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final possession of the work. In one report it is said that the Guards were driven back in storming the nearest battery, but they were rallied and led back to the charge by the Duke of Cambridge in person.
At the same time the Highland Brigade had been advancing in admirable order and steadiness, under Major-general Sir Colin Campbell, up the high ground to the left, and Major-general Pennefather's brigade advancing simultaneously to the right of the position which the light division had assailed under such trying circumstances, the enemy was driven from the stronghold they had taken such pains to defend and to secure--the salient pinnacle and ridge----as Lord Raglan so graphically describes it in his despatches—and which he designates as the key of the Russian position, and the point where the greatest preparations had been made for defence. Half-way down the height, and across its front, was a trench of the extent of some hundred yards, to afford cover against an advance up the even steep slope of the hill. On the right, and a little retired, was a powerful covered battery, armed with heavy guns, which flanked the whole of the right of the position. Artillery, at the same time, was posted at the points that best commanded the passage of the river and its approaches generally. Such were the difficulties the light division had to surmount in its advance; it had to cross the trench in the midst of a covered, steady, and murderous fire, and to carry the batteries and redoubts by the bayonet, before the first division came up to their aid and secured the victory of the Alma.
No doubt the operations of the Franco-Turkish column on the extreme left of the Russians, and the right of the allies, were, before the heights were ultimately gained possession of, marked by the same brilliant feats of valour as characterised the conquest of the amphitheatre of hills and strongholds on the right of the enemy's position by the British light and first divisions ; but we should be inclined to suppose that the movement on the right of the enemy had more to do in deciding the day than the movement on the left, where the heights are said to have been but feebly protected. Upon this point an eye-witness justly enough wrote: “ The armies were fortunately so placed that they had the work to do which best suited the peculiar qualities of their men. The English could not have scaled the heights like the French, nor would French columns in all probability have marched up to the batteries with that dogged courage which so distinguishes British troops when placed in the position in which they were during this battle.”
The enemy thus driven in at the right and left of their position, and the heights at those two opposite extremities being held by the allies, the central divisions under Prince Napoleon and Sir De Lacy Evans, the latter supported by the third division under Sir Richard England, were enabled to form on the heights under a heavy fire of artillery, and advancing at the point of the bayonet, the retreat of the Russians became a real rout—the men throwing away their muskets and knapsacks in order to run the faster. Unfortunately, the absence of cavalry (and what there was had not been brought forward, owing to the nature of the ground on which the battle was fought) prevented all the advantages being reaped from this signal and decisive victory which must otherwise have attended
The battle of the Alma, it has been justly remarked, was not so much
a pitched battle as the storm of a fortified place-one of those enterprises which notoriously demand, and often defeat, the energies of the bravest troops. What the Russians could not do at Oltenitza, at Silistria, and at Kalafat, the allies accomplished against far greater odds. The Zouaves, the French Tirailleurs, and the Turkish and African troops, under the well-known Sulaiman Pasha (Selves), began the fight of the 20th, supported by the fire of the French steam-frigates, and first gained the heights ; the central divisions were also in a similar position by three o'clock in the afternoon ; but there can be no doubt that the brunt of the battle lay with the British army. The men had to advance against difficulties of all kinds--difficulties of ground, felled trees, a river with steep banks, a village on fire, showers of grape and musketry, and then steep hills with trenches to ascend, defended by redoubts of most formidable character. Nor was this all ; a superior officer in the French navy, describing the battle in the Moniteur de la Flotte, writes : “All at once three enormous columns, which formed the Russian order of battle on the right, formed close column, fixed bayonets, and rushed at a run on the first line of the English.” “If,” the same writer adds fur
" the centre of the English lines had been pierced, all was over -the English army would have been destroyed; but these brave fellows bore the shock without breaking.”
The fact of the British being able, harassed and thinned as they were by their struggle up the ascent, to withstand the Russian mass concentrated against them, is a good deal to be attributed to the timely support of the two guns brought to bear upon the Russian squares by Captain Turner.
There is no doubt that some disorder occurred at one period of the advance. No wonder that some of the regiments of the light division, having lost most of their officers and nearly a third of their force, and being divided by the irregular nature of the ground, found themselves momentarily checked in their course. Lucky perhaps it was that the support of the first division came in time—but that cannot justly be called lucky which was prearranged, and all that can be said is, that if the light division was not in itself strong enough to carry the chief and most formidable position of the Russians, against an overwhelming numerical majority on the part of the enemy, as well as great advantage of position and defences, it was so with the aid of the first division ; and if at last, amidst a perfect storm of grape and musketry, the Guards carried the right of the intrenched battery, the Highlanders were not long in following them to the left. So effective was the flank movement of the Highlanders on their side, that some have not hesitated to describe it as the decisive movement of the day. It was decisive, because it was the climax of the contest; but the gallantry, the heroism, and the devotion of all who were engaged was irreproachable, and, indeed, almost unsurpassable.
Once the light division, followed by the first and second, had gained the heights, there were a few faint struggles from the scattered infantry, and a few rounds of cannon and musketry, and the retreat of the enemy became general. When the Russian artillery began to drive off, some of the 42nd are said to have actually laid hold of the wheels in desperation to prevent their escape. The enemy made an attempt to form again
on the top of the hill ; but Captain Brandling's troop of horse artillery, and Captain Barker's battery, pouring shot and shell into them, and the cavalry coming on, they threw off their knapsacks, turned, and filed in confusion. At the same time the French, who had driven the Russians in on the right, brought their guns to bear on the Aying masses, who left three generals, 700 prisoners, and at least 6000 killed and wounded behind them. It was not, indeed, until the Russian cavalry and infantry of reserve had been brought up to cover the rear of the army that Prince Menschikoff was enabled to withdraw in tolerable order.
The slaughter of the Russians is said to have been frightful. One eye-witness says : “It would be impossible to describe the frightful scene which I witnessed in the square mile comprising this earthwork, the slope beneath it, and the slope above it, upon which were formed the enormous squares of the Russian infantry. The greater part of the English killed and wounded were here, and there were at least five Russians to every Englishman. You could not walk for the bodies. The most frightful mutilations the human body can suffer, the groans of the wounded, the packs, helmets, arms, clothes, scattered over the ground, all formed a scene that one can never forget.” The heaps of dead beyond the French lines were also said to be
The loss of the Russians altogether, it is estimated, cannot be less than 6000 men;-10,000 haversacks and more than 5000 muskets were left on the field.
There were in the Russian army at the Alma, it is said, 12,000 of the Guard and 3000 of their much-talked-of regimental dragoons, and when we add to this that 15,000 men had lately joined from the Danubian Principalities and Odessa, and 8000 from the side of Anapa, it will be seen that the effects of this victory may be expected to be more decisive than was at first supposed. The choicest troops of the empire, including their Finnish riflemen, have suffered an ignoble defeat, while the strength of the whole surrounding shores of the Black Sea had been despoiled to ward off an inevitable reverse.
Yet so confident did Prince Menschikoff feel in the strength of his position, his numerous and well-served artillery, and his select and welldisciplined divisions, that it is said to have been found in his captured correspondence, that he made certain of holding out many weeks, that he considered the position on the Alma as stronger than Sebastopol itself, and that he even boasted that he was awaiting the allies in an impregnable position, and if there were 100,000 of them he would throw them into the sea.
The victorious allies, after spending a day in attending to the wounded and in burying the dead-painful duties in which they received the material aid of the fleet-quitted their position above the Alma on the morning of the 23rd, and encamped the same night on the Katcha, a distance of some six or seven miles. The next day (the 24th) they crossed the Balbek, three and a half or four miles beyond the Katcha, and it appearing that the enemy had occupied a very strong position to the north of Sebastopol. A council was held, and it was resolved, by an adventurous flank march to the left, to go round the bay and fortress, and seizing upon the little port of Balaklava, advance upon it from the south, or the Heracleontic Chersonesus.
The valley of the Balbek, in which this council was held, and where a momentary halt took place, has been much extolled by travellers for its beauty and fertility.
Some have even argued that it surpasses the Undercliff—the Crimean Tempe-in its picturesque succession of country-houses and gardens. Oliphant, for example, says that the vale of Baidah did not seem to him comparable either to the valley of Inkerman or that of Balbek; the richness of which exceeded anything he had yet seen. " The road follows the course of the river for some miles, overshadowed by widespreading trees, and passing through gardens, the productions of which it would be equally tiresome and hopeless to attempt to enumerate.” No wonder that the thirsty soldier devoured the treacherous grape, and that his bravery on the field was here rewarded by such plunder as the rapacious Cossacks had left behind them.
With the view to carry into effect the proposed alteration in the plan of the campaign, a reconnaissance was effected the next morning (the 25th) towards the Inkerman Light, which is at such an elevation as to be visible thirty miles out at sea; but Colonel Alexander, who was deputed on this service, only found a single causeway over a morass, and a bridge over the river, with a force on the opposite side. The whole country between the Balbek and the Black River, which runs into the Sebastopol inlet, is indeed described as being one uninterrupted jungle and forest, intersected only by the great road from Simferopol and Baktchi-Sarai to Sebastopol, and a cross-road, left in the first instance to the cavalry and artillery. The infantry were left to make a way for themselves through the wood as well as they could ; and the confusion and the difficulties of such a progress are naturally described as having been very great.
The head-quarters of the army, followed by several batteries of artillery, were the first to clear the forest and gain the high road, near a clearance called “ Mackenzie's Farm ;” and they there found themselves
-no doubt to the mutual surprise of both parties—in the presence Russian detachment-variously reported as from 2000 to 25,000 strong! -convoying matériel and treasure to Baktchi-Sarai. The enemy was attacked the moment the cavalry could be brought up, and fled with precipitation, some towards Baktchi-Sarai, and others back to Sebastopol, leaving in the hands of our army an immense quantity of carts, baggage, stores, and ammunition. Some prisoners were also taken, among
whom a captain of artillery.
After this adventure, and a short rest of an hour and a half, the march was resumed by the descent of a steep and difficult defile into the plains, through which runs the Black River, and this the cavalry succeeded in reaching shortly before dark, followed in the course of the night by the light, first, second, and third divisions; the fourth division having been left on the heights above the Balbek, to maintain the communication with the Katcha.
The march had been long and most toilsome, except at Mackenzie's Farm, where two wells, yielding a scanty supply, were found; the troops were without water; many of the regiments were more than fourteen hours in arms ; yet, be it said to their honour and credit, they supported their privations with the utmost cheerfulness.
It was from this station that Lieutenant Maxse, of her Majesty's ship
Agamemnon, volunteered to retrace his steps by night through the forest, and across an enemy's country, to convey a verbal message, for he could be trusted with no other, to Sir E. Lyons to bring round his squadron to Balaklava; and so well was this extraordinary service performed, that Mr. Maxse reached the fleet at four A.M., and before noon the Agamemnon was off the “ beautiful port.”
The next morning, the 26th, the army pushed on at an early hour towards the little port and town, and, according to Lord Raglan's despatch, the guns from the old Genoese fort opened upon the coluinn of the Rifle Brigade, as it showed itself on the road leading into the town; but according to private letters, the first shell fell amid the staff, on turning an angle of the road, and even placed the life of the general in imminent peril
. This warlike demonstration necessitated the occupation of the two flanking heights by the light division and a portion of Captain Brandling's troop of Horse Artillery, while the first division took possession of the village of Kadikoi. A few shells soon brought the small garrison of the venerable fort to reason; and having surrendered, two companies of the Grenadier Guards were sent to protect the Greeks of Balaklava. Owing to the success of Lieutenant Maxse's most gallant night march, the Agamemnon appeared off the harbour at the very moment that our troops showed themselves upon the heights. The effect upon the inhabitants and garrison must have been magical. The next day, the 27th of September, that magnificent ship entered the little land-locked harbour, followed soon after by the Caradoc, on whose quarter-deck Lord Raglan and Sir Edmund Lyons are described as having met ; the face of the former beaming with joy at the success which had hitherto attended our arms.
The French army, like the English, moved from its position on the heights of the Alma on the 23rd, and encamped above the Katcha on a plain from whence they could see the defensive works of Sebastopol. On the 24th they reached the valley of the Balbek. Hence, after refreshing themselves, they progressed the next day, the 26th, through the hilly country, within hearing of the cannon discharged by the British upon the intercepted convoy. At eleven o'clock in the night they reached the spot where the occurrence took place, suffering much from thirst, and with nothing at their bivouac to allay it. “ Neither horse nor man,” says a correspondent to the Constitutionnel, "had had anything to eat or drink since the morning, and there was not a drop of water in this accursed bivouac, where the Russians only left the execrable smell which they exhale even at incredible distances.' As they were preparing to leave next morning they heard the distant cannonade which preceded the surrender of Balaklava. Descending by a dusty road, at one o'clock they slaked their thirst in the Tchernaya, on the opposite side of which they encamped. On the 27th a reconnaissance was made to within two miles and a half of Sebastopol. On the 28th a march of an hour and a half placed this army on the heights and in the rear of Balaklava, and in communication with the fleet, from which it received supplies.
All who have seen the little land-locked port of Balaklava speak in rapturous terms of its beauty and of its convenience ; travellers vie with one another in their eulogiums of this most favoured little spot. M. Hommaire de Hell, who sailed from Odessa direct to Balaklava, describes his arrival'as