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The Panmure Papers, Vol II

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Chapter XIX

July 1856

ON July 12th the last of the British troops embarked from the Crimea, thus completing the evacuation by the Allies, for the French had preceded them by a week.

Codrington had held on to the dockyard of Sebastopol till the last, but on the above date the Russians were permitted to re-occupy it, together with Balaclava and the ground lately occupied by the British camp.

Previous to this, all stores remaining unsold, which were worth moving, had been removed.

By July 21st the great bulk of the army was back in England. The Guards had made their public entry into London on the 9th. The Queen inspected her troops at Woolwich and Aldershot as they arrived.

Arising out of the now peaceful state of affairs is a correspondence between Lords Hardinge and Panmure as to the rank and pay of Colonels selected to command brigades, and the degree in which their appointments should affect the junior Colonels of their corps. (See Letters of July 2nd, 4th, 6th, 15th, 21st.)

The Cabinet, having considered the Peace Establishment of the Army, had decided upon the advice to be tendered to the Queen on this subject (see Lord Panmure’s letter of July 26th), their endeavours being directed to combining due economy with avoidance of relapse into the inefficient Military Establishment of 1852 and 1853, and to placing each arm of the service on a basis which would admit of ready expansion when required.

The state of Lord Hardinge’s health having decided him to resign his office of Commander-in-Chief on the conclusion of the war, the Cabinet recommended the Duke of Cambridge as his successor. The Duke’s letter to Lord Panmure on this recommendation is of special interest, (July 12th).

The Board of General Officers appointed to consider statements contained in the Report of the Crimean Commission laid their report before the Cabinet and thereafter were dissolved.

Recommendations for the Victoria Cross, the settlement of the German Legion at the Cape of Good Hope, the erection of a memorial to the heroes of the Birkenhead, the construction of barracks and fortifications, and the small-arms factory, form the subjects of other letters of the month.


July 1, 1856.

Marshal Pélissier tells me that he gives up his part of Sebastopol to the Russians on the 5th, and that on that day the last of the French troops and he himself will embark.

Sebastopol Dockyard will not be given up before embarkation of the British.

I have decided, and told the Russians to-day, that I do NOT give the Dockyard posts of our part till our army embarks.

All our troops are withdrawn from it, however, and from the plateau, except those at Headquarters. There is a Marine Guard at the Dockyard buildings, and though the Russians wished to have all delivered to them at the same time, I said I should not deliver the Dockyard till we embarked.

I have allowed them to send a Russian officer to see the quantity of bread, etc., in the Fort Paul Buildings. It will be given over to them. And so will chopped straw and what fuel remains at the Col in Balaclava.

General Juchowski and Colonel Ahmatoff were here yesterday after my visit to Bakshi Serai. The General is Civil Governor of the Crimea. The merchants at Balaclava will have six weeks’ time, after our evacuation, to move away if they prefer it. After that time they will have to pay duties on their stock and importations and exportations. Not many likely to remain, I should think.

As I thought, there is plenty to do at the last; and it certainly would have suited me personally if the ‘cashiering’ with which I am threatened by a brother officer had come two or three months ago.

The ‘great horse question.’

The ‘great horse question’: I am afraid you will have to make me the scapegoat of an order, or a practice — somewhat obnoxious, indeed — but by which, nevertheless, you will profit. Perhaps you will estimate the number of chargers in this army, and see what would have been the result of an indiscriminate notice of a compensation of £30 for each.

You had better have your Board in England, and compensate upon good cause shown: you will thus do what is right, and will not have felt the result of the other plan.


HORSE GUARDS, July 2, 1856.

On a proposal for the employment of Colonels to command Brigades to be assembled at encampments in United Kingdom, and the rank they should hold whilst so employed.

With reference to my confidential memorandum of the 17th May last, in which I submitted a proposal for the employment of Colonels as acting Major-Generals, to command the Brigades to be assembled at the several encampments in the United Kingdom and at the Stations in the Mediterranean and North America, I have the honour to acquaint your Lordship that, on a full consideration of the subject, I am of opinion that upon the whole it would be more advisable that these officers should hold the rank of Brigadier-General while so employed, as in the Crimea, than that they should at once be given the temporary rank of Major-General.

I do not consider that there need be any technical difficulty in consequence of the wording of the 9th and 10th clauses of the Royal Warrant of 6th October 1854, in afterwards promoting these officers to the rank of Major-General, after they shall have completed 5 years’ service as Brigadier-Generals, computing in that period the time they held it in the Crimea, should they conduct themselves to Her Majesty’s satisfaction, and it should be deemed proper then to confer that promotion upon them; but this is a point that it will be desirable to establish, and to place the decision upon record.

Pay of Major-Generals.

Should this proposal meet with your Lordship’s concurrence, it will be necessary to fix the footing upon which these Brigadier-Generals are to be placed in point of pay and allowances.

[The writer then enters into particulars of the pay and allowances of Major-Generals on the Staff, of Colonels placed on the Staff as acting Major-Generals, etc. He concludes:]

Proposes that Colonels appointed Brigadier-Generals be retained on the full pay of their regiments.

Under these circumstances, therefore, I am induced to recommend for your Lordship’s sanction that Colonels selected to command Brigades be appointed Brigadier-Generals, and remain on the full pay of their Regiments, and that for the time they may be so employed the 2nd Lieutenant-Colonel of those Regiments should be retained.

I should hope to receive your Lordship’s decision on this question as early as possible, as the appointments must immediately be proceeded with.


PY., July 6, 1856.

The return of the Guards.

There are a good number of officers and men of the Guards in London who have served in the Crimea and have got medals, but who do not belong to the Battalions recently returned from the Crimea; on the other hand, there are a good many officers and men in the Battalions just landed who have had no great share in the toils and dangers of the wars. The first-mentioned officers and men will feel some mortification that they should be merely spectators on Wednesday of an ovation enjoyed by others who do not deserve it as well. Would it not be possible to gather together the officers and men now in London who have served with the Guards in the Crimea, but do not belong to the Battalions just landed, and to let them march up from the railway station with those who have now landed.


PY. July 8, 1856.

Memorial to the heroes of the Birkenhead.

I was told yesterday in the House of Commons that a question is to be asked me on Friday whether some Tablet or other Memorial might not be put up in Chelsea Hospital Chapel to record the names of the brave men who went down in the Birkenhead Transport, 1 after having sent off in the boats all the women, the passengers, and the sick. It certainly was an example of heroical self-devotion, and unless there is some good reason to the contrary one should be inclined to say yes.


BALACLAVA, July 8, 1856.

I have only time to say that I think we are pretty sure of evacuating on the 12th, leaving nothing whatever behind. 2


July 10, 1856.

The Queen sends Lord Panmure the Report of the Chelsea Commissioners, and would wish when it is printed to have one or two copies of it. As she has not had time to read through the evidence, she would wish him to send that back to her as soon as it is done with.

The Queen will expect to hear the opinion of the Cabinet on the Report, and to receive their advice as to what is to be done with respect to it.


July 11. 1856.

The Queen will have the Review at Aldershot on Wednesday next, the 16th, at 4 o’clock.

She has settled to go on Monday to Woolwich, to see the Artillery which have returned from the Crimea, at 11 o’clock.   .  .  . 


BALACLAVA, July 11, 1856.

Evacuation at last.

I have given notice to the Russians that they can occupy Sebastopol Dock Yard, the ground of our camp, and Balaclava to-morrow, and that a Guard can come in to relieve our main Guard at 1 P.M.

The Russians have not answered my letter about transferring to their Government the huts which cannot be sold: I presume they will take possession of them, and I hope they will devote them to the assistance of the immediate inhabitants who have suffered.

All the stores at all worth moving have been either sold or removed. No military store of any sort is abandoned, except some chopped straw and charcoal and wood on the plateau — none of it certainly worth moving, and not much discredit attaching to its abandonment.

In Balaclava district some of the huts have been sold, but I have generally excluded any sale of huts or property known to belong to individuals. A Russian Officer and Guard came to the English Headquarters as we left it, and I subsequently saw it undisturbed. A tablet is put up in the room where Lord Raglan died, and a stone with an inscription is placed under one of the trees near the house. This was done by Colonel Curzon.

We shall all sail from the Crimea to-morrow before sunset.


ST. JAMES’S PALACE, Sat. evening, July 12, 1856.

On receiving news that the Cabinet had recommended him to succeed Lord Hardinge as Commander-in-Chief.

On my return home this evening I find your letter with the to me most important and gratifying announcement that the Cabinet had decided upon recommending me to the Queen as Lord Hardinge’s successor. I hasten at once to assure you that I am deeply sensible of this mark of their confidence, and I am specially indebted to you for the handsome manner in which you have conveyed to me this decision, and the great interest you have, I know, taken in bringing about what must be to me so important a result. At the same time I cannot disguise from myself the difficulty of the task about to be confided in me, from which I should shrink, were it not for the conviction I feel that I shall be supported in every quarter and by nobody more so than yourself. My best energies shall be devoted to the great task, of that you may be assured, and Her Majesty and her Government will not have a more devoted servant. More of this, however, when we meet.

My present object is to request of you to let me know, the first moment at which I may notice to Her Majesty the decision at which the Cabinet have arrived, in order that I may not appear remiss in her eyes in acknowledging to her the honour and favour conferred on me by the Sovereign.   .  .  . 


PY., July 14, 1856.

Hints for a Parliamentary pleasure-party.

I have been thinking over your arrangements for Wednesday. 3 When one means to do a handsome thing, it is best to do it handsomely. You mean to give the Members of the two Houses a holiday and a show. Do not mortify their wives and daughters, but make yourself as popular with the fair sex as you deserve to be. The expense of more seats in the special train, and a few more vehicles to convey the ladies to the ground, will not be much, and I will answer for the sanction of the Treasury. Those who may not like to send down their own carriages, or who may have none to send down (and consider how many trucks and horse-boxes would be required for the purpose), might easily be taken about the ground in the omnibuses which brought them from the station, if they have not legs and feet enough of their own for the purpose. Members might be asked to put down in a list to be taken for the purpose at each H. of Parliament this evening and to-morrow morning, the names of the wife and daughters they wish to take with them, and you would be able to make your arrangements accordingly.

The Sovereign is a lady, and it would be hard to shut out her female Legislators, besides there are not the same difficulties in this case which there were in the Water Party to Spithead. Let me know in House of Commons whether you think this can be managed.


July 15, 1856.

Lord Panmure presents his humble duty to Your Majesty. He has been informed by Lord Palmerston that Your Majesty has been pleased to command that H.R.H. The Duke of Cambridge should succeed Lord Hardinge in the chief command of Your Majesty’s Forces, and Lord Panmure now proceeds to take Your Majesty’s pleasure as to carrying out the appointment.

Lord Panmure would humbly suggest for Your Majesty’s consideration whether H.R.H. might not be gazetted this evening, as by so doing the current of business between Your Majesty and the Horse Guards would immediately run in its proper channel.

Lord Panmure would further submit to Your Majesty that it may be advisable to confer upon H.R.H. the rank of General, and that he should be gazetted as ‘General Commanding-in-Chief of Your Majesty’s Forces.’

Reinforcements for Cape of Good Hope.

Lord Panmure encloses for Your Majesty’s approval the arrangements with regard to the reinforcements for the Cape of Good Hope, which the official authorities at the Horse Guards are most anxious to have confirmed by Your Majesty’s approval, that due warning for service may be given to the respective troops detailed for it. Lord Panmure has desired all lists for promotions and appointments to be suspended until they can be submitted for Your Majesty’s approval in the usual manner.

As soon as Lord Panmure receives Your Majesty’s commands as to the denomination of the Duke of Cambridge’s position, the commission shall be prepared for Your Majesty’s signature.


July 15, 1856.

The Duke of Cambridge to be gazetted General Commanding-in-Chief.

The Queen has just received Lord Panmure’s letter and approves that the Duke of Cambridge should be this evening gazetted as ‘General Commanding-in-Chief,’ and for that reason be made a full General. The Queen likewise approves the enclosed memorandums respecting the troops to be sent to the Cape, but should have preferred any other Battalion than the 3rd of the Rifle Brigade should have been sent, as she understands that three Battalions of the Rifles will require to be drilled together for some time to bring them into a proper uniformity of system. But the difficulty of finding another Battalion may be great.


CONSTANTINOPLE, July 16, 1856.

Clearance from Constantinople in progress.

I have nothing particular to write about. We had a bad passage here from Balaclava, which made me late for a dinner given by the Sultan yesterday. Lord Lyons is gone up to the Crimea in Caradoc, expected down again, and very probably will return in time to let me use that vessel for Smyrna, catching the Algiers at Malta.

All is disappearing from hence under General Storks’ good management.


OSBORNE, July 21, 1856.

Distribution of Victoria Cross.

Now that the Queen’s Crimean Army has almost entirely arrived in this country, the Queen wishes to remind Lord Panmure of the ‘Victoria Cross’; these distinctions always have the most effect when they are given without delay, but the Queen feels that the selection will be dreadfully difficult, and possibly may cause many more heart-burnings than satisfaction. It can evidently not be given to all those men who have received the Medal for distinguished conduct, for that would be an immense number. Lord Panmure will be so good as to consider all this with the Duke of Cambridge, and then inform her what course it is intended to pursue.


July 21, 1856.

Lord Panmure presents his humble duty to Your Majesty, and has the honour to acquaint Your Majesty that he has, in obedience to Your Majesty’s commands, laid before the Cabinet the report and proceedings of the Board of General Officers whom Your Majesty appointed to consider the statements contained in the report of Sir John M’Neill, G.C.B., and Colonel Tulloch, in so far as it affected the conduct of Major-General the Earl of Lucan, K.C.B., Major-General the Earl of Cardigan, K.C.B., Major-General Sir R. Airey, K.C.B., Colonel the Hon. A. Gordon, C.B., and Commissary-General Filder.

Report of the Board of Inquiry.

Your Majesty’s servants, after due consideration of the said report, do not find it necessary to advise Your Majesty to take any steps in this case further than to express through the General Commanding-in-Chief Your Majesty’s gracious approval of the diligence and patience with which the Board has performed the duty assigned to it, and to issue directions for its immediate dissolution.


July 22, 1856

Recommendations for the V.C.

Lord Panmure wrote to the Queen on the subject of the ‘Victoria Cross,’ and informed Her Majesty that H.R.H. the Duke of Cambridge and himself concurred in advising that, as soon as Sir William Codrington had reached home, he, Sir J. Simpson, and some third officer of high rank, to be recommended by H.R.H. to the Queen, should consider the claims, or rather the merits, of the officers and men, and recommend them.


July 26, 1856.

Lord Panmure presents his humble duty to Your Majesty, and has the honour to acquaint Your Majesty that the Cabinet have considered the Peace Establishment of the Army, and, having decided upon the advice to be tendered to Your Majesty upon this subject, they have desired Lord Panmure to submit it to Your Majesty.

Your Majesty’s servants, while they do not lose sight of economy on the one hand, feel on the other that a relapse into the inefficient Military Establishment of 1852 and 1853 would be a most mistaken and culpable policy. They propose to place each arm of the service on a basis which admits of ready expansion should necessity arise.

Lord Panmure will have a return prepared of the amount of force which was maintained during the war, and the amount proposed to be maintained as a Peace Establishment. In this communication he will only touch upon general heads.

Peace Establishment of the Army.

The Life Guards will remain the same. The Cavalry of the Line will consist of 23 regiments, 4 in India and 19 at home.

The 1st Dragoon Guards will consist of 8 troops, and all the rest of 6 troops each. There will be 6300 horses and 11,340 officers, non-commissioned officers, and men.


The 7 Battalions will consist of 10 companies each, and will be 800 rank and file strong, and the total number of officers, non-commissioned officers, and men, will be 6254.


The Infantry consists of 105 Battalions of the Line, of which there are 24 in India and 81 in England or the Colonies.

Each of these 81 Battalions will consist of 1000 rank and file divided into 12 companies, and the total number will be 3645 officers, 6237 non-commissioned officers, and 81,000 rank and file, or 90,882 of all ranks.

Eight companies of each battalion will form the service corps, and 4 companies the depot.

The Colonial Corps remain as hitherto.


It is proposed to keep up the whole 8 troops raised for the War, and the Establishment will be 1076 horses, 49 officers, 113 non-commissioned officers, and 1361 men, or 1523 of all ranks. The Riding Horse Troop will be the same.


It is proposed to maintain this important arm on a much more extended scale than in 1853, viz.: 3730 horses, 704 officers, 1466 non-commissioned officers, 17,045 rank and file, or 19,215 of all ranks.

This will furnish 28 batteries of 4 guns each, or 112 guns and 7 small arm ammunition reserves, but if the reserves are dispensed with, and each battery reduced from 8 horses to 6, then 2 more guns can without increased charge be added to each battery, giving a total of 168 guns.


This arm it is proposed to keep at its present establishment of 365 officers, 303 non-commissioned officers, 3724 rank and file, or 4032 of all ranks.

By this proposal Your Majesty will have an army of 143,541 of all arms and ranks, exclusive of 24 regiments of Infantry and 4 regiments of Cavalry in India. Lord Panmure has had drawn up a comparison of the present War Establishment and the future Peace Establishment, which he has the honour to enclose for Your Majesty’s use.

The figures may not be exactly accurate, but they are sufficiently so to enable Your Majesty to judge of the sufficiency of the proposed Establishment, which it will take some little time to work out in precise detail.

As to settlement of German Legion at the Cape of Good Hope.

Lord Panmure has much satisfaction in informing Your Majesty that despatches have been received from the Government of the Cape of Good Hope, announcing the arrival of Major Grant, who was sent out to confer with Sir G. Grey as to the settlement of the German Legion. The Colony is most grateful for the offer of these settlers, and at once voted a sum of £40,000 to prepare for their reception. Major Grant had gone into the interior to inspect the localities of the future settlements, and will be here with more full information in about three weeks.


OSBORNE, July 27, 1856.

Sultan’s Gift to Miss Nightingale.

The Queen returns this letter of Miss Nightingale’s. She had already heard of the gifts of the Sultan’s, through Lord Stratford, who communicated with Lord Clarendon on the subject, and asked the Queen’s permission for Miss Nightingale to accept the bracelet, as well as the sum of money for the Nurses and Hospitals. The Queen entirely approves of the intended distribution of the money.

The Queen most gladly grants Lord Panmure permission to go to Edinburgh, as she rejoices to think of his being able to enjoy his native air.


OSBORNE, July 30, 1856.

War Office Departmental Reports (comments on).

With regard to the Reports of the different departments for the quarter ending 30th of June, the Queen wishes to remark that in the Barrack Department she was glad to find that Lord Panmure remarked on the small progress made with the Cambridge and Gosport Barracks; in the Fortification Department, she would draw his attention to the Forts at Gosport and Elson, for which £35,000 have been taken in this year’s estimate, and not a penny has been expended yet; also to the deepening of the Channel between Langston Harbour and Portsmouth, which seems to be suspended during a correspondence with the Admiralty, and to the small amount of work done at Portland.

The other Departments show good progress, and the Queen hopes soon to hear that the Small-Arms Factory will begin to turn out some Arms, — at present it does not return a single musket as finished.

Footnotes to Chapter 19

  1. The Birkenhead steam troopship struck near Simon’s Bay, Cape of Good Hope, February 25th, 1852. Four hundred and thirty-eight officers, soldiers, and seamen perished in her.
  2. The last of the British army quitted the Crimea in H.M.S. Algiers on the 12th.
  3. July 16th, when the Queen reviewed troops at Aldershot, inspecting those which had returned from the Crimea since her last visit.
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