THE commencement of September found the Allies in daily expectation of seeing the Russian attempt of August 16th repeated. Meantime the sap continued to progress; whilst at home the shipment of stores, huts, shells, etc., in view of the forthcoming winter, was being pushed on. Lord Panmure urged the importance of the relief of Kars, on the ground that its fall would be likely to rouse the Kurds and Persians to support the Russian arms. But Simpson was not to be persuaded into withdrawing his objection to Omar’s leaving the Crimea, or to the substitution at the present critical time of Vivian’s raw levies for Omar’s seasoned troops.
The 8th September, however, saw the situation in the Crimea transformed by the capture by the French of the Malakoff, the key of the Russian position, by assault following a three days’ bombardment. The simultaneous British assault on the Redan — a harder task — failed in spite of some brilliant fighting. But if, as Hamley suggests, the main object of that attack was to serve as a distraction in aid of the French, then its purpose was fulfilled.
The same night the Russians evacuated the south side of Sebastopol, retreating to the northern side, and exploding their magazines as they went, whilst a day or two later they either burnt or sank those ships of their fleet which had so far escaped. Thus the victory of the allied arms was complete, and the troops were at last released from trench duty.
Of this relief after long endurance, Simpson writes as ‘something not to be described,’ adding, ‘It is to this perseverance that we owe the fall of the place, and I mean to send home a list of officers and men who have gone through these 339 nights in the trenches without a moment’s reluctance or complaint. There are not many of them alive to see the result of their labours.’
The event was celebrated with due rejoicings at home, and by an exchange of military distinctions between the British and French Governments, Simpson receiving the Grand Cordon of the Legion of Honour, in addition to substantive (in place of local) rank as a General.
The Queen also wrote to him in person, conferring on him a Grand Commandership of the Bath, and at the same time displayed her usual gracious eagerness to reward the services of her troops with medals.
The docks and barracks of Sebastopol, as well as the ammunition stored there, were found greatly to exceed expectation, and the destruction of the docks and sea-defences was eagerly desired by the soldiers at the front. But, for the present, the authorities at home opposed it, as a thing that could be done at any time.
Meantime there was a strong wish at home that success should be quickly followed up. Simpson was, therefore, distinctly informed that the Government had no present intention of negotiating, but was determined that the Russian Army should be expelled from the Crimea, the alternate plans suggested to this end being to cut its communications or to press its retreat.
Simpson and Pélissier were, however, agreed in favour of present inactivity; and Simpson, on being further pressed to act, telegraphed to Panmure resigning his command (September 29th), on the ground that he could not continue to hold it whilst the Government considered that he and his Army were passing their time in absolute idleness.
As a matter of fact they had at this time ample occupation without fighting; for, in addition to the making of roads, drains, and storehouses, the Army required to have military formation restored to it after its long disorganising labours.
And, despite the existence of the Dormant Commission, the situation created by Simpson’s resignation was by no means free from difficulty. For Codrington’s management of the reserves at the assault on the Redan had lately subjected him to much criticism.
CRIMEA, September 1, 1855.
Your note of the 18th August is now before me. There is but little for me to say in this private answer to it, as all matters of moment have been either handled by the wires or in an official shape.
I am beginning to feel very anxious about this Land Transport, neither it nor the rail being at present equal to what we require from them.
An attack wished for.
The Russians have made no further attempts since the 16th, and our information describes them to be waiting for the arrival of the whole of the Grenadiers, some of whom only are yet come. I sincerely wish they were here, as an attack all round is the best thing that could happen.
Progress of sap.
In the meanwhile we are progressing gradually with our sap, but it is close and dangerous, and the casualties very great.
The telegraphic messages to Marmora and the French were duly forwarded. I am satisfied that no mistakes occur in messages here. Major Curzon manages the deciphering. It would never do to give it to A.D.C.’s as your Lordship proposes. Secrecy is everything here, and if anything is left to four or five A.D.C.’s, that object cannot be secured. The telegraph is an instrument for good or evil, and demands attention.
Sir George Maclean 1 has been ill since his arrival, but he is beginning his work, and will I hope recover, and will I trust put our supplies beyond risk of failure.
I am happy to think that Sir Harry Jones is getting well and that I shall not lose his services. . . .
WAR DEPARTMENT, September 1, 1855.
The recess brings me no repose. I am living in a perfect whirl from morning till night, and now I have run myself to a minute to write to you. The result is that you will only get a dribble of a letter.
Recommends store-rooms at Balaclava.
I am satisfied that we are progressing in our winter arrangements, and I earnestly entreat you to have store-rooms for your bales of goods. Fill those furthest from the landing-place first, and make your officers at the port see that ships are properly discharged by room being given.
I have communicated by telegraph on railway matters, so shall not refer to them.
I hope you will use Vivian’s Contingent gently, and place them in a position where their organisation can go on and at the same time care can be taken of them.
You must give them supplies and attach Commissariat Officers to them. You will also have to arrange for taking the portion of Omar’s army at Kertch under Vivian’s command. Telegraphs have flown on the subject of this movement of the Contingent, and I must send by Monday’s mail on the subject official despatches to you and Vivian.
The affair of the 16th 2 has been a crusher. You will have it repeated by-and-by — so look out.
They say that the Russians’ Commissariat can find no supplies in the Crimea and must [Blank in copy]. Is there any truth in this?
KEW, September 1, 1855.
As to winter-quarters for Cavalry now in the Crimea.
I tried to see you the other day on my way through London, but found you had gone to Osborne. I wanted to have a little talk to you about our Cavalry in the Crimea. I presume that your thoughts are now fully directed towards making arrangements for the winter, and several of the letters I have had recently from there point out the advantage it would be to the Cavalry to be stabled somewhere on the Bosphorus or in Egypt. The latter country is, I fear, too far, but the Bosphorus I think would be very practicable, and I am certain most desirable. In the winter no movement can be made in the interior, consequently the Cavalry from Crimea [are] comparatively useless. The great object must be to ease both man and horse, and prepare them for the coming spring. This can best be done by putting all under really good men and stables, for the horses are indispensable. Now as to really putting up in the Crimea good stables for the Cavalry horses, in addition to those for the Artillery and Land Transport, [it] is in my humble opinion out of the question.
Suggests shifting Cavalry from the Crimea to the Bosphorus for the winter months.
The Artillery and Land Transport horses must to a great extent remain with the Army. Not so the Cavalry. These can be dispensed with, with the exception possibly of a few hundred, and there are plenty of large clean transports out there to take the remainder or bulk of the Cavalry to the Bosphorus. Then there is abundance of stabling in every direction by turning out some of the Turkish troops, that may as well be sent to Adrianople and the interior of the country, and thus men and horses will be well put up. There is an additional advantage in such an arrangement. Most of the men sent out for the Cavalry are mere recruits. These need riding and drill horribly, in fact they are useless without it. In the Crimea in the winter they could not get this, on the Bosphorus they could and would, and I do assure you that it will make the greatest possible difference to this most important branch of the Service. Another thing is that I very much doubt the horses of the two regiments from India standing the rigour of a Crimean winter, unless they are thoroughly well housed. At all events it is a matter well worthy your serious consideration, indeed so much so that I have thought it right to trouble you with this long letter upon the subject. I have reason to think that General Scarlett takes most completely my view of the case, as now explained to you. . . .
Another very important reason for sending the Cavalry to the Bosphorus is that you can get abundance of forage there, whereas in the Crimea all must be sent out from England.
KARS, September 1, 1855.
A communication from Kars.
I have requested Mr. Brant to write that which I am afraid to put to paper here. He will explain to your Lordship the nature of our medium of communication.
This 1st of September has been spent in skirmishing with the Russian Cavalry for our daily supply of forage. They press us up to the range of our long guns. Colonel Lake, Major Teesdale, and Captain Thompson are admirable officers, and stand their day and night work astonishingly well.
On September 2nd Lord Clarendon wrote to Lord Panmure asking that Major Claremont, Assistant-Commissioner with the French Army, might take the place of General Torrens, the British Military Commissioner in Paris lately deceased. The Emperor had asked that this appointment might be made, the Queen had signified her approval, and Clarendon himself considered it an excellent one.
OSBORNE, September 2, 1855.
Inquiry as to alleged blamable delay in sending certain stores for shipment to Crimea.
Charles Grey 4 tells me that there was great, and apparently blamable, delay on the part of the Ordnance in sending down the various stores which were taken to the Crimea by the large transport which started from Southampton a day or two ago — the one, I believe, that Methuen commanded. She carried huts and shells and other things. The Columbo, I think, is her name. It might be worth your while to order an inquiry.
Grey’s account is that ten days were occupied in doing what might have been completed in one.
OSBORNE, September 3, 1855.
Naming the German Legion.
The Queen wishes to remind Lord Panmure of the Foreign Legion being called the German Legion. There being now an Italian and a Swiss Legion, the Queen thinks that the other ought certainly to bear their native name as well. She is sure that this will have a good effect in Germany and help the recruiting; the German papers have been taunting them with not being allowed to bear their own names.
W.O., September 3, 1855.
Suspected demoralisation of Russians.
I have just received yours of the 21st. Your plea for brevity requires no excuse, and I only wish the Russians had made the sortie for which you are so anxious. But I fear that the lesson they received on the 16th has had too great an effect on them to encourage them to show their noses again in a hurry. The more I hear of them crowding the town with their soldiers the better I like it, as disease is sure to do its work among them, as well as the projectiles from your batteries. . . .
I like Mr. Lauder’s 5 reports much, and it is as well to remind you that, if you can aid Mr. Jackson 6 and him by the judicious application of money, you may do so, because intelligence is of such infinite value in every way that it ought to be had, and I suspect Lord Raglan did not pay for it.
I have received your protest against Beatson’s Horse with no surprise, as every one seems to be set against them. They are useless where they are, at the Dardanelles, and my opinion is that, if they once get to Eupatoria, they might be sent out against the Cossacks and enemy’s convoys, and do some good in annoying them. I never can dream of attaching them to your forces without your full consent. You should receive with caution the French reports against them. Remember that they tried to organise them under Yusuff and failed. They will be jealous of the success of any other officer, and apt to cry down his efforts. The experiment is a doubtful one, but there is good policy in it, and if by punctual pay and strict discipline we can turn these fellows into a useful body, you may rely on it good will result. I am much perplexed by your telegraphic messages on the subject of the Contingent. I dare say I have not fully explained to you the policy which has led to the present order for the Contingent going to Balaclava.
The condition of Asiatic Turkey is imminent. If the Russians succeed in wresting Kars from the Turks, Erzeroum will soon follow, and then the Kurds not too well disposed will join the enemy, and probably Persia, too, might recognise in this success a resurrection of Russian power. It is our duty to prevent this evil, and if possible to compel Russia to raise the siege of Kars. Can this be done except by a relieving movement? Certainly not. Can any other than that pointed out by Omar Pasha be effected? It does not appear to me nor to Her Majesty’s Government that it can. Is it fair to set Omar on this work with troops of whom he knows little, while we detain a large body of those with whom he is most familiar, and his comrades in all his victories, at our Camp? As a soldier you must say it is not. By whom then should they be relieved?
Importance of relieving Kars.
We have named Vivian’s force as that most likely to strengthen your hands and to prove useful to you hereafter. I see all the disadvantages as well as you do, but to effect the relief of Kars something must be risked. Something must be done immediately. The Committee of Cabinet meet here to-morrow and I will lay the whole matter before them, and you will receive the result by telegraph before this reaches you.
I trust some arrivals of 13-inch shells have relieved your mind on that head. In writing you my views as to both Beatson’s Horse and Vivian’s Contingent, do not suppose I find any fault with your views, or that I do not sympathise with your difficulties. I do so fully, and I will do my best to make things as smooth for you as I can.
September 3, 1855.
Many thanks for your letter and first-fruits of the Return system. I have explained the Returns to the Queen and return them now to you as desired, with the exception of the duplicate from the small items’ factory, which I presume is intended for the Queen to keep according to the memorandum. Of the gunpowder there was no duplicate. I suppose the Returns of the other four departments will also come in soon, and by-and-by printed forms will be adopted.
Desirability of making roads in Camp.
I am glad you mean to push on matters connected with the Camp; so I may as well add, that no authority has yet been given to make the roads in it which will become absolutely necessary before the wet season sets in, if the whole is not to turn into a Balaclava.
The Queen was very much surprised at General Simpson’s protest about the Turkish Contingent. One can hardly understand his objection, when one remembers that an equal number of Turks are to leave with Omar Pasha as those who were to have come with General Vivian!
Private and confidential.
(The copy is undated.}
Capture of Sebastopol.
I have really nothing of any importance to say, except that your telegraphic messages have put us in great spirits, and I hope on Monday to congratulate you on a successful issue of your attack. 7
You have been quite right in refusing Omar Pasha permission to remove his troops at this most critical moment. . . .
You will have your own way as to the Contingent, and if Omar leaves his troops as they are at Eupatoria, then Vivian will go to Shumla for the winter. Here he will be able to collect and form his corps, and be ready to join the British Army in the spring for any movement that may be required.
I am not sure whether all my propositions for you in the way of munitions may be wanted, but I shall not stop till you telegraph me so to do.
The Queen is in Scotland, and will not therefore receive the earliest news.
G.C., September 4, 1855.
Recruiting-station for Foreign Legion.
We must not quarrel with the Sardinian Government for not lending us Novara, 8 as you may be assured it will save us as well as them much trouble. It is too near the frontier. . . . I don’t know the whereabouts of Chivasso, but I strongly advise that the offer of the barracks there should be accepted.
I don’t wonder at your being tired of the foreigners. I am so likewise, but we should have been spared most of the annoyance if the subordinate agents had been better selected, and if they had taken those measures of common precaution which they well knew were necessary.
CRIMEA, September 4, 1855.
I have not much to say in answer to your private note of the 20th August. My official letters of this day are all that demand notice, and as regards the Turkish Contingent they are important. At this moment I naturally object to change tried troops for new levies!
Continued expectation of an attack.
We expect to be attacked every morning, and are disappointed day after day. There can be no doubt of the enemy’s intention, however.
Omar Pasha has arrived at Kasatch, and I have sent an A.D.C. down to beg him to come up to his troops at once, and to come and see me in passing. I rejoice so far in his arrival, that, if we are attacked to-morrow, his troops will behave all the better for his presence. If this battle were once well over, he and his troops could be better spared.
I am most uneasy about our want of shells. It is a fatal circumstance at this particular time.
I am recovering from the difficulties of the Sixth Division, because the arrivals of the 56th and 82nd were most opportune, and all is now right. I fear the fourth battalion of Guards is an impossibility, and I was hard pressed when I made mention of it.
BALMORAL, September 10, 1855.
The Queen writes to Lord Panmure to inquire whether Major Claremont is gone to Paris? If not, she thinks he should do so with as little delay as possible, as it is very important to have some military man on the spot to be able to communicate freely with the French Government at this very critical moment.
Capture of the Malakoff, failure at the Redan.
The capture of the Malakoff 9 is most important, but our failure against the Redan, though the Queen feels certain that it can only be temporary, is very vexatious, and the absence of all detail makes the Queen tremble for the losses we may have sustained. It must not be forgotten that we have been told by the best authorities that the Redan could not be taken, and that the Malakoff must be first taken, which would be followed by the fall of the Redan.
September 10, 1855.
I cordially congratulate you on the capture of Sebastopol. 10 I am much mistaken if it does not put the red ribbon across your shoulders. At least it will not be my fault if it does not.
I hope you have sent my bag home with the despatches about Sebastopol, for we do not recognise the telegraph as a warrant for firing guns, etc.
Plans modified by capture of Sebastopol.
You will have heard from me by telegraph on the subject of wintering the troops. All our plans will be in some measure changed by this move, and I shall require to learn from you the position and supposed plans of the enemy on the North Side ere we can fix anything definitely. Meanwhile I shall continue to send you huts and labourers and all things necessary to make your troops comfortable.
Suggests a movement from Eupatoria.
It is very difficult to foreshadow any plan of operations, but were I in command I would lose no time in organising a forward movement from Eupatoria, and so take in rear and cut off from its supplies the army on the North Side. This must be all left to your and Pélissier’s determination. Another view is to occupy Kaffa and all the places along the coast, not excluding Woronzoff’s Villa, as soon as you can with any safety separate your Army. Your Cavalry I have ordered to have provision made for at the Bosphorus, and you must consult Sir E. Lyons and arrange with him to get as many Horse Transports together as he can about the time you wish to move your force.
I hope M’Murdo is proceeding, as he said formerly, to house his mules by digging into the hillside and covering over the tops.
PY., September n, 1855.
. . . We might say to the Emperor that the Russian Army must be so discouraged by its defeat and retreat from the town, with the burning of the ships, the setting fire to the town, the blowing up of all the works, that now is the moment to press them before they can recover.
It has been like the closing scene of a melodrama at the Surrey Theatre.
SEBASTOPOL, September 10, 1855.
Fall of Sebastopol.
The telegraph has kept you informed of the glorious events that have happened. The losses caused to the enemy in our attacks on Saturday no doubt determined him to be off before we should renew them. I regret beyond all measure our serious loss at the Redan, and the evacuation of that post saved me from further bloodshed yesterday. The town will probably burn for a day or two, and I do not permit our people to enter it until all danger from the mines shall be over; for every building is ruined. The Russian loss on Saturday must have been dreadful, the bodies were lying in heaps, one over the other. I do not think the French can have lost less than 5000. Our loss is upwards of 2000, but it is not yet quite ascertained.
Neither General Pélissier nor I can form any distinct opinion of the enemy’s movements. They have not yet fired a gun from the North Side. . . .
All my brigades are to my mind, as far as they go; it requires a Scotch regiment to complete Sir Colin Campbell’s ‘Highland Division.’
A ‘Chief of the Staff’ an encumbrance.
You make mention of the situation of ‘Chief of the Staff,’ and I think it proper to give you my decided opinion, founded on my own experience of that duty, that in our Staff — consisting of Adjutant-General’s and Quartermaster-General’s Offices, and a Military Secretary immediately with the Commander-in-Chief — a ‘Chief of the Staff’ is an encumbrance and an embarrassment to the working of the duty. I give it as my distinct opinion that the office of Chief of the Staff in our Army is not required, and does more harm than good. I have considered well this subject, and since you allude to it I give my frank opinion.
I will in future take care that my public despatches are silent on Jones’ report and the Intelligence Department.
I beg to mention that Brigadier-General Windham, C. B., 11 who commands the Second Brigade of the Second Division, richly deserves his ‘spurs’ for his noble conduct in leading the attack on the Redan on Saturday. . . .
I am letting our worn-out men have a few days’ quiet, and am going to look over all the Divisions in succession. There are many demands on me to-day. The ‘Police’ arrangements for Sebastopol are troubling me!
Writing to Lord Panmure, on September 11th, on the fall of Sebastopol, the Duke of Cambridge says:
‘... Poor Lord Raglan! how I wish he could have seen this great work accomplished under his own eyes! I am in despair, as you can imagine, at not having been present; this is a most painful feeling, really at times quite unbearable, and, indeed, I feel daily more and more ashamed at leading an idle life when the Army and my gallant and dear friends and comrades are all in the field. If this war lasts, I do beg and pray of you to employ me actively in the field. That is what I do ambitionate, and I trust I should be able to do myself credit, at least I would do my best.’ . . .
September 11, 1855.
Fall of Sebastopol.
Lord Panmure presents his humble duty to Your Majesty, and begs to say that the guns were fired early this morning at the Tower, and at 1 P.M. in St. James’s Park, for this great success. The excitement is very great and will, Lord Panmure hopes, give a stimulus to recruiting.
Proposed interchange of decorations.
Lord Panmure begs to submit to Your Majesty that this would be a very suitable opportunity for the exchange of decorations between the English and French nations. If Your Majesty should concur in this view, lists might be interchanged before final approval. The officers whose services seem to Lord Panmure to entitle them to French honours are General Simpson, as Commander of Your Majesty’s forces at the capture of the fortress, Lieutenant-General Sir George Brown, Lieutenant-General Sir Colin Campbell, Rear-Admiral Sir Edmund Lyons, as Commander of Your Majesty’s fleet; and to these Lord Panmure would humbly submit that Lord Hardinge should be added on Your Majesty’s part, in counterpoise to Marshal Vaillant, they being the respective heads of the two armies under their Sovereigns. This would make five grand crosses to be interchanged, and Lord Panmure would not extend it to any of the lower grades of the respective orders.
Lord Panmure would humbly propose to Your Majesty that he should be permitted to announce to General Simpson Your Majesty’s pleasure to create him a G.C.B., an honour which might be extended to General de la Marmora.
Your Majesty’s gracious intention of conferring the Crimean medal on the Allied Armies will suffice for anything further in way of honours. Lord Panmure submits to Your Majesty that a clasp be given to the Army with the word ‘Sebastopol’ upon it, and that Your Majesty’s gracious pleasure be intimated in a despatch.
Lord Panmure has not yet received any returns of the losses on the 8th inst., as no despatch of any kind has arrived to-day. Much anxiety necessarily prevails and many painful announcements will have to be made.
No doubt Your Majesty requires some explanation of our repulse on the Redan, and in absence of any documents Lord Panmure takes the liberty of submitting to Your Majesty his conjectures on the point. Your Majesty will observe from the plan that, within the Redan and the small Redan from which the French were beaten back, there were works recently erected, or at all events strengthened, the guns of which were laid to command the two points which were attacked. Both Your Majesty’s forces and the Emperor’s carried the works assaulted by them, but, the moment that they showed themselves, a murderous fire made their positions untenable, and they were compelled to retire. The same occurred at the Central Bastion. Whereas the French had sapped under the guns of Malakoff, which could not be depressed to injure their assailants, nor could those of the inner defences be elevated to fire on the occupants of Malakoff — hence the reverses below, and the comparatively easy possession taken of Malakoff.
Lord Panmure may be wrong in his views, but he gives them to Your Majesty as they occur to him.
Results of fall of Sebastopol.
The more Lord Panmure considers the important intelligence of yesterday, the more its immense value becomes apparent. The Army is delivered from the trenches. It can be spared to repair its roads and prepare for its winter repose. The sick and wounded can be conveyed to the hospitals on the Bosphorus, and all but useful people may be transferred to where they can be most conveniently fed and kept. The railway, relieved from its constant burden of shot and shell, can be applied to huts and provision to a far greater extent. With these and many other considerations, Lord Panmure cannot but again repeat his congratulations not only upon the past success, but upon the prospective safety of Your Majesty’s most gallant Army.
BALMORAL, September 12, 1855.
Fall of Sebastopol.
The Queen wishes to mark the glorious event of the fall of Sebastopol by adding a clasp to the Crimean medal, with that name upon it. The clasp ought to be given to all her troops now before or in that place. This would not include those who had left the Crimea before the 8th inst, but would include the troops in position on the Tchernaya and at Balaclava.
The name of Sebastopol also to be added to the colours of the regiments in the same.
The Queen has written to Lord Clarendon about the exchange of decorations with the French, which she thinks ought to take place now.
September 12, 1855.
Lord Panmure presents his humble duty to Your Majesty, and has the melancholy duty to perform of transmitting to Your Majesty the list of killed and wounded in the last attack. The Guards and Highlanders do not appear to have been engaged, and among the list there are very few with whom Lord Panmure is acquainted.
Generals to be instructed to follow up their advantage.
Now that the painful duty of sending these lists is over at the Camp, Lord Panmure trusts that General Simpson will forthwith consult with General Pélissier as to the best means of following up the blow. Lord Panmure will not fail immediately to convey to the Generals Your Majesty’s gracious message, and will extend it in a despatch on Saturday; a copy of the telegraphic despatch is herewith enclosed.
Lord Panmure has the honour to transmit to Your Majesty the despatches from General Simpson of the 3ist August, which are of no great importance.
The Generals will be duly and immediately instructed to follow up the enemy, or to take such steps to improve their advantages as shall to them seem fit.
Lord Panmure has ordered 200 masons to be conveyed forthwith to Sebastopol, viâ Marseilles, to repair any portions of the town which may be made available for winter-quarters for the troops.
BALMORAL, September 13, 1855.
The Queen thanks Lord Panmure for his letter of the 11th, which she has just received.
She thinks his explanation of the failure on the Redan very plausible and probably the correct one.
She approves the orders sent out by telegraph after the Cabinet. Perhaps she would have preferred that no mention had been made of a particular plan of operation against the Russian Army.
Exchange of decorations.
As to the exchange of decorations, Lord Panmure will have received the Queen’s letter. She thinks it will be difficult not to carry out the arrangements originally agreed upon with the French Government, of giving the Lower Grades as well as the Grand Crosses.
With respect to them, the Queen thinks it ought not to be asked for Sir C. Campbell, as it would certainly be refused — he not having held any independent command. He commanded only a Brigade at Alma, and has not been at Inkerman. Sir G. Brown’s case is different; he was second in command all through the campaign, and Commander-in-Chief of the Kertch expedition, in fact Canrobert’s colleague in the beginning. Whether Maréchal Baraguay d’Hilliers has not as good claim to the G.C.B., on account of Bomarsund, ought to be considered. Maréchal Vaillant ought clearly not to have it, not having been in the field, and Lord Hardinge could not accept the Légion d’Honneur under the Foreign Office regulations, which prescribe service before the enemy as an indispensable condition. It would be most inconvenient if decorations were exchanged between the Ministers; if Vaillant got one, the Minister of Marine would claim his also, and our first Lord of the Admiralty would come in for his share in return, etc., etc.
Should an immediate stop be necessary before further lists could be made out, perhaps Pélissier and Bosquet ought to have the Bath, and Simpson the Légion d’Honneur, at once; La Marmora might follow shortly after, as well as the Admirals Lyons and Bruat. But the three above mentioned stand alone with reference to the taking of Sebastopol.
The Queen wishes Lord Panmure to show this letter to Lord Clarendon. She will write herself to General Simpson and mention her conferring the G.C.B. on him. She thinks his rank of Full General ought to be confirmed.
THE GROVE, September 13, 1855.
The French Emperor committed against the Eupatoria movement.
I send Cowley’s 12 letter of this morning. Pray send it to Palmerston to-night, as he will be anxious to know the view taken by the Emperor of your communications. The Emperor has committed himself so strongly against the Eupatoria movement that he will not now retract, which is unlike his usual good sense.
It may not be right to bother Pélissier with instructions, but the Imperial veto on Eupatoria, which he may think still holds good, should be removed.
September 14, 1855.
Lord Panmure presents his humble duty to Your Majesty, and acknowledges the honour of Your Majesty’s letter of the 13th inst.
Lord Panmure is happy that Your Majesty approves of the message to General Simpson, but fears that he may have said something to induce Your Majesty to suppose that he had sent directions for any specific plan. Though of opinion, with his colleagues, that Eupatoria would be an effective base of operations under circumstances, Lord Panmure has not hampered the Generals with any plan, as Your Majesty will see by the enclosed copy of the message sent.
As to distribution of honours.
Lord Panmure has received Your Majesty’s letter on the subject of decorations, and has communicated it to Lord Clarendon. Your Majesty’s views, which you have condescended to support with reasons, are quite sufficient for not including Sir C. Campbell in the list of Grand Crosses to be asked for. He and Sir de Lacy Evans may be in the second class, thus leaving General Simpson, Brown, and Admiral Lyons as the only Grand Crosses for which we should ask.
Lord Panmure entirely concurs with Your Majesty’s opinion that Pélissier and Bosquet should have the Bath, and General Simpson the Légion d’Honneur immediately, and will arrange with Lord Clarendon to communicate your views to the Emperor of the French to-morrow.
Your Majesty’s manner of conferring the Bath on General Simpson will add immeasurably to the honour, and deeply affect the worthy old soldier.
The Army will look upon it as an act done to them in the person of their Commander.
Lord Panmure will intimate to Lord Hardinge Your Majesty’s commands to confirm General Simpson in the rank of General.
Lord Panmure is glad that Your Majesty has determined to confer the order of the Bath on General de la Marmora a little later.
Marshal Baraguay d’Hilliers can still receive the consideration required by Your Majesty as soon as Sir Charles Wood comes to town.
In suggesting Marshal Vaillant and Lord Hardinge’s names to Your Majesty, Lord Panmure wished to draw a distinction between the Marshal’s position as a Minister and his authority over the Army. The exchange of honours to Ministers would, as Your Majesty justly observes, be most inconvenient, and might lead to serious evils.
Question of destroying works at Sebastopol.
The only communication from Sebastopol is a question as to the destruction of the works. Lord Panmure has replied that no directions can be given on that point until it is known what the views of the Generals are as to future proceedings.
Major Curzon 13 is coming home with the despatches, and Lord Panmure will send him to receive Your Majesty’s commands as soon as he arrives. As he comes in the Telegraph steamer to Marseilles, we shall know of his advent.
The loyalty displayed at Woolwich on Wednesday was most gratifying. Lord Panmure greatly regrets that Your Majesty cannot see the laboratory at work by night, as it gives a magnificent idea of the productive power of England.
The fireworks under Captain Boxer’s preparation and direction were very fine, and the bonfire lighted up every face among the vast crowd, though 1200 yards distant from it.
SEBASTOPOL CAMP, September 15, 1855.
The telegraph having kept you au courant of all that goes on here, I will confine myself to some replies to your two notes of 27th August and 1st September, which came nearly together.
I will be very happy to see Claremont again, but he is too great a trump not to get some better appointment than could be found him here. He is an excellent fellow. We were all very sorry to hear of Torrens’s death.
Winter arrangements progressing.
I sincerely hope that we are progressing in our winter arrangements, as you are doing for us at home. The difficulty as to Roads and Rails, however, in such ground as this, is not easily understood by those who have not seen the ground in wet weather. I have every hope that store-houses will be erected in due time, so that cargoes may be discharged from the ships without delay.
Whatever may happen immediately (if anything does happen at all), I look upon it as pretty certain that we shall pass the winter on our present ground. But events are occurring from day to day which render arrangements difficult, and it is fruitless to trouble you with surmises, which the telegraph will have cleared up long before this note reaches you.
Sebastopol surpasses all expectation.
Sebastopol is a splendid town — much more so than any of us imagined! The Barracks and the Docks far surpass anything I have ever seen in my life. The newspaper reporters will [write] much better descriptions of all these things than I can.
This letter confirms the doubts we have had as to the sufficiency of store-houses at Balaclava. Ought not a distinct statement to be called for of the amount of storehouses actually provided and in course of construction?
(Signed) G. G. [GEORGE GREY].
I quite agree. I see by the Morning States that, between the 7th and 10th of September, the Infantry, rank and file, present and fit for duty, were reduced from 28,845 to 26,849; it would surely be desirable to reinforce; and the German and Swiss Legion, consisting of men more seasoned than our recruits, would be a valuable addition to the Crimean Army.
September 28, 1855.
September 15, 1855.
I congratulate you with all my heart on the result of the assault, which, though momentarily unsuccessful, seems to have struck terror into our enemies’ hearts. You have got rid of much of your prospective burden, and I anticipate that our arrangements for winter will be greatly facilitated.
Honours for Simpson.
First of all let me inform you, in confidence, of the personal results to yourself. Your rank as General will be made substantive instead of local. The Queen herself will write to you conferring on you the G.C.B. The Legion of Honour will follow, as it is intended to confer on Pélissier our G.C.B. I may, therefore, wish you joy of your personal honours.
Preparations for wintering.
Exhorting Simpson to further action.
You must now turn your attention to doing something for me. My credit depends on the wintering of our Army. I have sent out immense and costly supplies, and you owe me ‘a day in the harvest’ as we say in our country. I hope you have done as I told you and appointed Paulet Quartermaster-General of the Army, and given him exclusive responsibility, with some Deputy-Assistants under him, as to hutting the men and forming the roads in Camp. You will, of course, leave the railway to Beattie, and the maintenance and repairs to Doyne. Keep an eye on your Commissariat, and be sure that you have supplies in the heart of your Camp in case your communications are in any way interrupted.
I have given orders for fitting up quarters for our Cavalry at the Bosphorus, and I hope that will relieve you of considerable pressure. Soon after this reaches you, you will be in possession of two hundred artisans to repair any houses in Sebastopol available for winter, but if you take my advice you will stick to your huts as long as you can.
I see a report of Bakeries and Kitchens which affords me great pleasure, and I have ordered a regular supply of flour from America for you.
I am seedy to-day, and beginning to suffer from overwork, but I have passed through the doctor’s hands and shall, I hope, be all right again in a day or two.
THE GROVE, September 17, 1855.
Zamoyski and the Polish Legion.
I forgot to speak to you to-day in re Zamoyski, who I wish you could dismiss satisfied, for I dread the sight of his rueful countenance. 14 He sent me his eight points, some of which won’t do, at least I conclude you won’t undertake Polish recruiting agents, or a Polish depot here, or the payment of arrears of the Cossacks, all of which are bran-new and did not enter into the original scheme — which scheme, however, always seems to elude one’s grasp and to shrink from practicable settlement. If you could let him and his men go to Shumla, and be called a Division, so as to keep Infantry and Cavalry together nationally, though of course subject to the orders of Vivian, and allow him to add to their numbers by prisoners, deserters, or any Slav subjects of the Porte, he will have got all you can give, or that he has a right to expect; but I think, if possible, he should not be rejected altogether, for we may want the Polish element hereafter, when this corps with Zamoyski at their head would do good service.
WAR DEPARTMENT, September 17, 1855.
We cannot tell here why you are resting on your oars. You neither fire nor lay plans for attack, nor tell us what you are doing with what you have got. The public will be on you to keep you alive, and while all the daily press are praising the Army, they are loudly crying out ‘to run into the fox.’
I tell you this at more length on paper than I can by telegraph, for I dare say, before it reaches you, it will be stale and some deed will be done. I don’t want to urge you to rashness, but mind, if you conceive a great scheme which can be executed by your own troops and those of Marmora with the aid of any Turks, I don’t want you to play second fiddle to Pélissier. Only tell him plainly your plans, and don’t make yourself a General of Division to him, Maréchal though he be.
‘Don’t waste yourself in idleness.’
We speculate here that you should try to turn the M’Kenzie Heights by Baidar, and to cut off his communication with his rear, but so much must depend on your own information that all we can really say is, ‘Don’t waste yourself in idleness.’ I do not say that your best policy may not be to delay and to press on the enemy’s rear when he retires; but you must be ready to do so, and always have some strong position behind you, to fall back upon should he turn to rend you!
Your telegraph about store-houses has made me easy. I shall keep sending all the huts I have ordered, as you will have use for them in any case.
I hope you have got us out of our dilemma with Lord W. Paulet by making him Deputy-Quartermaster-General. I expect to find that you have turned your working-parties on to the roads and drainage of your Camp.
[In an omitted passage, the writer of this letter asks that it may he shown to Lord Panmure, for whom it is written as much as for the addressee.]
September 17, 1855.
I am to return to you the Duke of Newcastle’s 15 letter and Lord Panmure’s letter upon it, which we read with much interest.
Duke of Newcastle’s criticisms criticised.
I am sorry that the Duke ever wrote this letter. It is at all times hazardous for a civilian going into a camp and picking up information from this or that person, and listening to the different stories flying about there, to give an opinion upon plans of operation, military system, the merit of the different men in command, but was particularly so for the Duke, who fell quite into the ways of our Correspondent, from very much the same causes. This siege has been an anomalous one in every way, and my astonishment is that the troops have borne 350 days’ incessant hard fighting, with every possible discomfort, and deaths at the rate of from 18,000 to 19,000 men during that period, without grumbling at their Commanders and Government much more. When the Duke speaks of a want of plan (at time he wrote), it is nonsense, and the result has shown it; the only plan ever gone upon since May was to work up to the Malakoff and take it, which would cause the fall of the town, but could not be done without the Redan being equally attacked, and the batteries on the Sapoune being pushed sufficiently low down to reach the shipping. This was an operation of the greatest difficulty, costing the French 200 and us 60 men a night! Yet it was nobly persevered in. Now you may say that was done by the troops and is no merit of the Commanders; quite true, but it had to be done, and the Commanders could not get the town in any other way. If they committed a fault, it was that of allowing the French to besiege the West Side from October till March, whilst we could go on only with half the East Side, ending opposite the Malakoff — which our Engineers, however, all along pointed out as the key of the position.
That the Commanders seem now to be without a plan is lamentable, but even this must be judged upon with hesitation, as we know nothing of the condition of the two Armies since the assault, and their combined nature will make it exceedingly difficult to allot the parts and organise an army for the field.
Hopes that the Allied Army may in future be under one leader.
I hope to God it won’t be a combined one again, but one (however organised) intrusted to one leader! But this will be full of difficulty, with Turks, Sardinians, French, and English. Pélissier cannot ride (from his size). Simpson is too old and also deficient as a horseman; Omar Pasha is not trusted by the French, and is certainly cautious; La Marmora has no claim to command the Army.
As to the plan of operation, I quite agree in that of the Duke, which in fact is the one we have advocated at home throughout, but it appears the Emperor puts his veto upon it even now!!
I think the Duke’s judgment upon General Simpson hasty and harsh; yet I incline to the belief that now, the town being taken, and the break from Field-Marshal Lord Raglan to a General who went out as a Major of a battalion having been made, we would greatly benefit by Simpson’s return home, and the appointment of a younger man. But since Pélissier has been made a Marshal, it will be more than ever necessary to separate the Armies. The experiment of joint command and action has been tried and we got through it with marvellous good luck and success, but we must not tempt Providence, and what may answer (as a pis aller) at ‘sit down siege’ will never do in the field.
Advocates independence of British Army at the seat of war.
The English Army ought not to become a contingent of the French, and has the means of independent action. It is 36,000 men strong, with 92 field-guns; the Sardinians would give 15,000, Vivian’s Contingent 20,000, the Foreign Legions at least 5000. This gives us 75,000 men. No larger army, if kept together, could conveniently move in the field, and it ought to be sufficient for any independent movement which does not exclude combination with that of the French Army. To effect this separation is peculiarly the duty of the Government at home, and I trust the Cabinet will spare no pains to obtain this result.
The contrast which the Duke establishes between the Sardinian Army and ours is most unfair, and Lord Panmure perfectly right in his criticism. It has not done a day’s work in the trenches, and but for the 16th would not have heard a shot fired. Of course it used the three months’ rest and leisure to organise itself as well as possible, and still fell a greater victim to the cholera than any other force out there. However, all accounts agree in representing the Sardinians as very fine troops.
‘The gentleman above the soldier’ in our Army.
They have the inestimable advantage over the French that they are commanded (like ours) by gentlemen, but have the great advantage over us that these gentlemen put the soldier yet above the gentleman, whilst with us, where from our constitutional history and national habits the soldier is disliked, the officer almost seeks to excuse himself for being an officer by assuming as unsoldierlike a garment or manner as he possibly can. The Sardinians would speak of a soldierlike gentleman (the impression La Marmora made upon the Duke), whilst we speak of a gentlemanlike officer, like General Estcourt, Lord Burghersh, etc., etc.
Where we turn for the remedying of defects in our Army.
All our civilian interference, now the increasing fashion, necessarily must lead to increase this evil, which may finally cause the ruin of our Army. The officers will try to appear less and less as soldiers, for that is at once proclaiming their stupidity, inefficiency, and incapability of understanding military questions, etc., etc., to the world — as that is the fashion of the Press, and the present politicians take [it] for granted, and the only remedy suggested by the Press or Parliament for any defect in our military organisation is to take the matter out of the hands of military men, who can know nothing about them, put it in those of some M.P. or civil clerk.
The public’s instinct in questions of discipline.
At the same time, with us, there is not a question of discipline which comes before the public where the latter, with the feelings of freeborn Englishmen, does not side violently with the person who offended against discipline, and against the Authorities who are trying to enforce it (as brutes). All this is very serious, but will not be remedied by the abuse of military men in difficult and responsible situations, such as the Duke (who is a thorough John Bull upon that question) deals out.
I am glad the Duke leans to Sir W. Codrington as the most probable man to make a good Commander-in-Chief. . . .
Appointments for Generals.
Lord Hardinge has at last arranged with General Freath that he is to vacate the Quartermaster-General’s office at the Horse Guards; Airey, with his Crimean experience, will be well qualified to fill that post, to which I understand Lord Panmure agrees, and the sooner this change takes place, the better. General Barnard’s position could then be better defined, and a young active man be made Quartermaster-General to the Crimean Army, for which post everybody seems to point out Lieutenant-Colonel Wetherall, now with the Turkish Contingent.
Land Transport and Army Works Corps.
As to the Land Transport and Army Works Corps, they are both makeshifts required by the peculiarities of the case; the former will perhaps become a permanent corps, the latter will, I presume, some day merge into the Sappers and Miners (who at the siege of Gibraltar were an Army Works Corps similarly organised). They will never be really fit for much as long as they are not soldiers, receiving the same pay (instead of five times as much), and standing under the same discipline, regulations, etc., etc., as the rest of the Army — in fact, as long as they are not an integral part of the Army. Being a semi-civil corps, they are probably unjustly treated and certainly ill looked upon by the Regulars. They cost an enormous sum of money, but all that could not be helped; they were wanted, and Lord Panmure deserves great credit for the courage with which he grappled with the difficulties; he will not be disappointed if they should require total remodelling hereafter, when experience will have shown how this can best be done.
PY., September 20, 1855.
Criticises Newcastle’s letter from the seat of war.
. . . I have seen Newcastle’s 16 letter from the Crimea and your observations upon it, with which I very much agree. He saw things with the eyes of a disappointed politician, and he retailed the opinions picked up by a traveller from the idle gossipers of a camp. There is, however, no doubt some foundation for his description of Simpson, who, though he possesses many good useful qualities, is not quite up to the command of an army; but you will no doubt soon be able now to make the contemplated changes.
Failure of Simpson to send information as to state of Sebastopol.
It is remarkable that, though Pélissier has sent much interesting information as to the state of Sebastopol and the quantity and nature of the stores left by the Russians, Simpson has not that I have seen sent us any information whatever on those matters.
CAMP, SEBASTOPOL, September 18, 1855.
Answer to criticisms at home.
It is no doubt very easy for people in England to say — ‘Follow up your success,’ but Marshal Pélissier and I are responsible, and we are convinced that we are acting the wise part in pausing until we can see the plans of our enemies. It would be rash in us to attack the Russian position, as strong as any that can be imagined, fortified at every pass, and defended by an army stronger than our own! A little time will show, and as the telegraph will announce our movements before this reaches you, I will say no more.
I am making the best use of my time in preparing our Divisions to move, but Land Transport will not go beyond 15,000 men, and that imperfectly. How different from our Allies! Our Generals are busy with their Divisions, and the release from trench duty is something not to be described. A large party of the Guards are road-making.
If we don’t mind, Balaclava will be choked, and then we are undone!
Jones is better this morning, and I do not think it will now be necessary for him to go home. Many of us are far from well, however. My complaint has become chronic and wears me out, as it is impossible for me to lay up, or attend to the doctor; and I am better one day and worse the next. I will hold on, however, as the cold weather may perhaps restore me. M’Murdo is recovering, at least he says so, but I doubt it.
Enclosed is to-day’s account of the Russians.
September 21, 1855.
Ammunition captured in Sebastopol.
. . . What a haul of ammunition they have had at Sebastopol! I have just heard of 200 tons of powder, and more than 100,000 projectiles. I am afraid the Generals are more occupied in securing the plunder than in pursuing the enemy, but what a falsification of all the stories we have heard about ammunition being short! I hope it may not be the same with respect to provisions.
The journey of the Emperor to Nicolaieff does not look like evacuation of the Crimea. . . .
WAR DEPARTMENT, September 22, 1855.
Your despatches have arrived and with them your private letter, which painfully account for the non-establishment of your banners on the Redan. Curzon gave me an account of the whole affair, and I confess I was a little humbled as I listened to his detail. I have told him to make his truths as palatable to the Queen as he can.
I trust you will now feel secure as to your troops in winter, and that I may congratulate you on your mind being relieved from anxiety to some extent, as mine is. Well! my good friend, it is not more than eight months since you left me in this room, and here you are now a full General in the Army, a G.C.B., and a Grand Cordon of the Legion of Honour. I rejoice in this most sincerely, and I trust we may be spared to talk over these things when neither of us are troubled by official responsibilities.
Simpson not to expect peace.
I hope you do not delude yourself with expectations of a second Vienna, because I can tell you that it is my opinion that, so long as we have a Russian soldier in Crimea, or a Russian army in Georgia, peace is as impossible as it was six months since. You have never mentioned Newcastle in any of your letters. Tell me how he and Airey met, and what His Grace did in the Camp, for I am rather anxious to know the opinions your soldiers entertained of him, knowing as I do what he has written of you.
Request for fuller news.
You must not be annoyed at my demands for information as to the details of events. Your officer who manages your messages is too costive, and does not half satisfy either our Gracious Sovereign or her Cabinet. For instance, we have through Pélissier the amount of military stores found in Sebastopol. We can hear from neither of you what the enemy is doing in the northern batteries, and what you observe with your glasses. Have you made, or do you contemplate, any reconnaissance to see what he is about on the plateau? All these are interesting points and may be ciphered. As it is, your telegraphs are dry and laconic.
I presume I shall hear by next mail of what you are doing in regard to the munitions of war found in Sebastopol, and who are the Commissioners appointed to settle the amount and division of spoil. Sardinians and Turks must share in the spoil.
I suppose Pélissier and Bosquet will be pleased with the Bath.
PY., September 22, 1855.
Government intends to preserve and occupy, not destroy Sebastopol.
I have received this morning copy of Simpson’s telegram asking whether he is to destroy the docks and sea-defences, and recommending that it should be done. I think it would be well to tell him by telegraph to-day that we mean to preserve, fortify, and occupy, and not to destroy and evacuate, Sebastopol and the Crimea.
It would be well also to desire him to make more use of the telegraph.
Reprehensible scantiness of news furnished by Simpson.
It has cost us a large sum of money, and we ought to have value for it in daily communications. The Russians contrive, by means of telegraphic communication, to reprint in the evening at Petersburg the leading articles and most interesting foreign news of the Times, published here in the morning, and, on the other hand, Simpson’s communications, at a moment of intense interest, have ever since the announcement of the capture of Sebastopol been of the most meagre kind — few and far between, and telling us nothing of what we wanted to know. All we have learnt of what has been done since has come to us from Pélissier. It would be well to give Simpson an admonition on this, and to desire him to let us know forthwith what the Russians are about, and what the plans of the Allies are, what he and Pélissier are doing about the two parts of the town east and west of the Dockyard Creek; and the Quartermaster-General’s Department ought forthwith to make a good plan of the whole place and send it home to you.
Division of the spoil.
I will suggest to Clarendon to propose to French Government that an agreement should be come to for a division of the stores of all kinds found at Sebastopol between the four allied Governments, English, French, Turkish, and Sardinian.
Disposal of captured guns.
The guns should be brought away, over and above those which may be wanted for the future defence of the place, and of any other positions in the Crimea which we may have to occupy against Russian attack; and might it not be worth while to desire Simpson to collect by-and-by, when he has leisure, the shot and shells that are lying about the ground like turnips in a field? But the points on which we ought to have information by return of telegraph are, what are the Russians doing, and what are the Allies about, or intending to do?
Criticism of Simpson.
It is but justice to Simpson to say that his despatch of the 9th is admirably written. . . .
PY., September 22, 1855.
Your despatch of the 15th renders it sure that when it is received there can be ‘no mistake’; it is quite conclusive.
Rewards for the War Minister and Commander-in-Chief.
As the Queen desired me in her letter to communicate with you and Hardinge, I thought it proper, in writing to her to-day, to say that you had both of you requested me to lay your grateful thanks at her feet, and I added that neither would say anything on the matter to anybody till you heard again on the subject. I said that you thought the Grand Cross of the Bath the most appropriate token of H.M.’s approbation, and that both you and Hardinge had agreed with me in thinking that she had judged rightly in intending to make Combermere and Strafford 17 Field-Marshals as well as Hardinge. . . .
SEBASTOPOL, September 22, 1855.
I have your private letter of the 8th inst. before me, having reference to the Turks and Bashi-bazouks. These are subjects of great difficulty, especially the disposal of the Contingent, and I must do the best I can. I have, since the letter of the 8th, received your telegraph about Omar Pasha’s troops, and am endeavouring to let them away in concurrence with Marshal Pélissier. I fear that the season is now too far gone to enable Omar to do all he talked of.
Answer to critics at home.
From the nature of your telegraphs in allusion to ‘following up our success,’ I have only to say that the Marshal and I are quite of one opinion, that to attack Gortschakoff’s superior force, posted along the Mackenzie Heights in the strongest imaginable position, would be unwise, to say the least of it. They are more able once more to attack us on the Plain, though I don’t expect they will. To divide our Army would be equally unwise, and could not be undertaken in such weather as we have, with ground impassable from wet. You must also recollect that I cannot move about half my Army for want of transport.
Course which will probably be taken by the enemy.
It therefore remains to be seen what the enemy will do. I think he will remain in his strong position, fortify the North Side for a regular siege, and preserve the Harbour.
This is his evident game, and I think he will play it. At this season of the year how is it to be prevented?
The roads are now the main object. I hope, wherever I can get a spade or pick, to put a soldier to it. I can do no more, but if I had spades for the whole Army, it will be as much as I can do to make a road from Balaclava to the Col!
The weather has completely broken into rain — the whole country is, as usual after wet, impassable.
French honour for Simpson.
I must not omit to mention to your Lordship — and I will do so officially after I am more officially informed of the fact — that the Emperor of the French telegraphed to Marshal Pélissier that His Majesty has nominated me ‘Grand Cordon of the Legion of Honour.’ This is indeed a high distinction, much higher than my deserts, and most unexpected. I suspect Pélissier has been saying kind things of me to the Emperor to induce him to confer on me so high an honour.
Cessation of siege-duties.
We are still in ignorance how our news will be received in England. The cessation to the men of the siege-duties, after 339 days and nights of open trenches, is beyond all description. It is to this perseverance that we owe the fall of the place, and I mean to send home a list of officers and men who have gone through these 339 nights in the trenches without a moment’s reluctance or complaint! There are not many of them alive to see the glorious result of their labours.
We are withdrawing our guns, and dismantling the batteries.
BALMORAL, September 23, 1855.
The Queen hastens to acknowledge Lord Panmure’s letter with the enclosures received this morning.
She thinks that General Simpson’s request respecting his A.D.C. Captain Colville should be complied with, and that Brigadier-General Windham should at once be made a Major-General for his distinguished services.
The Queen would wish Lord Panmure to send this letter on to Lord Hardinge.
September 23, 1855.
A hit at the Times.
I must make use of General Grey’s hand, as a fit of rheumatism in my right shoulder prevents my holding the pen. I wish to return you Sir J. Burgoyne’s letter, which you sent to the Queen. There may be a great deal of truth in what he says, but if our movements are to be made to depend on the intentions of the Russian Army, unless the Emperor of Russia will be so kind as to communicate his intentions in the same way as the Times communicates ours, our Generals will never ascertain these by merely watching them in front. The Russians will cheat them to any amount, as they have done the whole year through, by false demonstrations, and paid deserters.
‘The back-door must be watched.’
It is the back-door which must be watched, if you want to know whether your antagonist wishes to bolt or not. Unless, therefore, troops, and particularly Cavalry, are made to operate on the rear or flanks of the Russian Army, even the expectant policy of our Generals will lead to nothing. I think you should point this out to them. Whether the time is not now arrived for carrying out Admiral Stewart’s suggestion 18 — viz. to embark a movable column of British troops in a flying squadron, to threaten the Russian coasts on various points, so as to create doubt and confusion in their minds as to where the blow would fall, and thus perhaps to strike an important blow, even, it might be, by destroying Nicolaieff or Cherson by a coup de main, prepared and facilitated by a demonstration of the whole fleet against Odessa, seems to me to deserve serious consideration. Perhaps you will kindly show this letter to Lord Palmerston.
BALMORAL, September 24, 1855.
The Queen is desirous of conferring on Lord Panmure a mark of her high approbation of the services he has rendered her and the country, and which she thinks can be bestowed at no better moment than the present, when we have to rejoice at the glorious event of the capture of Sebastopol.
Civil Grand Cross of the Bath for Lord Panmure.
She, therefore, informs him that she intends to confer the Civil Grand Cross of the Bath on him, which she has reason to know will be agreeable to him.
PY., September 24, 1855.
The Prince is quite right, but the instructions we agreed two days ago to send to Simpson will meet the Prince’s views. It is indeed inconceivable that we should have had a large force occupying Eupatoria the whole of this year without ever having been able to get from thence the slightest information as to what was doing upon the road from Perekop to Simpheropol.
Suggests a hint to Simpson.
Might it not be worth while to send by telegraph to Simpson the extract which you sent me from your despatch of the 25th, telling him not to trouble himself about peace, but to try to make the best of the war?
That despatch will probably not reach him till the 30th, and it might be very useful that he should know our views earlier.
Considers the question of our ability to defend Canada against the United States.
I have read the letter from Burgoyne of which you sent me copy. My impressions as to our ability to defend Canada against the United States entirely differ from his. But I am quite convinced that we ought not to put our tail between our legs, as he proposes we should do. 19 Besides, his proposal that we should make an agreement with the Yankees that war between them and us should not involve Canada in the quarrel is much the same as if Achilles had proposed to the Trojans that they should promise in battle never to hit him on his heel. Very likely is it that Jonathan would accept such a bargain!
But Burgoyne looks at one part of the case only. If we are weak in Canada, as he assumes, the Americans are still more vulnerable by us in their Slave States, and a British Force landed in the southern part of the Union, proclaiming freedom to the Blacks, would shake many of the stars from their banner. . . .
WAR DEPARTMENT, September 24, 1855.
I have positively nothing to say which I have not said by telegram, and I am so interrupted by a long Cabinet and people coming in on one that I can find very little time to run off a few lines to you. You have puzzled us very much by your eagerness to blow up the docks and sea-defences of Sebastopol, which to our limited comprehension may be done at any time. I am most anxious you should not think that you have done enough.
Pélissier to be stirred to further action.
I fear Pélissier will settle on his victory and ruminate on his success unless he is poked up. I trust to you and Lyons applying a hot poker to him. I again repeat to you that, as much depends on accurate information, you must apply money in any direction to obtain it. The Russians will use every dodge to chicane you, but you must try and outwit them. As soon as you have sifted a deserter, send him without loss of time to the rear at Constantinople, and press on Pélissier the same policy.
Exhorts to preparation for winter.
I hope you are preparing for winter, and you must not think me importunate if I cry roads, roads, roads in every letter. As soon as I know your decision for the winter I will write you some suggestions.
Had you not better send some senior Cavalry officer of energy and head to the Bosphorus to prepare for that arm going there for winter-quarters? I have desired preparations to be made for them.
You must let me know whether you require any more troops to the front. I will fill the Mediterranean with seasoned men, so that you can get them to commence an early campaign with in spring.
Recommends keeping clear of Sebastopol.
You say the police of Sebastopol perplexes you. My answer is keep out of it if you can, for its sanitary condition must be dreadful, and I grudge every man that dies of disease more than ten who fall in fair fight. . . .
FOREIGN OFFICE, September 25, 1855.
Zamoyski’s Polish Contingent.
I congratulate you upon having solved the Polish difficulty and satisfied Zamoyski. I send Harrowby’s 20 letter, and I have just seen Z., who should lose no time in going, but he is right in suggesting that the 2nd Regiment of Cossacks should not be sent off to Asia, from whence it will have to be brought back. We might telegraph to that effect if you think proper. He is very confident about getting over Poles from the Russian Army.
SEBASTOPOL, September 25, 1855.
Yours of 10th is the last date I have. Since you wrote it, the despatch sent home by Major Curzon will have given more details.
Present position of British and of enemy.
Our present position is just what was expected it would be if we acquired the South Side of Sebastopol. The Russians hold the North Side, which they are strengthening daily, and there cannot be less than 1000 or 1500 guns in the batteries. Their army extends along the Belbec from the sea, away towards Albut, and as far as Foti Sala, head-quarters at Kasales. I have no reason to think the enemy will leave. It is his duty to preserve the Harbour of Sebastopol, and he will winter in his present quarters as far as we can judge. In this state of things, neither the French nor ourselves can make a forward movement, nor divide our Army. The former would be to attack in front the most powerful position that can be imagined, where defeat would be ruinous. The latter scheme, by removing our troops, might invite the enemy to strike at the Tchernaya once more. There are some two thousand Cavalry at Eupatoria, who will at all events feel the road between the enemy’s present quarters and Perekop, and the French have extended their right into the Baidar plain, where, however, the nature of the country will not allow the enemy’s left to be turned.
In this state of things I am working at the roads. It is fortunate our men are free from trench work, and can be put on the roads, or we should have been precisely in the same state as last year, for these Civil Corps are failures. Mr. Doyne and some of his officers are excellent, but the men give more annoyance and trouble than is agreeable. But you will have reports of this from other quarters. I can only add that I hope to see the road to Camp securely made within six weeks, but it will be as much as we can do. Wherever I can find tools, there is now no difficulty in men.
I regret Markham’s departure more than I can say. He is very ill. Jones is very ill too, but he will not go away. It is most distressing to see the best men in the Army one after the other obliged to go away with broken health.
No ‘idle delusions of peace’ entertained at seat of war.
One of your Lordship’s telegraphs alludes to ‘idle delusions of peace.’ Such are not entertained here, and the attitude of the enemy forbids them. I had some conversation with Marshal Pélissier yesterday, and we are decided that no separation of the Army, nor any forward movement, are advisable until the Russian plans are quite distinct.
The Cavalry shall be sent to the Bosphorus in due time.
BALMORAL, September 28, 1855.
The Queen has received Lord Panmure’s two letters of the 24th and 26th. She approves the draft of the despatch to Marshal Vaillant.
Dissatisfaction with Simpson.
She cannot sufficiently express her disappointment at General Simpson’s reports — showing a total want of energy of mind on his part. Lord Panmure’s telegraphic despatch to him is by no means too severe, but the Queen is afraid that we shall require some more vigorous hand than General Simpson to restore the Army to what it was before the disorganising labours of twelve months’ trenches. She would recommend this subject strongly to Lord Panmure’s consideration.
With respect to the question whether the taking of Sebastopol should, like after Waterloo, count two years’ service to the Army, the Queen would remind Lord Panmure that two years’ service has already been given for Alma and Inkerman, and that it will become a serious question whether a repetition will not make it a matter of necessity after every future success.
Lord Panmure would perhaps consult with Lord Hardinge on the subject.
SEBASTOPOL, September 29, 1855.
Your very kind letter of the 15th reached me last night. But the telegraphic message of a very different character reached me the evening before, and after a night’s mature reflection and deliberate consideration, it seemed plain to me that I could not continue in command while the Government considers that I and my Army are passing our time in absolute idleness. I still continue in the same opinion.
Present inaction justified.
It is plain to me, as it has been all along, that in England a very erroneous notion exists on matters here in general. The Press seems to guide every one at home. Were we to act as you seem to expect in attacking the Russians, in perhaps the strongest entrenched position that ever was seen, the odds are that the Allied Armies would be beaten. If, on the other hand, the force were divided by a large part of it going to Eupatoria, the Russians would, as in duty bound, try to reach Balaclava. I am just as decided as that I am now writing, that Pélissier and I are acting wisely; and it is unfortunate for commanders when they lose the confidence of their Government.
I am quite alive to your kind expressions in your letter of the 15th, received last night. But these electric wires upset all calculations, and cause infinite confusion; and your telegraph of the 26th destroys all the effect of the kind things told me on the 15th. Nearly the whole Army is employed on the roads. It will be as much as we can do to make them passable before the wet weather. There is a conference of the Generals and Admirals this afternoon at the French head-quarters, so I must close my letter. I am glad to learn that flour is coming regularly from America; we are badly off for it at present. . . .
September 29, 1855.
I write you from my bed, to which a slight attack of gout has made it prudent that I should confine myself for a day. You will see by this mail what a hubbub has been created in the public mind by the failure of our success in the attack of the 8th inst. I am afraid you owe a good deal of this to your dry manner of narrating the occurrences, as compared with the voluminous and, I must say, ably composed despatches of Pélissier. Perhaps you may be averse to clothe failure in the language of victory, or you may be a novice in soothing the pride of the British Lion, who cannot tolerate failure in anything which he undertakes.
Be that as it may, I have felt compelled to write you a public despatch in order to elicit the information omitted hitherto, and to furnish me with full particulars to guide me hereafter. Shortly after assuming the command, you wrote me that it was resolved to give up the Redan as a point of attack, and I do not comprehend how I find you repeating the tragedy of the 18th June, and with the same unhappy results.
Strong language as to the Times.
You will see how the Times falls upon you, but I presume you do not let the lucubrations of a Mr. Delane, or a Mr. Higgins, or a Mr. Anybody else, under the shelter of a cowardly secrecy, trouble you much. . . .
Simpson asked to be more communicative.
I expected to-day an answer to my telegram of the day before yesterday, I most seriously ask you to be more open with me — I should perhaps say more communicative, and a telegram at short intervals, even saying nothing of importance, and which I could give to the public, would keep them in good-humour and make both your position and mine more tolerable than they are. I have placed Beatson’s Horse under Vivian, and accepted that officer’s resignation, which in consequence he has tendered me. I believe that, as soon as Vivian and Shirley get hold of them, you will have a body of irregular Cavalry formed of them, which will be handy, active, and more than a match for any Cossacks, either of the Don or elsewhere, which the Russians can bring against you.
The Turkish Contingent is to winter at Shumla, and I hope in spring will be efficient to aid the British Army wherever it may be destined to act. I see you have occupied the Karabelnaia, and appointed Col. Wyndham commandant of the place. I learn this from newspaper paragraphs, and, if true, I ought to have heard it from yourself.
Docks and sea-defences at Sebastopol.
I cannot comprehend why you are all so anxious to destroy the docks and sea-defences, which seem to me capable of being destroyed at any time. Rely on it we shall not give them up to any one in their present state. But there is no use destroying anything till the moment when you can safely do so with reference to your own necessities.
We have a great many reports from Continental sources, which seem to be circulated as false [illegible], to prepare the public for some further retrogression on the part of the Russians. I hear it is quite true that Osten-Sacken has put an end to himself. Hoping soon to hear of some activity, — I am, etc.
PS. — I have just received your telegraphic message, the concluding paragraph of which has surprised me. It would appear nowadays that nothing but honied words are to be accepted. I have no hesitation in looking for the cause of your resignation in other sources than my telegraphic message, which is approved by the Queen and concurred in by my colleagues. I trust your reasons for resignation will be set forth distinctly in your despatch, and I have no wish that you should spare my unfortunate telegram which has apparently led to it. And you must bear in mind that the papers will in all likelihood be moved for.
Your business is to justify your resignation to the Army and the public, mine to make the best case for myself.
PY., September 1855.
Simpson to be asked to explain the failure of the second attack on the Redan.
Would it not be well to call upon Simpson to give us some detailed explanations as to causes of the failure of his attack on the Redan, with reference especially to the failure of a similar attempt on the 18th June — the experience of which seems to have been made no use of on the 8th September? For the assault in September appears to have been made almost identically in the same manner as that of June, and to have been attended, therefore, with the same kind of result, though in an aggravated degree.
Questions to be asked.
Questions regarding the assault on the Redan.
The points, as it seems to me, on which Simpson should be called upon for clear and detailed explanation are as follows:—
1st. Why were not our trenches carried up like those of the French to the edge of the ditch, or at all events much nearer the Redan than they were; and why were they not made as wide as the French trenches, so as to be capable of holding the reserves?
2nd. Why, after the experience of the failure on the 18th June, was the Redan assaulted at all; and especially as the attack was to be made, not before or at the same time as the attack on the Malakoff, and in order to assist in the capture of the Malakoff, but after the Malakoff had been carried?
3rd. Why, if the Redan was to be assaulted, were no means provided for bridging over the ditch as was done by the French at the Malakoff, or, if it would have been difficult to carry materials for such a bridge across the great distance which our troops had to traverse between their trenches and the Redan, was not care taken to provide ladders that should be long enough, instead of ladders that were too short?
4th. Why was the storming-party not furnished with means for spiking the guns in the Russian works, so that by even a temporary occupation they might silence the fire?
5th. Why was not an adequate support sent forward in time to assist those who mounted and occupied the Russian works?
6th. What part of the Redan was it that was blown up afterwards by the Russians, and would the explosion of that part have destroyed any portion of our troops who might have driven the Russians out; and would not such a blowing up, if it had taken place as a defensive operation, have in the end defeated its own purpose, by making a breach in the works through which a subsequent assault might have been successful?
To some of these questions satisfactory answers can probably be given. In fact, I could almost give them by anticipation, but as this failure may be the subject of future discussion, it would be useful to have upon record all that can be said in explanation of it.
September 30, 1855.
Position of matters at the seat of war.
Our two armies seem disposed to rest under their laurels and to live in good brotherhood with the Russians on the North Side; but after a time their wind will come again.
Who shall succeed Simpson?
I am inclined to think that we cannot refuse to accept Simpson’s resignation. But should his successor be Colin Campbell or Codrington? This we must consider.
As long as the Emperor remains bent, as he now is, on a campaign next year on a larger field of operations, I shall not much care for the peace propensities of the Parisians. But the Emperor ought not, for his own sake, to allow so many Russians, men and women, to live at Paris and artfully scatter the seeds of discontent and disunion.
Why should we not keep the Russians on the North Side alive by a shell-practice from time to time?
September 30, 1855.
Lord Panmure presents his humble duty to Your Majesty, and has the honour to acknowledge the receipt of Your Majesty’s note of the 28th.
Lord Panmure is not surprised that Your Majesty should express disappointment at the meagre character of General Simpson’s reports, and Your Majesty’s approval of the telegraphic message sent to him by Lord Panmure affords the latter much support in the present crisis of affairs.
Temporary inaction of the Allied Generals.
Your Majesty will perceive by the perusal of the reply to that message that the Generals of both armies have resolved to do nothing, and that, moreover, General Simpson will, if ordered to divide his force, make it an excuse for his inability to meet the winter and get roads and huts into proper condition. All that can be done in this country is to make and send whatever is necessary for securing the health and reasonable comfort of the troops. Those who command must be ready to receive and adapt what is sent.
Lord Panmure cannot help being of opinion that General Simpson has pronounced harshly on the Army Works [Corps]. So far, none of his despatches have led to the belief that this opinion was entertained.
Preparations for winter.
The new huts will have begun to arrive by this time, and provided goodwill and good temper be exhibited, and the parties pull together for the one common object, Lord Panmure cannot doubt that the Army will be made secure against the rains of autumn and the cold of winter.
The last sentence of General Simpson’s message solves all difficulty as to disposing of him. Lord Panmure is sorry to perceive that he has so eagerly availed himself of the first occasion of just remonstrance to divest himself of his responsibility. Lord Panmure begs to forward to Your Majesty the copy of his telegram in reply.
This event cannot but cause much anxiety to Your Majesty, as it does to Lord Panmure, and before discussing the matter with his colleagues he feels loth to express any opinion on it to Your Majesty. Lord Panmure, however, feels that, in questions of such deep importance, Your Majesty is entitled to the first thoughts of your servants, whether they ultimately resolve themselves into counsels or not. Your Majesty is aware that General Simpson holds a commission which appoints Sir W. Codrington to command the Army on General Simpson’s resignation or death. By this arrangement he will supersede Sir C. Campbell, Sir H. Bentinck, Sir H. Barnard, and Lord Rokeby.
Difficulties attending Codrington’s appointment.
The inconveniences likely to arise from this selection were fully canvassed, and Your Majesty’s servants venture to incur the responsibility of them, even if they should lead to the resignation of these officers. Sir H. Bentinck has tendered his resignation. Sir H. Barnard and Lord Rokeby, especially the latter . . . may easily be spared, should they be so unwise as to throw up their commands. The only real difficulty is Sir C. Campbell. He has been offered Malta and refused it. Lord Panmure has reason to believe that, having made money sufficient for all his necessities, he will adhere to the path of professional ambition in preference to any that may lead to pecuniary advantages. No one can blame him for this, although in the present case it has its inconveniences, which are more difficult to grapple with now than they were when Lord Panmure submitted to Your Majesty Sir W. Codrington’s name as General Simpson’s successor.
As to Codrington’s failure at the Redan.
The new phase of the question is this. Sir W. Codrington was charged with the command of the assault on the Redan. His arrangement of his reserves is said to have been so defective that General Windham appears to have been compelled, after sending thrice, to go at last himself, in order to obtain support. Lord Panmure, however, has heard of a letter from General Windham in which he refers to this story, nor does he attach any blame whatever to Sir W. Codrington, but rather throws it on Sir R. Airey. The tone of that letter would lead to the conclusion that General Windham was a bold and dashing soldier rather than a skilful and prudent tactician. Sir C. Campbell will have his supporters, and Sir W. Codrington’s unsuccessful attempt on the 8th will somewhat strengthen their case, but on the whole Lord Panmure is still disposed to believe that Your Majesty’s troops will be safer in Sir W. Codrington’s hands than in those of any other officer.
Character of Sir G. Brown.
The only other arrangement which presents itself is to send out Sir G. Brown. He has personally offered his services, and expressed himself perfectly able in point of health to undertake the duties. He will be so difficult a person to deal with, however — so wedded to everything established, so averse to anything novel, and, above all, so opposed to the system of promotion by selection — that Lord Panmure fears his appointment would create greater difficulties than it would succeed in preventing.
Necessity of restoring routine in the fighting force.
Lord Panmure quite concurs in the views entertained by Your Majesty, and so well expressed by H.R.H. the Prince, that it will require a firm and vigorous hand to restore to the Army its drill and military formation after the disorganising labours and system of fighting in which it has been engaged, and however unpalatable regimental parade and drill on Brigade and Division field-days may be, they must be practised during the repose of the Army. Lord Panmure will speak to Lord Hardinge on this subject, and likewise about the two years’ service for Sebastopol. Lord Panmure was not aware that it had been granted for Alma, and thanks Your Majesty for setting him right on the point. The boon should not be repeated.
Your Majesty will be gratified to learn that your gracious kindness has made both Lord Strafford and Lord Hardinge very happy. 21 Lord Panmure presumes that Lord Combermere is not less so.
Lord Panmure begs to submit to Your Majesty that he should be permitted to take steps for constituting General Simpson a G.C.B., and that he should send dispensing orders as soon as they can go through the proper forms, and likewise that he should gazette the appointment.
Lord Panmure begs to apologise to Your Majesty for the length of this letter.