Sir — General Sir W Codrington’s letter to you yesterday calls for a few words. The Review to which the gallant officer alludes did not express the opinions of the writer, but put into plain English what Mr Kinglake described to be the “ordering” of the Flank March of the Allies under the sole command of Lord Raglan. If Sir W Codrington had taken the trouble to analyze the statements in the book, or to read the copious extracts in the Review, he might have perceived that Mr Kinglake proves elaborately that the Allies were “wandering in broken columns for miles behind Lord Raglan” on the evening in question; that Cathcart’s Division was left isolated two days’ march behind; that the French were separated from the English by nearly a day’s march, and by the interposition of the baggage of the latter; and that Lord Raglan pushing on with the Head-quarters Staff, at the head of his line, according to his wont as Mr Kinglake shows, bivouacked in a position very much exposed and open to attack. The Review states:—
“That night Lord Raglan slept by the Tractir bridge, on the Tchernaya, while his army, French and English, were wandering for miles in broken straggling columns behind him, and the enemy, for all he knew, was ready to attack at daybreak.”
This passage (says Sir W Codrington) implies that Lord Raglan left his army behind him in a state of disorganization, and the hat no precautions of war were taken towards the front. Such an idea is unfounded, and must be known to very many of the army to be unfounded.
With great respect to Sir W Codrington, I hold that the passage does nothing of the kind. It refers to the general condition of the whole allied army, and it is preposterous to suppose that the arrival of the brigade of the Light Division under Sir W Codrington, reduced greatly by losses in the attack on the épaulement at the Alma, and by cholera and sickness on the march, rendered the position safe, or that it could be imagined from the passage that no pickets were thrown out in front. The gallant and distinguished brigade of the Light Division to which the General refers cannot be considered as “the army, French and English,” or that it could have resisted an attack which, “for all we know,” an enemy seen near at hand and in force that day might have made at any time.
It is to Mr Kinglake the letter of Sir W Codrington should have been addressed, and not, Sir, to you.
Your obedient servant