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A.W.Kinglake, The Invasion of the Crimea

Vol. IV (3rd. edn.)


Vol. IV The Battle of Balaclava Appendix p. 362

No. III

STATEMENT LAID BEFORE MR KINGLAKE BY LORD CARDIGAN.

The brigade was suddenly ordered to mount, upon which I sent one of my aides-de-camp to reconnoitre the ground.

Lord Lucan then came in front of my brigade and said, ‘Lord Cardigan, you will attack the Russians in the valley.’ I said, ‘Certainly, my lord,’ dropping my sword at the same time; ‘but allow me to point out to you that there is a battery in front, a battery on each flank, and the ground is covered with Russian riflemen.’

Lord Lucan answered: ‘I cannot help that; it is Lord Raglan’s positive order that the Light Brigade is to attack the enemy;’ upon which he ordered the 11th Hussars back to support the 17th Lancers. After advancing about eighty yards, a shell fell within reach of my horse’s feet, and Captain Nolan, who was riding across the front retreated with his arm up through the intervals of the brigade. I led straight down to the battery without seeing anybody else in front of me. I had to restrain some of the officers, who got very much excited within eighty yards of the battery by the heavy fire. I led into the battery, a shot being fired from one of the largest guns close by my right leg. I led into the battery and through the Russian gun limber-carriages and ammunition-waggons in the rear. I rode within twenty yards of the line of Russian cavalry. I was attacked by two Cossacks, slightly wounded by their lances, and with difficulty got away from them, they trying to surround me. On arriving at the battery through which I had led, I found no part of the brigade. I rode slowly up the hill, and met General Scarlett. I said to him, ‘What do you think, General, of the aide-de-camp, after such an order being brought to us which has destroyed the Light Brigade, riding to the rear and screaming like a woman?’ Sir J. Scarlett replied, ‘Do not say any more, for I have ridden over his body.’ Lord Lucan was present at this conversation. I then rode to the place from which we had moved off, and found all my brigade there; and, upon

Vol. IV The Battle of Balaclava Appendix p. 363

having them counted, there then were 195 mounted men out of 670. I immediately rode to Lord Raglan to make my report; who said, in a very angry way, ‘What did you mean, sir, by attacking a battery in front, contrary to all the usages of warfare and the custom of the service?’ Upon which, I said: ‘My Lord, I hope you will not blame me, for I received the order to attack from my superior officer in front of the troops.’ I then narrated what I had done as described above.

Lord Lucan put in an affidavit upon oath that when I retreated I passed eighty yards from him. He was close by when I spoke to General Scarlett. I came up to General Scarlett quite slowly. I afterwards galloped to the remains of the brigade re-forming.


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