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Crimean texts

The Times 8.2.1875 p 8

Mr Kinglake and the Crimean War

We are requested by Lord Cathcart to publish the following despatch, hitherto suppressed. We are further informed that at the time in question this statement was confirmed by every member of Sir George Cathcart’s Staff —

“Camp above Sebastopol, Nov 6 1854

Sir,— In compliance with your request, I make the following report to you for the information of the Commander-in-Chief.

Yesterday, soon after daylight, musketry being heard to our right, Lieutenant-General Sir George Cathcart, KCB, ordered his Division under arms, with the exception of 1,000 men just relieved from the trenches and the inlying pickets.

He ordered the different regiments to follow him to the Windmill, near the camp of the 2d Division, but the increasing fire before he reached the place appointed caused him to send back his aide-de-camp, Captain Greville, to order Brigadier-General Torrens and the men left in camp to advance immediately.

Lieutenant-Colonel Horsford, with the 1st battalion of Rifles, upon reaching the camp of the 2d Division, formed line and advanced into action on the left of the Inkerman road.

Brigadier-General Goldie’s Brigade, with the exception of the right wing of the 20th Regiment, did the same. This gallant officer, as his Lordship knows, fell mortally wounded. His brigade consisted on this occasion of some companies of the 57th Regiment, left wing of the 20th, under Colonel Horn, and of the 21st Fusiliers, under Lieutenant-Colonel Ainslie, until he was wounded, when one wing, I understand, was commanded by Lieutenant-Colonel Lord West (and taken to the extreme left), and the other by Major Ramsay Stuart.

Sir George Cathcart in person went to the right of the road, and sent Captain Hugh Smith, Deputy Assistant Quartermaster-general, to bring the right wing of the 20th, under Colonel Crofton, to support the Guards, and he sent me back to Brigadier-General Torrens to order up his whole brigade to the right. I found General Torrens to the left of the road, and, as Lieutenant-Colonel Wood, of the Royal Artillery, rode up and informed me that the enemy had taken two of our guns upon the left, I took upon myself to order General Torrens to send Lieutenant-Colonel Swyney, of the 63d, to the left (in contradiction of Sir George’s order, he having given me authority to do so on emergencies) in support of Colonel Wood, and I am happy to say the guns were quickly retaken.

Lieutenant-Colonel Swyney was killed upon advancing further against the enemy, and the regiment remained under the command of Major the Hon. R Dalzell.

I took the earliest opportunity of informing Sir George Cathcart of what I had done, which met his approval, and I then continued with him in rear of the four companies of the 68th Regiment, who were lower down the hill than the right wing of the 20th Regiment.

The 68th were led into action by Brigadier-General Torrens, who fell severely wounded when in the act of trying to restrain their ardour after driving the enemy before them.

Sir George Cathcart expressed himself to Brigadier-General Torrens, lying wounded on the ground, as highly pleased at his conduct, and then with his Staff continued to advance until he saw the enemy in full occupation of the heights above him, which he had previously thought were in our possession.

He immediately ordered me to get back the wings of the 20th and 68th, and tried to show front with the few skirmishers around him, and with them drove back the enemy twice, but I regret to say he was shot through the heart. His Assistant-Adjutant-General, Lieutenant-Colonel C Seymour, of the Scotch Fusilier Guards, was shot through the body and afterwards bayonetted (he having been previously wounded when with me) when rendering him assistance. Major Maitland, his Deputy Assistant-Adjutant-General, of the Grenadier Guards, was severely wounded at the same time, and his Aide-de-Camp, Captain the Hon. A Cathcart, had his horse shot under him.

I did all I could to get back the men of the 20th and 68th, but it was a work of time, as the ascent was almost perpendicular, and the men were mixed with the Guards and others, who had pursued the enemy even into the Meadows.

I am happy to say, as the hillside was covered with brushwood, and the men protected by a ledge of rock, they moved to the rear without suffering any loss, the only people exposed being those on horseback.

As soon as I could collect the men of the 4th Division in this part of the field, I took them to the rear of the 2d Division Camp, where I found Captain Hugh Smith had, with his usual zeal and activity, got up the reserve ammunition.

I beg to mention that at this time I received very powerful assistance from Captain Street, Brigade Major to Brigadier-General Goldie, who had come to look for Sir George Cathcart.

After Captain H Smith had distributed the ammunition, I took the command of the men collected — namely, four companies of the 68th, under Lieutenant-Colonel Henry Smyth, two companies of the 20th, two companies of the 46th, under Captain Dallas, some men of the 1st Battalion of Rifles, and about 30 men of other regiments not belonging to the Division — and formed line upon the left of the Guards, immediately advanced to the front, accompanied by Captains Smith, Greville, and Cathcart, and placed myself under the orders of Major-General Pennefather, in front of the camp of the 2d Division, and on the left of the road, sending Lieutenant-Colonel Smyth, with the 68th, still further to the front.

Here I remained until I received, through Lieutenant-Colonel the Hon. A Gordon, Lord Raglan’s order to march the Division to their camp.

The 4th Division went into action about 2,200 men, which you will observe were disseminated by regiments and wings from the extreme right to the extreme left, so urgent were the demands made upon Sir George by officers from different parts of the action, and so necessary was it, in his mind, to prevent the enemy reaching the camp. The greater portion of the Division was on the left of the Inkerman road, fighting far away from their General, under the independent command of the commanding officers.

Sir George Cathcart had with him but a small portion of the Division when we had the misfortune to lose him on the slope towards Inkerman.

I reported his loss on the field to the Commander-in-Chief.

I have already forwarded to you the list of killed and wounded, and

I have the honour to remain, Sir,
Your most obedient servant,
C A WINDHAM, Colonel
Assistant Quartermaster General

To Major-General Sir R Airey, &c

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