THE success of the Allied Armies upon the Sea of Azof had done much to restore confidence and stifle grumbling at home. Also, with Pélissier's accession to the chief command, a better understanding and more whole-hearted co-operation prevailed between the British and the French. Only the Emperor Napoleon remained obstinate in his policy of interference, and his advocacy of taking the field, with a view to investment, rather than continuing to press the siege as before. Lord Panmure speaks of Pélissier's ‘stout and fierce’ support of the Allied Commanders' contrary decisions. The Marshal's happy disregard of his master's orders also went far to minimise their mischievous tendency. But, if Kinglake's theory of his conduct on June 18th be the correct one, these orders were nevertheless responsible for disaster.
The Allies were now preparing to assault the suburb portion of the fortress. Before doing this, a necessary step was to capture the White Works, the Mamelon, and the ‘Quarries,’ as the work interposed between the British trenches and the Redan was named. After a fierce bombardment and sharp fighting, this was accomplished on the night of June 7th, the advanced position of the enemy being then converted into the front line of the siege-works. As always, the Queen was prompt to rejoice in the success of her troops and to sympathise in their losses. But Panmure, writing to Raglan on June 11th, suspects with reason that successes gained in a manner opposed to his own wishes are far from pleasing Napoleon. Notwithstanding this, the Emperor accepts an agreement that no orders for active operations shall be communicated to either army save by both Governments acting in concert. At the same time the British Military Commissioner in Paris, General Torrens, is instructed to soothe the Emperor's anxiety. For the present, however, the limit of the Allies' success was reached. Whether adversely affected by his master's treatment or not, Pélissier was certainly responsible for the initial errors of the assault on the Malakoff and Redan. Save for a partial success gained by General Eyre, this proved a disastrous failure, the troops engaged in it being recalled after sustaining heavy losses. Indeed, the most important purpose served by it was to bring round the Emperor to the necessity of pushing the siege. The assault had taken place on June 18th. Ten days later occurred the death of Lord Raglan, on whose mind it had preyed heavily. He was succeeded in the chief command by General Simpson, whose despondence in the presence of the task before him brings the month's correspondence to a gloomy close.
Meantime cholera had again broken out in the army confronting Sebastopol, the newly arrived Sardinians in particular falling victims to it. Foreign Legions were at this time being mustered, and, in consequence of the difficulty of obtaining recruits in sufficient numbers at home, their assistance was eagerly looked forward to. Details of the constitution of the newly-established Clothing Board are discussed in letters of the Queen, Prince Albert, and the War Minister. The absence of letters from Lord Panmure to the Queen may be accounted for by the fact that the Queen was resident at Buckingham Palace during the month, and that Lord Panmure had the honour of seeing her several times a week.
BUCKINGHAM PALACE, June 1, 1855.
The Queen would wish Lord Panmure to come here at five o'clock this afternoon. The news is excellent from the Sea of Azof, 1 and causes us the greatest satisfaction.
June 1, 1855.
You cannot imagine how pleased every one is with the bloodless successes at Kertch and in the Sea of Azof, and already our foolish papers are beginning to impose insulting terms on Russia, unworthy of the solidity and calmness of England. I am longing for your despatch about the Bath, so that I may gazette the batch at once. But if it does not come soon, I shall act on your despatches and letters already received and ask the Queen to suspend the statute, and so set the red ribbons streaming at once.
Great difficulty in getting recruits fast enough.
I am bored more than I can tell you about them, and I admit, justly so. I am getting disturbed about our recruiting, and cannot devise any means of getting men fast enough for our purposes. I have a great desire to propose to the Queen to have another regiment of Guards, to be called the Irish Fusilier Guards, and to put into them some of the most deserving officers of the Irish regiments now with you; it would fill in Ireland in a month, and, by giving service in the Irish Police to count for pension, we should get such a lot of fine fellows from that service that would make up for the diminished size of the other regiments.
It has been suggested to send ticket-of-leave men to the Army, but I have set my face against that, though I dare say they would fight as well as honester men. I see that the Times says that drunkenness prevails in the Camp, which I believe to be a lie. It may be so at Balaclava.
Clothing of the Army.
Let me know how you like the summer clothing which I have sent you, for I thought it an improvement on the smock, but, hot or cold, I hope you always fight in red.
The corps of navvies.
So you don't like my navvies! Believe me you are wrong, and you will do yourself and your Army great injustice to refuse them. They will not disgrace you, and will do all sorts of work in advance of the Army. They carry with them artificers of all kinds, and they will run you up an encampment and build you huts on a line of march in no time. They will fight if you let them, and, armed with pikes, will defend a trench as well as the best of them. I sincerely hope you will have them, or, if I send them on my own responsibility, that you will give them a fair trial. I shall not notice officially the Kertch affair until I receive official notice of it. I am doing all I can to get away your horses, but you have got all the horse-ships out with you.
Complaints against Raglan's Staff to cease.
You shall hear no more from me as to your Staff; I have told my colleagues that I acquiesce in your reason for not submitting to a change, and that I will press it no further. I do sincerely trust that you may be spared a visitation of cholera; at present the cases seem to be few. You will be glad to learn that Scarlett returns in command of the Cavalry, and that Cardigan remains at home permanently. This is not known, so you may keep it to yourself. The Duke of Cambridge likewise remains at home. I am busy in keeping your reserves at Malta up to the mark, and in establishing a depot of munitions of war there. I hope soon to hear of Anapa having fallen, and to get some exact intelligence, so far as you can procure it, of the extent to which the Russians have been supplied during the last nine months from the Sea of Azof. I dare say Cattley could fish up this, if sent to do so.
BUCKINGHAM PALACE, June 4, 1855.
The Queen thanks Lord Panmure for his letter received this evening, with the copies of despatches, etc.
She entirely approves the telegraphic orders which have been sent, in concert with the Emperor of the French, to the Allied Generals, and trusts that they will have the desired effect.
The Queen is grieved to see that the cholera continues to attack the troops, though she trusts that it is on the decrease.
Desires to see a return of Land Transport Corps.
She would wish to see a return of the Land Transport Corps, which seems never to be sent; Lord Panmure would perhaps inquire for it.
The Queen wishes to remind Lord Panmure that he has not yet submitted the Minutes to her, which she wrote to him about some little time ago.
BUCKINGHAM PALACE, June 4, 1855.
The Queen wishes to mention two names to Lord Panmure of Officers — who, when the Foreign Officers are decorated with the Order of the Bath, should not be omitted, viz.: Brigadier-General Rose and Captain Claremont, 2 both distinguished officers attached to the French Army. The Queen wishes further to say that the Investiture of the Bath should be fixed for Saturday at 2 instead of Friday.
June 4,, 1855.
As to success in the Sea of Azof.
A number of your private letters have come by this mail, and I rejoice to acknowledge the list for the Bath, which I shall now proceed with as fast as I can. The complete success in the Sea of Azof has given immense satisfaction, and I am glad to find that you do not intend occupation by French or British troops, which would have tended to weaken your force before Sebastopol. Your original force in this second expedition was greater than we had calculated from your telegraphic messages, and your additions, after Kertch was taken, makes Brown's army very formidable to any foe he may come across. It is well to have had Pélissier to deal with, for Canrobert never would have consented to detach so many men from his camp even for a temporary purpose. What a fine plum it would have been for Omar to have plucked! I fancy the inhabitants of Kertch would have found some difference between falling into their hands and ours. I am very glad you like Marmora and seem likely to get on well with him. Between ourselves, you must not rely entirely on his sincerity sometimes, as I once or twice found him holding one language to me and another to Clarendon. But this is a trifle! You will have got your Infantry regiments before this, and I will send your horses as fast as I can, but you must send me home some means of conveying them to you. . . .
Advantages arising from the change in the Ordnance Department.
The change at the Ordnance is effected, and I am sorry to hear that you anticipate so much confusion from it. So far as the war is concerned, you will find all your supplies of material much easier managed, and your demands far more quickly complied with than before. I do not at all, nor does the Government, undervalue your labours in the department, but the change was inevitable, and it has been done. I may tell you in confidence that, from high to low, every man's tongue and hand was against the department. I am sure you will feel deeply grieved at the re-commencement of cholera. The only chance is to spare the men as much fatigue as possible, and to give them as much amusement to distract their minds from their own feelings as possible. The conferences at Vienna are, I hope, finished by this time, and now we must possess the Crimea and dictate our own terms. I must now be off to the House, to answer Ellenborough about some wrecked transport.
June 4, 1855.
Numerical inferiority of British as compared with French.
. . . Our numerical inferiority in the East is a constant source of alarm and annoyance. It enables the French (not the Emperor) to take a tone with us and about us that is painful now and may be serious hereafter. . . .
June 4, 1855.
As to instructions to Raglan.
I send Cowley's 3 letter, in which you will find the instruction that the Emperor proposes to send to Pélissier. Palmerston has marked the passage in it that he suggests should be sent to Raglan, adding to it the following words, ‘You will consider with Genl. Pélissier and Omar Pasha whether the movement from Eupatoria would not be the best.’
Pray send me back the letter immediately, as I must inform Cowley what instruction you send.
June 5, 1855.
Outbreak of cholera in the Crimea.
The cholera is beginning in our Army in the Crimea. This disease is a scourge if it gains a head, but is easily mastered in its beginning, as was shown by the case of the troops at Newcastle during the violence of the epidemic in that town two years ago. Dr. Sutherland understands well the precautionary treatment, and it might be useful to desire Raglan to require the Military Medical Officers to consult him and to attend to his suggestions. Might it not also be useful to send out another man like Gavin to take Gavin's place in the Sanitary Commission?
Spirit ration issued to troops.
What ration of spirits is now issued to the troops? The use of alcohol in hot countries is poisonous, engenders fevers, and induces a bad habit of body which makes wounds hard to heal. Would it not be advisable either to abolish the spirit ration, substituting beer or wine, or else greatly to diminish it?
WAR DEPARTMENT, June 8, 1855.
Reappearance of cholera.
I have received just now your telegraph announcing the death of Admiral Boxer, and the scourge of cholera among the Sardinian troops. It gives me great pain to see this scourge reappearing in the Army, and I sincerely hope that vigilance combined with experience may enable you to contend against it. We are all lost in wonder at General Canrobert's not occupying the heights on the right of the Tchernaya, instead of coming back and establishing himself on the left again, but we shall expect some development of his motives in our next despatches.
Napoleon and Pélissier.
The Emperor is too much bent on commanding his Army from Paris, and has, I learn, ordered the recall of his troops from Anapa, but which I trust may not be listened to by his new Commander-in-Chief in the Crimea. The Foreign Legions are beginning to come from Germany and Switzerland, so you need not be surprised soon to have some German regiments for your outpost duties, but my hope is that you will have secured Sebastopol before we can send them.
As to proposed movement from Eupatoria.
We are generally of opinion here that you and Omar Pasha are right as to the movement from Eupatoria, but, to say the truth, I cannot see how it is to be made without more capacity for Land Transport than you at present possess. I have desired them to send as many mules as they can from all quarters. We have approved of a submarine line from Varna to Constantinople.
I am sorry to see the Times is at Colonel Gordon, 4 though I confess not surprised when it is a case (sic).
I have just given Colonel Sir T. Troubridge 5 the appointment of Director-General of Army Clothing, an office which I am sure he will fill with great advantage to the Service.
I may tell you in perfect confidence that I offered Gibraltar to De Lacy Evans, but he declined. I now mean to give it to Fergusson at Malta. 6 Would any of your Major-Generals wish to go to Malta? If so, send me a telegraphic message, and I will try and manage it for them.
June 8, 1855.
Replying to an offer of the Governorship of Gibraltar.
Having, in conformity with your permission, anxiously considered the subject of your communication to me yesterday, and having further consulted two military friends in whose judgment I could confide, as also one or two members of my immediate family, I think I ought to lose no time in at once putting you in possession of the conclusions at which I have arrived as regards the offer you were so good as to make to me on the part of the Government. In the first place, however, I would beg to assure you that I am very sensible of your kind consideration of me, and am much flattered by the confidence that both yourself and your colleagues have placed in me on the present occasion. Having resided at Gibraltar in former years, and being therefore well acquainted with the place and with the duties of the Governor, I have come to the conclusion that, however honourable the post is that you have thought of for me, it is not exactly one that would suit my views and feelings. The fact is that the sphere of action is, if I may be permitted so to express myself, rather too confined for a person of active habits like myself. Indeed I may say that, unless under very peculiar circumstances, I should not like to be obliged to go abroad so soon again, after my recent return from foreign service.
Other employments which would be preferred by the writer.
Of course, I am perfectly prepared to take my share of active duty in the field, if it should be thought desirable that I should again join the army in the East, but otherwise I should wish for some employment at home, where I think I might perhaps be useful at the present moment in superintending the levies of various descriptions that are preparing for active service. In such a capacity, even though more subordinate than the one now proposed to me, I should feel myself more at home and more comfortable than I ever should do in a place like Gibraltar, which, from experience, I know is terribly confined in every respect, and consequently more suited to a man of much less active habits than myself. The command in Ireland is the one that I should most wish for and desire, but I know full well that that has recently been disposed of, and is not therefore likely to become vacant for some time. This being the case, I should be very happy to make myself useful at Aldershot whenever that military station becomes more extended in numbers than it is at the present moment, or I should be very glad to occupy myself with the foreign levies, whenever these have arrived at that amount of numbers as to require military superintendence on an extended scale. Occupations such as these would exactly suit my habits, and would at the same time enable me to remain at home near my family, some of whom are of an age to make it very desirable for me to be near them. At the same time I am quite prepared to rejoin the army in the field, and in such case all personal feelings, such as those I have just named, must at once be put out of consideration.
Reasons for declining the appointment offered.
There is a further feeling which I have on the subject, which is this, that a hot climate does not at all agree with me. I felt it much in Bulgaria last year, as I have done in former years both at Gibraltar and Corfu, and though perfectly well in health now, I do not wish to expose myself to this again so soon, unless called upon to do so with the army in the field. On the whole, therefore, I am induced to decline the offer that you have so considerately made to me, for the reasons above given, and I again beg to express the hope that I may be deemed available for such duties at home as I have pointed out, and about which I certainly feel most anxious, as there is nothing so disagreeable to me as leading a life of idleness at a moment like the present, when it is the duty of everybody to put a shoulder to the wheel, and as I am moreover most desirous to prove myself worthy of the kindly feelings that have been shown to me from every quarter, and which lead me to the hope that I may further rise in a profession to which, as you are aware, I have ever been most sincerely attached.
BUCKINGHAM PALACE, June 9, 1855.
These news are glorious indeed. 7 Would Lord Panmure telegraph, either direct to him or through Lord Raglan, to compliment General Pélissier in her name on the brilliant success and gallantry of the French troops; and Admiral Boxer's death grieves us much, as well as the accounts of the cholera amongst the poor Sardinians.
When Lord Panmure is prepared to submit the list for the Bath, she wishes him to send Lord Raglan's original list also.
Private and Confidential.
BEFORE SEBASTOPOL, June 9, 1855.
The troops are in the highest spirits. 8 Their joy was excessive when the fire opened, and they are anxiously desirous of attacking Sebastopol.
The success of the French is an immense advantage, though it is the more to be regretted that, when they failed in February, they did not renew the attempt on the Heights, which have since been fortified, the following night. I was afraid, when I saw them advance beyond the Mamelon, they would have to come back. This they were obliged to do; but their supporting columns set all right.
Death of General La Marmora's brother.
Poor General La Marmora feels deeply the loss of his brother, and the ravages the cholera is making in the Sardinian ranks. He has lost four hundred men, and the disease is not diminishing to any extent, though he told me this morning that he thought the admissions were somewhat fewer yesterday.
I sent an English medical officer to attend his brother. La Marmora was very much pleased with him, and he did all he could for the poor man.
June 10, 1855.
Recommends steps to be taken for checking cholera.
Shaftesbury tells me that he has recommended you to send out immediately to the Crimea Drs. Glover and Milroy to assist Dr. Sutherland in making arrangements for the general health of the troops, and for organising a system of tent-to-tent visitation to check the cholera. This would be a very judicious step, and the sooner it was adopted the better; even days would be of importance.
You were saying yesterday that there is not room at Malta for more than 10,000 men. Do you mean that there is not roof accommodation for more, or that there is not encampment room for more? I suppose the surface of the island is nearly all appropriated and cultivated, and that there is not much space where an encampment could be made, but otherwise one should imagine that the island is big enough to hold much more than 10,000 men.
Questions as to quartering troops at Malta or alternative stations.
But if it is impossible to quarter more at Malta, could not room be found in the Ionian Islands or at Gibraltar; or, if these places would not do, why could we not establish a depot for the formation of a foreign corps at Gallipoli, or at Constantinople, where the barracks lately occupied by the 23,000 French are now probably vacant?
June 10, 1855.
News of the successful expedition to Kertch.
This is capital news from the Sea of Azof, and the extensive destruction of magazines and supplies, in the towns attacked, must greatly cripple the Russian Army in the Crimea. 9 I am very sorry, however, to see so bad an account of the health of the Sardinians, and I strongly recommend you to urge Raglan by telegraph to-day to move the Sardinian Camp to some other and healthier situation.
Prevalence of illness among Sardinian troops.
Such prevalence of disease as the telegraphic message mentions must be the effect of some local cause, and I am as sure as if I was on the spot that these Sardinians are put down in some unhealthy place, from which they ought without the loss of a day to be removed.
Our Quartermaster-Generals never bestow a thought about healthiness of situations, and indeed they in general arc wholly ignorant of the sanitary principles upon which any given situation should be chosen or avoided; but if Raglan were to consult Dr. Sutherland on the subject, I am confident he would get a good opinion. At all events these men ought to be removed from where they are without loss of a day, and no excuse of military arrangements ought to be accepted as a pretence for delay.
Sulphuric acid as a specific against cholera.
As the cholera seems to be increasing among the troops, I should advise you to send for Dr. Waller Lewis, who lives at 3 Hinde Street, Manchester Square, and who would give you useful suggestions as to the treatments of the disease, and as to the best way of administering sulphuric acid, which seems now to be the most effectual remedy, and which, if taken in time, seldom fails in stopping the attack.
Pray also see Hudson, 10 whose direction you will learn at the Foreign Office, and let us set to work to raise five or six thousand Italians according to his suggestion.
Forty thousand men short of the number voted by Parliament.
We are forty thousand men short of the number voted by Parliament, and we shall be without the shadow of an excuse if we do not resort to every possible means and every possible quarter to complete our force to the number which Parliament has authorised; let us get as many Germans and Swiss as we can, let us get men from Halifax, let us enlist Italians, and let us forthwith increase our bounty at home without raising the standard.
Do not let departmental or official or professional prejudices and habits stand in our way; we must override all such obstacles and difficulties. The only answer to give to objections on such grounds is, the thing must be done.
The number must be raised.
We must have troops; war cannot be carried on without troops; we have asked Parliament for a certain amount of force, and have thereby pledged ourselves to the opinion that such a number is necessary, and we shall disgrace ourselves if we do not make every effort to raise that amount.
We are now getting on in the month of June, and no time is to be lost.
I wish you would send General Ashburnham to me before he goes to Paris, that I may talk over with him the matters he will from time to time have to discuss, according to his instructions, with the French Government.
Resources of eastern shore of Sea of Azof to be turned to account.
Do not forget to suggest to our Commissariat people in the Black Sea (I do not say to Filder, because I fear no suggestion can be of much use to that most respectable incapacity, whom you are determined to keep on in a situation for which he is wholly unfit), but do not forget to suggest to some more active and intelligent agents that large supplies of oxen to be eat, and of horses to be ridden or to draw, may be derived from the country on the eastern shore of the Sea of Azof, from whence these animals might be brought down to the port of Taman, near the Straits of Kertch, and be from thence carried coastwise to Balaclava; and it would be well also to point their attention to the projecting neck of land, or island, called Krasnoi, in the Bay of Perekop, which is said to abound in sheep and hay. It lies north-west of the coast of the Crimea.
WAR DEPARTMENT, June 11, 1855.
The French Emperor believed to be dissatisfied with present success.
You spoil us by giving us a victory almost daily, and your last exploit in taking so many outer-works from the enemy is indeed most gratifying. I may, however, tell you privately that I suspect these actions of the French, attended as they are by so much serious loss, are far from giving the Emperor the satisfaction which they ought. He has set his mind on a great strategical movement which will drive away the Russian Army from the vicinity of Sebastopol and the north side of its harbour and enable the Allied Armies to make an easy prey of the fortress. For this reason he quarrels with the expedition to Anapa; he regrets the affair of the Quarantine bay, and he will view, I fear, with distaste the gallant recovery of the Mamelon and White Works.
However, I have no doubt that you know better than he or we do how to take Sebastopol in the shortest time and by the least sacrifice of our precious men.
Palmerston nervous for the Army.
I have sent you some telegraphic messages on the subject of cholera, on which you can have no notion how I am pestered by every description of bore. Between ourselves, Palmerston is naturally nervous for the Army, and listens too much to the people. Then come those who think that they are entire controllers of cholera and every other disease under the sun. Then the homœopathists insist on their nostrum.
In fact, all are alarmed and insist on sending advice. I am sorry for Marmora's brother, and can sympathise with the General. The German and Swiss Legion is beginning to appear, and I hope soon to ship you off some of these troops in addition to your own countrymen. Of course, all these foreign legions will be exclusively your own, though speaking another tongue. I must close this as I am called to the House.
F.O., June 11, 1855.
The following is from Bloomfield's 11 letter received this morning.
Extract from a letter as to condition of Russian Army.
Great sickness prevails in the Russian Army in the Crimea. There are 50,000 men in hospital. Few if any of them recover from severe wounds. The effective force does not exceed 130,000 men. Gortschakoff has reported to the Emperor that there is so great an amount of typhus fever in Sebastopol that it is scarcely possible to remain there, and that the men had better be killed in battle than be left to die there. Provisions, too, are said to be scarce.
Bloomfield believes that this is authentic, and Palmerston thinks it should be telegraphed to Raglan.
BEFORE SEBASTOPOL, June 12, 1855.
My official communications of to-day contain all the news I have to communicate to you. Pélissier is much pleased with the notice taken of him by Her Majesty in your telegraphic despatch of the 9th.
Ravages of cholera in the Sardinian Camp.
I am extremely sorry to say that the cholera continues to make sad havoc in the Sardinian Camp. There were ninety-nine fresh cases yesterday and between forty and fifty deaths. The troops, I am assured, are not dispirited, but this sad misfortune greatly affects General de la Marmora. His troops are encamped upon ground which looks all that can be desired.
The accompanying paper shows the state of the cholera with us. You will observe with regret that it is still progressing. . . .
ST. JAMES'S PALACE, June 12, 1855.
Fears as to Foreign Legions now in course of formation.
From what I have seen in the newspapers and from what I have heard, I very much fear that the Foreign Legions in the course of formation will come to an untimely end unless you are very cautious indeed in your mode of proceeding. I am very much disposed to think that the system of bounty you have procured their men will never be understood by them, though it may do very well in England. I confess myself wholly averse to the system altogether.
As to bounty to recruits for the Foreign Legions.
You promise a man a bounty of £6, at which he jumps with pleasure, but you tuck on a clause to the effect that out of this £6 he is to pay back nearly one-half for necessaries. The latter is not at all understood, certainly not on the Continent, and the men therefore imagine they have been deceived. Now these foreigners come to us for the money offered and promised, they being to all intents and purposes mercenaries, though that is a word I do not like to see used in public places, but still such is virtually the fact. The subject of this bounty, therefore, is the foundation upon which we work in getting men. It is therefore of immense importance that there should be no mistake in the matter, and that there should be no apparent breach of faith with the men in question, though I fully admit there is, according to the wording of the agreement, no real breach of faith. Still stupid fellows will not understand this, and you must make the question put before them more plain and simple, that the stupidest will understand it. The question then arises, are you in want of these foreigners, or do you not wish to have them? If you want them, you must pay for them, and surely it is better to give the additional few pounds of the bounty they have expected than to let the whole thing break down. My own idea is that you will find these corps very valuable, seeing what a want of men we have in our own Army, and cannot procure them even for the Guards. I do hope, therefore, that you will reconsider this most important subject, and will deal with these foreigners in the most liberal manner, either by letting them have the full bounty of £6 promised to them, or by making such other arrangements as you may deem desirable to meet the case. If you do not, you may take my word for it you may retain those you have got, though even this I doubt, but you will certainly get no more, for these men will warn their friends at home not to be taken in in a similar manner with themselves. The papers say that Major von —— has resigned his post. This, I fear, will produce a very bad effect, and if the Swiss return home from Dover, that will be even worse. So, if you really want the force, pray be liberal in time. I beg you not to trouble yourself to answer this letter, but when I next see you I hope you will permit me to say a few more words upon this most important subject.
BUCKINGHAM PALACE, June 14, 1855.
The Queen acknowledges Lord Panmure's letter with the interesting despatches, which show how absolutely necessary it is to proceed as rapidly as possible with the siege. She wishes Lord Panmure to convey her entire and high approbation to Sir George Brown for his proceedings at Kertch and Yenikale.
The Queen has received with deep concern the long, sad list of killed and wounded officers, which shows the gallantry, the unequalled gallantry, of her noble Army. It must have been a bloody affair and no doubt very close quarters. 12
Would Lord Panmure express by telegraph our deep sympathy with the wounded of all ranks, and her pride at their brilliant gallantry?
Did Lord Panmure convey her congratulations to General Pélissier?
BUCKINGHAM PALACE, June 15, 1855.
Establishment of Clothing Department.
The Queen has not signed the enclosed Warrants, doing away with the Board of General Officers and establishing the Clothing Department, as from the wording of it she is doubtful as to what is intended by it.
The Queen conceives that the new department, after the Clothing has been removed from the Colonels of regiments, will step into their place and provide the Clothing, and that the control over the patterns, shapes, and style will remain as heretofore under the military authorities. The Queen gives her directions with regard to them and her Adjutant-General, who is responsible for the discipline and the due observance of the regulations about dress thus laid down. Any changes or improvements found necessary by the experience gained on service ought to be brought before the Queen by the Commander-in-Chief, and it would never do for the Civil Heads of Departments, who are continually changing and must chiefly aim at giving satisfaction to this or that party in the House of Commons, to make suggestions upon the dress of the Army and become responsible for it to Parliament.
Although the inefficient old Board of General Officers will be very properly done away with, the patterns should, as heretofore, be laid before the Queen by the Adjutant-General, on consultation with the Commander-in-Chief, and be sealed and deposited at the Horse Guards, the Clothing Department superintending the execution of them.
The same rule ought clearly to apply in the case of accoutrements, horse furniture, etc., etc., and the Commander-in-Chief ought at all times to be able, as he is bound, to assemble a Board of Officers to give their opinion on the subject.
June 15, 1855.
As to recruits for Foreign Legion.
I wish you would ask Stutterheim 13 in what manner he proposes that the recruits should be recognised on their arrival at the French frontier and on leaving France, in order that the French authorities may be sure that they are what they represent themselves to be. The necessity for precaution is great in France, or supposed to be so, and we cannot expect the French Government to give a general permission, which would certainly be abused.
BUCKINGHAM PALACE, June 16, 1855.
The Queen wishes Lord Panmure to inform Lord Raglan that she entirely approves and is much pleased at his intending to appoint Prince Edward one of his Aides-de-Camp. She wishes we could have some news of operations. There is nothing at all since the 7th.
June 17, 1855.
I send a note from Persigny 14 which I cannot answer without your authority.
Exchange of prisoners.
The Russian Government wants to give Turkish soldiers in exchange for Russian, as they apparently have not enough French and English to complete the exchange. This will not be very advantageous for us, but I suppose it would not be gracious to the Sultan to refuse, and it seems to be asked for exceptionally.
June 17, 1855.
The Queen wishes me to acknowledge the receipt of your letter in explanation of the Clothing Warrants.
She is glad to find that there exists a perfect accordance of opinion and views between you and herself. The second Warrant, however, cannot be considered in accordance with these views.
One of the chief duties of the Board of General Officers was to assist the Commander-in-Chief by their professional advice in determining the fittest patterns for uniforms, accoutrements, and equipments, to be by him submitted for the approval of the Sovereign. Now this is exactly what is NOT intended to be transferred to the Clothing Department; yet it is what the Warrant, as now drawn, would do by simply transferring the functions of the Board of General Officers to the Director-General.
Further, by expressing the Royal Commands that Boards of General Officers are in future to be summoned by the Secretary of State, the Warrant implies that the power of appointing Boards of Officers is for the future transferred from the Commander-in-Chief to the Secretary of State, which according to your letter is the reverse of what you intend.
With regard to the custody of patterns, the custom hitherto prevailing was that the patterns were deposited with the Adjutant-General, and duplicates with each regiment, and it is essential that this should remain so, if he is to continue to be responsible for the strict maintenance of regulations as regards the dress of the Army; and it seems equally important, if we would avoid that greatest of all evils, having to serve two masters, that all correspondence with commanding officers of regiments, with respect to clothing, should go as heretofore through the Horse Guards, — as otherwise every officer would have a double correspondence, one with the Adjutant-General, the other with the Director-General of Clothing, who may give answers at variance with each other.
The Order in Council states that all patterns, etc., etc., which have been approved of by Her Majesty shall be sealed by the Secretary of State.
If the Sovereign is to continue to settle the patterns, etc., etc., with the Adjutant-General, it will be necessary that a record of this having been done in each instance should precede the communication of the pattern to the Secretary of State, and this can only perfectly be done by the Adjutant-General affixing his seal as heretofore.
This need not prevent the Secretary of State affixing his seal also, nor can I see any difficulty in the Director-General having duplicate patterns deposited with him.
The Queen would wish, therefore, that a Warrant should be submitted to her which would fully meet the objects intended.
June 18, 1855.
As it is essential that the New Clothing Board should get to work as soon as possible, and as it cannot do so till the necessary warrants are signed, I hasten to respond to Your Royal Highness' letter written by Her Majesty's wish.
Difference of opinion with Her Majesty as to the newly constituted Clothing Board.
It is extremely painful for me to have any difference of opinion with Her Majesty, even on matters of detail. On questions of principle there can be none so long as I have the honour to serve Her Majesty.
I am happy to say that Her Majesty's views are mine upon the question of the authority of the Sovereign to originate, either by the expression of her own will, or on consultation with her Commander-in-Chief, all orders for the clothing, accoutrements, or equipments of her Army. It does not appear to me that the Warrant at all infringes that prerogative. It simply assigns to the Clothing Board the duties hitherto performed by the Board of General Officers and the Colonels of regiments, but, as the Board of General Officers was constituted by a Warrant from the Crown, so it requires a Warrant from the Crown to abolish it and to desire its records to be transferred to the Director-General of Clothing.
Constitution of said Board.
The advice given by the Board of General Officers may be as well given by the Director-General of Clothing, who will be a military officer, as by the Board, and for any further aid the Commander-in-Chief may assemble small bodies of officers, but he cannot constitute a paid board, which requires the Sign Manual of the Sovereign. This can only be done by the Secretary of State, and being in fact a truism, the insertion in the Warrant may be unnecessary.
The custody of the sealed patterns must be with the Director-General of Clothing, as it is his duty to see that all contracts are performed conformable to pattern.1st. In cloth, by the contractors for cloth.
2nd. In clothing, by those who make it up.
3rd. In shoes.
4th. In accoutrements.
All these articles will have been approved by the Queen in consultation with her officers. The pleasure of the Queen that the patterns of which she approves shall be patterns for the Army must be signified by her Secretary of State, for the Commander-in-Chief can signify the Queen's pleasure to no one, nor invoke the Queen's name in any way.
After the patterns are sealed by the official seal of the Secretary of State, applied by the Queen's commands, no one can deviate in any respect from the pattern until altered by the highest authority.
A duplicate set of patterns can be sent to the Adjutant-General, and a certified set sent to each commanding officer of a corps for his guidance by the Director-General of Clothing.
By this means the Queen's control over these matters is preserved. Her Secretary of State is cognisant of all matters for which he is answerable to Parliament, and the Commander-in-Chief remains in his position as the Queen's adviser in the clothing and equipment of the Army without any responsibility except to herself.
Alteration in mode of providing for the clothing of the Army.
Your Royal Highness must bear in mind the alteration that has taken place in the mode of providing for the clothing of the Army. Formerly the colonels of regiments were the persons who were looked to, to provide the clothing, who ran all risks of change, and carried out, without increased charge, any alterations made, unless they were of such a nature as to incur great outlay — in which case nothing could be done without the consent of the Secretary of War. Now it is wholly different; Parliament has resolved that colonels shall no longer clothe their regiments, but has given them a sum in lieu of the off-reckoning, and taken upon itself the business of clothing the troops.
In carrying out this, I wish to prevent Parliament, so long as I can, from dictating to the Queen according to what form she shall clothe and equip her troops, but on the other [hand] I must secure for Parliament that this is done in the most economical manner befitting the dignity of the country.
For the first Warrant, which I have numbered on the back, No. 1, I can see nothing which I cannot most conscientiously and safely advise the Queen to sign.
The second I will have altered so as to fall in with what I gather to be Her Majesty's wishes, and I will transmit fair copies of them early to-morrow morning for Her Majesty's signature.
BELGRAVE SQUARE, June 18, 1855.
I had no time to write to you a private letter by the last mail, and indeed I had little or nothing to say. The rapid tide of success which has poured in upon us has for the present put down grumbling, and I have enjoyed comparative peace in consequence so far as exterior operations arc concerned.
Pélissier and Raglan in accord.
You seem to be getting on excellently with Pélissier, and I am happy to tell you, but in strict confidence, that his letters to the Emperor are stout and fiercely in support of the counsels at which you mutually arrive. The papers sent home by you in the last mail, and dating from 7th May, have given us an insight into your own proceedings, which you have done yourself injustice by withholding so long. I appreciate your good-natured motives, but I think you ought to consider yourself a little more and your associates a little less. Make your communications as secret as you like, but hide not your own light under a bushel. The course which you and Jones have urged so long was manly and wise, and, had it been adopted sooner, would in all probability have resulted as successfully and at less cost than we have paid.
I see by your secret letters of this morning that you and Pélissier both prefer the pressure of the siege to the exterior movement for investment. All our information goes to the conviction that the Russians are weaker than we are, and, if we stormed the Inkerman heights and gained and occupied the M'Kenzie Ridge, we should compel the enemy to withdraw a great part of his garrison, and either meet us on the field or retreat to the head of the Crimea. However, it is easy to wage war on paper, and I rely on your local information as being by far the best for action.
The Emperor views at variance to theirs.
Now it is not so in Paris, and you may shape your course on the information I give you, but you must betray me to no one. The Emperor has made up his mind that Sebastopol cannot be taken by any process of siege tending to regular approach and final assault. He will press Pélissier to insist, and may even issue such stringent orders as shall place Pélissier in the dilemma of having to choose between his master's orders and his own conviction. We shall do all we can to prevent this, and we have agreed with the Emperor that neither from Paris nor London shall any orders for operations be sent which are not mutual from our respective Governments. We have also sent to Paris General Torrens to act as the Military Commissioner of the Government, and to keep us advised of all that goes on there, as well as to smooth the anxiety of the Emperor, which seems to increase as our successes improve.
I have thought it right to give you a full detail of what could not otherwise be known to you, as it will be a guide to yourself, and enable you perhaps to comprehend more clearly many acts of Pélissier which he may not find himself at liberty to explain.
The expulsion of the Russians from Anapa will give joy in the Camp, and I fancy that the effect must be very prejudicial to the defence of Sebastopol. If it be true that so much pestilence reigns in Sebastopol, I trust, when you get it, you will not let your troops occupy it till thoroughly purged. I must now close this long private letter.
BUCKINGHAM PALACE, June 18, 1855.
Transfer of patterns, etc., from Board of General Officers to Director-General of Clothing.
The Queen has signed the enclosed Warrants as altered, trusting to Lord Panmure's taking care, in carrying out the transfer of the Patterns, do. Indents, etc., from the Board of General Officers to the Director-General of Clothing, that the wants and requirements of the Adjutant-General's Department be fully satisfied. She does not enter into any further particulars in that respect, as the Prince has explained at length in his letter of yesterday all the Queen feels and wishes upon the subject.
BEFORE SEBASTOPOL, June 19, 1855.
18th June: the failure at the Redan and Malakoff.
The telegraph yesterday conveyed to you the painful intelligence that the attack upon the Malakoff works and the Redan had ended in failure. I confess that I anticipated a very different result, and my feeling was participated in by both armies.
Raglan's explanation of the same.
There were, however, several circumstances which combined to render success less probable. Some of these are related in General Rose's despatch to Lord Clarendon.
The determination of General Pélissier not to attack the Russian right, that is, the town of Sebastopol, whereby the enemy were enabled to concentrate a larger force in the faubourg of Karabelnaya, was very unfortunate. The change of the hour of attack was also a great mistake. General Pélissier said here, on Sunday morning, that it was desirable that the Artillery should have a couple of hours after daylight the following morning to destroy any repairs the Russians might have made in the night, and that he should open the attack by the troops at five or half-past five, as his Commanding Officer of Artillery on the spot might determine.
Alteration by the French of hour fixed for their attack.
I was surprised, therefore, to learn from General Jones in the evening that, at a meeting at the French headquarters, it had been determined that the advance of the French should be at three A.M., and thus the objects for which it was proposed the attack should be delayed were defeated. Thus the mistake of General Mayran as to the signal, and the delay of General Brunet in supporting him, must have tended greatly to embarrassment, and to check the ardour of the French troops.
I am quite surprised at General Rose's statement that the French got into the Malakoff. General Pélissier did not mention the circumstance to me, although the opportunity was afforded him, for he was asked in my presence if his right column had succeeded in reaching the enemy's works, and he simply replied in the negative; whereas, if his left column had been successful for a moment, he would not have failed to have said so.
‘The greatest mistake is the partial attack of Sebastopol.’
The greatest mistake is the partial attack of Sebastopol. If the attack had been general, the enemy's troops must have been scattered, and there could have been no great massacre there, and if confusion on their part had ensued, total defeat would have been the consequence; whereas, had we succeeded yesterday, the town itself would have remained to have been assaulted. But General Pélissier continued firm in his decision, though it was opposed to the opinion and recommendation of General Niel and the other principal officers of Engineers. My impression is that he is in great apprehension lest his army should run riot in the event of the successful assault of the town, and should in consequence get into disorder and expose itself to defeat. This is not unlikely, but it is rather late in the operation to be governed by such an objection. I always guarded myself from being tied down to attack at the same moment as the French, and I felt that I ought to have some hope of their success before I committed our troops; but when I saw how stoutly they were opposed, I considered it was my duty to assist them by attacking myself, and both Sir George Brown and General Jones, who were by my side, concurred with me in thinking that we should not delay to move forward. Of this I am quite certain, that, if the troops had remained in our trenches, the French would have attributed their non-success to our refusal to participate in the operation.
On the failure at the Redan.
I never had a conception before of such showers of grape as they poured upon us from the Russian works. Some of the grape must have been thrown from very heavy guns. Our loss is very considerable. The heaviest is that sustained by General Eyre's Brigade. I have not yet got his report. It was proposed that the French should co-operate with him; but they did it to a very limited extent, though, at the request of General Pélissier, General Eyre went to General de Salis late in the evening of the 17th, to discuss proceedings with him. General de Salis commands the 1st Corps d'Armée, and has charge of all the French trenches between the sea and our left.
Army morally unshaken by the reverse.
The failure of yesterday is a great affliction to me and a sad disappointment to the Army, whose spirits are, however, I am happy to say, by no means broken or shaken by what has happened.
BUCKINGHAM PALACE, June 20, 1855.
Appointment of General Torrens as British Commissioner in Paris.
Lord Clarendon has just brought General Torrens here, on his appointment to Paris; the Queen hears that he is to be considered as in Lord Panmure's department, and is to correspond with him. She therefore writes to Lord Panmure to express to him her wishes that General Torrens should — before he goes — be put in complete possession of the state of affairs in the Camp before Sebastopol, and that he should therefore see all the despatches which have come from Lord Raglan latterly, in order that, when he is in communication with the French Government, he may be able to speak de connaissance de cause. Likewise that for the future Lord Raglan's despatches should be communicated to him; this is of the utmost importance, as the chief use of General Torrens's mission is to be able to prevent differences on military matters between the two Governments.
BUCKINGHAM PALACE, June 21, 1855.
The Queen has received Lord Panmure's note. Baron Marochetti might bring the model of the monument for Scutari at 3 to-morrow. She wishes Lord Panmure to come at the same time.
The Queen seizes this opportunity to remind Lord Panmure of the ‘Minutes’ which he promised to prepare in accordance with the memorandum she sent him about four weeks ago, which he has not yet sent to her.
Distribution of medals to sick and wounded soldiers at Chatham.
The Queen wishes also to repeat (as she knows Lord Panmure has so many things to think of) once more her wish that, if possible, the medals should be distributed to the sick and wounded soldiers at Chatham.
PICCADILLY, June 21, 1855.
The repulse from the Redan.
I am very sorry for the repulse and for the loss, which must have been severe.
If the two armies had stormed the fortified heights between Mackenzie's Farm and the end of the harbour, they would certainly not have lost as many men as have fallen in these repeated assaults, and success there would have enabled them to cut off the communication between the town and the covering army. I wonder that they should not have better known the nature of the works they were going to attack; a ditch and a wall require that a breach should be made, and that the guns should be silenced before an assault is given. This seems to have been similar to the mistake made by the Duke of Wellington in his first attempt on Badajos.
G.C., June 22, 4 A.M.
The assault on the Redan.
This is indeed a monster calamity! Just as we thought ourselves on the way to final success, and the loss of the Russians has probably been insignificant.
The Queen will be in despair. If anything consolatory occurs to you, I hope you will send it to her, but I am utterly at a loss to devise any soothing message for the Emperor. Perhaps Cowley's despatch may afford some opening.
BUCKINGHAM PALACE, June 22, 1855.
Failure of assault on Sebastopol.
Lord Panmure will easily believe with what pain and disappointment the Queen and Prince have received the news of the unsuccessful attack on the Redan and Malakoff Tower — though the Queen is by no means disheartened. Her heart bleeds at the thought of so much loss; for the loss of every individual man — whose worth is so great — is to her like that of a friend! All are alike dear to her! Still we must expect reverses. What will next be done?
The Queen grieves for poor Sir John Campbell, and dreads to see who else may have fallen.
Won't Lord Panmure inform Lord Raglan of her grief that so much gallantry should have been unrewarded with success, and that we should have to deplore so heavy a loss?
BELGRAVE SQUARE, June 23, 1855.
The reverse sustained at the Redan.
The reverse which has fallen on the troops in the attacks on the Redan is the subject of great regret, as you may suppose, but every one feels that no discredit has fallen on our Army, and all exclaim, ‘Better luck next time.’ The failure of the telegraph between Bucharest and Vienna since the 18th has been the occasion of a sad state of suspense to every one who has relations fighting under your command, and those vile newsmongers cry all sorts of exaggerated intelligence through the streets. After an affair of the kind you must send me a list of the officers killed as soon as you can, for I write to their friends before I make public mention of the names, and a most painful task it is to perform. The result of this failure on the part of the French will have very bad effects on the Emperor, and lead him, I fear, to issue some orders to Pélissier which may annoy him, and embarrass the future plans of both of you. He is singularly low at present, and as he has a tendency to a depression of spirits, you can make allowance for his communications when in that condition. I do not intend to criticise your operations, and especially as I learn from you that Pélissier and you are of one mind in preferring the siege to the attempt to invest. Still I cannot help thinking that if, while you were attacking the town, Bosquet had attacked the heights of Inkerman and M'Kenzie's Farm, we might have succeeded in carrying the position, and so cutting off access to Sebastopol.
The enemy in Sebastopol reported suffering from illness and want of supplies.
We are informed, from sources on which we can rely, that Gortschakoff has informed the Emperor of Russia that he has 130,000 men to occupy the whole Crimea, Sebastopol included, of whom 50,000 are in hospital; that the town is, from disease and failure of supplies, no longer tenable, and he has demanded permission to come out and fight you. How does this tally with your information? Moreover, we have learnt from the Intendant-General of the Russian Army that he is in deep anxiety as to his supplies. The capture of the Sea of Azof, and the destruction and interruption of all supplies from thence, must have a serious effect on the enemy's plans, and I look upon your occupation of Sebastopol ere long as certain. The affair at Hango, 15 where our flag of truce has been fired on and our people murdered, has created an immense sensation here. I cannot tell you how sorry we all are for poor Yea. 16 I wrote to his sister, and likewise to Lady Campbell and Mrs. Shadforth, as soon as your accounts came.
Report of Mr. Roebuck's Commission.
The Sebastopol Committee have reported. I have not seen the blue-book, but I am told Layard had some flings at you, but they were rejected by the Committee. They have stuck in a sting in the tail of their report, and out of it Mr. Roebuck has educed venom. He names 2nd July for a Vote of Censure against the members of the late Government, including those of it who are in the present Government. I do not imagine it will come to anything. We are getting on with our Foreign Legion, and I hope soon to send you some German troops as well as a Swiss Corps. I have begun to prepare the warm clothing for another winter, in case you should be called on to spend it in the Crimea, so that I hope we shall not be found ‘too late’ again. You must be well pleased to have Scarlett as your Cavalry Chief. Cardigan remains at home permanently.
Wishing you every success, etc.
BEFORE SEBASTOPOL, June 23, 1855.
Ravages of cholera among Sardinians and our own troops.
I have received your letter of the 8th. I certainly have every reason to be satisfied with General La Marmora, but the cholera has committed sad ravages in the ranks of the Sardinian Contingent, which has lost above 800 men, and between 40 and 50 officers. Moving about has done it no good, and yesterday Colonel Cadogan l7 informed me that the cases of the day had increased. I don't think it increases materially in numbers with us, but we have lost two or three officers in the last two days, and General Estcourt is suffering under the disease at this moment. Yesterday we almost despaired of him. This morning there is some hope, though I fear a faint one, of his recovery.
Lieut.-General Pennefather is obliged to leave the Army, which I deeply regret. He is a fine, gallant spirit, and a man entirely to be depended upon. He is prostrate from diarrhoea. Brown is also unwell from the same complaint. But he, I hope, will be well in a day or two. The oppressive heat of the weather affects everybody more or less.
The 13th Regiment has not yet arrived from Gibraltar. The whole of the Infantry is now on this siege, and this makes the duty of the trenches lighter. The Marines only are near Balaclava. The establishment of a submarine telegraph to Constantinople is very important, and will be a great satisfaction to Lord Stratford.
I am glad to hear that you have been able to provide satisfactorily for Sir Thomas Troubridge. . . .
I have always felt that the recruiting would be a difficulty, and I doubt your being able to get a sufficiency of men unless you enforce the ballot for the Militia, and then allow the Militia to volunteer as they did in the last war. However, you might try high bounty in the first instance.
As to proposed formation of an Irish Regiment.
I would earnestly advise you not to raise another regiment of Foot Guards. I dare say the formation of an Irish regiment would take, but, if once established, its reduction at the peace would give great offence, and yet reduction must follow the close of the war, and it would be hard that the position of the regiments now existing should be injuriously affected by the creation of a new regiment for the war. And it would be difficult to find officers for a new regiment, where it would need to live in London, and without the advantage of barracks or lodging-money. Pray save us from ticket-of-leave men.
Drunkenness in camp, favoured by proximity of the French.
It is very difficult to control drunkenness, surrounded as our camps are by French camps, where there are canteens in which ardent spirits, often of the worst quality, are sold. At one time French canteens were established upon the different roads, and did a great deal of mischief. I got rid of these, and prevailed upon the French General to have the cantineers restricted to their own lines, but French soldiers roam about, often with bottles of spirits concealed under their coats. These when discovered are escorted to their own camps, but drunkenness is not treated as a crime in the French Army as it is in ours, and the officers do not notice it.
Besides the Assistant Provost-Marshal, attached to each Division, I have recently established a Deputy Provost-Marshal, who rides about the country with an escort of Dragoons, and puts a check upon any irregularity he falls in with. This arrangement will, I think, answer very well.
Very little crime in the Army.
There is, however, very little crime in the Army, and it is extraordinary how rarely I have to assemble a General Court-Martial.
Clothing of troops.
The summer clothing finds great favour, but for duty before the enemy the men appear in red. I ordered that they should be in uniform as soon as they were able to take leave of the warm clothing.
Navvies should be made all possible use of, but they will be difficult to manage, and I shall send you to-day or by next mail a letter from Mr. Romaine on the necessity of having a special code for their government.
Disorders among the navvies.
The navvies here have lately been in a state of mutiny, and two days ago I was obliged to send Colonel Pakenham to them, to announce that he would appear next morning with the Provost-Marshal, supported by a Military Force, to punish any who should refuse to go to work, or to obey the orders they might receive. The sight of the Provost-Marshal had all due effect, and I have had no complaint of them to-day. Mr. Beattie is away, and the gentleman he has left in charge is not supposed to have any influence over the men.
Mr. Cattley will endeavour to ascertain the extent of the supplies conveyed to the Russian Army by the Sea of Azof.
BUCKINGHAM PALACE, June 24, 1855.
Silence of Lord Raglan.
The Queen's patience, and, indeed, she might say nerves, begin to be most painfully tried by this incomprehensible silence of Lord Raglan's, and she suffers deeply for the agonising suspense of so many families. Would not Lord Panmure telegraph to Lord Raglan to ask what it means, and to tell him that nothing but those two telegraphs of yesterday (the one really quite absurd at such a moment) have reached us, and that we must have a few words to say what is going on, and, still more, the names of the brave men who have fallen or are wounded?
Perhaps Lord Panmure has already done this? The suspense is hardly, the Queen must own, to be borne any longer.
BELGRAVE SQUARE, June 25, 1855.
I wrote you on Saturday and therefore have very little to say to-day, except that our anxiety has been relieved by receiving the stray message which contained the sad list of casualties. Your notice of Sir George Grey's son 18 was a kind and considerate act, and relieved his mind exceedingly. I shall send another regiment or two to you as soon as possible, and I think that I may very likely have a demand from you to that effect as soon as the telegraph is in working order again. The destruction of the Museum at Kertch is a very wanton proceeding, and creates great regret among the savants here. It seems to have been the doing of the Turks.
I do not know whether I mentioned the intention of erecting a monument at Scutari to those who have died there. It will be in memory likewise of all who have perished in the war. Baron Marochetti has designed a very fine model.
The Queen and Lord Raglan's letters.
By the bye, I think it right you should know what fell from the Queen the other day. We were talking of you, and she said: ‘I wonder why Lord Raglan does not write me oftener; I told him to write, but I have only heard from him once or twice.’ You should give Her Majesty a letter now and then, as it pleases her very much. I grieve to learn the ravages of cholera amongst the Sardinians.
WAR DEPARTMENT, June 25, 1855.
It affords me great pleasure to forward to you the Queen's licence to accept and wear the Order of the Medjidie of the First Class, which the Sultan has conferred upon you, and which you have so highly merited by the eminent services rendered by you to the Turkish Empire.
BUCKINGHAM PALACE,, June 26, 1855.
The Queen much regrets the death of poor General Estcourt, who was a very worthy man; she feels much for his poor wife, who, she believes, was in the Crimea, and perhaps Lord Panmure would in that case send a kind message in her name to Mrs. Estcourt.
The Queen agrees in thinking that Lieutenant-Colonel Pakenham's appointment should only be temporary, and that General Markham would be the best for that post — if he would not be still more useful in command of a Brigade or Division. A Lieut.-Colonel seems almost too young for so important a post as that of Adjutant-General.
PICCADILLY, June 27, 1855.
Disorders following the successes in the Kertchine Peninsula.
Did you read the account in Saturday's Times of the plundering and other acts of violence at Kertch and Yenikale? 19 It is not unlikely that some questions may be asked, or some observations made, on these doings in Parliament. It would, I think, be a good thing that you should call on Sir G. Brown to explain what precautions he took to preserve the unoffending inhabitants from violence, and private property and the Museum from pillage.
BUCKINGHAM PALACE, June 28, 1855. 20
The news contained in the telegraph Lord Panmure has sent the Queen has alarmed her a good deal, and she would wish to see Lord Panmure in order to talk to him upon various important points. Could he come at one o'clock to-day?
BUCKINGHAM PALACE, June 30, 1855.
The Queen has written a few lines to General Simpson which she thinks may gratify and encourage him and the Army — which she wishes Lord Panmure to send by to-night's mail.
We think Lord Panmure's telegraphic message admirable.
ST. JAMES'S PALACE, June 30, 1855.
On receiving news of Lord Raglan's death.
No words can describe to you the deep sorrow and affliction which I feel at the news which you were so considerate as to send me this morning. You can easily imagine, my dear friend, all I suffer and feel at this dreadful intelligence, for I have known and valued Lord Raglan from a boy, and his loss, not only as a man but also as a valued and respected public servant, at the first moment is fearful to contemplate. God give us strength to bear up against all these sad afflictions that come upon us. What a lesson it is to all of us never to be elated with our success! I can conceive the anxiety this event has caused you and the Government. God grant that my dear, excellent friend Brown may recover sufficiently to take the command of the Army, but at all events we know it is in safe hands in those of our friend Simpson.
CRIMEA, June 30, 1855.
Gloom in the camp.
I have kept you informed of the events of the last few days by telegraph. You may easily believe the gloom that pervades this Camp!
Sir George Brown goes away this morning, Pennefather is gone some days ago — both decided loss to the Army.
The weather is cool, and cholera therefore on the decline — I do not think the deaths from it just now exceed 20 a day. I dread the return of heat, however, for, if cholera becomes epidemic, our men are so worn out that they will possibly sink in great numbers.
I beg to call attention to the railroad. It is not answering its purpose, because engineers and navvies have in great numbers refused to work, and it is plain that they all wish to leave the country. If the Army winters here, it will just be the same as last year — there will be no road. Two days' rain renders it quite impassable for wheels. We have no hands to make roads, which ought now to be in progress. The French are fully employed in keeping up and re-forming their roads, but I see they just put a company or a regiment to the work. We cannot do so. I mention this subject, because I foresee what will happen.
As regards the great object before us — the taking of Sebastopol — we continue working hard; but the enemy work harder. It will be found no easy task to enter the place.
The Sardinians are in position on the Tchernaya. They have been sadly used by the cholera.
Omar Pasha is in position further out at Baidar. Canrobert is also on the Tchernaya, and I consider these Forces safe from attack, and they are in close support should Omar be pressed from the outside.
I feel it very irksome and embarrassing to have to do with these Allies! No man can equal our lamented Chief in that respect. I sincerely trust, my Lord, that a General of distinction will be sent immediately to command this Army. Circumstances urgently demand that this Army should be commanded by the most eminent and best known soldier we have. With the Allies we have to deal with, this is of vital consequence.
I have put myself in Orders to command until instructions from England shall come; but my health is sure to give way, as I have constant threatenings of gout in spite of all the care I take, and it may come some day too hard for me to bear! I cannot conceal this from my own conviction, and therefore hope soon to be relieved from work that is too much for me. All our Generals fall sick one after the other!
I hope to be excused for entering into these details, but they cannot well be given in a public letter.
BUCKINGHAM PALACE, June 1855.
The Queen sends these very interesting despatches back. It is but too clear that the French are the sole cause of the failure. It is a satisfaction in one sense of the word, but very annoying for the future. The Queen fears poor Lord Raglan must have worried himself so much that it hastened his death. As the Prince was unfortunately out, the Queen hopes Lord Panmure will let her have the copies soon.
Lord Panmure should take care that these despatches are communicated as speedily as possible to General Torrens.
PICCADILLY, June 30, 1855.
Recommends pensions to Lord Raglan's widow and eldest son.
I have taken the Queen's pleasure that a message shall be sent down to Parliament on Monday, recommending the grant of a pension of a thousand a-year to Lady Raglan during her life, and a pension of two thousand a-year to her son, Lord Raglan, with remainder to his next heir male on succeeding to the title, that is to say for two lives. The pension to Lady Raglan not to interfere with the established pension as an officer's widow.
Perhaps you will take steps to make Her Majesty's gracious intentions known to Lady Raglan.
Private and Confidential.
‘HANNIBAL,’ OFF SEBASTOPOL, June 30, 1855.
I have nothing very cheering to tell you, but I think you will rather like to have a few lines from me in the present circumstances, and, although I am unable to offer you any valuable opinion or suggestion, I can at all events tell you what I think, and, to a certain degree, what others think, of our present position, and this I do not to you as Minister, but to my old and dear friend of 30 years and upwards.
After Lord Raglan's death.
Lord Raglan's death is so very recent (only 36 hours since) that we can scarcely yet realise it, and the gloom cast over Army and Navy is, as you may suppose, very great. Added to which our excellent Admiral is suffering the most poignant grief on account of the death of his brave and truly meritorious son, Captain Lyons, of the Miranda, who died at Therapia Hospital on the 23rd inst., from a wound received on the night of the 17th from the batteries of Sebastopol. Nevertheless, on hearing of Lord Raglan's death, Sir Edmund made signal to me, and we proceeded yesterday morning to headquarters, where Sir Edmund and I had long interviews with General Jones, R.E., and with General Simpson, the Senior Officer succeeding to the command of the Forces, as Sir G. Brown is invalided, and goes home this afternoon, very ill, in the Nubia. General Simpson is evidently oppressed by the responsibility of the position he finds himself in, and makes no secret of his anxious desire to be relieved as soon as possible. He is a sensible old man, sees things in a pretty correct light, but at the same time is not sufficiently young, active, enterprising, and elastic for the Crimea.
‘A tangled web.’
Indeed, dear Lord Panmure, we have a tangled web here, and great and puzzling difficulties to contend with, and it is full time to look ahead. We are here at the last day of June, and I do believe that no man can predict the issue with any justifiable degree of confidence. The best man here, in my humble opinion, is General Jones of the R.E., 21 and one of the very best of the Generals is Codrington. He has been attacked severely with diarrhœa, and was obliged to take refuge on board ship. He is now greatly better, and I hope will be all right in a few days, when, as General Simpson told me yesterday, he is to take command of the Light Division.
One great difficulty is the obstinacy and despotism of Pélissier, the French General-in-Chief. He will hear not a word from his own officers, gives a lecture, a sic volo — sic jubeo sort of thing, which, if his talents were really superior, would not be objectionable; but then he inclined to do the same thing with even Lord Raglan, and now, I fear, will be more difficult to deal with. It is true I have often thought Lord Raglan did not assume a sufficiently positive position. His patience and courtesy were inexhaustible, and he allowed the Frenchman to declaim, although conscious, as he must have felt, of his own superiority. Yet as Admiral Bruat more than once remarked to me after a conference, ‘Do you know Lord Raglan's own opinion or plan? He gave none. I never heard him give any at any time I have met his Lordship. If he would state his opinion, I think his rank and experience and position would ensure respect and probable acquiescence from our Generals.’ Yet the manner in which Lord Raglan has uniformly maintained the entente cordiale is worthy of all praise, and what few — very few — men so placed, and so teased, could have done. And this forms one of the chief difficulties of the position of the Commander of the English Forces — which, as compared with those of the French, are numerically so small that the Frenchman would appear to have some grounds for being the Top sawyer, but which I fear none of them are well qualified to be.
Lord Raglan's want of firmness.
Still, admitting all Lord Raglan's wonderful equanimity, courtesy, tact, and temper, I have sometimes doubted whether more firmness (and by that I mean decisive opinion) displayed on his Lordship's part might not have led to better results. It appears almost like vile treason on my part to imagine a shade to the disparagement of Lord Raglan, the most considerate, kind-hearted, generous, and thoroughly brave man that can be imagined, and that too so soon after he is laid low; but it is only to you I write, and you will understand, at least I hope you will understand, my meaning. I doubt if Lord Raglan's loss will be as deeply appreciated in England just now as it is here. Here it seems to be thought almost irreparable; but I trust not. They seem to imagine Lord Hardinge 22 will come out. I should think — I had almost said I hope, not. We want younger men — men of judgment and sufficient foresight, but of decision and prompt action, with conciliatory temper, and, if it be possible, also an ability to discuss matters in French.
General Jones of the R.E. appears to me, and I know he does also to Sir E. Lyons, to take a wise and correct view of our position, and I am bound to tell you that it is not a very cheering one. His advice and plans hitherto have constantly been rejected or evaded by the French General. And so late as the 18th inst. he had gained Lord Raglan's assent to the assault being made that same evening — in the Bastion du Mât, where, it is strongly believed, the Allies might have gone into the town. The perplexing thing is that, after bombardment, the French always seem to desire to be quiet, and to amend and extend their batteries; but the moment the fire is relaxed, the Russians set to work and renew and make still stronger every point of their most formidable and well-designed defences.
The French are now constructing a new battery, with which they hope and believe they can destroy the ships, or force the Russians to sink them. I cannot offer any opinion worth having as to this, but I see it is much doubted. In fact, unless the Malakoff be taken, little or nothing can be done — the Redan cannot be taken, and, even if taken, cannot be held, unless the Malakoff be first of all secured.
Pélissier spoiled the attack of the 18th by two mistakes. Firstly, having settled that the assault should take place at half-past five or 6 A.M., and after two hours of good pounding by our batteries, yet at 9 P.M. on the 17th he changed his mind, and sent word to Lord Raglan that he meant to attack at 3 A.M., when all guards and garrisons and good officers are habitually on the qui vive, and meditating or expecting mischief. This of itself was unfair and discourteous to Lord Raglan, who had no time to protest or offer an opinion against the change. Secondly, the French columns blundered about the signal, and did not support each other, which caused Lord Raglan to order his attack on the Redan before the Malakoff was secured — he having the choice of being reproached for not having partaken of the attack at all, or of ordering the attack before the requisite success had been achieved by the French. And the French supports were far too distant and not available, otherwise the Malakoff would have been taken, for General Simpson assured me that one French battalion was actually cut to pieces within the Malakoff!!!
The news received yesterday of Lüders' arrival at Bakshi Serai with upwards of 30,000 troops is not of a nature to raise our spirits, although there are plenty of troops here, if properly handled, to make our safety certain. But I confess I am very anxious, because I neither hear nor see any plan as being made and determined upon by the Generals, and Simpson acknowledged yesterday that he did not know what Pélissier's intentions were, although he had met him repeatedly in conference with Lord Raglan, and had seen him himself yesterday morning. Sir E. Lyons' advice and mine to Simpson was, to advise and consult seriously and carefully with General Jones, to form an opinion, and, if possible, a plan of proceeding, in accordance with Jones' advice and his own judgments, and then to see Pélissier and come to a distinct, but perfectly courteous and friendly, understanding (if possible] with him as to what is to be done. I fear Lüders' making an attack on the Tchernaya while the garrison makes a strong sortie at the same moment.
But I fear still more that he will make a strong and desperate effort to recover possession of the Straits of Kertch, where the chief portion of the small garrison are Turks. I have told Sir Edmund I think the naval force there should be strengthened, and he is doing it — and meant to do it before I spoke.
Speculations as to the future.
Now then comes the question. What will be the end of this? Certainly to take the South Side and destroy the dockyard and shipping would be of vast importance. But Sebastopol will not then be taken, and cannot be available as a harbour, nor, as most people think, could it be long retained, until the North Side be also captured, or, at all events, invested. It (the North Side) is very strong, and being made daily stronger wherever labour and skill can be applied. But, supposing Sebastopol is not taken within a few weeks hence, what prospect is there for the Army? To winter in the Crimea once more; and this should and must be held in view, and preparations made accordingly. If these be made, it will by no means be so severe or trying a business as was last year's. But I repeat the thing should be looked timeously in the face. I think the Commissary should even already be forming depôts on the Camp Heights, and the road should be looked to, and branches formed to the railway, so as to reach different encampments. We could not withdraw and re-embark our Army without a Convention, and this last word is not to be mentioned or thought of.
Inexperience of French Generals.
Pélissier and, in fact, all their Generals that we have seen here are in reality men of no experience, whose raids in Algeria have given them no practice in real warfare, who have been always accustomed to attack in overwhelming superiority of numbers, and never been accustomed to face Artillery, of which the French of the present Army appear to have considerable dread. Pélissier treats Omar Pasha with undisguised hauteur and almost contempt. And General La Marmora dislikes him, Pélissier, as an over-bearing, self-opinionated parvenu! I forgot to mention that Lyons' advice to Simpson yesterday, which I enforced as strongly as I could, was to get Omar Pasha's and Marmora's concurrence, by previous consultations, to any plan he and Jones might decide upon, and thus he would have their votes and support in conference with Pélissier. There is a General of Engineers — Niel, whom we all think meanly of as an Engineer, but who has hitherto countenanced Jones' plans and suggestions — to whom we are in a good measure indebted for the recall of the first expedition against Kertch, and who did all in his power to prevent the second from being arranged. In my presence, at the Conference, the first after Pélissier assumed the command, he declared in glowing and energetic terms that he would ‘forfeit his right hand if Sebastopol were not ours in one month or six weeks at the latest from that date, provided we sent off no troops to Kertch, but, if we undertook the expedition to Kertch, we should fail in that object and fail in capturing Sebastopol.’
Inability of the British to advance into the field.
I presume you are well aware that the reasons against an advance into the field by the English are that they cannot leave their trenches and works unprotected, and that both French and Turks positively refuse to take charge of them — whilst, on the other hand, the French will not advance without the English. Meanwhile the Russians are fortifying every road and pass with the most unwearied energy and conspicuous skill. Certainly, if we get the South Side of Sebastopol, we shall thereby (if we can hold it) avoid the harassing work and fatal losses from shot and disease incurred from incessantly guarding the trenches. And that will be a very great advantage of itself. I cannot perceive myself the great value of the large force at Eupatoria, as they dare not venture out, and do not hitherto occupy the attention of any large force of the enemy in watching them. The English mustered yesterday morning 20,000 effective bayonets. Whoever is permanently to command the English Army should be appointed and appear as speedily as possible, . . . How true it is that the value of a thing is never rightly appreciated until it is lost. Even already old Boxer is regretted and his usefulness admitted. . . .
The Admiralty are eager for an attack upon Odessa; what possible advantage can spring from that, unless you are prepared with Land Force to a great extent by which to take possession of it, I am at a loss to perceive. Hard knocks on both sides, but ultimate withdrawal on the part of the fleet inevitable, and a consequent claim of having gotten the best of it asserted by the enemy. I speak, of course, against my own inclination in deprecating attack upon anything and everything rather than resting inactive.
The fleet powerless against Sebastopol.
As to the fleet attacking Sebastopol, it would be sheer madness, and the very best thing which could happen to the Czar. In former wars, people never dreamt of our blockading fleets attacking the batteries of Brest, or Toulon, or Rochefort. Those of Sebastopol are much more formidable, and the general use of shells and hot shot make it far more destructive to shipping. In fact, unless ships can be brought within 500 yards of strong land batteries, I conceive they can have little chance of success. Algiers and Acre afford no criterions, for in both instances the ships were permitted to take up their positions, at Algiers completely unopposed, and at Acre very nearly so.