Home About Sources Topics Background

Crimean texts


The Times 19.8.1868 p 4

Letter


MR KINGLAKE’S INVASION OF THE CRIMEA

TO THE EDITOR OF THE TIMES

Sir — In justice to Colonel, now Major-General, Griffith, who commanded the Scots Greys at the battle of Balaclava, I trust you will permit me to correct in your columns an erroneous statement made regarding him in Mr Kinglake’s fourth volume of the Invasion of the Crimea.

Mr Kinglake says, at page 159, “Colonel Griffith, commanding the Greys, was so struck, it seems, by a shot in the head as to be prevented from continuing to lead on his regiment,” and that Major Clarke had acceded to the command without knowing it. This is not the fact. I was present in this affair with my regiment, the Greys, and saw Colonel Griffith lead them into the dense mass of the Russian cavalry, go through them and into their supports, when the regiment went about and cut their way back again, Colonel Griffith being still in command. Observing that the colonel was bleeding from the head and suffering from the stunning effects of the blow he had received, I ordered his trumpeter to go in search of Major Clarke and tell him that he had succeeded to the command, and at the same time, perceiving that the Russian cavalry were again outflanking us, I seized the bridle of Colonel Griffith’s horse and endeavoured to reach my field hospital in rear of the 93rd Highlanders. We had not gone many yards when the flank charge of the 4th and 5th Dragoon Guards was made, which, with a second charge of the Greys and Inniskillings, sent the Russian cavalry flying, a disorganized mass, up the hill and enabled us to reach our destination. When the report arrived that the Light Cavalry had been destroyed Colonel Griffith left the field hospital without my knowledge, rejoined his regiment, and resumed the command, which he continued to hold throughout the day.

The above, Sir, is a brief statement of facts.

Mr Kinglake does not seem to be aware that there were two distinct and separate charges of “Scarlett’s Dragoons.” The first, in which the Greys and one squadron of the Inniskillings were alone engaged; and the second, in which those regiments were assisted by a flank attack of the 4th and 5th Dragoon Guards and the Royals. In the interval between these two charges the Russians retired a short way up the hill and reformed, the Greys and Inniskillings following suit. Colonel Griffith led the Greys in the first charge, which was by far the most formidable one, and brought them out of it; and it is the assertion on the part of Mr Kinglake that he was prevented from doing this that I must request you will permit me to contradict.

My sole object is to do justice to an officer who remained in command of his regiment during the whole period of the Crimean War, and from whom Mr Kinglake has — I would believe unintentionally — taken the credit due and given it to another.

I am, Sir, your most obedient servant
J RAMSAY BRUSH, MD, late Surgeon Royal Scots Greys

Camden-crescent, Bath, Aug. 17


Home About Sources Topics Background