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Crimean texts

A.W.Kinglake, The Invasion of the Crimea

Vol. IV (3rd. edn.)

Vol. IVThe Battle of BalaclavaAppendixp. 359

No. II


The circumstances under which the forces advancing from the Baidar direction were suffered to occupy Kamara and establish Batteries on the neighbouring heights?

It was not possible for Sir Colin Campbell to prevent the enemy establishing themselves on the heights commanding Kamara. It was very far from his base, and would have required a strong force of infantry and artillery. We had been obliged to discontinue patrolling this pass a full week before the 25th October, and the enemy were occupying Tchorgoun village and heights between that village and Kamara.

The grounds on which it was judged right for our cavalry to avoid attacking the forces which assailed the Turkish Redoubts?

Lord Raglan not having acted on the communication sent to him the day previous by Sir Colin Campbell and myself

Vol. IV The Battle of Balaclava Appendix p. 360

informing him of the approach of a considerable Russian army, and leaving us altogether without support, we considered it our first duty to defend the approach to the town of Balaclava; and as this defence would depend chiefly upon the cavalry, it was necessary to reserve them for this purpose. I therefore confined myself to cannonading the enemy so long as my ammunition lasted, and to threatening demonstrations. We only left the neighbourhood of the forts after they were already captured. My opinion was, that the advance upon Balaclava could only be assisted [qu. ‘resisted’] by the cavalry on the plain, and I placed them in order of battle for that purpose until removed by Lord Raglan. The soundness of my opinion was established by the check and retreat of the enemy immediately on the repulse of their cavalry; and be it observed that their cavalry were attacked and repulsed on the very site I had prepared to meet them.

The circumstances under which it happened that the advance of the Russian Cavalry to the ground where it turned to engage our Heavy Dragoons was a surprise?

This advance of the Russian cavalry was no surprise, nor did I ever hear it so described. From the time that they descended into the valley they moved very slow, and should have been seen by General Scarlett when still one mile distant. I saw them before they crowned the heights, and found time to travel over double the extent of ground, and to halt, form, and dress the attacking line before it had traversed more than half the breadth of the valley.

The grounds on which it was thought necessary for the Heavy Brigade to desist from supporting the Light Brigade in its charge?

Be it remembered that I had carefully divided the Light Brigade into three lines, to expose as few men as possible in the first line, and that the first line should be efficiently supported. So soon as they had moved off; I instructed my aide-

Vol. IV The Battle of Balaclava Appendix p. 361

de-camp to have me followed by the Heavy Brigade formed in the same order of three lines. I then galloped on, and when very far up [qu. ‘down’] the valley I observed that the Heavy Brigade in my rear were suffering severely from flanking batteries; and with the remark that they were already sufficiently close to protect the Light Cavalry should they be pursued by the enemy, and that I could not allow them to be sacrificed as had been the Light Brigade, I caused them to be halted. Had not the Chasseurs d’Afrique at this time silenced one of these batteries, it is my opinion that the Heavy Cavalry would have been destroyed.

When the Heavy Brigade was halted, no possible object existed for further exposing them, they could only be useful in protecting the retreat of the Light Brigade; and I am confident that from their position they materially did so.

The purport of the Order given to Lord Cardigan after the receipt of the order brought by Nolan.

With General Airey’s order in my hand, I trotted up to Lord Cardigan, and gave him distinctly its contents so far as they concerned him. I would not on my oath say that I did not read the order to him. He at once objected, on the ground that he would be exposed to a flanking battery. When ordered to take up his then position, he had expressed, through his aide-de-camp, the same apprehensions. I told him that I was aware of it. ‘I know it,’ but that ‘Lord Raglan would have it,’ and that we had no choice but to obey. I then said that I wished him to advance very steadily and quietly, and that I would narrow his front by removing the 11th Hussars from. the first to the second line. This he strenuously opposed; but I moved across his front and directed Colonel Douglas not to advance with the rest of the line, but to form a second line with the 4th Light Dragoons.

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