Chasseurs.
"Major General Kischinsky, Chief of the Artillery, received a contusion from the splinter of a bomb; Major-General Prince Menschikoff, in the suite of your Imperial Majesty, was hurt in the neck; Colonel Albedensky, the Aide-de-Camp of your Imperial Majesty, and the cavalry captain, Greigh, my Aide-de-Camp, were struck on the head.
"General Dannenberg had two horses killed under him, and all the persons surrounding him were wounded.
"The loss of the enemy cannot have been less considerable either, and the sortie of General Timefeieff cost the French dear, for, whilst pursuing him with dense masses, they fell under a heavy fire of grape from the bastion.
"Whilst; these movements were going on, the troops placed under the command of Prince Gortschikoff executed a strong demonstration against Kadikoi, and thus kept the enemy's detachment at Balaklava in a state of inaction."
List of officers killed at the battle of Inkermann ;— Lieut. Gen. Sir George Cathcart, G. C. B., Brigd.-Gen. I. L. Goldie, Lieut. Col. C. I. Seymour, staff; Lieut. W. H. Dowling, 20th regt.; Lieut. H. P. E Hurt, 21st; Capt. E. Stanley, 67th; Lieut. Col. E. S. I. Swyny, Lieut. G. C. W. Curtois, Ensign J. H. Clutterbuck, 63rd; Major H. G. Wynn, Lieut. P. G. Barker, 68th; Capt. A. A. Cartwright, 1st Bat. Rifle Brigade; Lieut. Henry Thorold, 33rd; Capt. James Ker, 19th; Capt. J. Nicholson, 77th; Lieut. L. W. Malcolm, 2nd Bat. Rifle Brigade; Lieut. W. G.Dashwood, 60th; Cornet Archibald Cleveland, 17th Lancers; Brigd-Gen. T. Fox Strangways, Major P. Townsend, Royal Artillery; Capt. H. I. Butler, staff; Lieut.. Col. E. W. Pakenham, Capt. E. L. Newman, Bart., Capt. Hon. H. A. Neville, 3rd Bat. Grenadier Guards; Lieut.-Col. Hon. T. V. Dawson, Lieut.-Col. J. C. Cowell, Capt. Hon. G. C. C. Eliot, Capt. H. P. Ramsden, Capt. L. D. Mackinnon, Capt. H. M. Bouverie, Lieut..Col, H. Greville, Lieut. Disbrowe, 1st. Bat. Coldstream Guards; Capt. W. K. Allix, staff; Capt. A. Conolly, Lieut. A. Gibson, 30th; Lieut.-Col. G. Carpenter, Capt. E. Richards, Lieut. A. Lalor, Lieut, J.W. Swaby, Lieut. J. Stirling, 41st; Major T. N. Dalton, Lieut B. S. Armstrong, 49th, &c., &c.
There were also 103 officers wounded, some severely, and others slightly.
Mournful was the duty performed on the 6th of November— English, French, Russians, all were carrying away the wounded and burying their dead, so far as the possibility of doing so presented itself. Yawning pits were dug, thirty or forty feet deep by nearly as much in breadth, and in these the mutilated dead bodies were laid as closely as they could be packed— the only soldiers' grave practicable at such a time. It was a sad and painful duty to Lord Raglan to attend the funeral of his general officers—Cathcart, Strangways, Goldie, and others—who were interred with such military honours as the occasion permitted. But even at such a time of mourning, when the ferocity of combatants is usually allayed, the atrocities of the Russians were renewed. Ambulances, arabas, and vehicles of all kinds, were employed by the British to convey their wounded down to Balaklava; and upon these vehicles, as upon the British burying-parties, the Russian ships in the harbour maintained an unceasing fire of shells. Lord Raglan sent in a flag of truce to Prince Menschikoff, complaining of this departure from all the honourable rules of war, and also of the stabbing of the wounded, which the Russians had systematically adopted on the previous day. Prince Menschikoff sent a reply, partly denying, partly justifying, and partly deploring the alleged conduct; but it remained too evident that the Russian soldiery, roused to a state of maddened excitement by drink and by priestly fanaticism, had been encouraged to regard the Allies as infidels, whom it would be a praise-worthy action in the eyes of Heaven to kill.
Thus terminated the Battle of Inkermann.
Little more than a week had elapsed after the sanguinary conflict at Inkermann had ended, ere the troops on shore, and the vessels and crews on the Black Sea, had another kind of foe to contend against—the elements waged war in a furious manner against them, and caused much havoc in loss of life and property.
Stern as is the Black Sea in winter, murky its atmosphere, piercing its cold, violent its winds, and turbulent its waves, there has rarely been known a tempest equal in frightful fury to that which raged in those regions on the 14th of November, 1854; bringing pitiless destruction to ships and mariners, strewing the coast with fragments of vessels and disrupted cargoes of valuable merchandise, and adding manifold to the discomforts of those who, by the exigencies of war, were living in camps and tents.
Early in the morning of that day, when light had barely dawned, the officers and men encamped on the plateau outside Sebastopol, found the strength of their canvass tents exposed to a severe test. The night had been one of heavy rain: the surface of the plateau had been converted into a sort of slime, through which walking was difficult; and rivulets of muddy water found an entrance into almost every tent, and disarranged every man's bedroom comforts. Gradually the rain abated and the wind arose, rushing over the plateau with a roar as of a distant cannonade ; until at length, overcoming all obstacles, the wind pierced into and under and around the tents, in many cases blowing them away altogether. The slimy compost on the outside, receiving the full action of the blast, was hurled into the faces of the tentless soldiers, producing a scene of unutterable discomfort. Some of the tent-poles snapping in the middle, the officers and men were for a time buried beneath a load of wet canvass; and when, rudely disturbed in their morning slumbers, and deprived of all shelter from the murky heavens above them, they looked around on the plateau, the scene presented was frightful, even though mingled in some cases with the ludicrous. The storm, having no respect for rank or office, had levelled alike the tent of the staff-officer and that of the subaltern: the strongest was on that day the best, by whomsoever possessed. Officers, high in rank, were to be seen wildly struggling with the flapping canvass of their overturned tents, or rushing about in almost hopeless attempts to save their apparel, books, or other chattels, from the fury of the wind. There were a few huts near head-quarters; and such of these as escaped prostration were speedily sought by tentless officers, who—saturated with miry water, and almost riven by the piercing blast—rushed to find shelter from the storm.
The recitals given of this scene, by the newspaper correspondents, officers, and privates, were full of strange incidents. "The principal medical officer of the British army might be seen in an unusual state of perturbation, seeking for his garments, ere he took to flight. Brigadier ——, 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 ——, in drawers and shirt, was tearing through the rain and through the dirt like a maniac after a cap, which he fancied was his own, and which he found after a desperate run, was his sergeant's." Many of the narrators say that the air was filled with blankets, hats, great coats, little coats, and even tables and chairs; that mackintoshes, quilts, India-rubber tubs, bed-clothes, sheets of tent-canvass, went whirling like leaves in the gale towards Sebastopol; that the shingle roofs of the outhouses were torn away, and scattered over the camp ; that large arabas or waggons and ambulances were overturned; that men and horses were knocked down, and rolled over and over; that a large and heavy table in one of the tents was lifted off the ground, and whirled round and round till the leaf flew off; that inside the commissariat-yard, overturned carts, dead horses, and groups of shivering men were seen, not a tent standing; and that " Lord —— was seen for hours sitting up to his knees in sludge amid the wreck of his establishment, meditative as Marius amid the ruins of Carthage." The power of the hurricane was indeed great. Heavy commissariat stores were hurled down as if they had been light parcels; compressed masses of hay for the cavalry, weighing 200 pounds each, were whirled over the ground, and down the ravine towards Sebastopol; and a large flock of sheep was so utterly scattered, that, while some of the poor animals were driven to distant camps, others were almost literally hurled into the beleaguered city.
But what were the miseries of the officers compared with that the common soldiers had to contend against. These poor fellows, the most of them engaged in camp, picket or trench duties, were exposed to all the rigours of the hurricane; and when they returned from those duties—worn and haggard with fatigue—they found the tents blown down, and no shelter whatever to cover their wearied bodies.
The soldiers' letters were full of strange recitals. An Enniskilling dragoon wrote: " I was on trumpeter's guard at the time the storm came across the plain, accompanied with hailstones and snow; and it blew all our tents down. The only way to keep still was to lie down; I did so for fear of being borne among the dirt. You may think in what sort of a state our tents were, as, after it was all over, we had to lie down that night on the wet ground without anything to eat, the cooks being unable to keep the fires in." A private soldier wrote thus: "Lieutenant —— had just come in from night-duty. I had got him to bed comfortably, when down came his tent, and left the poor fellow stark naked. I had to carry him away with only a blanket around him, and he remained in that state all day, but he bore it remarkably well. Lieutenant —— was blown away on his bedstead. The doctor's cocked-hat was blown right into Sebastopol, so we expect to find it on the head of Prince Menschikoff when we get there." A rifleman, on the heights above Balaklava, thus records his experience of that memorable day: " We had such a terrible gale that our tents were all blown down, and many blown over the cliffs into the sea; the one in which I stopped shared such a fate. It was a fearful night that we passed; every now and again might be seen men rubbing one another as the cramps took them in different parts of the body. The night was long, but morning broke at last; and it was found that two of our poor fellows were dead from sheer exhaustion." Another soldier said: " In spite of all these misfortunes, every man made light of it until the hospital marquee went down; it was dreadful to see sick and wounded men actually blown away." An officer, after describing his brother-officers as wandering about, drenched to the skin, in search of shelter, as a consequence of the demolition of their tents, says: " All the tents have been struck, as nothing could withstand the tempest, ex-cept the Turkish; these infidels understand tent-work better than we civilized folk." This, from various concurrent testimonies, appears indeed to be the case. A Turkish tent, although not constructed of such good material as an English bell-tent, resists the wind much more effectually and stands more steadily; on account, possibly, of a better proportion of its height to its circumference; the men dig about a foot deep and throw the earth round on the sides, where it serves to steady the whole tent, and prevents at the same time the water from penetrating; in the officers' tents, there is also a raised settee of stamped earth, available as a couch.
The effects of the hurricane were, however, felt most severely by the naval department of the Allied forces; numerous wrecks strewing the coast, many lives being lost, and much valuable property destroyed. The following account was given by one who was on board one of the vessels:—
" The first mishap which occurred in the anchorage off the Katscha (where the Commander-in-Chief was stationed, and the larger number of the Allied vessels) was to her Majesty's ship Samson, which, together with other steamers, had got up steam the moment the gale began. About half-past seven a.m. it began to blow up fearfully, many old sailors saying they had never seen it blow so before. Two transports were lying ahead of the Samson; "No. 20 being a little ahead of No. 1. About nine a.m. we observed No. 20 part and fall athwart-hawse of No. 1. both bowsprits and cutwaters getting smashed, and then they both drove on top of the Samson. The Samson being close we could see everything. They turned their hands up and went ahead, full speed, seemingly to separate the transport, which was done; No. 20 passing on the port side of the Samson and bringing up just under her stern, and there smashing the stern boats, bulwarks, &c. No. 1 fell athwart-hawse the Samson, and topped her bowsprit right up and in on her forecastle. Shortly after, the transport's foremast fell, and was followed by the Samson's foremast falling against her mainmast, mainmast against her mizenmast, and she lay a wreck. No. 20 was under her stern with her foremast gone, and No. 1 drifted astern, where she brought up. Both Nos, 20 and 1, about an hour after, drove and went on the shore, followed by Nos. 31, 67, and 89 transports, together with the Maltese barque Lisle Aclam and five or six small brigs—in all, making fourteen wrecks on the beach on Wednesday. We could see the Cossacks come down and take the crews of one or two prisoners, as well as pick up anything of value on the beach and load their horses.
" At ten o'clock on Tuesday morning a small French brig stranded near the mouth of the Katscha, and from this time till darkness hid the scene from view, a series of terrible disasters followed each other in quick succession. Fortunately, the shore in the neighbourhood of the river is terminated by a sandy beach; hence here we have not had to deplore the loss of life as well as property. At one p.m. her Majesty's ship Terrible parted all her anchors, and the cry rose to every tongue, ' The Terrible will be on shore,' but gradually the noble ship faced round to the wind, and passed majestically out through the fleet. The wind, perhaps, was at its utmost height about 10.30 ; but after successive squalls, accompanied by sleet and hail, it passed to W.S.W. and W., from which none of our anchorages on the Crimean coast afford any shelter; and an awful rolling sea then set in, during which the English transports Rodsley and Tyrone, a Maltese brig, and four more small French transports, went on shore. Meanwhile hordes of Cossacks and cavalry hovered round the wrecks, and, as each of the smaller vessels was thrown up, were seen occupied in examining what the chances of the sea and war had sent them. The French sailors could be seen from the ships, led off towards Sebastopol with horsemen before and behind them. Our transports, from their greater burden, were at some distance from the shore; and the Cossacks, rode backwards and forwards regarding them as the hungry fox did some grapes in the days of Aesop. Soon after midnight its force was broken, and men thanked God, for neither hemp nor iron could have stood such a strain much longer. But the sea continued as heavy as ever during the darkness, which was only broken by the lurid flash of cannon over Sebastopol, showing that the war of the elements had been powerless to suspend that of men. The grey dawn showed that to the disasters of the previous day had been added that of another transport, No. 89, Lord Raglan, and that the Egyptian line-of-battle ship, which still remained, had been compelled, during the night, to cut away her fore and mizenmast, and had also lost her bowsprit. Daylight also showed the inland hills covered with snow. In the course of the morning the transports on shore made signals of distress to the Admiral, who ordered the Fury to weigh; she, however, signalled that communication was yet impossible, on account of the surf; but, in the afternoon, the sea had gone down sufficiently to attempt their relief, although the effort was still attended with much danger. The Cossacks had been busy during the day, and they made one or two attempts even to swim off to our transports; but were carried back by the surf, aided by a knock or two on the head from our merchant sailors, who by no means relished the idea of a Christmas in Sebastopol. One gentleman in a carriage drove down to the beach near the Tyrone, and, in good English, exhorted the sailors to make a trial of Muscovite forbearance. ' We, too,' said he, suiting the action to the word, ' have hearts as well as the English.' The reply was what somebody calls John Bull's great everlasting 'No!' accompanied by certain rather strong adjectives. No fire had been opened on the enemy during the day from the fleet, and it was determined not to do so till they proceeded to overt acts of hostility. About four p.m., volunteer boats from the Queen, Rodney, London, and some steamers, pulled in, and the Firebrand got under way to cover them. On seeing them approaching, the Cossacks drew up on the cliff, and fired on the boats, killing a man belonging to the Queen. This fire was immediately returned from the steamer, and they at once scurried off. The surf prevented the crews being rescued till the morning of the 16th, when they were recovered by the boats of the Firebrand and other steamers, after having, in one of the ships, fired a parting salvo at the Russians with cartridges which had been collected from the field of Alma.
" The tempest commenced at Balaklava about seven o'clock in the morning of the 14th, and in two hours eleven transports had been wrecked and six dismasted and rendered unfit for service. The most terrible disaster was the total loss of the new magnificent steam-ship Prince, which had arrived a few days previously, with the 46th regiment and a cargo valued at £500,000, and indispensably necessary for the prosecution of the siege and the comfort of the army. The loss of the Prince seems to have been partly owing to the negligence of her officers. When she arrived at Balaklava she let go one of her anchors in thirty fathoms of water. It appears that the cable had never been clinched, and the whole of it ran out; anchor and cable were lost together. She then let go another anchor, the cable of which was so inefficiently fastened that she lost this also. She then steamed out to sea until she could get up another cable from her hold, and at last let go a smaller anchor, with which she rode until the tempest broke upon her on Tuesday morning. An eye-witness saw her carried from her moorings on to the rocks with such force that in ten minutes there was hardly a piece a yard long remaining. She might almost be said to go to powder. Of a crew of 150 only six were saved. This splendid vessel, of 2600 tons, was purchased by Government some time since, and sent out full of most valuable stores and munitions of war. Everything is lost. With the exception of the troops everything remained in her at the time she was dashed on the rocks. The whole of the winter clothing for the men went down—40,000 suits of clothes, with under-garments, socks, gloves, and a multitude of other articles of the kind; vast quantities of shot and shell; and, not least in consequence, the medical stores sent out in consequence of the deficiencies which formerly existed.
" A first glance at Eupatoria after the storm showed that it had suffered even more than the Katscha. True, the Bellerophon and Leander rode it out, but the total wreck of an Egyptian line of battle ship, and near the beach the tricolour floating mournfully over the Henri Quatre—strong and erect as ever, but never again to carry the flag of France to victory—as well as the stranded transports in front and to the southward of the town told a dreary story. In front lay the stranded remains of five French merchant vessels; just beyond it, along the sandy isthmus, between the sea and Lake Sasik, lay what three days before were strong and well-found ships, in the following order, commencing from the town:—No. 81, Georgiana; No. 61, Harbinger; French Government screw-steamer Pluto; No. 3, Her Majesty; No. 65, Glendalaugh; a small French steamer; No. 63, Asia; an Egyptian two-decker ; Henri Quatre, 100 guns. All these ships, with the exception of the two line-of-battle ships, were stranded during the day. The Henri Quatre parted after the force of the gale was spent; but when the sea was heaviest, shortly after six in the evening, she went on shore without any damage, and no doubt might have been recovered in better times. The Egyptian was a perfect wreck; she also stranded during the night. The Sea Nymph foundered during a heavy squall in the day. The enemy took advantage of the gale by advancing on Eupatoria with about 6000 cavalry and twelve field-pieces; they were, however, warmly received with such a heavy fire, both of guns and rockets, that they retired with a loss of about 100 killed and wounded. Our loss amounted to only two men wounded. Lieutenant Hood of H. M. Arethusa, was in command of the battery which repulsed this formidable assault."
When the frightful losses occasioned by the November hurricane became known in England, great alarm was reasonably felt; for the very existence of the Allied army in the Crimea depended on the conveyance of supplies across this stormy sea during the winter months. The loss of human life during the tempest— English, French, and Turkish—was little under 1000 souls; the vessels wrecked or rendered useless were more than forty in number, besides many more seriously injured; the property lost was worth many millions sterling; but all these losses would sink into insignificance, compared with those likely to result from any inability on the part of the transport-ships to convey troops and ammunition, food and clothing, huts and tents, fuel and medicines, to the armies encamped on the bleak, cheerless inhospitable plateau between Balaklava and Sebastopol. And even if such voyages were possible, the calamity that had befallen the Prince showed only too clearly how necessary would be some better organisation of the service at Balaklava, to insure a due reception of the reinforcements and supplies sent out from England.