Sir — Your remarks on Mr Kinglake’s Invasion of the Crimea in The Times of today induce me to place on record a fact in regard to the non-pursuit at the Alma, which at the time appeared inexplicable to one who was merely a regimental officer, and which I have not since and probably never shall understand.
At the termination of the battle, Maude’s troop of Horse Artillery halted about 300 yards in advance of the left front of our army, having the 11th Hussars, I think, in line immediately to its left rear. While Maude had ridden away for a few minutes, I believe for orders, I observed the Russian cavalry in column, about half a mile off, passing across our front obliquely from left to right. I instantly put the Horse Artillery in motion, intending to advance rapidly and open fire when pretty close, knowing that our cavalry would of course protect me, and I was under the impression they would follow up the attack and pursue. I feel convinced they would have done so had the opportunity not been lost. I had, however, scarcely moved when a Staff officer galloped up to me shouting, “Halt, halt!” I asked by whose orders, as he wheeled about and rode away as rapidly as he came? He replied, “The orders are to cease firing.” Of course, I halted, but wondered why amazingly. Who he was I never knew.
I doubt extremely that Lord Raglan would have ordered me to halt had he known the exact circumstances at the moment, but he was probably more than a mile away at that period of not five minutes. Had we cut up that cavalry it is more than probable the Russian army would not have bivouacked on the Katcha.
J D SHAKESPEAR, then Second Captain of I Troop RHA
Junior United Service Club, Aug. 1