Balaklava, Oct 27.
My Lord, — I have the honour to report that the cavalry division under my command was seriously engaged with the enemy on the 25th inst, during the greater part of which day it was under a heavy fire; that it made a most triumphant charge against a very superior number of the enemy’s cavalry, and an attack upon batteries which, for daring and gallantry, could not be exceeded. The loss, however, in officers, men, and horses has been most severe.
From half-past 6 in the morning, when the Horse Artillery first opened fire, till the enemy had possessed itself of all the different forts, the cavalry, constantly changing their positions, continued giving all the support they could to the Turkish troops, though much exposed to the fire of heavy guns and riflemen, when they took post on the left of the second line of redoubts by an order from your Lordship.
The Heavy Brigade had soon to return to the support of the troops defending Balaklava, and was fortunate enough in being at hand when a large force of Russian cavalry was descending the hill. I immediately ordered Brigadier-General Scarlett to attack with the Scots Grays and Enniskillen Dragoons, and had his attack supported in second line by the 5th Dragoon Guards, and by a flank attack of the 4th Dragoon Guards.
Under every disadvantage of ground, these eight small squadrons succeeded in defeating and dispersing a body of cavalry estimated at three times their number and more.
The Heavy Brigade having now joined the Light Brigade, the division took up a position with a view of supporting an attack upon the heights, when, being instructed to make a rapid advance to our front, to prevent the enemy carrying the guns lost by the Turkish troops in the morning, I ordered the Light Brigade to advance in two lines, and supported them with the Heavy Brigade. This attack of the Light Cavalry was very brilliant and daring; exposed to a fire from heavy batteries on their front and two flanks, they advanced unchecked until they reached the batteries of the enemy, and cleared them of their gunners, and only retired when they found the themselves engaged with a very superior force of cavalry in the rear. Major-General the Earl of Cardigan led this attack in the most gallant and intrepid manner; and his Lordship has expressed himself to me as admiring in the highest degree the courage and zeal of every officer, non-commissioned officer, and man who assisted.
The Heavy Brigade advanced to the support of the attack under a very galling fire from the batteries and infantry in a redoubt, and acted with most perfect steadiness, and in a manner to deserve all praise.
The losses, my Lord, it grieves me to state, have been very great indeed, and, I fear, will be much felt by your Lordship.
I cannot too strongly recommend to your Lordship the two General officers commanding the brigades, all the officers in command of regiments, as also the divisional and brigade staffs; indeed, the conduct of every individual, of every rank, I feel to be deserving of my entire praise, and, I hope, of your Lordship’s approbation.
The conduct of the Royal Horse Artillery troop, first under the command of Captain Maude, and, after that officer was severely wounded, of Captain Shakespear, was most meritorious and praiseworthy. I received from those officers every possible assistance during the time they respectively commanded.
I have, &c, LUCAN
His Excellency the Commander of the Forces, &c.