[Transcribed by Megan Stevens]
Sir, — A few weeks ago Lord Panmure stated in the House of Lords that a second lieutenant-colonel would be appointed to each regiment of the line now serving in the Crimea; that the senior lieutenant-colonel would remain with the regiment in the field, and the second lieutenant-colonel remain in England to take charge of the depôt and instruct the recruits. Accordingly, the senior major of each regiment was ordered home from the Crimea, together with the superior officers to be promoted by this new arrangement. About 40 came home in the Arabia alone; and shortly after their arrival the Gazette announced that Lord Panmure’s announcement had been carried into effect.
A fortnight, however, had hardly elapsed ere a fresh general order appeared, by which the second lieutenant-colonel was ordered back to the Crimea, as it was intended to keep only a small depôt in England and no field officer.
Now, Sir, the hardship on these officers is very great. They sold their horses, Crimean kit, &c., and, being obliged to hold themselves in immediate readiness to return, must purchase all these articles again at a great cost. If it be said, they got their promotion without purchase, I answer, — they had earned it by their services in the field.
There is, however, another party who has a right to complain, and that is “John Bull.” Forty officers sent home in one vessel alone, at a cost, as I am informed, of about 60l. each — to be sent back immediately at the same cost — will bleed poor John for this piece of mismanagement alone to the tune of from 4,500l. to 5,000l. In fact, no one is the better for it; the promotion could as easily have been “sent out,” the officers have been saved a vast deal of expense, and, being acclimatized, they would have escaped the risk of returning to the Crimea at a time when, from all accounts, fever of a malignant character must be anticipated.
Pray, Sir, ask who is to blame for this piece of folly and cruelty.
I am, Sir, your obedient servant,
A COUNTY MAGISTRATE.