At the seat of war the outstanding event of the month of April was the great bombardment — the ‘iron storm’ directed upon the enemy’s defences from every gun and mortar in our possession, in the hope of making the fortress untenable. Begun on April 9th, in the midst of wind, rain, and mist, it was maintained night and day for ten days; and then, in more desultory fashion, for eight days longer. Notwithstanding which, it completely failed of its object, producing but little effect upon the Russian earthworks.
In the meantime, signs are not wanting that the mutual relations of the French and British were by no means free from friction. Niel’s allegations in a letter addressed to his master on March 13th, our complaint that the French wish to obtain control of the Sardinian Contingent, and the case of the soi-disant ‘Colonel’ Ochota, disposed of by Lord Raglan on April 27th, furnish illustrations of how this state of feeling was kept up. Lord Panmure’s justification of Raglan, dated April 8th, would serve of itself as an answer to the charge of unfairness brought against the writer by Kinglake.
Both at home and in the Chersonese, the infatuation of the Emperor Napoleon continued anxiously to exercise the minds of statesmen and generals. The Emperor’s plan was to go to the Crimea at the end of the month. En attendant, he paid a brief but brilliant visit to the Court of St. James, during which he was present at Councils held at Windsor and at Buckingham Palace. A plan for investing Sebastopol was there made to take the place of his more showy military projects; and, indeed, so successful were diplomacy and statecraft, that by the end of the month it comes to be understood that his contemplated visit to the seat of war has been abandoned. A relief to all, the announcement can have been to none more welcome than to his own generals.
On the 16th of the month, Lord Panmure is able to allude to the daily increasing vigour of our troops at the seat of war. Reinforcements also are arriving there, though as yet scarcely in the numbers desired. Omar Pasha, with 20,000 Turks and Egyptians, is now before Sebastopol. At home the Duke of Cambridge energetically urges the need of recruiting. Lord Raglan, who had spent the best of his days in office-work, is seen assiduously pursuing the old life under new conditions. But perhaps the most reassuring item in the month’s correspondence is the testimony of General Simpson — a witness whose special business is to criticise, and who by his own showing has had prejudice to overcome — to the merits of the much-maligned Staff Officers of our army in the field.
BUCKINGHAM PALACE, April 1, 1855.
The Queen returns all these despatches and letters in order that they may be copied. The reports of the deserters, the Queen thinks encouraging.
Inquiry as to monument to British soldiers at Scutari.
As soon as Sir J. Burgoyne arrives the Queen wishes to be informed. The Queen has never heard from Lord Palmerston respecting the monument for her poor soldiers at Scutari; has anything been agreed upon? The Queen has again been asked about it; they say that it ought to be begun soon, as in Turkey everything is so soon destroyed and desecrated.
How are the medals getting on?
WAR DEPARTMENT, April 2, 1855.
The mail arrived to-day with dates from you up to the 20th.
Armaments and reinforcements about to be despatched.
The contents of the despatches are on the whole very satisfactory. I received also from you, yesterday, a telegraphic despatch of the 29th, requesting me to send you out a fourth battering-train and a further supply of 32-lb. shot. I am happy to be able to inform you that I have every prospect of despatching these armaments and ammunition by the steamer Alps on Saturday next.
The Alma will sail on the same day, with a thousand Guards and some other drafts. This will warm your Guardsmen’s hearts, and make their brigade look decent again. The Great Britain will also sail in a few days with 1500 for Malta, which will make your reserve there upwards of 4000 men.
A few hours before your message I received your telegraph, announcing, in somewhat confused language, the affair of the French on the 22nd and 23rd. 1 We do not yet make out whether we had any hand in it or not, and as people get very anxious when these reports come, I think it had better be an understanding between us that whenever anything occurs you should send me a telegraph at once. The poor doctor of the 9th 2 seems to have met a very unexpected fate. No blame could be attached to the French sentry. You will perceive that this is written by my Secretary; the fact is, I am sorry to say, I am suffering from an attack of gout.
BEFORE SEBASTOPOL. April 3, 1855.
My next despatch of this day will afford you all the information I have to convey to you.
I never could bring myself to believe that the Emperor of the French would come here; and, so far as I have been able to ascertain, he has never announced his intention of visiting the Crimea to General Canrobert, though it is spoken of in most of the private letters from Paris. The General thinks it would be a very false move.
Raglan’s view of the French Emperor’s plan of campaign.
A very large army would be required to operate in the field, and to complete the investment of Sebastopol on the north side. Omar Pasha’s Army, if assisted by a couple of French Divisions, could undertake the latter duty, should we have an Army in the field to make head against the Russian Army outside the place, and another to continue the siege on the south side; but all this would require immense preparations, vast supplies and abundance of means of transport; and His Imperial Majesty of France would have longer to wait than might be agreeable, or safe, as regards the state of affairs in his Empire, where in my humble opinion he had better remain.
The Sea of Azof.
The Sea of Azof is constantly in the mind of Sir Edmund Lyons and Admiral Bruat, and they are most anxious to engage in the operation, but they will require the assistance of some troops, and I, as I have before said, and Sir Edmund has repeated to Sir Charles Wood, I believe, have none to give them.
What a body of French troops is collecting at Constantinople for, I cannot divine.
Reinforcements and remounts required.
In the meanwhile I do not hear that any of the Mediterranean battalions are coming to this Army. I thought I was to have The Buffs when it should leave the Piræus;, but I now hear that the regiment has returned to Malta. The French are expecting horses in abundance. We shall be late in receiving our remounts if they are sent in sailing-vessels. Many months ago I entreated they might be forwarded in steamers.
I had got thus far when I received a letter, of which the enclosed is an extract, from Sir Henry Ward, 3 expressing his anxiety to get rid of two of the battalions which are at Corfu. 4 This being the case, although I have no authority to do so, I propose to request Major-General Macintosh, with the consent of the Lord High Commissioner, to send them up here; and if to these The Buffs could be added, it would be a great advantage.
I trust this proceeding on my part will be approved by Her Majesty’s Government.
I will request Sir Edmund Lyons to find the means of bringing these troops up.
I have no materials for a military despatch to-day.
WINDSOR CASTLE, April 5, 1855.
A note of sympathy.
The Queen thanks Lord Panmure for his letter and the despatches from Lord Raglan. She is proud at the record of unalterable and brilliant gallantry on the part of her noble troops, 5 though she grieves at the loss of officers and men it has occasioned. She wishes Lord Panmure to express these feelings in her name to Lord Raglan. The Russians have received another lesson, and their loss seems to have been severe.
We hope Lord Panmure is better?
BELGRAVE SQUARE, April 6, 1855.
As this is Good Friday, and I am desirous to restrict the work of the office as much as possible, I send you nothing more than is absolutely necessary.
Desire of the French Emperor to obtain control of the Sardinian Contingent.
The only public despatch with which I shall trouble you is upon the subject of the Sardinian Contingent: there seems to be a great desire on the part of the Emperor of the French to lay his fingers upon, and to be the directing spirit of, this little army. It must be your special care to prevent this, and to give you the full means of doing so, I have desired it to proceed at once to place itself under your orders and to form part of your force before Sebastopol. This will have the effect likewise of meeting the want of men which you complain of in your position.
The enemy seems to have taken no advantage by his night movements of late, though we grieve to see promising young officers picked off in these small but harassing affairs. I am sorry to tell you that I am still far from well, and my holidays have hitherto been spent either entirely in my bed, or, when not there, in a room adjoining my bedroom. I shall write you more fully in every way by Monday’s post.
BEFORE SEBASTOPOL, April 7, 1855.
Prospect of an attack on Balaclava.
I enclose Mr. Cattley’s report of this day. The information it contains would lead to the supposition that Balaclava is to be attacked, if not to-night, at least on some very early day or night; but there is certainly nothing visible to confirm this intelligence, and Sir Colin Campbell, who is now in this house, is under no apprehension.
It is, however, natural that the enemy should make some effort to disturb us whilst our attention is directed to the attack of Sebastopol.
Events from day to day.
If the effort be a serious one, the arrival of some of the troops of Omar Pasha’s Army at Kamiesh and Kazatch will have been most opportune.
Sir Edmund Lyons fulfilled his promise of transporting 5000 men to perfection. His ships left the fleet on Wednesday evening, embarked the troops next morning, and brought them to Kazatch in the afternoon in time to disembark most, if not all of them. The French, whose ships had gone away before ours, had kept a greater distance from Eupatoria, and thus were jockeyed.
The Admiral has despatched the Sidon and the Leopard to bring up the two regiments from Corfu, and I hope Admiral Stopford will be able to find conveyance for The Buffs from Malta. Some additional troops here just now would afford us much relief. The deepening the trenches and thickening the parapets being works of the first necessity, and the Divisions engaged in the siege being unable to furnish additional working-parties, I caused three hundred of the 71st to be brought from Sir Colin’s position yesterday on baggage animals, and sent them back by railway.
A railway accident.
This produced a fatal and very serious accident, which has given me very great pain. Mr. Beattie assured me that there was no danger whatever, and that he had selected experienced and steady hands to take charge of the brakes, and he would accompany them himself, not from any fear of an accident, but to ascertain how so many men could be well conveyed. He did go with them, but from some cause or other the last set of carriages, upon one of which he was, upset, and I grieve to say a corporal was killed, a private had his leg smashed, poor fellow, and ten or eleven others were more or less hurt, none I hope seriously. But the accident is unfortunate and much to be lamented, and will, I fear, stop the free use of the railway to the extent contemplated, unless Mr. Beattie can place the brakes under better control.
I shall probably get the official report to-night.
Canrobert’s prolonged visit has left me no time to say more. The weather is very fine.
April 8, 1855.
I would have answered yesterday your note forwarding to me copies of the letters Generalss Canrobert and Niel to the Emperor of the French, but I had worn myself out in despatching the mail for the Crimea. I will not conceal from you that I have read these despatches with very serious regret, as they tend in my opinion to convey to His Imperial Majesty a wrong impression of Lord Raglan’s earnest desire to co-operate in every way, and to give every assistance in his power to our Allies. When two great nations are acting together in operations so extensive as those which the Allied Armies are now carrying on, it is not to be expected that everything will run exactly and precisely in the groove which we wish it, but you must be perfectly aware that one of the great qualifications for his position recognised in Lord Raglan was his amenity of disposition and his talent for conciliating those with whom duty would bring him in contact.
Defence of Lord Raglan.
Since you sent me these despatches, I have searched the records of Lord Raglan’s correspondence with my Department, and I cannot discover a single instance in which he has expressed a doubt on his part of the good faith of the French Generals, nor can I trace the slightest indisposition to share his own resources with his allies.
Raglan’s relations with the French vindicated.
Any contretemps that may have occurred when their operations were combined has been mentioned by him as a matter of fact, but never commented upon in the spirit exhibited in the letters of Generals Canrobert and Niel. These officers should consider, when they blame Lord Raglan for not keeping pace with them in their preparations for opening the whole of the concentrated fire of the Allied Armies before Sebastopol, the inferiority of the English Army in point of numbers, and the state to which they have been reduced by the original disproportionate work of the siege. I could point out many instances in which Lord Raglan might have remonstrated upon apparent want of support from then French Government. Had they consented to advance at Alma, the Russian Artillery might have the spoil of the Allies. Had Lord Raglan declined to place his Light Cavalry on the heights in advance of General Bosquet’s Division, many valuable animals might have been saved to his army, and his Division of Cavalry maintained in better condition. In the combined night movement on the Tchernaya, Sir Colin Campbell, in spite of the weather, was at his post at the hour fixed by General Canrobert, not so the French Contingent; but Lord Raglan merely mentioned this as a fact, sought out excuses to justify their inaction, and breathed not a word of complaint of any kind against his allies.
I will not refer to any more cases, as these will suffice to show you the tone and temper of Lord Raglan’s mind, and I most earnestly hope that you will take such steps as shall appear to you best qualified to disabuse the mind of His Imperial Majesty of any impression adverse, either to the honest intentions of Lord Raglan, or the good faith of Her Majesty’s Government.
April 9, 1855.
Remark on Russian soldiers.
I write you one line though unable to hold the pen myself from gout. I hear from Corfu that they have too many troops there, so it would be charity on your part to relieve them of a regiment. You seem to have had a sharpish affair on the night of the 22nd. These Russians, though not fit to cope with us physically, are very clever fellows, and need uncommon sharp looking after. I fancy they cause our Allies no small quantity of anxiety. The Emperor is to be here on Monday, and we shall then know positively whether he intends to go to the Crimea.
BEFORE SEBASTOPOL, April 10, 1855.
Opening of the April bombardment.
We commenced our fire under somewhat untoward circumstances yesterday morning.
The weather changed on Monday. We had torrents of rain that night, and yesterday we had a heavy storm of wind and rain, accompanied by a mist, which made it impossible to observe the effect of the fire, or to distinguish anything at a distance. I have rarely seen a worse day.
However, the French and ourselves succeeded in keeping up a more powerful fire than that of the enemy, 6 and they are doing the same to-day, although for several hours the haze was very thick.
It is now clearing rapidly and the sun is showing itself. I have not heard from Sir Edmund Lyons since yesterday morning, when he was getting under way, but whether he and his fleet took up their intended position in the course of the day, nobody can say. The ships were seen outside this morning, but the view was then very imperfect.
Omar Pasha arrived on Sunday, and I saw him that night at General Canrobert’s. He has with him, including the Egyptian Division, nearly twenty thousand men. The weather detained His Highness at Kamiesh yesterday, but I expect him here directly, and General Canrobert is waiting his arrival. He will then let me know how he proposes to dispose of his troops.
The Artillery and Engineer officers recommend that the fire should be continued. 7 I say this with reference to their proposed meeting on Tuesday as mentioned in my secret despatch of Saturday.
April 13, 1855.
I am still unable to use my hands, though I am beginning to shake off the attack of which I have been a victim. The oppressive work of the Department, which well or ill must be kept under, is a great obstacle I find to convalescence.
Your last mail brought us little fresh intelligence, though it assured us of the personal safety of Colonel Kelly 8 and Captain Montagu, which is some comfort.
Attempts have been made to poison the French Emperor’s mind against the British.
The Emperor of the French will be here on Monday, and I hope I shall be well enough to hold personal communication with him. I do not wish to disturb you by raising any vague suspicions in your mind as to the communications made from the French camp directly to the Emperor. It is quite evident from his tone to Lord Cowley that attempts have been made to poison his mind both against you and the Government. He imagines that we are unwilling to give him a full and unreserved support, and that you do not exchange with his Generals the information which you receive of the enemy’s conditions and intentions.
French complaint respecting information furnished by a Polish deserter.
As an instance of this, the Emperor asserts that there is a certain Colonel Ochota, a Polish deserter, now or lately at Constantinople, who states that he gave you information about the Russians which you did not in any way communicate to General Canrobert. When this statement was made to me, I gave it at once flat contradiction, but I determined at the same time no longer to keep you in ignorance of the poison which is instilled into the Emperor’s mind.
Who is this Colonel Ochota, and what can you tell me about him?
I see the Russians have already got hold of our views with regard to the Sea of Azof; there is foul play somewhere. Time perhaps will lead to the discovery of it.
I have written you to-day an official letter about the Committee, and I earnestly hope that you will poke up Mr. Filder to enlarge his supply operations.
You can appoint as many Deputy-Adjutants, Commissary-Generals, out of his staff of clerks as you think he requires, but take care the work is done. We are daily looking for the opening of your fire on Sebastopol. I pity the poor devils there when the iron storm commences.
BEFORE SEBASTOPOL, April 13, 1855.
Prisoners and deserters.
I had given the full disposal of the Polish prisoners and deserters to Count Zamoysky before I received your note of the 26th March, with the understanding that the deserters will thereby relinquish all further claim upon the British Government. Prisoners are got rid of when the war ceases; but deserters stick like leeches to the party they have gone over to, and are by no means easy to shake off or satisfy.
BEFORE SEBASTOPOL, April 14, 1855. Night.
My secret despatch will tell you all I have to say.
The conference lasted an unusual time.
Result of conference of Artillery and Engineer officers.
The officers of Artillery and Engineers differed a good deal in opinion, but it has been resolved to continue the siege, diminishing our fire in order that the ammunition may last longer. It was the best arrangement we could make, and I had no little difficulty, with Sir Edmund Lyons’ able assistance, in getting our friends to concur in the course determined upon.
Special efforts made by Russia to raise troops.
The letter of which I enclose a copy, from the Hospodar of Moldavia, has been transmitted to me by Lord Stratford, who has, I conclude, sent it to Lord Clarendon. If its contents are true, it is evident that Russia will strip other parts of her dominions to supply troops for the Crimea.
I am sorry to say that there was a fatal case of cholera in Brown’s Division yesterday. Another man has been attacked by the disease, but is doing well.
General Bizot, who was Chief Engineer before General Niel’s arrival, was desperately wounded two days ago. He is doing well.
April 15, 1855.
Lord Panmure’s scheme of arrangements for the military department.
I should like to see your proposed scheme of arrangements for the Military Department before it is discussed in the Cabinet. The matter is one of great importance and will require mature consideration; and we must not let Lord Grey, 9 nor anybody else, force us to premature statements in Parliament before our plans are fully and satisfactorily arranged.
I should like to see the instructions to Raglan about an attack on Kertch, and generally I should wish to see instructions for operations of that kind before they are sent out.
Removal of Airey, Estcourt, and Filder to be considered.
My conviction is that they are all three unfit for their respective situations. We are in all probability on the eve of a most important campaign.
It is impossible that in the course of it many things should not go wrong. If this happens with these three men still holding their present situations, all the world will throw the blame, and justly, upon the Government. If we remove these men and put others in their places we shall at least have done our best, and shall have nothing to reproach ourselves with.
CRIMEA, April 16, 1855.
Many calls on writer’s time.
I had the pleasure of receiving your private note three days ago, and beg to thank you very much for it. I fear you expect to receive more frequent communications from me than I shall be able to make; for I assure you, my Lord, that, what with the innumerable references made to me, the greatly increased writing, and the constant outdoor duties that demand my attention, very little time is left for correspondence, even although I am up at it at five o’clock every morning.
The April bombardment.
An operation is now in full progress, which also much engages us all. We began, conjointly with our Allies, last Monday at daylight, now exactly one week ago, to fire from every gun and mortar on the enemy’s batteries, with the view of smashing them, and then to make the town untenable. The fire has been maintained on both sides, night and day, ever since it opened, and after a careful inspection which I made yesterday afternoon, I do not think we have made much impression, while we have had 8 or 10 guns disabled, and lost some valuable officers and men. The Russian earthworks, à la Ferguson 13 are too tough for us, and their supply of guns and materials of all sorts so endless that my belief is that this fire may continue for these six months, were it possible, and that we should have the worst of it. Our Artillerymen are nearly exhausted, so are our guns. The Russians have fresh men, and guns too, day after day. One thing is clear, we cannot keep up this fire longer than one or two more days, and whether our Commanders will assault the place, I know it. If we do not, we may as well raise the siege; if we do, and succeed, we cannot hold it, so long as the Russians hold the opposite side.
‘A regular fix.’
The result of my observations since coming here is that we are in a regular fix! It is impossible, my Lord, that any military man of experience could have recommended the descent of this Army in the Crimea, and whoever has ordered this expedition has much to answer for. As matters now stand, the French have a large and well-appointed army, but they have not shown themselves equal to cope with the Russians, and both sides know it. Our Force of Infantry is now, in round numbers, 16,000, of which 3000 are at Balaclava. The 13,000 up here in the front are very different from the splendid men who came out. But few of them remain; and at this time they have not above one night in three for rest. It often happens that men are two nights running in the trenches. This cannot be avoided.
Condition of the French favourably contrasted with our own.
It is painful for me to compare the French and English alongside of each other in this camp. The ‘equipage’ of our Allies is marvellous. I see continual strings of well-appointed carts and waggons, with five pair of horses in each, all under their officers and regular discipline, conveying stores, provisions, etc. The appliances for the sick and wounded, and the care bestowed on them, cannot he surpassed. Everything an army ought to possess is in full working order with the French — even the daily baking of their bread — all under military control and discipline.
Our Land-Transport Corps.
We have no establishments at all. It is true that this ‘Land-Transport Corps,’ which every praise and encouragement are given to, will in time amount to something; but I doubt its ever working, owing to the drivers and the people employed — as they appear of the worst race of men, and of all nations. On moving, I anticipate only confusion and disorder of all sorts amongst such a set of men. M’Murdo is doing his best, and every one is anxious to aid him to the utmost.
I am happy to say that Omar Pasha with some 15,000 well-looking Turkish troops came here from Eupatoria two days ago, and are encamped on the Balaclava side, which much tends to the safety of that place, so liable to attack.
Raglan’s great correspondence.
Lord Raglan is in perfect health and spirits, and how he gets through all that he does is wonderful. I consider him the worst used man I ever heard of! His correspondence is far beyond what any man can get through, and he likes to do it himself. It is grievous to see, in the midst of the very serious operations at present demanding constant attention, a huge bag of letters, twice a-week per mail, laid on his table, demanding the utmost care in their perusal, quite sufficient to occupy entirely the mind of any man who has nothing else to think of!
Simpson’s opinnion of the staff.
The Staff here at headquarters have, I am convinced, been very much vilified. They are a very good set of fellows — civil and obliging to every one who comes. I am speaking of the personal Staff, who have no responsibilities further than being generally useful. Nor have I any fault to find with Airey and Estcourt. I think the line that ought to exist, distinguishing their respective departments, was not so distinct as it ought to have been; and as both come to me now, I am trying to make it so, and to keep the two branches from clashing. As far as I can judge, the Officers of the Staff of the Divisions are excellent, some of them first-rate.
In an army like this, one soon finds out men’s capabilities. There are three men who are very prominent as really good soldiers — Major Wetherall here at headquarters as Assistant Quartermaster-General; Major Halliwell, Ditto with 4th Division; and Lt.-Col. Pakenham, 14 Assistant Quartermaster-General at headquarters. Among many clever officers these men are prominent. I see no Staff Officer objectionable in my opinion. You will think my views very different from those printed in our newspapers; but I judge from my own observation, and I hope with impartiality. Soon after my arrival I gave out an Order, with Lord Raglan’s concurrence, on the dress and appearance of the officers, and they all appear in uniform now, and with their swords. The Press has done them all much mischief by encouraging them to throw off their stocks, to wear beards, and various other absurdities, which of course infected the soldiers, who went the length of throwing away their shakos.
Licence in dress.
The sheepskins, buffalo robes, fur caps, long boots, red comforters, in which all hands, both officers and men, appeared, tended to licence in dress and appearance, but the Order I gave out on the 26th of March has done good.
Cleanliness of encampments.
The state of our camps is another subject for misrepresentation at home. I know them all pretty well now, and more cleanly encampments I never saw. I consider them quite healthy and wholesome in all respects.
I write a rambling letter, my Lord, and it is with much hesitation I venture to offer you my opinions on any subjects, but I cannot resist the desire to respond to the kindness of your note to me by sending you these remarks such as they are.
April 16, 1855.
I hope this is the last day on which I shall employ a Secretary to write for me, as my hand is fast regaining its strength.
I have seen Sir John Burgoyne this morning, and had a long conversation with him upon the state of things before Sebastopol. I learn from him, with great concern, though not with much surprise, the divided counsels which prevail between you and the French, and I cannot perceive any hope of much improvement so long as the present state of divided command continues to exist. From what Sir John tells me, it is difficult to perceive what is to be gained after our fire is opened, so I begin to be of opinion that the best course to pursue will be to abandon all attempt to take Sebastopol by assault, and at once to take the field and drive the Russians from the Crimea. There is to be a general discussion at Windsor on Wednesday morning as to the future conduct of the campaign. I will communicate to you by Friday’s mail the result of that discussion, but I think you may be quite sure now of the Emperor’s advent to the Crimea. He professes that it is his desire to place the fullest confidence in you, and to consult you as to all his plans.
I fear he will have great difficulty in restoring the morale of his troops, which, from all Burgoyne tells me, is greatly shaken, not only in the eyes of the English soldiers, but in the estimation of the French officers themselves. This is altogether a very painful state of things, and gives me serious anxiety as to the result of our present operations.
If any attempt is made on Wednesday to wrest from you the control of the Sardinian Army, I shall resist it to the utmost of my power, but I don’t expect that the Emperor will persevere now that he sees our faces so much set against him in the matter.
Depreciated morale of the French Army and improved vigour of our own.
While we are deploring so much the depreciated morale of the French Army, it gives me much pleasure to hear of the daily increasing vigour of your own, and when a reinforcement arrives and your hospitals send you back your convalescents, by the aid of the Sardinians you will muster a most respectable force for anything that may be before you.
I have written you officially about Colonel Cadogan, who has been attached to General Marmora, 15 and who will communicate with you in all matters concerning that army. General M. will send you an officer of similar rank to represent him at your headquarters.
BEFORE SEBASTOPOL, April 17, 1855.
Efforts being made to reinforce Russian Army.
I enclose Mr. Cattley’s last report. It indicates that every effort is making to reinforce the Russian Army.
Information from a deserter.
No deserter has come in for the last fortnight until just now, when one made his appearance from the town. Mr. Cattley will not be able to complete his examination to-day; but he judges, from the questions he has put to him, that he has no very important information to give except as regards the garrison in the town, which he estimates at nearly 40,000 men, a number Mr. Cattley considers not exaggerated.
The conferences we have lately had occupy much time, and are in general very tedious. Fortunately nobody gets out of humour. I believe there never was such a siege as this before. The resources of the Russians are endless.
Death and burial of General Bizot.
General Bizot, who I told you on Saturday was severely wounded, died on Tuesday morning. I had been told on the previous day by General Niel that he was considered out of danger. He is a great loss to the French Engineers, in which he was regarded as a man of great worth as well as ability. I attended his funeral yesterday with my Aides-de-Camp, and most of the officers of Engineers of Her Majesty’s Service who were not on duty were also present. General Niel, General Pelissier, and General Canrobert made orations on the occasion. Niel spoke by far the best.
Brown has two more cases of cholera in the Light Division. They were doing well yesterday.
BUCKINGHAM PALACE, April 1855.
Agreement between French and English arrived at at War Council at Buckingham Palace.
The Queen wishes to know whether any instructions to Lord Raglan have been forwarded on the Agreement come to with the Emperor of the French, and which was signed by Lord Panmure and Marshal Vaillant; 16 if so, she would wish to see them. Whenever any instructions of any importance are sent to Lord Raglan, the Queen would wish to see them, if possible before they are sent. At times she knows this may be difficult, as the mail frequently arrives the same day that the despatches have been sent out.
We hope Lord Panmure is feeling better.
23 BELGRAVE SQUARE, April 20, 1855.
I am still too lame to hold my pen, which I regret the more as the subjects upon which I must write you are of deep and serious interest.
Raglan has complete control of the British troops in the Mediterranean, excepting Militia.
Let me say in the first place that I have embodied in a public despatch my approval of your having sent for the three Infantry regiments from the Mediterranean, and I wish you distinctly to understand that you have my full authority to avail yourself of the services of any or all of the troops in the Mediterranean with the exception of Militia regiments. All that I ask is that you give me timely notice of the troops which you remove, that I may take steps for replacing them by others from this country.
From all I hear I am afraid that the 10th Hussars will not reach you in a very efficient condition, and I have strong reason to believe that their commanding officer is very inefficient. I hope that the 12th Lancers will be in better order than the l0th.
The French Emperor attends a Council at Windsor.
The visit of the Emperor has gone off with the greatest éclat. We had a meeting with him at Windsor on Wednesday, 17 at which were present the Emperor, Prince Albert, Lords Clarendon, Palmerston, Hardinge, Cowley and myself, Sir John Burgoyne, Marshal Vaillant, and Count Walewski. We discussed at great length the state of affairs in the Crimea, and everybody seemed to arrive at one opinion as to the inexpediency of the Emperor’s going there. I cannot say, however, that he was shaken in his purpose, even by so marked an expression of our opinions. He has a strong idea that the present divided command of the Allied Army is leading to no good results, and he thinks that, if he were there, he could control for unity of action, without actually taking command of the Allied Armies.
We came to a pretty clear conclusion that, whatever might be the result of the bombardment, Sebastopol could not be ours until completely worsted.
To effect this purpose, the Emperor proposed a movement to the East with a considerable force as far as Aloushta, from which place he seems to know of a pass through the mountain defiles by which he could reach Simpheropol, from which having driven the Russians, he would descend upon Sebastopol. This appears to be a wild and impracticable scheme, and one which would so divide his army as to lead to its inevitable ruin. It is strange, however, with how much pertinacity he clings to the idea.
We have endeavoured to meet his views to some extent, without committing ourselves in any way to his plan. I may not to able to embody the views of the Government in a despatch by this mail, as the Prince has in his possession some documents upon which it must be founded, but our prospective arrangements are as follows:—
Prospective arrangements made at the Council.
First, that four distinct armies should be formed, each to act a part of its own. We estimate the Allied force to consist of the following numbers:—
French at Sebastopol . . . 80,000 ” at Constantinople 23,000 ” Reinforcements 10,000 Turks 60,000 English 25,000 Piedmontese 15,000
Of these we propose to make four armies, one of 30,000 Turks and Egyptians to occupy Eupatoria, under Omar Pasha; a second to consist of 30,000 French and 30,000 Turks, under General Canrobert, which should maintain the trenches and carry on the operations of the siege; a third consisting of 25,000 English, 15,000 Sardinians, and 10 or 20,000 French, under your command, which should move forward across the Tchernaya, and, first of all, take and occupy the high ground above Inkerman, including Mackenzie’s Farm. The fourth army would consist entirely of French, and be available for any diversion which might be found practicable and be made in combination with the forward movement of the Army under your command.
I feel quite certain that, upon an examination of the Emperor’s scheme upon the spot for passing the defile which I have before alluded to, and so coming upon Simpheropol, it will be found to be perfectly visionary.
The fourth army, or army of diversion as he likes to have it called, will therefore in all probability act upon your right, and aid in a great movement to the front, until you shall have arrived at a point where all communication between Sebastopol and the interior of the Crimea shall be effectually cut off.
Before you effect this, I have no doubt that the enemy will give battle, but the result must be in our favour, in which case we may anticipate the speedy surrender of the garrison of Sebastopol.
Outline of a plan of operations for the summer months.
This is a general outline of what appeared to us to be a practical plan of operation for the summer months, as we should have no great difficulty in bringing up our supplies to the Army, even though our Transport Corps was not so fully organised and equipped as we could wish. The Sardinians have received orders to go straight to the Crimea, and you will assume direction of their position as a matter of course, but it is understood that they are not to be employed in the trenches.
These private communications, of course, you will keep to yourself until I am able to confirm them by a secret and confidential despatch, containing formal directions similar to those which will be communicated to the Allies.
I think I have now tested your patience sufficiently.
BEFORE SEBASTOPOL, April 21. 1855.
I send you Mr. Cattley’s report of this day. It contains nothing very material, but I make no doubt that the Russians are taking advantage of the fine weather to bring troops from the northward.
I think Omar Pasha was pleased to have some French and English Cavalry confided to him, but nothing serious was apprehended. The Turkish troops looked well.
The fight for the lodgments, sometimes called ‘rifle-pits,’ in front of ‘Gordon’s Attack.’
Our success of the night before last 18 will, I doubt not, produce a good effect both on the enemy and our Allies, but it was dearly bought by the sacrifice of the life of Colonel Egerton, 19 who was one of the best officers in the Army and looked up to by all. I cannot say how deeply I regret him. . . .
Advance of Russians from neighbourhood of Eupatoria.
Colonel Simmons has just come in to inform me, by desire of Omar Pasha, that he has received information from Eupatoria to the effect that all the Russian Infantry have left that part of the country and are on march this way; and that the enemy have burnt the villages within three or four marches of Eupatoria. It would have been better to have left Omar where he was.
Confidential. ‘HANNIBAL,’ OFF SEBASTOPOL, April 21, 1855.
You wished to hear from me now and then. I have little news to give you, and that little is not very cheering as to our future prospects here.
Every day convinces me more strongly that the present French General-in-Chief is over-weighted, and unfit for the command of such an army, that he is afraid of responsibility, that he has not confidence in himself nor in his troops, and that he is looking far too anxiously towards Vienna in the hope that peace may free him from his difficulties; and whilst he affects to dread the bloodshed which might be consequent upon more decisive movements, he is daily and nightly having numbers killed and wounded, as must be reasonably expected, from the very close proximity of his advanced works u> those, of the Russians. But this diurnal drain tends to dishearten his soldiers, and I fear they will come to lose confidence in their General!
There does not appear to be any Second General Officer whose energy and influence at all compensates for the over-caution and want of enterprise of the Chief. This, my old friend, is my opinion — partly conceived at our first interview, and strongly confirmed on seeing and hearing more of this Mountebank; for his declamation, gesticulations, grimaces, and costume force one to fancy him acting. Is it not heartrending to find our own gallant Marshal and his brave little Army trammelled and hampered, if not controlled, by such a colleague?
The Admirals are quite d’accord, but they can do nothing without the co-operation and concurrence of the Generals.
The Russians are indefatigable, and work night and day, having their inexhaustible arsenal at command. We opened fire on the 9th inst. and are still by way of keeping up a very, very limited amount of fire, at which I think the enemy cannot but smile in confident self-complacency. At gunnery and engineering I fancy they are fully our equals. At fighting they know, and our fellows feel conscious, we can beat them 3 to 1.
Impatience for action.
To the field then we should betake ourselves, since the assault seems unlikely to come off. It is difficult to advise an assault, when one is not to participate in its perils; but although I am only a Yeomanry Officer, I feel confident that, had Lord Raglan commanded in Chief, matters would have been in a less doubtful state than they are now. Everybody seems now to be asking ‘what next?’ To wait for reinforcements will advantage the enemy fully as much as ourselves. And they have long been busily occupied in fortifying the elevations and passes outside — so that our advance into the country will now have to be fought for. But surely something like annoyance and diversion may be effected, and for many days have Sir E. Lyons and Admiral Bruat been urging and begging to have 10 or 12,000 embarked in the ships — landed in Kaffa and Theodosia, and Kertch and its Straits taken possession of, and our light vessels sent into the Sea of Azof, from whence the Russians bring much of their supply to the Crimea.
Canrobert blamed for excessive caution.
This would be a certain success. And never could a success be more valuable than it would be now to the Allies here. This should have been accomplished ere now. Most precious time is elapsing, and the enemy are profiting by it to obstruct the passages, etc.; but hitherto Canrobert has peremptorily refused to spare a man, alleging that ‘ici nous avons une grosse affaire,’ and apparently dreaming of nothing but being attacked and overpowered!!! Whereas, were a flying force landed to occupy Kertch, they might very soon return, as we 20 could keep the Straits open, if once fairly effected, and they must detach troops to defend, besides the Turkish force in Eupatoria — whereabouts, and towards Perekop, further little sprees might be effected by soldiers and sailors combined. But here we are, a superb squadron of six English screws and four French screws, absolutely doing no more than if steam had never been applied to navigation. There are sailing liners enough fully to secure the stores and shipping against any attack by ships from Sebastopol, and the screws might proceed hic et ubique (as your classical gents, say) and keep the enemy anxious and on the qui vive on several points at once.
By the intercepted correspondence of Ibrahim Pasha with Mehemet Ali, he complained that, although he had 60,000 men, he could not keep the coast against the English with 2 or 3000, as they were able to move them along the coast and disembark anywhere and everywhere. I dare say you will think me somewhat presumptuous in giving you so decided an opinion in military matters, and be inclined to remind me of the propriety of sticking, like the cobbler, to my own particular calling; but I am writing to the intimate friend — not to the Minister — just now, and therefore, though little worth, you may still like to know the sort of opinion I have formed of affairs here;. An order from Paris to Canrobert to afford 12,000 troops for a short period to Admirals Lyons and Bruat would effect more in favour of the negotiations at Vienna than anything likely to be done immediately before Sebastopol.
Capture of lodgment confronting ‘Gordon’s Attack.’
The night before last a small but smart and satisfactory affair took place. A pit in which riflemen were placed annoyed our front. Previously it had been only the French front, and I believe we had expressed some surprise that they were not retained when assaulted, which they had several times been by our Allies. It was, therefore, well to show a good example of practice as well as precept. The 77th Regiment had a detachment in the works, and at 9 P.M. they took the pit at the point of the bayonet, without firing a shot. About 1 A.M. the Russians advanced in force to recover possession, but were repulsed most satisfactorily by the few men of the 77th and 33rd Regiments.
Losses sustained therein.
Poor Colonel Egerton of the 77th was killed, and is greatly lamented as one of our very best officers. Captain Lempriere of the same regiment was also killed in taking the pit, and Colonel Egerton carried him in his arms. They say the 77th was most seriously affected on seeing the bodies of their Colonel and Captain, both of whom they liked and esteemed much. Two Engineer officers, Owen and Baynes, were also very severely wounded. Our troops are in excellent spirits, and health and strength coming fast, and I was delighted to see the battalion of the Royals and the 48th arrive from Corfu in Sidon and Leopard yesterday and the day before. I hope The Buffs from Malta will be here forthwith. A reinforcement of Red Coats, however small, is of unspeakable value morally as well as physically. The 10th Hussars have landed in very effective order, I hear, and the 12th will be here in a few days. But of all this you will have accounts and returns far more accurate than mine, so I crave pardon. I was up at head-quarters yesterday with Sir E. Lyons. I saw Lord Raglan for a good long while. He is well in health and wonderful in spirits and equanimity, considering the very difficult and perplexing part he has to play. And his difficulties are not lessened by his Second in Command, who, notwithstanding all his well-proved courage and gallantry, is nevertheless most desponding, and has been avowedly so for a length of time. He came up with me in the Spiteful from Malta, very much to his credit, when other men might and would have gone home. Still I cannot state too strongly to you that he, too, looks eagerly to Vienna, and would have the Government made to think and believe that matters are in a very critical and even hazardous state here, an opinion which, if justified at all, can only be so by the incapacity, inactivity, and timidity of the Generals commanding.
Lord Raglan hopeful.
Lord Raglan seems disposed to hold very different language, and is justified in doing so, for we have here, according to their own account, more than 80,000 French troops, fully 20,000 English, and 21,000 Turks and Egyptians with Omar Pasha at their head. There are already landed in the Bosphorus 17,000 French, and many more on their way from Marseilles, besides the 15,000 Sardinians. By the way, nobody seems to know whether the Sardinians come here or stay there. They ought to be under Lord Raglan, as we furnish the loan to pay them. It would give him more weight in conference.
What is this army forming in the Bosphorus for? To act on the Danube? or the Crimea? If so, why not come on at once and enable us to bestir ourselves one way or the other — either by assaulting, or marching into the field and moving where we please in the Crimea, and thereafter investing Sebastopol. When once well invested, its fall would be speedy and inevitable; but with one side entirely open and free, it is a misnomer to call our present proceedings a Siege. . . . Two or three of our steamers approach every night, at uncertain hours, and deliver three broadsides of shot and shells and out again. The enemy’s reply is prompt and liberal, but hitherto without any serious damage.
G.C., April 22, 1855.
The campaign about to recommence in earnest after a lull.
I send you a letter from Gordon, and have always forgotten to ask you what Dickson 21 reported and what can be done for Swiss recruiting. The Conferences 22 may now be considered at an end, and as the campaign must commence in right earnest we shall want every man we can get.
Is Stütterheim 23 still here, or has he started on his mission?
I have had a most satisfactory letter from Hudson 24 saying that the troops were all ready to embark and in a state of the highest enthusiasm.
April 23, 1855.
I have written you a long, confidential despatch to-day, for which my private letter of last mail will in a great degree have prepared you.
Account of Conferences at Windsor and Buckingham Palace.
The Conferences mentioned in my despatch took place, the first at Windsor on Wednesday last, 25 and the second at Buckingham Palace on Friday afternoon. At the first there were present the Emperor and the others whom I mentioned to you in my last letter. Though the discussion was on the whole satisfactory, the conclusions were indefinite and vague, and it became necessary to have some better defined heads of agreement prepared and fixed upon before the Emperor’s departure. For this purpose the second Council was held at Buckingham Palace on Friday, at which the Emperor, the Queen, the Prince, Marshal Vaillant, Lords Palmerston, Clarendon and myself assembled. The heads of agreement were discussed one by one and separately concurred in by the Conference, and the whole was signed by myself and Marshal Vaillant respectively. I think that the most agreeable portion of the work has been assigned to you, as I trust you will muster, by the time it is put into operation, at least 25,000 bayonets of the British force, 15,000 Sardinians, and 5000 French, to which I hope we may be able to add also 10,000 Turks. This, with Cavalry and Artillery, will give you an army upon which you may rely with, I think, perfect confidence.
References to Commissariat and Staff.
You will perceive that I have in my confidential despatch referred to the Commissariat and the Staff. Believe me that in doing so I have nothing in view but your own reputation, and the safety and success of the Army. Everybody here condemns Filder, and looks upon Airey and Estcourt as the sources of the winter suffering of the Army. If anything happens to you in the field which can by any possibility be traced to the door of any of these officials, we shall have such a storm of indignation as will most certainly lead to the ruin of their professional prospects. I wish you seriously to consider, before you take the field, whether your present is the best arrangement you can make. I am very much inclined to think that Tulloch would make a first-rate Field Commissary, and accordingly I have given you authority so to employ him, if you see fit. By the arrangements of the memorandum, if you can carry them into effect, I see no reason why you may not sweep the Russians back upon Simpheropol, and have possession of both the north and south side of the harbour in a very short time. As soon as your submarine cable is workable, you must keep us informed by messages which I can send to the papers of the course of events.
You see I am still unable to use my hand, but am approaching to convalescence.
BEFORE SEBASTOPOL, April 24, 1855.
I received early yesterday your letters of the 9th, but those of the 6th have only this instant reached me, and I have barely time to acknowledge the receipt of them, having been warned by the Admiral that the French packet would not wait for my despatches if they did not arrive at the time fixed. I am very sorry to hear that you have been suffering so severely from gout.
I will take an early opportunity of sending an officer to Constantinople to communicate with General de la Marmora. Before the mail arrived I had a message from Sir Edmund Lyons regarding the Sardinian Contingent, and I requested him to have them brought up to Balaclava without landing in the Bosphorus.
You will see by my secret despatch what is likely to be attempted. 26 We must prevail upon General Canrobert to take the Mamelon. Otherwise we cannot move forward with any prospect of success or safety. I did not like the omission of the name in the paper containing the opinion of the Artillery and Engineer officers.
Canrobert is now sorry that he evinced so much anxiety to open the fire.
You will have seen that my charity is unbounded, for I have relieved the Lord High Commissioner not only of one regiment, I have taken from him two, and both the Royals and 48th have joined the Divisions to which I have attached them, the 4th and 2nd. Their arrival is most seasonable, for it has been found necessary to increase the Right Guard of the trenches by 600 men.
BUCKINGHAM PALACE, April 24, 1855.
The Queen has received with much concern Lord Panmure’s note informing her of his return of indisposition, and hopes he will take good care of himself, and not stir out upon any account, till he is quite recovered. His health is of too much importance to run any risks.
ST. JAMES’S PALACE, April 25, 1855.
Urges measures to increase recruiting.
I do not like troubling you at present with a visit, as I know you are not well, but let me entreat of you to do something about the recruiting for the Army. My regiment alone wants upwards of 300 men, and we cannot get recruits at all. I find that your new Bill for short enlistment, and at an advanced age, has not yet come into operation. Why should this be further delayed? Surely we could get men under this Act, but if not, has the time not arrived further to increase the Cavalry? I hear that many of the lately discharged Militiamen are only waiting in the expectation that the Cavalry will be raised, and that then they will enlist. Certainly this is an argument for doing so, but the fact is that MEN is what we now want most, and that they must be paid for, or else we shall not get them, and that longer delay, now that the war is likely to last, is fatal, for we have not got a sufficient reserve for our wants. How about the Foreign Legion? I hope you have not given up all idea of it, for we want men, and they must be got somewhere if the war is to last. Forgive me for naming these matters, but as it comes under my own observation in my regiment of Guards that men are not to be got, I think it right that I should name it to you.
BEFORE SEBASTOPOL, April 27, 1855.
I have received your letter of the 18th and am sorry to hear that you are still suffering, though in a less degree, from gout.
Baseless suspicion of the French Emperor.
I am very much surprised at what you tell me of the suspicions of the Emperor, that I withhold from General Canrobert reports which reach me of the movements of the Russians.
In general I should say that the French consider themselves better informed than we are; but it is our constant habit to send over to the gentleman who is at the head of their Bureau des Renseignments Militaires, one M. Lausky, for examination by him, any deserters who can give any important intelligence. The Colonel Ochota you mention is not a Colonel, but a Cadet of about nineteen years of age. He came over on the 27th March, and had very little to tell, and I never heard his name till very recently, when Zamoyski, who has engaged him for the Turkish Congress, sent him up here with a letter for me. I, however, did not see him, being much engaged at the time.
I send you Mr. Cattley’s report upon him. You will see that he had free intercourse with M. Lausky, who probably got out of him all he had to communicate.
Pour se faire valoir, I suppose, he gave out at Constantinople that he had furnished me important information which I had kept to myself.
April 27, 1855.
I shall not write you any public despatch by to-day’s mail, as I hope to be able to do so with more command of my time on Monday.
Your last letters, of the 14th, do not give a very encouraging account of the bombardment, the result of which has not yet been attended with any very visible effects.
As to a contemplated movement on Simpheropol.
In your secret despatch you point at a movement upon Simpheropol from Eupatoria as a base.
I hope that the nature of the country will be well considered, especially the supply of water as regards the troops. I have my doubts as to the prudence of intrusting such an important move to Omar Pasha, and I think you had better pause before you send any portion of the Sardinian Army away from under your own eye. But with regard to all this I must write you officially by Monday’s post.
Your telegraphic message which arrived this morning is utterly unintelligible at the Foreign Office. From its length we deem it to be of importance, but we must wait in patience for a solution of it from yourself. I will send you out next week a proper cipher to be used in our communications with each other, meanwhile I believe General Rose is fully acquainted with the Book cipher of the Foreign Office, and could assist you in transmitting a message if you have anything important to send.
I am happy to tell you that there is every reason to believe that the Emperor has for the present given up his intention of going to the Crimea. It renders it all the more incumbent upon his Generals to carry out the resolutions at which he arrived when he was in London.
I will not trouble you any more at present.
April 27 .
I have sent to inquire about the cipher. 27 There may be some difficulty about it, but I will overcome the office rule, if possible.
Loss at sea of the stores of the Sardinian Army.
All the medicines and a great deal of the provisions of the Sardinian Army went down in the Crœsus, and the Sardinian Government beg that we will order rations for the troops on their arriving, and that the sick may be temporarily removed into our hospital, as they have no means of establishing a hospital at Constantinople.
CRIMEA, April 27, 1855.
Your letter of the 9th has duly reached me.
Prospects of storming unfavourable.
I can announce no change in our circumstances since I wrote to your Lordship on the 17th inst. The cannonade continued eighteen days, more or less, day and night, but seems to have ceased yesterday afternoon on both sides, as there are very few guns this morning at very long intervals. The Russians have all along had the best of it, and their works seem very little damaged. Every day the place becomes stronger by new works or batteries. I do not think the Commanders will be justified in attempting to storm it. Many advantages have been gained by the enemy over the French, who have tamely submitted to be beaten, and my opinion is that the French cannot stand against the Russians. The great difficulties now to be overcome in the long siege are the retaking of points of ground which the Russians have driven the French from, and have made batteries on them, which must be taken before we can advance, and the French cannot or dare not try it!
Asserts failure of the April bombardment.
But we have not the force for our enterprise, we are hemmed in and besieged all round; our men are overworked and get but little rest, and our gunners, ammunition, and guns are nearly worn out likewise, and nothing has ensued from this bombardment but a confession of our weakness. For all this, I blame our Allies!
. . . Now, my Lord, as to my own position and duties, I have but little to say, but I am satisfied that I am all right.
Testifies to competence of Staff Officers.
There is not a Staff Officer in the Army with whom I have not had intercourse, in order to see and judge what sort of men they are. Those with whom I have had to do are of the Adjutant-General’s, Quartermaster-General’s, and Brigade-Major’s Departments. There is not one of these incompetent; on the contrary, they are nearly all of them men of good attainments, and good officers. I am confident in the correctness of my opinion, and it is but just to these officers that I should declare it, for I came amongst them with considerable prejudice against them. They seem to vie with each other in showing their merit and anxiety for the good of the Service, and I must say I never served with an Army where a higher feeling and sense of duty exists than I remark in the General and Staff Officers of this Army. It pervades all ranks, except amongst the low and grovelling correspondents to the Times, of whom there are always some in every army.
Opinion on Medical Department; Commissariat.
I have not so much to do with the Medical Department, but it has been hastily composed. The regular doctors seem excellent, attentive men, but I doubt the general run of the assistant surgeons who have been suddenly called into the Service. They are all overworked, however, and do not complain.
The Commissariat I do not pretend to speak of. But Sir John M’Neill is busy with it, and a better man could not have been sent out. He is the great exception from the general class of Engineers or Commissioners sent out here, whose great aim seems to be to give trouble pour se faire valoir.
I do not recollect any other details with which to trouble you, my Lord; I write just as matters occur to me, and appear to me. As I formerly mentioned, I hardly like to write matters of opinion in this unreserved manner, but you may perhaps be able to gather more from me in this way than from stiff official correspondence. I look on everything with a favourable eye except the Grand Object, the Siege.
BEFORE SEBASTOPOL, April 28, 1855.
Arrival of Lord Stratford.
I have the satisfaction to acquaint you that Lord Stratford arrived here the day before yesterday. He came to Balaclava with his family. They remain there; but I have been able to accommodate him in Sir John Burgoyne’s room.
General Canrobert reviewed the 1st Corps of the French Army yesterday, and this afforded Lord Stratford and his party the opportunity of seeing 18,000 or 20,000 of the troops of our Ally in one spot. His Lordship thinks of visiting Eupatoria, and of being back at Constantinople on Wednesday evening.
April 28, 1855.
I have no materials for a public despatch, but I have written you a long secret one explanatory of the state of things for which the telegraphic despatch of the 26th will have prepared you.
The submarine telegraph is not yet in working order, but I hope in a few days to be able to rely upon it on all important occasions.
I am greatly concerned to have to tell you that there is another case of cholera in the Light Division and one in the 4th. I do not know how they are likely to terminate. We also lost two men in the sanatorium yesterday of the same disease.
Visit to the sick.
I was also through that establishment the day before with Lord and Lady Stratford, and the visit was extremely satisfactory. All were doing well almost without exception, and the wounded were cheerful and very comfortable. Dr. Hall went down to Balaclava this morning and is not yet returned. I will send you his report on Tuesday.
Cholera has also appeared in the French Army.
I am surprised at it showing itself at the sanatorium, the elevation of which overlooking the sea is quite beautiful. I enclose Mr. Cattley’s report of to-day. You will see that large reinforcements have actually arrived, or are near at hand.
G.C., April 29, 1855.
As to feeding the Sardinians.
I send you a note from Palmerston with which I entirely concur, and I hope you will send stringent instructions to Raglan and Filder to feed the Sardinians. I think your instructions only went to feeding them on their arrival, but it should be a permanent arrangement, otherwise we must give them ships for fetching their provisions, and their contractors, as Palmerston says, will be bidding against ours in the same market.
If you agree, you will perhaps think it right to tell Mr. Filder to consult, not only the immediate wants, but the habits of the Sardinians, who may require to be fed somewhat differently from our men, and that may prove a facility rather than otherwise in catering for them.
Indian corn, beans, and vegetables will probably be required. I know they have a horror of our salt provisions. The Sardinian Government, as is natural, are very uneasy upon the subject, and Azeglio 28 presses me about it, as the case has become more urgent since the loss of all their stores in the Crœsus.
I am sure that Raglan need not be requested to behave courteously to La Marmora. Our Buckingham Palace agreement has come to grief. The Emperor doesn’t go to the Crimea. Omar Pasha won’t let his Army remain at Sebastopol, and Canrobert insists upon having the Army of reserve from Constantinople. We shall probably, therefore, not be able to keep our word to the Sardinians that they should be employed in field operations. They will have to stick at Balaclava, which they particularly objected to, and we should endeavour to make their residence in that delectable spot as comfortable as circumstances will admit.
HOUSE OF COMMONS, April 30, 1855.
Recommends instructions to Raglan to invest Sebastopol.
It seems to me that, on sending to Raglan a copy of this letter to Canrobert, we should say that he should enter into cordial concert and dispassionate consultation with Canrobert on the subject of this plan, and that our wish is that whatever may seem on full consideration to be best should be undertaken. That we are of opinion with the Emperor that Sebastopol cannot be taken until it is fully invested; and that it cannot be fully invested unless the Russian covering army is driven away from its present position, from which it communicates with the town.
Operations therewith connected.
That for this purpose it seems advisable to divide the aggregate forces into three armies, as proposed by the Emperor, of which one should maintain the siege, while another moves forward to complete the investment, the third making a diversion, which would be a feint to draw off the Russians from their position near the town, or a real attack on their rear, according to circumstances, and especially according to the relative forces of the army making the diversion and the Russian force by which it might be opposed. The main question on which the Generals would have to deliberate would be the direction in which, and the point from which, this diversion should be made.
Another opinion is that Eupatoria would be the best basis of operations for the Army of Diversion, and that from thence it should march to Simpheropol, or take in the rear the Russian force to the north of Sebastopol, and that, advancing along the line of the coast, it should keep up its communications with a squadron of the Allies which should accompany its march. To this plan the Emperor states objections. These objections will, of course, be well weighed by the Generals. A third plan is that this third Army of operations should not be embarked and transported anywhere by sea, but should march away from the present centre of operations at Kamiesh and Balaclava, and get to Bakshiserai by a road leading to the eastward of Mackenzie’s Farm. H.M.’s Government must leave it to the Generals on the spot to determine which of these three plans affords the best prospects of success and is the most easily executed, taking into consideration the means which may exist of transporting by sea the force necessary to be so conveyed if either of the first two plans were to be adopted, and the means which either of the three would afford the Army of Diversion of making a safe retreat in the event of its being obliged to retire before a numerically superior force. Whichever plan, however, is adopted, it ought to be put into execution as soon as the whole of the reinforcements arrive and the troops intended for the two Armies of operation are ready to take the field.
Such an instruction might be shown to the Emperor.