Death of Lord Raglan - Sir James Simpson Appointed Commander of the British Forces - Battle of the Tchernaya - Bombardment and Fall of Sebastopol.
The closing part of the last chapter referred to the repulse and defeat of the Allied troops in attacking the strongholds of the Russian defences. But though the besiegers had been repulsed, they were still resolute and determined to overcome every obstacle; and the events about to be narrated in this chapter will be an evidence that the Allied forces were fully competent to contend with and overcome their numerous and brave opponents.
In chronicling the events occurring in the Crimea at the close of June, our first painful duty will be to record the death of the British Commander-in-chief, Lord Raglan. He had just been called upon to bear the loss of 1600 brave companions-in-arms, in an attack from which much was expected; he knew that his countrymen at home were impatiently waiting for news of the capture of that formidable fortress which had for such a great length of time baffled the besiegers; he knew that his own troops were dissatisfied with the operations of the day; and he also felt that the two armies, French and English, each wished to lay the blame of failure chiefly on the other. On the 18th of June the unsuccessful series of assaults had been made; on the 28th of the same month Lord Raglan expired. True, the assigned cause of death was a malady very prevalent in the camp at that time, cholera; but mental anxiety unquestionably bore a heavy share in producing the result. The last despatch
from Lord Raglan made public was dated June 25th, announcing the death from cholera of Major-general Estcourt, adjutant-general of his army; and the same mail brought a despatch from General Simpson, communicating the sad news that the British commander himself had sunk on the evening of the 28th. Lord Raglan, unwell for some time previously, was pronounced by his medical attendants much better on the morning of that day; nevertheless, as evening approached, he gradually weakened and died.
Sir James Simpson, on account of Sir George Brown having left the Crimea through ill health, succeeded to the command of the British forces; though his health was precarious. However, the British government confirmed his appointment; and he engaged in the task to the best of his ability.
During the months of July and August the deaths in the trenches were terrible. The daily booming of cannon, and the unwearied assiduity of the Allies in getting nearer the defences of their antagonists, were the principal events which characterised the month of July and the begining of August.
On the 16th of August, however, occurred an event which reflected great honour on the French and Sardinian troops, and caused dismay and consternation in a large portion of the Russian forces. This was the battle of the Tchernaya. The following is a description of this brilliant affair:—The Allied Generals had reason to believe that the Russians would attempt, by a vigorous attack, to force them to raise the siege. This they endeavoured to do on the morning of the 16th, but the result was most glorious to those of the Allied troops who had the good fortune to be engaged. The action commenced before daylight, by a heavy column of Russians, under the command of General Liprandi, and composed of the 6th and 17th divisions, with the 4th and 7th divisions in reserve, attacking the advanced posts of the Sardinians. The ground occupied by them was on the commanding hills on the right of the position, on the left bank of the Souhaia river, where it forms its junction with the Tchernaya, with two advanced posts on the opposite side. These were held with very determined gallantry for a considerable time; but, being separated from their supports by the river, and not having the protection of artillery, they were compelled to leave the most advanced one. About the same time the 5th and 12th Divisions, to which were added a portion of the 17th, advanced against the bridge of Traktir, held by one battalion of French infantry of the line, who were for a short time obliged to yield and fall back upon the main supports; with these, however, they soon retook tho bridge at the point of the bayonet. Again the Russians attacked with persevering courage, and were enabled to follow up their advantage by gaining the heights which rise precipitously on each side of the river: their success was but momentary; they were driven back across the river, leaving the ground covered with dead and wounded.
The Russian General, no way daunted by the failure of his two attempts, ordered a second column, of equal force to the first, to attack; they advanced with such impetuosity, covered by the fire of their numerous artillery, that a third time the bridge was carried, and the heights above it crowned, but they were again repulsed, and retired in great confusion into the plain, followed by the bayonets of our gallant allies. The general officer who commanded the Russian column, who was it is supposed General Read, was killed, and in his possession were found the orders for the battle, signed by Prince Gortschakoff, who commanded in person. From these it would appear that it was a most determined attempt to force us to raise the siege. Had they succeeded, Balaklava was to have been attacked by one portion of the army, whilst the heights were to be stormed with the other; at the same time a vigorous sortie was to have been made from the town, on the French works on our extreme left, from the Quarantine, and another on the works on our extreme right on Mount Sapoune.
The action was most glorious to the arms of the French and Sardinian troops. To meet the force of the Russians the former had but 12,000 infantry, and four batteries of artillery engaged; the latter had 10,000 men in position, 4600 actually engaged, and 24 pieces of cannon. The Russian forces consisted of from 50,000 to 60,000 men, with 160 pieces of artillery, and cavalry to the amount of 6000. This disparity of numbers will readily explain the difficulty that would have been experienced had an attempt been made to follow up the advantage by a pursuit. The Russian retreat, moreover, was protected by the fire from the heavy guns in position on the Mackenzie heights. The loss sustained by the Russians is estimated at between 5000 and 6000 men, including 600 prisoners; whilst on the part of the Allies it did not amount to more than 1000 men.
This brilliant affair caused the greatest delight amongst the ranks of the Allied army; and while it added fresh lustre to the gallant achievements of the French arms, it is with the utmost pleasure that we have to record the intrepid conduct and gallant bearing of the Sardinian troops, under General Della Marmora, who for the first time met, conquered, and shed their blood against our common enemy, who was then disturbing the peace of Europe. Captain Mowbray's battery of 32-pounder howitzers was placed in advance with the Sardinian troops, and did most excellent service in preventing the advance of the enemy's artillery. Our cavalry, under Lieutenant-General Sir J. Scarlett, K.C.B., was placed in the plain of Balaklava, prepared to take advantage of any circumstance that might present itself, but the opportunity did not arise for calling upon their services.
On this occasion, as at Inkermann, there was hardly any opportunity for the use of cavalry, and none wore employed on either side. On our part we had about 8000 horses in readiness, whilst the Russians had in a hollow on their right no less than sixty squadrons drawn up in beautiful order. The battle, in truth, was a very simple one; there was no great manoeuvring genius shown in it. It was a preconcerted affair, carried out in a preconcerted way. It was Inkermann over again, minus the energy of the soldiers, for it is the opinion of all who saw them that the Russians fought ill and without vigour.
We regret to say that General Montevecchio, of the Piedmontese army, who was shot with a musket-ball at the approach of the Russians, since died.
Although there were daily cannonadings betwixt the besiegers and the besieged, during the closing days of August and the beginning of September, yet the fire was not anything like brisk, until the 6th, when it assumed a formidable aspect. We now proceed to give a description of the final bombardment and capture of this stronghold of Russian power:—
" The bombardment which had been kept up with less vigour than usual during the night of the 7th, broke out at daybreak into a complete fire from end to end of our lines. It burst over every part of the Russian works with the fury of a tornado, sending up clouds of dust and smoke, which were driven into our camp by a cold north wind, blinding the men whose duty called them to the trenches, and filling the air so densely as to render objects indistinct at a certain distance. As the bombardment commenced, preparations for the assault were made in the camps of the Allies, and numerous regiments were drawn up under arms at dawn. It had been considered proper to forward the men in detachments, and not in columns, so as to keep the enemy as much as possible ignorant of our iheentions. The storm was intrusted to the Second and Light Division, portions of which were to form immediate supports, whilst the rear was to be kept by the Fourth Division, the Guards and Highlanders, and the Third Division. Sir William Codrington had the general command of the storm, and was supported by General Markham. At half-past nine all the regiments of the Second and Light Division, as well as the Generals and Staff, had made their way to the trenches ; General Codrington taking up his position in the fifth parallel, Whilst General Markham had his in a pit called Egerton's Pit, in the third parallel. The stormers consisted of portions of the 30th, 41st, 65th, and 62nd, from the Second Division, of the 90th, 97th, 23rd, and 88th, from the Light Division. The ladder parties were told off from the 3rd Buffs and 97th Regiment. The supports of these regiments, as well as other regiments of the same division were in reserve in the fourth and third parallels ready for action. At the foot of the Malakoff had also been massed stormers from the French First Division, consisting of 400 men of the 1st Zouaves and 450 men of the 1st Chasseurs de Vincennes, under the command of General MacMahon. The Fifth Division furnished stormers for the Little Redan and the works on the proper left of the Malakoff. The Second Division kept the trenches, whilst the Fourth was in reserve. General Pelissier and his Staff rode through the British Camp on the way to Inkermann at half-past eleven, passing the Guards and Highlanders as they moved up the Woronzoff road to the trenches. General Simpson took up a position near the Picket-house on the Woronzoff road. There were few spectators on the hills, on account of precautions taken by General Simpson to stop all egress from Balaklava. At a few minutes before noon the bombardment was urged to a terrific blaze of fire, which poured upon the Russians from embrasures purposely kept closed until that moment.
" At ten minutes past twelve the signal for the storm on the Malakoff was given by the explosion of two mines close to the counter-scarp, and in the confusion caused by the smoke and uproar the Zouaves and Chasseurs rushed on. They made their way over ground ploughed up by the explosion of shells, and full of holes, and elevations of jagged and irregular formation. Their speed was scarcely impeded by this obstacle, and they jumped down the ditch and up the sides of the works without using the scaling-ladders. The Russians, who were completely taken by surprise, were driven out of the redoubt or killed, and left the French perfect masters of it; the short distance of twenty-five yards, which separated the ditch of the Malakoff from the parallel, contributing not a little to the fortunate issue of the storm. In the meanwhile two other attacks had been almost simultaneously made upon the Russians with far less fortunate results. General Codrington, hearing the signal for assault on the Malakoff, after a short pause gave the order to storm the Redan. The ladder-parties of the 3rd and 95th dashed out, and favoured by tolerably even ground, passed the abattis which was no sensible obstacle to their progress, and planted their ladders on the salient angle of the work. The stormers, less active than they had been, were delayed by their inability to issue from the parallel, except by one aperture, and when they succeeded in reaching the scarp of the Redan, the ladder-party had already mounted to the assault. The stormers followed, mounting on each side of the salient angle, and fought their way into the Redan, killing the Russians within the first traverse; but, in their eagerness to outstrip each other, the parties on the left pressed across the work to join those on the right, and in doing so fell into the concentrated fire of the enemy, whose supports, upwards of 2000 in number, were rapidly coming up. A hand-to-hand conflict followed, desperate in its nature,— the Russians fighting for the hold with the tenacity of bears, and using every sort of missile, in addition to their arms. Stones, loose grape, stocks of broken muskets, were hurled in broken volleys from the summit of the traverses, on our men, whose ammunition began to fail. They in their turn grasped at stones, and hurled them against the Russians; who now, encouraged by the arrival of reinforcements and the diminution of our men, poured down upon our devoted stormers, and fought with them hand to hand. Many were the despairing efforts that then took place—men clung to men, and the agony of both was undergone on the same spot. This was too terrible to last. Either our Generals must bring on supports, or the stormers retreat. The former was delayed, and the remnant of our men gave way in disorder from the parapets and embrasures which they had so gallantly stormed. At this time there were several regiments in the 3rd, 4th, and 6th parallels which did not move sufficiently quick, and were not in time to save the relics of the stormers. The Redan was thus won and lost. The French attack on the Little Redan and works upon the Careening Bay were failures for other reasons. The troops moved resolutely on, rapidly crossing a broad space which lay between them and the Russian redoubts. They were thrown into considerable confusion by rows of holes called trout a loup, into which the men stumbled in the midst of the darkness caused by dust and smoke; their attack was deprived by this of its firmness, and was repulsed by the enemy. The struggle, however, was maintained doubtfully for a considerable time. The first body of stormers, almost annihilated by the musketry of the Russians, covered the parapets of the works with their bodies; when fresh supports came up, and struggled to gain the summit of the scarp; but at every fresh attempt they fell back discomfited into the ditch, covering the ground with dead and dying. The Russians not only had the advantage of position, but they had been materially assisted in this portion of the attack by the fire of the steamers which fired broadsides upon the Malakoff and the counterscarps of the Little Redan. The Vladimir, always so ably handled that, when anything daring was done by the Russians, the French said "c'est du Vladimir," steamed rapidly up under the very mouths of the French batteries on Mount Sapoune, delivered her broadside, and then majestically steaming round, delivered a second, without eliciting in the confusion any reply from the French. These broadsides committed dreadful havoc, and threw the ranks of the assaulting columns into inextricable confusion. Notwithstanding every adverse circumstance, however, the French maintained their ground at the foot of the scarp and in the ditch of the Little Redan and Black Batteries, firing resolutely at every Russian who showed himself over the parapet, whilst the Russians on their part were equally quick in returning shot for shot when a Frenchman raised his person more than usual. This part of the fight partook at last of a certain Indian character, the struggle from cover to cover resembling those of which we have all read in the glowing pages of Cooper.
" These painful phases of the combined assault proceeded whilst the main attack on the Malakoff rapidly lost its early characteristics. The ditch about the Malakoff was about fifteen feet deep, and the scarp twenty feet high. The embrasures and platforms were elevated above the level of the work, which was divided into parts by traverses of irregular shape, in which small openings were made for the passage of men. These traverses were mostly quarried works, the galleries of which were supported by double rows of gigantic beams of Norway pine, and the height of earth forming the roof made every vault bomb-proof. The traverses generally measured 12 to 15 feet in height, and being most irregular in their form must have rendered complete possession extremely difficult. The Redan was similarly arranged internally. The very security of the soldiers in these strongholds must have increased a chance of surprise, and the instant occupation of the work and destruction of its defenders in a short period are a proof of it. The Russians, however, did not passively allow their enemy to enjoy his new possession, They had no sooner been driven out than they attacked the French with the energy of despair, and the Zouaves and Chasseurs found themselves defenders instead of assaulters of the Malakoff. The Russians trusted more to stones and missiles of that nature than to their muskets, and from the summits of the traverses they heaved all kinds of miscellaneous articles, such as stones, beams, buckets, old grape-shot, and muskets. The French, short of ammunition, replied with the same weapons, varying their resistance by rushes at the point of the bayonet. They were giving way, however, before the advancing Russians, discouraged by intelligence of impending failure at the Redan and Black Works; but, at the critical moment, the supports of the division marched up, and entered the work on all sides. The Imperial Guard, consisting of Grenadiers and Zouaves, swarmed into the Malakoff and commenced a desperate conflict. Hand to hand amongst the labyrinthine windings of the redoubt, amongst shell-holes, broken gabions, and irregular elevations, each side fought and bled. They fell side by side, and in many instances above each other. The ground was strewed with them so as to be completely invisible. To add to the horror of the moment the shells from the Redan and steamers fell in numbers upon the portion of the work in possession of the French, and added to the heaviness of their losses. But the Russians were unable to regain the Malakoff. As the French poured in fresh supports every moment, and brought in field artillery over a hasty bridge into the redoubt, the Russians slowly yielded, and commenced a retreat which ended in a rout. The scene of it was the way leading from the Dockyard to the Malakoff, a road traced inside of the second line of defence, to which the Russians trusted as a means of retrieving their losses. The rapidity of the French movement when the Russians first commenced their retreat, prevented the latter from using their second line of defence efficaciously. The hand-to-hand conflict down the descent did not enable them to kill a foe without destroying a friend; and thus the French passed down from the Malakoff towards the town until they came to the base of the hill, and on a level with the Dockyard. From that spot they receded, moving to their right, and driving the Russians through the streets of the Karabelnaia suburb; whilst the field artillery and some of the lighter guns left in the Malakoff were turned against the second line of defence, which it successfully enfiladed. Darkness now supervened, and the Russians, under its cover, withdrew from the works of the Karabelnaia, the Little Redan, and Black Battery.
" The capture of the Malakoff, and failure of the attacks on the Redan and works of Careening Bay, were not the only episodes of the day on which the Allies finally established a footing in the heart of the Russian defences. General Pelissier had combined his attack in such a manner as to prevent the enemy from concentrating heavy masses against any point of our approach. It had been previously concerted that, whilst the Black Batteries, Malakoff, and Redan, were assaulted at noon, storming columns should be moved against the Central Bastion and the Flagstaff Redoubt on the western side of Sebastopol. Had all these attacks been simultaneous, success would probably have crowned the efforts of the Allies on more than one point, and the French might have established a firm footing on the west, whilst we effected a lodgment on the Redan. The operations were not undertaken simultaneously, perhaps because the commanders were unwilling to risk the loss of life consequent upon failure, had we been repulsed at all points. The Malakoff was therefore stormed first, and the attacks on the other points undertaken afterwards. The consequence was that time was given to the Russians to make preparations, which rendered their resistance effectual on all but the first point, spiritedly carried and maintained by the French.
" The failure of the French storm of the Central Bastion remains to be recorded. The columns, concentrated in close proximity to the work, were formed at an early part of the day ; but the signal to storm was not given till two o'clock in the afternoon. The enemy had an imposing force concentrated in expectation of the attack, as the fierce bombardment, kept up for sixty-two hours on the left on the French, had led him to anticipate the most powerful assault there. In consequence of this, 30,000 men were moved to that point; while the deficiencies on the proper left of the position were made good by draughting the 14th Division into the town. The storming parties of the French rushed firmly on to the assault, and effected a lodgment in the Central Bastion after a short and spirited combat. The Russians were either killed or driven out, and left the work in the hands of the stormers ; but this success was momentary. Heavy masses were speedily advanced to the front, which engaged the assaulting party with all the advantage of freshness. The contest then assumed a close and deadly aspect, and the French, overpowered by a shower of missiles of every description, were forced to draw back in the same way as our stormers had retired from the Redan. A short time elapsed, and the red forms of our allies were observed falling back over the parapets of the Central Bastion, jumping down into the ditch, and scrambling up the counterscarp. A momentary panic was then visible, in the midst of which the French General in command (whose name we regret to be unable to record) rallied his men in a most gallant manner, and led them a second time to the assault. This second effort was apparently as irresistible as the first, and the stormers again made their way into the body of the work, notwithstanding prodigious efforts on the part of the Russians. Another struggle in the bastion followed, and, fresh supports coming up to the enemy, the French again wavered, and failing in ammunition, assailed by stones, cold grape, and pickaxes, they were finally forced out of the work, and the Russians left masters of the field. This was the only action fought on the western side of Sebastopol, the attack on the Flagstaff Bastion having been abandoned after the failure of that on the Central Redoubt.
" One grand result compensated the Allies for the carnage which had marked the operation of the day. The Malakoff taken, gave us such a hold over the remainder of the town, that it was obvious the Russians could not remain there. The movements of the French Generals on this successful point were vigorous and decisive. They turned not only the first, but also the second line of Russian defence, exposing the rear of the Redan to a sweeping fire, which was immediately opened from the Malakoff with guns captured in the place, and those which had been dragged into the redoubt in rear of the stormers. At sunset every disposition had been made to maintain the advantages obtained, and a dropping fire from the Russians in the Karabelnaia suburb alone told where isolated contests showed the despairing energies of the besieged pitted against the persevering efforts of the besiegers. Gradually, as the gloom of night spread its dark mantle over the town, a mournful silence succeeded to the roar of battle, and songs of victory alone broke the stillness of the atmosphere as the wind moaned against the innumerable tents of the Allied Camps, and swiftly drove heavy lowering clouds over the dark grey of the sky. The crowds which had assembled on the hills, hovering round and swooping at times upon the wayworn soldiers who straggled from the field to give the details of the victory, gradually thinned and disappeared. A hum as of a mass moving through Sebastopol was then heard, and presently portentous clouds of smoke were seen to issue from the houses which lay clustered along the sides of the harbour. From the base of the columns of smoke flames then began to issue, and as midnight came, glaring masses of flame burst out from the town and proclaimed the Russians vanquished and retreating. Undisturbed in their work of destruction, the enemy were allowed to proceed ; and as the forked fire illuminated the horizon, spreading from house to house, and obscuring the sky with dense masses of smoke and vapour, a few belated spectators witnessed the scene of a burning city destroyed by its defenders. The flames spread rapidly from street to street, and the stillness of the night, and the howling of the elements, was broken by a series of terrible explosions, which startled the echoes of surrounding hills, shaking the ground for miles, and casting up burning fragments from the earth high into the air as forts and redoubts were blown up. The ships of the Allies, wearing at their anchors, were illuminated by the glare which burst from the magazines of the works along the shore, as they were exploded in succession by the retreating Russians. Then the roar of the flames gained the ascendant over all other sounds, and whilst flitting forms were seen amongst burning masses, the retreat commenced. Long before the columns of the Russians began to cross the bridge of rafts on their way to the north, the Redan had been occupied by the Highland brigade in charge of the trenches. Volunteers from several regiments entered the work shortly after midnight, and found it deserted of defenders. At dawn the masses of the enemy were still swiftly crossing the bridge and lining the hills of the Severnaia, whilst the Vladimir and other steamers covered the passage with their broadsides. With the exception of these the harbour was tenantless of any floating vessel, except boats. The stately three-deckers which had so proudly rested on the waters of Sebastopol were sunk, and their places only marked by the breaking of the waters over their white masts, as the waves were dashed along them by a north-east gale. Shortly after day-break the last straggler of the Russian army had abandoned the south side, and the bridge of rafts was cut adrift and taken in tow by the steamers. The only souls in the town were convicts left to keep up the fire of the town, who did their work with unflagging energy; but who were not left undisturbed in their labours, as crowds of soldiers—chiefly French—entered the town even before the Russians retreated ; and, fearless of the explosions which took place at intervals, ransacked the houses, and either took the incendiaries prisoners or shot them when they met. Few sights can be conceived more grand than that of Sebastopol burning in the morning. The western side was in a mass of blaze, and flames were issuing from the largest buildings. The churches alone were spared, and the mushroom steeple of one, as well as the Athenian columns of another, and the pointed spires of a third, were fitfully thrown into light when the northeast wind wafted the smoke into the air, and removed the curtain of flames which at times covered the scene. Light red and yellow smokes were relieved by black ones of equal density, and at the base of all shone the flames which fed them. Fort Nicholas, the dockyard buildings, and the Naval Hospital, were illuminated by the sheer hulk, which burnt with uncommon brilliancy ; and the Karabelnaia suburb, which had been so thoroughly destroyed as to require no further efforts of the Russians, loomed duskily in the distance. Between the dockyard and the suburb, Fort Paul stood perfect in light, and all behind was in partial obscurity."
Thus terminated the great siege of Sebastopol, which had been in progress nearly a year; which had involved the construction of 70 miles of trenches, and the employment of 60,000 fascines, 80,000 gabions, and 1,000,000 sand-bags; and during which more than 1,500,000 shells and shot had been fired at or into the town from the mortars and cannon of the besiegers!
List of officers killled on the 8th of September:— Deputy Assistant Commissary W. Hayter, Royal Artillery; Lieuts. L. L. G. Wright, C. Colt, 7th Foot ; Lieut. P. Godfrey, 19th; Lieut. E. H. Somerville, Lieut.and Adjt. D. Dynely, 53rd; Lieut.-Col. J B. Patulls, Capt. J. C. N. Stephenson, Ensign B. G. Deane, 30th; Lieut. H. G. Donovan, 33rd; Lieut.. Col. J.Eman, C. B., Capts. E. Every, J. A. Lockhart, 41st; Capt. & Rochfort, 49th; Brevet Lieut.-Col. W. H. Cuddy, 65th; Capt. L. A. Cox, Lieut. L. Blakiston, 62nd; Capt. W. Parker, 77th; Capt.H. W. Grogan, 88th; Capts. H. Preston, H. M. Vaughan, Lieuts.A. D.Swift, H. F. Wilmer,90th; Lieut.. Col. Hon. H. E. Handcock, Major A. F. Welsford, Capt. J. Hutton, Lieut. and Adjt. A. D. M'Gregor, 97th; Capt. M. M. Hammond, Lieut. H. S. Ryder, 2nd Bat. Rifle Brigade.
INCIDENTS CONNECTED WITH THE FINAL BOMBARDMENT.
The heroic course which Colonel (now General) Windham took in the assault on the Redan may be reckoned amongst the most glorious achievements of the war. The difficulties with which the storming party had to contend, from the superior numbers and position of the enemy, and from a general impression entertained by the soldiers that the place was mined, and that they might be at any moment blown up, the frightful and disproportionate loss of officers, who fell by reason of their prominence in endeavouring to dissipate an undue apprehension of the kind —we are told that the Brigadiers capable of guiding the attack were reduced to one—Col. Windham. This gallant officer did more than could be expected of human energy to accomplish, in order to obtain a prompt and adequate reserve, with which he felt the Redan might have been held, despite any amount of force the Russians could bring to bear upon them. Three times did Colonel Windham send officers to Sir E. Codrington for reinforcements; for, though the need of help must have been obvious to the superior officer placed in a position to command the entire attack, none came. All three officers failed to deliver their message, in consequence of being wounded whilst attempting to pass from the ditch to the rear of the Redan. The Colonel's Aide-de-Camp, Lieut, Gwire was next despatched, but he, also, was dangerously wounded as he went on his perilous errand. For an hour the enemy were mowing our men down by hundreds, and even the small driblets that from time to time arrived, were so disordered from the fire to which they were exposed, as to be almost useless. At length Colonel Windham determined upon taking a course which, for personal daring and recklessness of his own life, has rarely been paralleled. A Russian officer stepped over the breastwork, and tore down a gabion with his own hands; it was to make room for a field-piece. Colonel Windham exclaimed to several soldiers who were firing over the parapet, "Well, as you are so fond of firing, why don't you shoot that Russian?" They fired a volley, and missed him, and soon afterwards the field piece began to play on the head of the salient with grape. Colonel Windham saw there was no time to be lost. He had sent three officers for reinforcements, and, above all, for men in formation, and he now resolved to go to General Codrington himself. Seeing Capt. Crealock, of the 90th, near him, busy in encouraging his men, and exerting himself with great courage and energy to get them into order, he said, " I must go to the General for supports. Now, mind, let it be known, in case I am killed, why I went away." He crossed the parapet and ditch and succeeded in gaining the fifth parallel, through a storm of grape and rifle-bullets, in safety. General Codrington asked if he thought he really could do anything with such supports as he could afford, and said he might take the Royals, who were then in the parallel. " Let the officers come out in front—let us advance in order, and if the men keep their formation, the Redan is ours," was the Colonel's reply; but he spoke too late—for at that very moment the men were seen leaping down into the ditch, or running down the parapet of the salient, and through the embrasures out of the work into the ditch, while the Russians followed them with the bayonet and with heavy musketry, and even threw stones and grape-shot at them as they lay in the ditch. Colonel Windham is universally allowed, by the course which he took, to have retrieved, in his own person, the honour of the army on that day, aided by those brave men who fell for the most part at his side in the attempt to sustain this unequal contest. These eminent services are thus recognised in the General Order for Colonel Windham's promotion:—The Queen has also been most graciously pleased to command that Colonel Charles Ash Windham, C.B., shall be promoted to the rank of Major-General, for his distinguished conduct in heading the column of attack which assaulted the enemy's defences, on the 8th of September, with the greatest intrepidity and coolness, as specially brought to the notice of her Majesty in the public despatch of the Commander of the Forces, dated the 14th of September, 1855.
A sapper, who was exploring the batteries of the Redan, just as the Russians were evacuating the town, discovered a rather large cable, which he cut in two by a blow of an axe, and then called the attention of the officers to it. On further examination it was found to be of thick metallic wire, covered with a coating of gutta percha. Thit wire led to a very large powder magazine dug under the Redan, and the discovery of which made the boldest tremble when they thought of the frightful explosion from which they had escaped. The wire came from across the town as far as the sea, which it crossed to the other shore, from whence the electric spark was to be despatched to set fire to the volcano. It was discovered just at the nick of time, as the last soldier had not yet evacuated the town when the forts blew up, one after the other, filling the trenches with the ruins.
As soon as it was dawn (Sunday, 9th) the French began to steal from their trenches into the burning town, undismayed by the flames, by the terrors of those explosions, by the fire of a lurking enemy, or by the fire of their own guns, which kept on slowly discharging cannon-shot and grape into the suburbs at regular intervals, possibly with the very object of deterring stragglers from risking their lives. But red breeches and blue breeches, tepi and Zouave fez, could soon be distinguished amid the flames, moving from house to house. Before five o'clock there were numbers of men coming back with plunder, such as it was; and Russian relics were offered for sale in camp before the Russian battalions had marched out of the city. The sailors, too, were not behind-hand in looking for "loot"; and Jack could be seen staggering under chairs, tables, and lumbering old pictures, through every street, and making his way back to the trenches with vast accumulations of worthlessness. Several men lost their lives by explosions on this and the following day.
My first entry into the interior, on the morning after its abandonment, was made by a bridge of broken fascines and gabions laid hastily over the dead bodies that had just been gathered into the ditch for burial, which has since been done by levelling over them a portion of the parapet above. The ghastly piles nearly filled the vast trench to a level with the outer surface, and the thin covering of earth which concealed them from view barely fell below the summit of the low bank in front. What first struck one in passing up the cut made by our sappers through the broad parapet was the unusual solidity and strength of this last, averaging thirty or thirty-five feet along its entire front. On such a solid mass of gabions, fascines, sand-bags and earth, I need hardly say that artillery of even the heaviest calibre could have no sensible effect: sixty-eight or ninety-eight pound shot might enter, but they could not penetrate. Compared with this massive structure of mud and wickerwork, the thickest of our own or the French works is as paper to a deal board. Then within, besides the great superiority of their mantles, strong ropen curtains hung across the embrasures to shelter the gunners from the besiegers' riflemen. You admire the cover provided for their artillerymen when not actually working the guns, in little retreats proof against any but the very heaviest splinters of shell. But these, again, are nothing when compared with the shot and shell-proof chambers for the shelter of larger bodies of troops, which abound throughout the work. I dived into several of these half subterranean waiting-rooms, and found many of them fitted up with fireplaces, cooking conveniences, benches, and other suitable furniture ; whilst in others of smaller dimensions, and which had evidently been occupied by the officers, there were in addition bedsteads, chairs, tables, and in some even handsomely glazed cupboards, containing empty wine-bottles, and other traces of their occupants' regard for creature comforts. On the shelf in one of them I lighted on a cheap Farringdon-street reprint of "Paul Clifford," and an old copy ot the " Illustrated London News,"—the latter with sundry engravings of scenes from the siege.—Daily News Correspondent.
General Pelissier says:—" Of the 4000 cannon found at Sevastopol, at least 50 are of brass. Others were thrown into the roadstead at the time of their retreat. I have ordered them to be sought for. We have already taken 200,000 kilogrammes ot powder away from the place, and there is still more to be found. The number of projectiles will exceed 100,000. A despatch from Admiral Bruat, of the same date, announces that the vessels of the Allies destoyed in the Sea of Azof, between the 6th and 11th of September, five fisheries on the coast of Serviank, and 68 in the lakes and rivers of the neighbouring coast; they burnt 31 storehouses, containing nets or provisions, and 98 boats laden with provender and provisions."
Some of the Highlanders went into the Redan on Sunday morning, and finding it altogether abandoned, providentially left it immediately for their former position. They had no sooner done so than a mine was sprung, and a tremendous explosion followed. The enemy had very probably perceived our entrance, for which they had been waiting, and then caused the explosion. Our allies were not bo fortunate on the right. The 11th Regiment of the Line and other troops, who had assailed the Little Redan, were establishing themselves there for the night. Just about the time when the explosion occurred in the Redan opposite to our works, an other mine was sprung in the Little Redan. It produced a frightful effect, hurling a great number of French into the air, and scorching or otherwise injuring many more. It is said that as many as three hundred suffered by this explosion. The prudence of the French engineers prevented a similar catastrophe at the Malakoff. They had examined for mines and galleries, and had come across a large pipe charged with gunpowder. This they had carefully cut asunder, and they had separated each end from communication with the other. It was subsequently proved to be a channel of communication between the mine in the Little Redan and one in the Malakoff; had it not been that the continuity of this tube had been destroyed, an explosion in the Malakoff would have taken place almost simultaneously with that in the Little Redan, and numbers must have perished.
The English had 29 officers, 36 sergeants, 6 drummers, 314 rank and file, killed; 124 officers, 142 sergeants, 12 drummers, 1608 rank and file, wounded; 1 officer, 12 sergeants, 163 rank and file, missing. Total—Killed, 385; wounded, 1886; missing, 176—2447.
The French had 5 Generals killed, 4 wounded, 6 contused; 24 superior officers killed, 20 wounded, and 6 missing; 116 subaltern officers killed, 224 wounded, and 8 missing; 1499 officers and soldiers killed, 4259 wounded, and 1400 missing. Total French loss, 7551.
In the month of June, a squadron from the fleet in the Black Sea, under the command of Capt. E. M. Lyons and Monsieur de Sedaiges, did much execution, and caused great havoc and destruction to Russian property. The squadron first visited Taganrog, and summoning the governor to surrender all the government stores, a refusal was returned; when the squadron commenced bombarding the town, and, in a short time, the long ranges of stores of grain, plank, and tar, and the vessels on the stocks, were in a blaze, as well as the Custom-house, and other government buildings, and unfortunately, but unavoidably, the town in many places. The loss of the enemy must have been severe, as many were seen to fall. A Russian sergeant who deserted, stated the number of troops in the town to have been 3200. A Russian war-schooner, which had been run on shore near the town and abandoned, was set fire to and burnt; and so was a large raft of timber.
Anapa was also visited by a squadron under the command of Rear- Admiral Houstan Stewart, and, after holding out for a short time, the Russians evacuated the place, first spiking the guns and burning the barracks and other buildings, and destroying large quantities of grain and other stores. The powder magazines were all exploded ; and the troops, which were estimated at seven or eight thousand, retired on the Kouban River, which they crossed by a bridge, and then destroyed it.
The squadron under Captain Lyons and Monsieur de Sedaiges likewise proceeded to Marogoul, Ghiesk, and Kiten, destroying large quantities of grain, flour, hay, &c. besides many other stores, buildings, and materials of various kinds. The conflagration was so great at some of those places, that it lasted for several days. Thus, in the space of two or three weeks, the Sea of Azof was swept by the Allied squadrons, and the enemy deprived of the supplies which existed in the different depots, and also of the means of transporting the coming crops.
On the 15th of October, the Allied squadron appeared before Kinbrn . The weather, however, being very squally, operations could not be commenced for two days ; the forts continued during these two days firing upon the vessels, but without doing much damage. The following account of the Bombardment and Capture of Kinburn, is from a private correspondent of one of the papers;—
"Wednesday, 17th. The anniversary of the naval attack upon Sebastopol was fine enough to permit the combined fleets to attack. The wind was blowing from off shore, and the swell subsided. This was indispensable, because many of the line-of-battle ships were drawing 26 feet water, and they were to anchor and attack with only two or three feet water under their keels. This was a ticklish job, in a narrow difficult channel, hitherto almost unknown to us. Well, at eight a.m. the sand-batteries opened at a steamer and gun-boat which forced their way inside the spit. The French floating batteries were smoking up, preparing to go in, and at 9. 30 they opened a tremendous fire at 600 yards, from twelve large guns on each broadside. At ten the mortar-boats opened fire, three French gun-boats were working along from the southward, by the shore, where the troops had been landed. The boats of the Firebrand, Furious, and Zeopardhad been digging out their own paddle-box boats and flats which had been swamped in the surf, and were half buried in the sand. At 10.16 these steamers weighed and proceeded to the flag-ship. At this moment fifteen gun-boats were blazing away over the mortar-boats and batteries. Some heavily-armed French steamers and the Odin were firing. Shells were bursting over the fort, which was firing very rapidly. The Russian gunners could be seen, standing up boldly on the rampart, sponge and rammer in hand, loading and firing away as if they were at exercise. When one was knocked over, another jumped up. Three of them were enough to work each gun; one to work the elevating-screw and let the gun slip down the incline to run it out; one to lay and fire (the recoil sent it in again); one man to sponge, &c. This accounts for their killed being so few. 11. 30. Signal made to Valorous to weigh immediately ; also to Sidon, Curacoa, and Gladiator to follow; Firebrand to go in at once, engaging batteries at both sides. The two earth-and-sand batteries on the spit were spitting away merrily out of their ugly mouths. It was not a pleasant thing to look at their square black embrasures, looking like five or six old black tobacco-stained teeth stuck in a fury's upper gum, and to see they were only waiting to get you in a favourable position to open fire upon you at 500 yards. The Curacoa went in at them in a business-like way; the Dauntless very gingerly and circumspectly indeed—remarkably careful; but the Terrible hammered them so hard as almost to bury them in a heap of stony sand. She did her work admirably, and nearly shut them up. It was a brilliant sight to see the Valorous, Sidon, Firebrand, and Gladiator run in to 800 yards, engaging north shore; then run down to within 500 yards of the sand battery, engaging that; and then float into the calm waters at the Dnieper's mouth, where few British ships nave floated before. Noon. The liners going to work. The barracks in the fort burning fiercely, especially round where the Russian colours were hoisted. Their guns firing rapidly still. 12. 30. The line-of-battle ships opened at once; the Hannibal alone bestowed her attentions at a most respectable distance upon the sand-batteries. Her brave Admiral Stewart had gone into the Valorous. But this was not peril enough, so he hoisted his pretty white ensign on a small steam gun-boat, the little Pilot Fish, in front of all, and there he led in his little squadron like a gallant dashing fellow as he is. 2. 30. A flag of truce was hoisted, and the whole Russian garrison marched out under arms. The gunners from the sand-forts marched in, bearing on stretchers their wounded; one dead; they buried him, stretcher and all, in the sand, stuck up a rude cross at his head, and marched doggedly on. The Allied troops marched into the fort, and the union of Red Ensign and Tri-colour was seen on high. The General and officers of the Russian battalion were made to pile their arms outside the fort. The muskets were new, and in first-rate condition. They walked on, bearing the banners and ornaments of their church, and were placed under a French guard at the headquarters, about three miles south of the town. They formed one complete battalion, two Colonels, 4 Majors, 4 Captains, and about 1200 men. The loss is said to be about 100 killed and wounded, very few being killed. The English lost two men by the bursting of 68-pounder guns of the Arrow gun-boat, one or two wounded. The French lost about 27, in their floating batteries."
Subsequently the fortress of Otchakoff, on the right bank of the Bug, was blown up by the Russians, and the place evacuated.
The operations of the squadron in the White Sea in 1855, were confined to blockading the ports, and the capture of a few prizes.
On the 10th of September the Admiralty received despatches from Admiral Bruce, commander-in-chief of the vessels on the Pacific station, stating that the Russian squadron had departed from Petropaulovski, and that the place was completely evacuated. It appeared that, since 1854, the Russians had constructed some formidable batteries; these, however, were utterly destroyed by the British forces. Two men, belonging to the fleet which visited the station in 1854, had been left; these were, through the exertions of Admiral Bruce, delivered up to the English, who brought them away. The squadron diligently searched every port and inlet in order to discover if any vessel belonging to the enemy remained on or near the station; but no enemy could be discovered, except a Russian whaler, of about 400 tons, which was deserted; this vessel the Admiral ordered to be destroyed.