Sir, — A pamphlet having recently been published containing the speech of the Earl of Lucan, and an appendix having been added to it, in which reflections have been cast upon my conduct in the following terms, viz:—
‘So disappointed was Lord Lucan at not having the support of the Light Cavalry Brigade that he sent by the first staff officer that became disposable, to desire that Lord Cardigan would always remember that when he (Lord Lucan) was attacking in front it was his (Lord Cardigan’s) duty to support him by a flank attack, and that Lord Cardigan might always depend upon receiving from him similar support.’
I beg to state in the most positive terms, that no such message was ever delivered to me on the occasion referred to, nor one word said on the subject when I met the Lieutenant-General commanding the division immediately afterwards, or at any subsequent time.
Further, I have to add, that just before the period alluded to, when the Russian cavalry attacked the Heavy Brigade, I had been personally placed by the Lieutenant-General in a particular position, at some distance off, with positive orders to remain there, and to watch a certain line of ground over which the Russians might have attacked (and they had plenty of additional troops for the purpose), and in the event of such being the case I had permission from the Lieutenant-General to attack anything that might approach, except close columns of infantry. The Heavy Brigade had at this time two fresh regiments to pursue the Russians if necessary.
With regard to the second note, viz:—
‘The communication received by Lord Lucan from Captain Maxse, Aide-de-Camp, was that Lord Cardigan objected to his brigade being placed where it was, as there were batteries of the enemy on the left which would open upon it. Lord Lucan, who was at this time riding up to the right flank of the Light Cavalry Brigade, replied,— "Tell Lord Cardigan that he is placed there by Lord Raglan’s orders, but that I will take care of him." To show that Lord Cardigan had not mistaken his position, although no batteries did open then, the Light Cavalry Brigade had not advanced more than 100 yards when they were fired upon, and Captain Nolan, who had placed himself in front of a squadron of the 13th Light Dragoons, was killed.’
I beg to state that the whole of this statement is incorrect. I have only to repeat what I have stated in my place in Parliament, that the only message I ever sent was, that the hills on each flank were covered with Russian riflemen and artillery leading to the Russian force stationed in the valley below, and the answer was, “We were about to attack immediately.” A map has been appended to this pamphlet, containing a most unfair and untrue representation of the formation of the troops opposed to each other on that occasion.
The enemy’s battery is placed at the bottom of the valley in an oblique position, whereas it is notorious that the front of the battery was quite parallel to the front of the brigade attacking, the only point to lead upon being the centre guns of the battery. The map alluded to would induce it to be supposed that the brigade attacked without an enemy in front, and only received an oblique fire from the battery as it is placed in the map.
In addition to this large battery of about from 12 to 20 guns, which was square to our front, there were Russian batteries and riflemen on each flank. The attack having been ordered and executed by the Light Cavalry Brigade — and in which attack no one man surpassed another in gallantry — I cannot permit the peril of that undertaking to be detracted from by any misrepresentation.
Requesting you will be so good as to give insertion to this letter in your columns.
I am, Sir, your most obedient servant,
36, Portman-square, April 6