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AFTER the cholera, the greatest calamity that has hitherto attended upon the operations of the British arms in the East, has been the loss of the Tiger. This loss was brought about by one of those dense fogs which have given to the Black Sea at once its name and its bad repute ; so dense was this fog that the end of the jibboom could not be seen by a person standing on the after-part of the deck. This was on the morning of the 12th of May, 1854, three weeks after the bombardment of Odessa, in which the Tiger had taken an active part. She had parted from the admiral and the fleet at noon on the previous day, in company with the Vesuvius and the Niger, on a cruise along the coast. The Tiger lost sight of her consorts in the fog, and, although her course had been shaped with care to avoid danger, strong currents had carried the ship considerably to the westward of her reckoning. No land was visible, and when the ship struck, which she did between two rocks, the shock was so slight, that they imagined she had grounded on a sandbank which they knew Jay to the east of their course.

It was about half-past five o'clock when we ran aground; shortly after, the fog seemed to grow thinner under the influence of the sun's rays, and revealed, to our astonishment, high land on our left. We then understood the critical position into which we had fallen.

As the fog cleared, we could distinctly see, under the curtain as it rose, the ripple of the limpid waves that broke upon the beach ; and a small boat with two oars pulled across our bows close along-shore toward the city, evidently intent upon giving notice of the catastrophe ; while just above, on the cliff, through the slowly disappearing fog, we could discover the well-known figure of a Cossack on horseback, with long lance in hand, no doubt meditating on the expediency of galloping off to announce the news to his superiors of the grounding of a steamer on the coast. To increase, if possible, the interest of the scene, we could discern two ladies, with pink parasols, promenading in their garden, which reached the edge of the cliff; and these ladies, with many others who joined them later, were witnesses of all that occurred during the day, looking on whilst the firing took place between us and the Russian troops.

The Cossack rode off, but the ladies remained; the former to collect the enemy's troops, the latter to witness the result of the combat. The anxiety of mind both of officers and men became in the mean time intense. It was in vain that they hove away at the capstan; nothing would stir the doomed ship; while every moment they were expecting to be attacked by overwhelming numbers of artillery and musketry. Nor were they long kept in suspense as to their fate.

The attack was begun by the latter, the number of which we could not ascertain, as the Russians fired from under a bank, on that part of the cliff nearest to the ship: the balls came chiefly through the rigging, so that at the onset no one was killed.

During the firing the boats were lowered, and an anchor laid out, in order to draw the ship off after she had been lightened. Every exertion was made, and many things thrown overboard ; but she was too firmly fixed on her rocky

Narrative of the First Lieutenant of H.M.S. Tiger. London: Chapman and Hall. 1854.


bed to be dislodged. There were a hundred and fifty men at work at the capstan ; and this compact mass would have formed an excellent target for the musketry, but fortunately it was not visible from the shore, so that the fog was, to a certain extent, of use to us.

The cable being hove as taut as was prudent, without having moved the vessel, it was deemed expedient to prepare for resistance to the artillery, which we expected would soon open upon us.

The head of the vessel was the part nearest the shore ; we stood pointing, as it were, with our jibboom to the cliff, the shore bearing away to our left. It was therefore requisite to form a kind of rampart in the front part of the vessel : this was done by hanging the hammocks of the men, containing their beds and blankets, to a stout rope, from the rigging to the fore-stay on each side, thus intercepting the line of fire from the cliff above. The hammocks afforded protection from the fire of the musketry, whilst our men were free to fire from below them.

Many were the anxious looks we cast upon the standard compass, to discover the least symptom of movement in the vessel, consequent on the strain of the cable, which we kept at the highest point of tension. But, although the sanguine hopefully cheered, and cried, “She moves !” thus encouraging the exertions of the seamen at the capstan, we were soon made aware of the fallacy of our expectations.

About half-past nine the guns of the enemy opened fire. They consisted of eight 24-pounders, which had just arrived from Odessa ; they were placed in a position nearly ahead of us on the cliff, so that their shot could rake the ship fore and aft, our guns at the same time being useless, as they could not be trained sufficiently forward to bear on the shore. It was therefore deemed expedient to send the men below, to cast the guns, now become useless implements of war, into the sea, in order to lighten the ship, and enable her to respond to the force applied by the cable and capstan on the anchor Jaid out to ihe southward. The men were also thus kept out of unnecessary danger below the upper deck, while they effected the object we had in view—that of lightening the vessel-by throwing sixteen guns overboard. Still, to our great disappointment, the vessel did not move.

In the meanwbile we had contrived to bring one of the guns on deck, to bear upon the cliff, from under the hammocks, in response to the artillery opened upon us from above; but it may be easily imagined how useless was the firing upwards in such a situation.

The firing of the Russians, before it obtained the proper range, was chiefly in the rigging, which was much cut up by it. Soon however it began to tell upon the hull of the ship with terrible effect, each discharge either lodging the balls in her, or passing clearly through into the sea. If the vessel had not been already resting upon the ground, she must have sunk by reason of the many shot-holes, which we could not have plugged up fast enough to counteract the effect of the enemy's fire.

Red-hot shot now began to be thrown into the hull, and we soon discovered that the vessel was on fire in two places : in the pinnace, which was in the centre of the ship, and had not been let down; also in a very dangerous position below.

The ball that took effect had entered through the starboard or right-hand bow of the ship, and lodged in the store-rooms, leaving a clear round orifice, through which we could see the land as through a port-hole.

As the store-rooms adjoined the fore-part of the powder magazine, it was necessary to make every possible exertion to extinguish the Aames; so that we had to call off all the men that could be spared from other duties to man the pumps. Four of these were worked without intermission, and succeeded in partially subduing the fire ; three of the pumps were then turned to play into the powder magazine ; and these continued to the last a work which is not so easy as may be imagined.


At a quarter-past ten o'clock a shell from a Russian 24-pounder struck the bow-port close by the only gun that could be brought to bear upon the shore, and exploded, disabling a midshipman and three of the men serving the gun. Such was the effect of the bursting of this shell, that, in addition, it carried off the left leg of Captain Giffard, who was standing by the gun, and wounded his right leg. One of the pieces of metal broke the telescope that he held under his arm, and ten or eleven other pieces cut bis clothes and inflicted serere bruises.

The midshipman, poor young man! had both his legs carried off, and lived only a few hours after an amputation had been effected by the surgeon on board: he died on shore whilst being transported to the hospital : he was a distant relation of the captain, and bore the same name.

William Trainer, the captain of the gun, lost his left leg, and died whilst being removed to the hospital, after proper attention had been paid to him on board. William Tanner, serving at the gun, was severely wounded in the thigh, but recovered after being some time at the hospital. Thomas Hood, the powder-boy, about fourteen years old, received a severe wound in the stomach, and lived only a few days after reaching the hospital ; he had already been wounded by a stray shot, but continued to serve the powder from the magazine.

Thus disabled, our firing ceased ; upon which the Russians discontinued their fire. The wounded were taken down to the gun-room, to be attended by the medical officers; and the captain, who retained his faculties, ordered the Russian ensign to be hoisted, in token of surrender. The third lieute. nant was next sent on shore with a flag of truce, to communicate to the officer commanding the Russian forces the fact of our having struck; as, in consequence of the fog, the flag was not discernible from the shore.

The third lieutenant not being able to speak French, he returned to the ship, and the first lieutenant was sent on shore. He was received on the beach by a junior officer, and conducted under a strong guard to General Osten Sacken, who stood on a path leading to the cliff. After some necessary questions, application being made for conveniences to transport the wounded to the hospital, the general at once complied, despatching an officer to hasten arrangements; and in less than half an hour a car and some easy-chairs appeared, which probably came from the villa of Mr. Cortazzi, the Mayor of Odessa, on whose grounds the battery and troops were posted, to the sad destruction of his flower-beds. The troops were about three thousand in number, and consisted of, the author says, a battalion ; but we suppose he means a regiment of infantry and some squadrons of cavalry-lancers. The apparent number of troops was very much increased by an immense crowd of people, who hurried down from the city in all kinds of conveyances, and whose curiosity and ignorance of the danger they were incurring led them into contact with the horrors of war.

General Osten Sacken was exceedingly peremptory in urging the immediate landing of the crew; so apprehensive was he lest he might lose his prize, that he threatened to open fire again if the men were not landed forthwith. Luckily, although the formalities of quarantine were strictly observed towards the prisoners, the lost ship lay so near to the shore, that the first lieutenant was enabled to communicate with her from the top of the cliff, about thirty yards from where the general stood.

After a hundred and eighty men had been landed,, a booted and spurred field-officer was ordered on board to take possession of the prize, with about forty or fifty Russian soldiers ; but no sooner had he cleared the shore, than two dark objects were seen through the fog approaching the scene of action.

They were the Niger and Vesuvius coming to the rescue, and the boat was hailed to return, amid the greatest consternation.

The firing from the Vesuvius and Niger began about half-past eleven or twelve o'clock, and was returned from the shore, whilst the disembarkation of the remainder of the ship's company continued.

The officers on board the steamers could not distinguish, in the crowd on the beach, their fellow-countrynien, who were bravely carrying up the wounded in the midst of a shower of shells, which burst in all directions : to avoid which, the Russians had been trained to lie down flat, on a signal being given them to do so ; and occasionally the remarkable scene was exhibited, of the jolly tarz proceeding on their route up the cliff, regardless of the explosions and shot from the ships, whilst several thousand Russians were lying flat on their faces.

The firing from the consort ships still continued, without doing any material injury, after the whole of the crew, with the wounded, had been landed and marched off to the quarantine establishment. When, however, the true state of the case was discovered by the officers of the Vesuvius and Niger, they retired to make their report to the admiral: they perceived that it was impossible to get the ship off, and useless to expend ammunition on a bare cliff; for the Russian troops had now retired, being of no further service, and the artillery only remained.

All the vigilance of the Russian authorities was insufficient to prevent the depredations of fellows who found their way on board, and ransacked the ship ; so that, when the professed restoration of the private property of the officers and men took place, little or nothing of value was forthcoming.

The crowd continued to press on the prisoners at their first haltingplace, and there they first experienced that kindness of which they afterwards received so many proofs, during their residence among those whom the lieutenant gratefully designates as “our little-known enemies.”

The quarantine at Odessa is, according to the same authority, a very different thing to the Austrian establishment at Orsova, and indeed to many other similar places in Europe. The building itself is erected with due regard both to health and comfort; the rooms are good, and wellfurnished, the chairs being of damask, covered with chintz; there were sofas, bedsteads, and card-tables, and they were provided with every convenience.

On the 16th of May the Furious and the Inflexible steamed into Odessa under a flag of truce, bringing money, clothes, and letters. “ Happy," writes the lieutenant, “ were those and few the disappointed) who received kind letters and messages from their friends in the fleet, and were reassured, in their confinement, of the sympathy of their fellowcountrymen !”

One day after the departure of the English ships, General Osten Sacken sent a message to the officers of the Tiger to inquire whether they had decapitated the pilot of the ship for having run her ashore ? They could scarcely understand what was meant, until it was explained to them that a headless body had been found on board the ship, dressed

a in an English sailor's clothes. Nothing had been said on the subject until, about a week after, the head was discovered in another part of the vessel.


Signor Cambiaggio expressed a kind of apology on the part of the general for making the inquiry; he said that “of course we had every right to exercise the powers which our laws might grant in decapitating the man;" all he was desirous of knowing was, whether such had been the case. We assured him that this could not be, and that it must have been the body of some one who, having been successful in robbing the vessel, had returned to it in the garments he had contrived to carry off, and in search of fresh plunder; he must have been overpowered by some competitor, who had killed and decapitated him. It was some time before the Russian authorities could bring their minds to accede to this explanation. All that we could do we did, by pointing out the pilot, who was a Turk, and was in quarantine with us; and to certify that none of our men were missing. Still, we were constantly cross-questioned on the subject by other Russian officers, who apprehended that we had some object in concealing the fact.

On the 25th the Furious and Vesuvius returned with a proposal to exchange 179 soldiers and 9 officers, taken off the coast of Circassia, for the English, and the proposal was referred to the Tsar. On the 1st of June Captain Giffard sank under his wounds, and the gallant and muchbeloved officer was buried with every honour due to his rank. The inhabitants of Odessa crowded round the procession, but there was not the least appearance or expression of exultation on the part of the multitude; on the contrary, sympathy was everywhere manifested. Indeed, upon this subject, the author pertinently remarks : “The sympathy everywhere shown was remarkable ; and the conduct of our civilised enemies afforded a striking contrast to that of our barbarous allies, to whose assistance our country has generously proceeded. While staying at Constantinople we were often spat upon in the streets by the Turkish children, who certainly would not have felt such an abhorrence of us if it had not been instilled into them by their parents, who no doubt expressed in private the feelings which were thus aped and reflected by their little counterparts.”

The opinions which we ventured to express as to the true character of our Mussulman allies, at the outset of the campaign, found little favour at the time, as was the case also with similar opinions emitted by others, whom a long residence had familiarised with that intense hatred and contempt borne by the Turk to Giaours of all grades and conditions, and which no generous interference on our part and on that of the French, no amount of exertion, or even sacrifices of property and life, will ever modify (among a certain class) in the slightest degree. The Turk, it was said, was a brave, gallant fellow; the Turk was sober and honest, more so than the long-persecuted Christian ; the Turk was our ally, and in the right, and his faults and his bigoted prejudices were to be for ever buried under the generous succour tended to him by the Western allies. Wondrous error! We have seen letters upon letters from officers now thoroughly disillusionised upon such a subject, from men who have seen through the Turkish character at a glance, and before the war is probably brought to a conclusion there will be such a mass of opinion from our own countrymen brought to bear upon the illusions entertained at home, that it is to be hoped they will be dispelled in time to prevent such undesirable results as the Trans-Caucasian provinces and the Crimea being handed over to Turkish tyranny, misrule, and persecution, or England and France not taking material guarantees for the preservation of peace and commerce in the Black Sea, and for ensuring a real and not a most absurdly imaginary protection to the Christians.

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