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Report of the Board of General Officers

This presentation of the report (sometimes referred to as the Chelsea Board, or the "Whitewash" Board)is based on transcripts by Megan Stevens, and includes the page numbers of the original publication in order to maintain the validity of page references. It is arranged in the following sections:-

Title page
and
table of
contents
First
Report
(pp i-xxix)
Second
Report
(pp xxix-xxx)
Preliminary
Meeting
(p xxxi-xxxii)
Minutes
(parts
only)
Appendices
(parts
only)

[Page [i] of the Report]

REPORT

MAY IT PLEASE YOUR MAJESTY,

IN obedience to Your Majesty's Warrant, which bears date the 25th February 1856, commanding us, the General Officers whose names are subscribed hereto, to make strict examination into the statements contained in the two Reports of Sir John McNeill and Colonel Tulloch, dated respectively Constantinople, June 10, 1855, and London, January 1856, and into the evidence taken by the said Sir John McNeill and Colonel Tulloch relative thereto, animadverting upon the conduct of certain officers on the general staff and others in Your Majesty's army, and to make a report to Your Majesty thereon, together with our opinion whether the said officers of Your army be or be not responsible to any and what extent for the unsatisfactory condition of Your army, or any portion thereof, noticed by Sir John McNeill and Colonel Tulloch in their reports, and evidence thereunto attached.

We have, at several meetings, perused and considered Your Majesty's orders and instructions as transmitted to us by the Right Honourable Lord Panmure, Your Majesty's Secretary of State for War, together with sundry letters and other documents therewith transmitted, and have, to the best of our ability, made examination into the statements and evidence contained in the two Reports above referred to, and have heard such witnesses as the several parties who appeared before us desired to call, and also such other persons as appeared likely to be able to give information upon the said matters, and whose attendance could be obtained; and in order that Your Majesty may be fully possessed of every circumstance which has appeared in the course of this inquiry, we beg leave to lay before Your Majesty the whole of our examinations and proceedings to this our Report annexed:

And further humbly to submit to Your Majesty the following preliminary observations in explanation of the course which we felt constrained to adopt in our endeavour to give effect to Your Majesty's intentions, as signified in Your Royal Warrant, namely,-

That the inquiry which we were commanded to institute appeared to us to be-

First, Very peculiar in its nature; and,
Secondly, To be attended with unusual difficulties.

It appeared to us to be very peculiar in its nature, and one with which our military experience had not rendered us conversant, inasmuch as it was an inquiry in England into the correctness of conclusions which Sir John McNeill and Colonel Tulloch had founded on information obtained by themselves in the Crimea two years previously, whereas the duties of a Court of Inquiry are ordinarily limited to an original investigation into certain matters of fact, or into the conduct of certain persons with reference t[?] hereto.

It appeared to us to be attended with unusual difficulties, inasmuch as some of the statements which were to be inquired into were founded, in part, ...

[Page ii of the Report]

... on evidence which we had not the means of investigating; and the attendance of several witnesses, whom it would have been desirable to examine, could not be obtained.

Under these embarrassing circumstances, we felt it our duty, on the one hand, to give to each and to all the parties referred to in Your Royal Warrant every facility for bringing their cases under our consideration in such a manner as seemed most likely to afford opportunity for a full inquiry, and, on the other hand, to exercise such care and caution in giving expression to an opinion thereon as the character of the inquiry, and the peculiar difficulties above mentioned, seemed to render especially necessary, as well for the interests of truth as of justice.

And we do, therefore, now, in further obedience to Your Royal command, most humbly report to Your Majesty-

That having been directed to inquire into the cases submitted to us by the following officers-

  1. Lieutenant-General the Earl of Lucan, K.C.B.;
  2. Major-General the Earl of Cardigan, K.C.B.;
  3. Major-General Sir Richard Airey, K.C.B., Quartermaster-General;
  4. Colonel the Honourable Alexander Gordon, C.B., Deputy Quartermaster-General;
  5. Commissary-General Filder, C.B.;

We proceeded to inquire into them in the order above given.


Title page
and
table of
contents
First
Report
(pp i-xxix)
Second
Report
(pp xxix-xxx)
Preliminary
Meeting
(p xxxi-xxxii)
Minutes
(parts
only)
Appendices
(parts
only)

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