Copyright
Edward Bruce Hamley.

The war in the Crimea online

. (page 1 of 20)
Online LibraryEdward Bruce HamleyThe war in the Crimea → online text (page 1 of 20)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook


GIFT OF
MICHAEL REE&E





..



THE



WAR IN THE CRIMEA



BY



GENERAL SIR EDWARD HAMLEY, K.C B.

n



With Portraits and Plans




LONDON

SEELEY AND CO., LIMITED

ESSEX STREET, STRAND

1891



CONTENTS.



CHAPTER I.

EVENTS WHICH LED TO THE WAR IN THE CRIMEA.

Why Russia covets Constantinople Why other Powers oppose her Desire Why the
Time seemed Favourable The Czar's Confidence in his Design The Quarrel
of the Churches The Sultan accedes to the Czar's Claim Russia puts forth Fresh
Pretensions The Vienna Note Turkey declares War with Russia How England
was drawn into War How the Czar was misled into War His False View of
the English Spirit England supports Turkey Why Louis Napoleon joined with
England Result of sending Allied Fleets to the Bosphorus Russia chafes the
Western Nations France and England declare War The War at first on the
Danube Austria's Summons to the Czar The Russians leave the Danube The
Allies turn their Designs to the Crimea Feeling excited in England, . i

CHAPTER II.

THE LANDING IN THE CRIMEA.

Prospects of the Invasion Instructions to the British Commander A Siege contem-
plated Preparations for Invasion The Cholera The Fleets and Flotillas
Composition of the English Army Its Commanders The French Generals
Description of the Crimea Its Products and Population The Coast recon-
noitered The Landing Place The Troops landed Transport obtained, . 24

CHAPTER III.

BATTLE OF THE ALMA.

Operations open to the Russians The Bulganak reached The Valley of the Alma
The Russian Bank Omissions of the Russian Commanders The French
ascend the Heights Position in Front of the British Russian Forces there
Delay to allow French to gain Heights English ordered to advance First
Onset of the English The Light and Second Divisions The Russian Heavy
Guns withdrawn Our First Onset fails Advance of the Guards and Highlanders
English Artillery in the Action General Retreat of the Russians The Losses
Tactical Views of the Battle General Advance wanting in ensemble The
Cavalry-, .......... 42



iv Contents.

V

CHAPTER IV.

THE MARCH ROUND SEBASTOPOL TO BALAKLAVA.

March to the Belbec Question of attacking the North Side Menschikoff bars the
Harbour Reasons against Attack of North Side Todleben's Strange Con-
tention Impolicy of moving Allies Inland The Flank March begun
Rencontre with Menschikoff s Rear The English reach the Tchernaya First
View of Balaklava Question of Bases for the Two Armies Lord Raglan
chooses Balaklava Features of the South Side Positions of the Allies, . 66

CHAPTER V.

BEGINNING OF THE SIEGE.

Sir John Burgoyne Our First Siege Batteries Chapman's and Gordon's The First
French Batteries Co-operation of the Fleets demanded The Fleets to join
in the Cannonade Ships versus Forts Risk to no Purpose Positions of the
Fleets The Cannonade begins French Fire silenced English Fire successful
Losses on both Sides Action of the Fleets English Batteries still
efficient, . . . . . . . . . . ' 91

CHAPTER VI.

ATTACKED AT BALAKLAVA AND ON THE UPLAND.

Outworks before Balaklava Russians capture Them Movements of the Heavy
Brigade Charge of the Heavy Brigade Russian Cavalry defeated The Orders
to the Light Brigade Russians both sides of Valley Nolan and Lord
Lucan Charge of the Light Brigade Charge of the Chasseurs Return of
the Light Brigade Close of the Action No Attempt at Recapture Weak
Point in Allied Defences French Measures too exclusive First Action of
Inkerman Object of it The Sandbag Battery Preparation for an Assault
Assembly of Russian Forces, ... .... 109

CHAPTER VII.

BATTLE OF INKERMAN.

Rumours before the Battle Description of the Ground British Position The Russian
Plan of Battle How carried out Proximity of Corps to Battlefield Soimonoff
attacks Effects of the Fog Soimonoff's Right in Advance The British
repulse Him Pauloff's Troops engage Pauloff also repulsed Causes of Russian
Repulses Dannenberg's Attacks Greater Obstinacy of the Attack Action and
Death of Cathcart The French drive back the Russians Allies defeat another
Resolute Attack Allied Artillery begins to prevail What delayed Bosquet
Crisis before the French arrived Gortschakoffs part Close of the Battle
Terrible Carnage The Operations discussed The Attack suitably met The
Sandbag Battery Russian Exaggeration What was at Stake Consequence
of Victory, .......... 131



Contents. v

CHAPTER VIII.

THE HURRICANE AND THE WINTER.

The Hurricane Its Effects Privations of the Troops Want of Transport Transport
done by the Men The Cavalry Horses starved Sufferings of the Sick The
Hospitals Indignation in England The French take part of our Duties
Relief begins Why a Road was not made at first Roads now made Improve-
ment in the Hospitals Miss Nightingale arrives The Influence she acquires
The Ratio of Deaths Resignation of the Ministry The Crimean Commission
The Commissary-General blamed Defends himself General Airey refutes
Charges Departments have their Proper Limits The Fault lay in the
System, .......... 165

CHAPTER IX.

EXTENSION OF THE SIEGE WORKS AND DEFENCES.

Burgoyne's Proposal for our Relief The French prefer another Mode Want of
Fuel in the Camps Fortress increasing in Strength New System of Rifle-
pits Underground Warfare New Russian Works Failure of the French
Attack Great Sortie against the French and English Trenches The Burial
Truce Charles Gordon's Experiences Russians recross the Tchernaya Niel's
View of the Operations Burgoyne goes Home Renewed Preparations
Another Cannonade The Russians slow to reply Severity of Fire upon the
Fortress Two Well-fought Batteries Carnage in Sebastopol Impatience for
Assault, .......... 190

CHAPTER X.

IMPORTANT EVENTS ELSEWHERE.

Death of the Czar The Vienna Conference Louis Napoleon's Plan He intends
to go to the Crimea Lord Clarendon sent to dissuade him The Emperor
visits the Queen Terms proposed at Vienna Austria frames a Proposal The
Emperor abandons his Intention English Advocates of Russian Interests
First Embarkation for Kertch The Expedition recalled Conference of Com-
manders Canrobert resigns the Command, . . . . .215



CHAPTER XL

THE NEW GENERAL.

Errors in the Emperor's Theory Pelissier's View of the Problem His Previous Action
in May He declares his Determination Niel remonstrates in vain Displeasure
of the Emperor Course taken by Vaillant New Russian Work The French
attack it And capture it Expedition to Kertch Its Complete Success The
Extended Position Ancient Remains Valley of Baidar, ; . .230



vi Contents.

CHAPTER XII.

A SUCCESSION OF CONFLICTS.

The Emperor persists in his Plan Pelissier opposes it The Objects of the Attack
Assault of the White Works Assault of the Mamelon The Struggle for
' it Assault of the Quarries The Emperor still persists Error of Pelissier
His* Second Error His Insufficient Reason Failure at the Malakoff Failure
at the Redan A Partial Success Todleben wounded Pelissier's Persistency
in Prosecuting the Siege Vaillant sides with Pelissier Death of Lord
Raglan His Funeral Sufferings of the Defenders Russian Plans of Battle
Russian Advance for Battle Battle of the Tchernaya Retreat of the
Russians Russian Losses in the War, ...... 246

CHAPTER XIII.

THE DESTRUCTION OF SEBASTOPOL.

What Gortschakoff saw in Sebastopol Yet he resolves to sustain an Assault French
Plan of Assault The Final Bombardment The French Attacking Forces
The English The Assault Cost of taking the Malakoff Failure of the
French elsewhere Failure at the Redan Predominance of the Malakoff
Incidents on Following Days Constancy of the Garrison Final Destruction
of the Fleet, . . . . . . . -273

CHAPTER XIV.

THE CLOSE OF THE WAR.

A Further Question Views of the Emperor and his Generals Fresh Operations
Destruction of the Docks The Government's Wish to push on Vaillant's
Views Pelissier's Views Excellent State of the British Army A Diplomatic
Difficult}' The Emperor and the Queen New Proposal of Russia Good
Faith of Louis Napoleon The Treaty of Peace Strength of the British
Army-VrKTjResults of the War Russia repudiates the Treaty later England
retains Interest in the Crimea The Graves of the Crimea All that remains
of the War, . . . . . . ... . .289



LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS.



PAGE

PORTRAIT OF LORD RAGLAN, ..... Frontispiece

MAP OF PART OF THE CRIMEA, ...... 35

PLAN OF THE BATTLE OF THE ALMA, ..... 47

MAP OF THE CHERSONESE UPLAND, 75

PLAN OF SEBASTOPOL, ....... 89

PORTRAIT OF GENERAL TODLEBEN, ..... 90

PLAN OF THE BATTLEFIELD OF INKERMAN, . . . -135

PORTRAIT OF THE EMPEROR NICHOLAS, .... 2l6

COUNCIL OF WAR BEFORE THE ASSAULT OF THE MAMELON, . 248



t * The plates oj Lord Raglan and the Cotmcil of War arc cngraijed
by permission of Messrs Henry Graves & Co.




THE WAR IN THE CRIMEA.

CHAPTER I.

EVENTS WHICH LED TO THE WAR IN THE CRIMEA.

Why Russia covets Constantinople Why other Powers oppose her De-
sire Why the Time seemed Favourable The Czar's Confidence
in his Design The Quarrel of the Churches The Sultan accedes
to the Czar's Claim Russia puts forth Fresh Pretensions The
Vienna Note Turkey declares War with Russia How England
was drawn into War How the Czar was misled into War His
False View of the English Spirit England supports Turkey
Why Louis Napoleon joined with England Result of sending
Allied Fleets to the Bosphorus Russia chafes the Western Nations
France and England declare War The War at first on the
Danube Austria's Summons to the Czar The Russians leave the
Danube The Allies turn their Designs to the Crimea Feeling
excited in England.

IN considering the Empire of Russia it might at first
sight appear that a country at once so vast and so back-
ward in civilisation would find ample employment for
the wisest and most energetic ruler in endeavours to
develop in all directions physical, intellectual, and moral
its latent resources, rather than in the maintenance of
great armies for designs of conquest. And that this
course would greatly increase the wealth and influence

of Russia, and the happiness of its people, cannot te

A



2 Why Russia covets Constantinople.

doubted. But there are other considerations which have
prevailed to dictate a policy of aggression.

In the first place, what we call progress is opposed to
absolutism. If the immense populations of such vast
portions of the earth were imbued with the ideas of the
peoples of Europe, they would no longer submit to
the will of one man ; and when under these circum-
stances a Czar should become impossible, no one can
say what kind of government, or what number of separate
governments, might replace him. For the maintenance
of his power it is necessary to keep the people ignorant,
and, further, to divert their attention from their own lot by
fixing it on the alluring spectacle of foreign conquests.

Yet, besides this motive, it must be confessed that a
great temptation stands for ever before the eye of a Czar
when he looks towards Turkey. He sees there all that
Russia wants to give her power and prosperity commen-
surate with the extent of her dominion. He sees the
beautiful harbours of the Bosphorus, whence a Russian
navy, secured from all enemies by the narrow passage of
the Dardanelles, might dominate the Mediterranean ;
and he sees, too, a city marked out by nature to be-
come a splendid capital, and an overflowing emporium
of commerce. Possessed of these, he need set no limit
to his dreams of the greatness of Russia. It is not
surprising, therefore, if a race of rulers, not less un-
scrupulous and ambitious than autocrats in general
have proved to be, should always have looked on
Constantinople as what ought to be their own.

Fortunately for Turkey, and the world, there are



Why other Powers oppose her Desire. 3

many difficulties in the way of the realisation of these
aspirations. No other Power can desire that a rival should
attain to such an overshadowing height. Neither England,
nor France, nor Italy, nor Germany, could with indiffer-
ence see Russia acquire such means of bringing her huge
force to bear. And Austria has an interest beyond others
in preventing the design. For Russia, if established in
Turkey, would enclose within her new territory a large
portion of the Austrian Empire, producing there a state
of permanent insecurity and alarm, and would, more-
over, include and control the lower Danube.

It is, therefore, only at some favourable conjuncture
that Russia can hope to prosecute her cherished design.
And in the beginning of 1853 circumstances seemed
to be exceptionally promising. The Emperor of
Austria, almost a boy, repaid with affection and rever-
ence the kindness evinced for him by the potent and
experienced autocrat. He was, too, under an obli-
gation of the most onerous kind to his great neigh-
bour, who, when Austria was almost crushed by
Hungary, had intervened, suppressed the revolt, and
restored the discontented kingdom to its allegiance.
Moreover, the Kaiser had allowed himself just then to
assume an attitude menacing to the Porte, for, in sup-
pressing an insurrection in Montenegro, the Turkish
troops, operating near the Austrian frontier, had re-
ceived from him a peremptory notice to withdraw.
The Czar had readily joined in enforcing the demand,
and thus it happened that Austria found herself acting
with Russia against Turkey a position which illus-



4 Why the Time seemed Favourable.

trates the consequences that may ensue when a State
allows itself to be drawn into trivial issues divergent
from its main policy. Nicholas, therefore, assumed
with confidence that he would meet with no opposi-
tion from the Kaiser.

Prussia's interest in the question was not so obvious
or pressing as Austria's, while the King (the Czar's
brother-in-law) had always expressed for him the utmost
deference, a sentiment which was found to be a constant
source of difficulty when endeavours were made for the
concurrent action of the Four Great Powers.

As to France, it was not easy to foresee what policy
might commend itself to Louis Napoleon. New to the
throne, and engaged in feeling around for support in
that as yet precarious seat, no indications were visible
of the course to which his interests might incline him.
But whatever his tendencies might prove to be, it seemed
very unlikely that the Empire would begin its career as
a belligerent either by singly opposing Russia, or by
ranging itself against England, who, in the course of the
summer, gave proof, in a great naval review, of her
ability to bring a paramount influence into any military
enterprise in which command of the sea would be a
main condition.

Assuming, then, that Austria were favourable, or
neutral, the course which England might take became
the prime consideration. Hitherto she had done no-
thing to encourage the design of Russia, for to maintain
Turkey as an independent state was her traditional
policy. But, in the long interval of peace since Waterloo,



The Czar s Confidence in his Design. 5

not only had we given no sign of an intention to support
that policy by force of arms, but we were believed to
be absorbed as a people in those commercial pursuits
of the success of which peace is one very favouring
condition ; while, as if to emphasise this supposed
state of feeling, Lord Aberdeen, our Prime Minister,
had become noted for his repugnance to any course
which might tend to a resort to arms. The Czar was
led by all these considerations to believe that the oppor-
tunity had come for giving effect to the idea which,
during his visit to England in 1844, he had conveyed to
the British Government. While expressing his convic-
tion " that it was for the common interest of Russia and
England that the Ottoman Porte should maintain itself
in a condition of independence," yet "they must not
conceal from themselves how many elements of dis-
solution that empire contains within itself: unforeseen
circumstances may hasten its fall"; and thence he came
to the conclusion that "the danger which may result
from a catastrophe in Turkey will be much diminished
if Russia and England have come to an understanding
as to the course to be taken by them in common." It
was in unison with these utterances that he addressed
to Sir Hamilton Seymour, the British Ambassador at
St Petersburgh, on the Qth of January 1853, the parable
which has become historical.

Meanwhile, a cause of dispute already existed be-
tween Russia and Turkey. A jealousy had long been
cherished between the monks of the Greek and Latin
Churches in the Holy Land which of these should



6 Tae Quarrel of the Churches.

enjoy most privilege and consideration was a question
that, some little time before, had once more risen into
prominence. Which of them should enter earliest in
the day into the Church of the Holy Sepulchre at
Jerusalem, or should have possession of the key of the
Great Church of Bethlehem, were the questions of
immediate concern. The Czar took up warmly the
cause of the Greek Church, of which he was the head,
and which looked to him as its champion ; and it may
be urged in reply to those who look on the dispute
as trivial, that it did not seem so to the Russian people,
and, therefore, could not seem so to the Czar. The
French Emperor had taken the side of the Latin
Church. It is not to be supposed that he could be
actuated by any superstitious, or even earnest, feeling
in favour of such claims. But he was only following
the policy pursued by the French monarchy in 1819,
during a similar ferment of the question, when it claimed
to act as the hereditary protector of the Catholics in
the East since the time of Francis the First, and he
must therefore be acquitted of taking his course merely
from a desire to do what was hostile or provocative to
Russia. Each of these sovereigns endeavoured to put
pressure on the Sultan for a decision in favour of his own
clients ; and that hapless potentate, who could not be
expected to evince any warmer sentiment than tolera-
tion towards either of the two infidel sects, which every
true Mahometan must hold in abhorrence, made it his
aim to satisfy both sovereigns, and offend neither. But
his attempt, though clever, was ineffectual, and the



The Sultan accedes to the Czars Claim. 7

result was that he only partially satisfied the Latin
sect, while he excited such indignation, real or simu-
lated, in the Czar, that Nicholas at once moved two
army corps to the frontier of the Danubian Princi-
palities as. a menace, and immediately afterwards sent
Prince Menschikoff as a Special Envoy to Constantin-
ople, whose instructions must have been such as were
quite inconsistent with a desire for an amicable settle-
ment, for the British Ambassador described the language
conveying his demands as "a mixture of angry com-
plaints and friendly assurances, accompanied with per-
emptory requisitions as to the Holy Places in Palestine,
indications of some ulterior views, and a general tone
of insistence bordering sometimes on intimidation."

Thus the hostile menace was made to appear to
turn on the matter of the Holy Places. But, in con-
sidering the origin of the war, it must not be forgotten
that all the Czar professed to demand was the posses-
sion, and possibly the monopoly, of certain religious
privileges, whereas the event which he desired to pre-
cipitate was something very different, and entirely dis-
proportionate, namely, the dismemberment of Turkey.
This was presently made plain when the Sultan put
an end to the immediate dispute by acceding to the
claims of Menschikoff. The question of the Holy
Places, thus settled, could no longer supply the pretext
for war ; what it did supply was the opportunity for
prolonging the quarrel, by confusing fresh demands
with the original dispute, and for rousing religious
feeling in Russia against Turkey. Accordingly, the






Russia puts forth Fresh Pretensions.

Czar's Envoy, instead of accepting the concession as
closing the dispute, put forth a fresh and larger pre-
tension, requiring the Sultan to join in a convention
which would virtually give Nicholas the protectorate
of all the Christian subjects of the Porte. The nature
of this demand was thus characterised by our Foreign
Secretary, Lord Clarendon : " No sovereign, having v
proper regard for his own dignity and independence,
could admit proposals which conferred upon another
and more powerful sovereign a right of protection over
his own subjects. Fourteen millions of Greeks would
henceforth regard the Emperor as their supreme pro-
tector, and their allegiance to the Sultan would be
little more than nominal, while his own independence
would dwindle into vassalage." And, indeed, there was
a terrible precedent to warn Turkey, for the Empress
Catherine had claimed a similar protectorate in Poland,
in which she had very soon found the means of extend-
ing her dominion over its territory.

The Sultan's Ministers, therefore, no doubt counselled
and supported by our Ambassador, Lord Stratford, who
exercised a control over our relations with Turkey of a
singularly independent character, promptly refused to
entertain MenschikofFs proposal. To this refusal the
Czar responded by causing his troops, on the 2d of
July, to pass the frontier river, the Pruth, and occupy
the Danubian Principalities ; and next day he issued a
manifesto, stating that in doing so " it was not his in-
tention to commence war, but to have such security as
would ensure the restoration of the rights of Russia."



Tke Vienna Note. 9

This^ invasion might have been justly met by the
Sultan with a counter declaration of war, and the mar-
tial spirit of his people was so thoroughly roused as to
render the step imminent. But the Western Powers,
in their solicitude to preserve peace, stayed it for a
moment, while the representatives of France, England,
Austria, and Prussia, met in conference at Vienna, in
the hope of rinding a means of averting war. They
framed a diplomatic instrument known as the Vienna
Note, which, in their eagerness to soothe the Czar, was
couched in terms that might be interpreted as sanction-
ing his pretensions, and which indeed (as the Austrian
Government had taken means to ascertain) he would
accept. On receiving this Note he at once signified
his readiness to assent to it. The reply of the Turkish
Government was not so speedily given, and the Media-
tory Powers strongly urged it to signify acceptance.
But when its reply came, it was found to point out that
the Note could be construed as re-embodying the danger-
ous pretensions of the Czar, and that, unless certain
specified modifications were introduced, the Porte must
refuse its assent ; while Lord Stratford advised his
Government that these objections were well founded.
This made fresh correspondence necessary, in the course
of which it slipped out that the Russian interpretation
of the Note confirmed the apprehensions of the Porte.
The Mediatory Powers, at last aware of their singular
error, perceived that their Note could be held to affirm
new rights of interference on the part of Russia, and not
merely (as the Czar had hitherto pretended) the confir-



io Tiirkey declares War with Russia.

mation of old privileges. They could no longer, there-
fore, support their original Note ; the Czar, on his part,
refused to accept the Turkish modifications of it, and
the Porte felt itself compelled to demand the evacuation
of the Principalities within fifteen days, with war as the
alternative. This summons being disregarded, a state
of war between the two countries ensued on the 23d
October 1853; but for some time no acts of hostility
took place beyond the assembly and movement of their
respective forces.

The course of events that led to war between Russia
and Turkey having been thus traced, it remains to follow
the steps by which the Western Powers were drawn on
to join in it. It has often been said that England drifted
into the war. This was so far true that there was for us
no sharp crisis, no clash of great national interests, which
only the appeal to arms could compose. Our part in the
war was the result of a state of feeling gradually aroused
by observation of what was passing in the East, and of
the steps which the British Government, with intentions
anything but warlike, had slowly taken, tending to
commit it to the active support of Turkey. Up to the
time (after the issuing of the Turkish ultimatum) when
the French and English fleets were ordered to move
to the Bosphorus, it had been possible for England
to restrict her part to the field of diplomacy. And
that she should have committed herself to the side of
Turkey was not due to her traditional policy only,


1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20

Online LibraryEdward Bruce HamleyThe war in the Crimea → online text (page 1 of 20)