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an earthquake, and combined, with the red light glowing
murkily against the canopy of smoke, to render the scene

Predominance of the Malakoff. 285

terrific. Soon after daybreak an explosion more tremen-
dous than the rest seemed to blow the city and suburb
against the sky, a vast cloud rising in earthy volumes and
darkening the sun. Beneath it the bridge was seen to be
disconnected from the southern shore, and the last of the
retiring troops were descried ascending the opposing
slope. Divided by the harbour, the hostile armies, from
the heights, looked on the destruction of the city, which
seemed a fitting conclusion to the hardships and the
conflicts of the immense hosts that had contended for
it. Copious libations of blood marked this final sacrifice.
The French lost, in all, 7567 officers and men ; Generals
St Pol, Marolles, Ponteves, Rivet, and Breton were
killed ; Bosquet, Mellinet, Bourbaki, and Trochu were
wounded. The English lost 2271 officers and men;
Generals Warren, Straubenzee, and Shirley among the
wounded. The Russians lost, on this last day, 12,913
officers and men ; two generals killed, and five wounded.
Next day access to the Malakoff showed how com-
pletely it dominated the surrounding works. It looked
into the interior of the Redan, swept in its view every
corner of the suburb, was only 1200 yards from the har-
bour, and commanded, within range, the only anchorage
of the fleet, as well as the bridge which formed the sole
line of retreat for the Russians. In consideration of its
importance, Todleben had lavished on it all possible
means of defence, making of it a citadel, and in order
to guard against an attack on its rear by an enemy who
might have penetrated elsewhere, he had closed the
gorge, a precaution, however, which had the grave dis-

286 Incidents on following Days.

advantage of assuring possession of it to the French
when they had once succeeded in expelling its garrison.
On the other hand, the Redan showed an open interior
space, which, widening from the salient to the rear, en-
abled the troops assembling in its defence always to
enter in great force, and to present a front more exten-
sive than that of the assailants. These different condi-
tions in some degree account for success on one point,
failure on the other.

The explosions still continued on the Qth, when in
the afternoon Fort Paul was completely blown into the
air; a failure in the firing arrangement prevented Fort
Nicholas from following it. On this day the dead were
brought out for burial. The open space between the
Curtain and the intrenchment in rear of it, and the
corner of the Little Redan, were heaped with slain.
The explosion of a great magazine in this latter work
had opened a chasm there, which was now made the
grave of the Russians ; while the French killed in this
part of the assault were brought out and laid on the
grass before the Curtain, extending in long rows, accord-
ing to their regiments, to the number of more than a
thousand. One part of this space was heaped with the
wreck of the two field batteries, and the bodies of the
artillerymen and horses.

On the loth the Vladimir crossed the harbour,
under a flag of truce, to ask for certain of the wounded
which, in the retreat of the garrison, had been left be-
hind in a hospital. The building was very spacious,
and in it was concentrated an extraordinary amount of

Constancy of the Garrison. 287

human misery. It had afforded shelter to 2000 des-
perately wounded men. They had lain here two days
and nights, without aid, without nourishment, surrounded
by the din of explosions, and by flaming buildings,
which alone dispelled for them the darkness of night.
In one vast room were 700, many of whom had under-
gone amputation, and who were all dead of misery,
lying in blood on their beds, or on the floor as they
had writhed on to it. Five hundred were still alive, and
were conveyed to the Vladimir. Three English officers
wounded and captured in the assault were found here,
who lived long enough to be conveyed to camp.

Perhaps even stronger testimony to the unhappy
condition of the garrison was afforded by the provision
made for sheltering the troops who occupied the works.
Huge subterranean barracks had been dug under the
ramparts, the earth above being supported on the trunks
of trees. These dismal chambers were entered by
tunnels, and it was here that the troops destined to
oppose assaults found all the repose that could be given
to them when not immediately called on to face the
unrelenting iron storm which swept across the open
space of the interior. Phrases can hardly do justice
to the constancy, the military spirit, of a soldiery that
could, under such conditions, readily obey the call which
brought them to the last struggle, and so bear themselves
in it that their enemies had everywhere recoiled, except
at one point. The only vulnerable spot of the defences
had proved to be that on which every resource of war had
most profusely been brought to bear, and success here

288 Final Destruction of the Fleet.

had been achieved almost by accident. Pelissier tersely
expressed how sharp had been the crisis, how doubtful
the chance, when he said, " We were four all, and I turned
the king." Vast consequences were involved in the fate of
the Malakoff, for the chiefs of engineers and artillery, in
face of the fact that we were again brought round to the
time of year at which we had first approached Sebas-
topol, had come to the conviction that, if the place were
not taken before winter, it would, as a matter of course,
be necessary to raise the siege ; and they had gone on
to the deduction that it was therefore indispensable to
hasten its conclusion by an immediate assault.

Next day two eight-inch guns, placed on the espla-
nade of the town, were brought to bear on the Vladimir,
hulling her several times. In the night the Russians
consummated the sacrifice of all that they had fought
to defend by burning or sinking the remainder of their
war-vessels. Morning saw of the Black Sea Fleet no
tokens except protruding stumps of masts, and frag-
ments floating on the waters a sight which any Turk
who may have chanced to survive the massacre of
Sinope must be thought to have surveyed with peculiar



A Further Question Views of the Emperor and His Generals Operations
at Eupatoria and Kinburn Destruction of the Docks The Govern-
ment's Wish to push on Vaillant's Views Pelissier's Views Ex-
cellent State of the British Army A Diplomatic Difficulty The
Emperor and the Queen New Proposal of Russia Good Faith of
Louis Napoleon The Treaty of Peace Strength of the British
Army The Results 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.

MASTERS of the smoking ruins, and thus far relieved
from a huge difficulty, the Allies did not yet see clearly
the way before them. The Russian army, now become,
by its close connection with the Inkerman heights, al-
together a field army, defied them from beyond the
harbour ; and although the objects with which the war
had been undertaken were accomplished, yet the fact
that the enemy still held the field could not be ignored.
The question, What was to be done next ? was taken
up and dealt with by Louis Napoleon himself. " The
Emperor wants to know your projects," Vaillant tele-
graphed to Pelissier ; " he hopes you will not run your
head against the fortified Mackenzie position, but will
manoeuvre like a skilful general." Next day Louis
Napoleon, in a letter to his Minister in London, set forth
his views. He wished to turn the month of October to

290 Views of the Emperor and His Generals.

account by a forward movement of the army, its right
wing in advance, so as to force the Russians to abandon
their positions near Sebastopol by threatening their com-
munications. He went on to observe, that when the
Allies should be thus masters of the Crimea, they would
occupy themselves with filling in the trenches, repairing
the land defences, taking care of the docks and barracks,
and re-establishing the harbour as a port. They would
then abandon the Crimea, keeping Sebastopol only, and
leaving there a garrison and a fleet. They would thus hold
an important gage, until Russia, who could not hope to re-
take the fortress, should consent to treat ; and, instead of
further destruction, they should repair the establishments
of the town as much as possible, in order to have some-
thing of value to offer. He also wrote to Pelissier,
urging him to use the .last of the fine weather in an
advance upon Simpheropol, which the reinforcement of
the Russian Army would render impossible next year.
Niel took the same view. But Pelissier was not to be
persuaded to abandon his own opinions. " I have been
using my troops to feel for a way of advancing on my
right. The Russians keep their positions behind the
rocky heights, which extend from Inkerman beyond
Simpheropol ; they have garnished the gaps in them
with artillery, and made them more difficult to force
than the ramparts of Sebastopol. In engaging there in
bloody combats, producing no results, we might throw
away the good position we have gained. But I will
attack if you give the order." To appear, however, to
comply with the desire for action, so far as he deemed

Operations at Eupatoria and Kinburn. 291

safe, he left only one French Division with the English on
the Upland, and spread his army along the Tchernaya,
and into the valley of Baidar ; and at the same time
sent a force of cavalry and guns to Eupatoria to operate
with the Turks from that place against the Russian corps
observing it, where some success was gained over the
enemy's cavalry ; and the Allied Generals were encour-
aged by it to augment the forces there (of which General
D'Allonville commanded the whole) by a Division of
French infantry and a brigade of English cavalry.

Also, a combined operation was undertaken against
Kinburn, where the rivers Dnieper and Bug flow into
a wide estuary, after forming highways for transport
through districts affording abundant supplies. On one
of these, at Nikolaieff, was a great naval station and
arsenal. An English brigade, under General Spencer,
and a French brigade, under General De Wimpffen,
both commanded by General Bazaine, were disem-
barked, under cover of a combined naval squadron,
whereupon the troops and ships together brought an
attack to bear which in a few hours caused the place
to surrender. With it the Russian Army in the Crimea
lost another important source of supply.

All this time the British Ministers were not entirely
at one with the Emperor. Sharing his desire for a for-
ward movement of the armies, they strongly opposed
his idea of conserving the maritime establishments of
Sebastopol. In this they had much reason. It had
always been evident that Russia could have no object
in maintaining a war fleet in this inland sea, where

292 Destruction of the Docks.

her commerce between shore and shore could need no
protection, except to use it in prosecuting her designs
on her neighbour's territory. It was quite in accordance
with logic, therefore, when we had just been rejoicing over
the destruction of the Russian Fleet, that we should de-
stroy the means of restoring that fleet now that they
lay in our power. As to preserving them in order to
have something to treat with, no provision on paper
that we could wring from so slippery an antagonist,
against the undue use of his naval power, could compare
in efficacy with the step of leaving him no naval power
to use. Pressed by the British Government, the Emperor
consented. Between Christmas and February the French
and British engineers destroyed the great docks, the
remaining forts and barracks on the south side of the
harbour, and the aqueducts which supplied the docks.

The minor successes at Eupatoria and Kinburn by
no means satisfied the desire either of the Emperor or of
the British Government for a more complete and sub-
stantial triumph. The military situation, where the
Allies on the one side of the Tchernaya, the Russians
on the other, stood face to face, each defying their enemy
to attack, presented itself under different aspects. Under
one of these, it seemed as if the Allies, pent in their
corner, though they had gained the immediate prize,
could not claim a victory so long as a Russian army was
in the field ready to fight them. Under another, it might
appear that the Allies, having destroyed that standing
menace to Turkey, the Russian Fleet, with its arsenal
and docks, thus attaining the grand object for which

The Government's Wish to push on. 293

they had resorted to arms, might well be content to hold
what they had gained, and to see the enemy squander his
remaining strength in maintaining an army under such
difficulties as he must find in doing so at the extremity
of the Empire. Louis Napoleon, as was inevitable, viewed
the case with reference to the effect on his own hold on
France. It seemed to him that he still had to satisfy the
Country and the Army. This thought set his imagination
once more at work in the region of strategy. He had a
vision of a great army, based on Kinburn, invading Russia
by the bank of the Dnieper, and thus compelling its army
to leave the Crimea and move towards the threatened
territory. This project, laconically disposed of by Vail-
lant, seems never to have been under general discus-
sion. The British Government, equally desirous of active
operations, left the mode of execution to the generals
on the spot. " It is important," Lord Clarendon wrote
to Lord Cowley, so late as the 3ist October, "to give
positive orders to the Generals in Chief to drive the
Russians out of the Crimea before the bad season sets
in. If this is found impossible, at any rate we might
harass them daily during the winter, so as to force them
to retreat before spring. The military honour, and the
political interests, of France and England require this
triumph and this guarantee ; we must have it at any
price. Even during the winter our Fleets can so trans-
port our troops as to harass and threaten the Russians
on all sides ; in any case, something may be done to
increase their difficulties and diminish their prestige."
On the other hand, Vaillant, whatever his views earlier


294 Vail I an fs Views.

in the autumn, now thought it too late for action. He
discussed all the projects for active operations. "We
cannot, from our position at Kinburn, seriously threaten
the Russian communications. On their right towards
Eupatoria, on their left on the Mackenzie heights, the
enemy are covered by obstacles, natural and artificial,
which defend all the approaches to the vast intrenched
camp which they occupy north of Sebastopol. Every-
where they have retired behind their formidable lines,
without risking an engagement, as soon as the Allies
have moved forward. The difficulties of the roads, the
want of water, the absence of resources of all kinds, have
forced General D'Allonville to fall back on Eupatoria, as
they forced Marshal Pelissier to retire into the valley
of Baidar after having pushed forward on the road to
Bakshisarai. In this situation, the greater part of our
Forces in the Crimea have become useless, and the
measure of withdrawing all that can be withdrawn,
without risk to our position there, appears to us reason-
able. Should the British Government not think itself
able to adopt this course, in view of adverse public
opinion in England, the French Government ought in
strictness to renounce it ; but in maintaining all their
present forces in the Crimea, these must be kept in
their present winter quarters on the Chersonese, without
exhausting themselves in vain and perhaps perilous at-
tempts, which the winter must r ender nearly impractic-
able." On the original draft of this reply the Emperor
wrote : " I find this Note perfect." Pelissier, too, renewed
his objections to any forward movement. He disposed

Ptlissiers Views. 295

of the Emperor's project for operating from Kinburn
by endeavouring to show it to be impracticable. He
considered it necessary, in the interests of the alliance,
that the French and English Armies should no longer
operate together, and set forth a plan for retaining
a proportion of the French Forces round Sebastopol,
at Kinburn, and at Constantinople, and sending the
rest back to France, while the English, with the Turks,
should occupy Kertch, and operate in Circassia towards
Tiflis. France would thus be ready to meet a possible
endeavour of Russia to transfer the war to Germany at a
time when the Crimea would otherwise still absorb the
strength of the French Army. A little later he expressed
himself still more strongly. " Thank God it is not diffi-
culties which frighten me. The capture of Sebastopol
of which the chiefs of this Army, and others greater
than they, were still doubtful on the 7th September
showed that- I could face dangers when I saw success
beyond. But here the situation is not the same. I see
the obstacles ; I do not perceive the success, nor even
the hope of it. I should be perplexed to form a plan of
campaign, still more to carry one out. ... If, then, the
Allied Governments should decide on operations such as
I have been discussing, I should* be obliged, to my eternal
regret, to decline the honour of directing them."

No doubt Pelissier was one of the most resolute
of commanders ; yet it may nevertheless be doubted
whether he was not swayed by influences apart from his
estimate of the military problems before him, and such
as have weight with less resolute men. He had under-

296 Excellent State of the BritisJi Army.

gone a tremendous strain, such as might well diminish
his ardour, while the conflict hung so long in the balance.
He had at last achieved a triumph, all the more brilliant
because of the failure of his allies. It might well seem
to him that such further successes as were to be gained
in this remote region could hardly exalt the fame of him
or his Army. His officers were openly showing their
desire to receive at home the compensations for all their
trials which there awaited them a desire which he may
have shared more than he was conscious of, for he was
growing old and heavy of frame. The notion of a cam-
paign on the Rhine, a much more conspicuous and
attractive theatre of war, was generally entertained in the
army. French surgeons had prognosticated a decline
in the health of the troops under existing conditions,
and their apprehensions were even now beginning to be
realised in a visitation of typhus. Above all, the French
people were tired of the war, and ready to welcome back
their army.

On the other hand, those responsible for the condi-
tion of the British army had turned the sharp lessons
of the campaign to singularly good account. Our troops
in the Crimea were now fed, housed, and clothed in the
best way, and their health was as good as at a home
station. The strength of the army was increasing every
month. In November it numbered 5 1,000, of which 4000
cavalry and ninety-six guns, besides a Turkish legion,
raised by the British Government, of 20,000, and a
German legion of 10,000. Our Land Transport corps
could speedily be made adequate to the needs of these

A Diplomatic Difficulty. 297

large forces in a campaign in the field. Our army
medical system now so greatly surpassed that of the
French that a commission was sent from Paris expressly
to study it. The comparison between the two armies
had become enormously in our favour. Our fleet, too,
had been vastly augmented in force and efficiency. In
these circumstances, it was natural that the British
people should prefer another campaign to any treaty of
peace which should fail to fulfil their just expectations.

It was at this time that a diplomatic difficulty arose
very threatening to the alliance, and which brought the
variance in the desires and interests of the two Allied
nations strongly into view. After the fall of Sebastopol
Austria had once more come forward with proposals for
peace. These were, from the British point of view, such
as we ought not to accept. But Russia had at this time
so established her influence with high officials in France
that they had first concerted with Austria, and without
reference to England, what these terms should be, and
had then laid them before the British Government as
what must be accepted without modification. Palmer-
ston was not the sort of Minister to allow his country to
be thus dealt with, and intimated that England intended
to maintain her claims as a principal in the negotiations.
The communications between the two Governments grew
sharper in tone, and at length Lord Palmerston signified
to the French Ambassador that, rather than be forced
into the acceptance of unsatisfactory terms of peace,
England would continue the war with no other ally than
Turkey, and that she felt herself fully in a condition to

298 The Emperor and the Queen.

enter on such a course. Never had the alliance, through-
out the war, been so strained as now. The Emperor
endeavoured to restore concert by writing a letter to
the Queen, recommending the Austrian proposals to
favourable consideration. The Queen's reply, pointing
out, in the most friendly spirit, the difference of posi-
tion in the two Governments, and consequently in their
points of view the Emperor responsible to nobody,
while in England the advisers of the Sovereign must
recommend only such steps as can be defended in
Parliament contains this passage : " I cannot conceal
from your Majesty my fears, founded upon information
on which I can rely, that the language held at Paris by
men in office, and others who have the honour to ap-
proach you, in regard to the financial difficulties of
France, and the absolute necessity of concluding peace,
has already produced a very mischievous effect at
Vienna, at Berlin, and at St Petersburgh ; and that it
is very possible that Austria may by this time be dis-
posed to draw back from her ultimatum, and to seek to
obtain more favourable terms for Russia." It appeared,
from the Emperor's subsequent expressions, that the
nature of the British objections to the Austrian pro-
posals had been misrepresented to him by persons about
him who desired peace on any terms the source of that
desire being perhaps explained by a passage in a letter
of the Prince Consort, where, discussing the aspect of
affairs in France, he speaks of the " stockbroking pro-
pensities of its public men." But Louis Napoleon him-
self was thoroughly loyal to the alliance, and now, says

New Proposal of Russia. 299

Martin, " took means to let it be known that, however
this note might be sounded for purposes of the Bourse,
he would be no party to a peace of which England did
not approve. If the war had to be carried on, France
would not be found backward." " Whatever I think
right," he said to Lord Cowley, " I will do, and I shall
not be afraid of making my conduct understood in

Nevertheless Russia must have felt great confidence
in the agencies she had set to work in Paris, for she not
only conveyed to the French Government her determina-
tion to accept no proposals that should come in the form
of an ultimatum (that is to say, accompanied by a threat
of joining the alliance) from Austria, but put forth a
proposition of her own, of the most preposterous tenor,
respecting the limitation of her power in the Black Sea,
the point in which the British people were most in-
terested. She caused it to be proposed " that the Dar-
danelles should be closed, and that no ships of war
should henceforth enter the Black Sea except those of
Russia and Turkey, which should be maintained there
in such numbers as the two neighbours should agree
between themselves, without a voice on the part of the
other Powers." That the wolf should thus be left to
arrange matters with the lamb would have been a very
singular outcome to the costly efforts by which Russia
had been reduced to her present condition, and her
audacity in still maintaining such pretensions shows
how strong was her reliance on the influences at work
with the corrupt officials of the French Empire. But

300 Good Faith of Louis Napoleon.

her game of brag was nearly at an end. Austria had
at last laid before the Allied Powers a carefully prepared
treaty, which, though short in some respects of what
England had a right to claim, had been found to be
what the British Ministry could accept, and this had now

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Online LibraryEdward Bruce HamleyThe war in the Crimea → online text (page 19 of 20)