This document has been shared, most graciously, with the Victorian Web by David Stewart of Hillsdale College, Michigan; it has been taken from the College's website. Copyright, of course, remains with Dr. Stewart. — Marjie Bloy Ph.D., Senior Research Fellow, National University of Singapore.

Two of Hugh Small's three-dimensional maps of the geography of the Crimean War. Left: Overhead view of Sebastopol and Todleben’s earth fortifications – the closed redoubt is the Malakoff, the open one is the Redan . Right: A view of the Chersonese. To the right of the road is the North Valley, where the Charge of the Light Brigade took place. [Click on these images for larger pictures.]

BALAKLAVA, Sunday, 5 November 1854.

The Bloodiest Engagement Of The Eastern War: Detailed Description Of The Fight

It had rained almost incessantly the night before, and the early morning gave no promise of any cessation of the heavy showers which had fallen for the previous four and twenty hours. Towards dawn a heavy fog settled down on the heights and on the valley of the Inkermann. The pickets and men on outlying posts were thoroughly saturated, and their arms [weapons] were wet, despite their precautions; and it is scarcely to be wondered at if there were some of the who were not quite as alert as sentries should be in face of an enemy; for it must be remembered that our small army is almost worn out by its incessant labors, and that men on picket are frequently men who have had but a short respite from work in the trenches or from regimental duties. The fog and vapors of drifting rain were so thick as morning broke that one could scarcely see two yards before him. At 4 o'clock the bells of the churches in Sebastopol were heard ringing drearily through the cold night air, but the occurrence has been so usual it excited no particular attention. During the night, however, a sharp-eared sergeant on an outlying picket of the light division heard the sound of wheels in the valley below, as though they were approaching the position up the hill. He reported the circumstance to Major BUNBURY, but it was supposed that the sound arose from ammunition carts or arabas going into Sebastopol. No one suspected for a moment that enormous masses of Russians were creeping up the rugged sides of the heights over the valley of the Inkermann on the undefended flank of the Second Division. There all was security and repose. Little did the slumbering troops in camp imagine that a subtle and indefatigable enemy were bringing into position an overwhelming artillery, ready to play upon their tents at the first glimpse of daylight. It must be observed that Sir DE LACY EVANS had long been aware of the insecurity of this position, and had repeatedly pointed it out to those whose duty it was to guard against the dangers which threatened us. It was the only ground where we were exposed to surprise, for a number of ravines and unequal curves in the slope of the hill towards the valley, lead up to the crest and summit, against the adverse side of which our right flank was resting, without guns, intrenchments, abattis, or out lying defence of any kind. Every one admitted the truth of the representations addressed to the authorities on this subject; but indolence, or a sense of false security, and overweening confidence, led to indifference and procrastination. A battery was thrown up with sandbags and gabions and fascines on the slope of the hill over Inkermann on the east, but no guns were mounted there, for Sir DE LACY EVANS thought that two guns in such a position, without any works to support them, would only invite attack and capture. In the action of the 26th of October, the enemy tried their strength almost on the very spot selected by them this morning, but it may now be considered that they merely made a reconnaissance in force on that occasion, and that they were waiting for reinforcements to assault the position where it was most vulnerable, and where they might speculate with some certainty on the effects of a surprise of a sleeping camp on a Winter's morning. Although the arrangements of Sir DE LACY EVANS on repulsing the sortie were, as Lord RAGLAN declared, "so perfect, that they could not fail to insure success," it was evident that a larger force than the Russians employed would have forced him to retire from his ground, or to fight a battle in defence of it with the aid of the other divisions of the army; and yet nothing was done. No effort was made to intent the lines, to cast up a single shovel of earth, to cut down the brushwood, or form an abattis. It was thought "not to be necessary." A heavy responsibility rests on those whose neglect enabled the enemy to attack us where we were least prepared for it, and whose indifference led them to despise precautions which taken in time might have saved us many valuable lives, and have trebled the loss of the enemy, had they been bold enough to have assaulted us behind intrenchments. We have nothing to rejoice ever in the battle of Inkermann. We have defeated the enemy, indeed, but have not advanced a step nearer towards the citadel of Sebastopol. We have abashed, humiliated, and utterly routed an enemy strong in number, in fanaticism, and in dogged resolute courage, and animated by the presence of a son of him whom they believe to be God's viceregent on earth; but we have suffered a fearful loss, and we are not in a position to part with one man. England must give us men. She must be prodigal of her sons, as she is of her money and of her ships, and as they have been of their lives in her service.

It was a little after 5 o'clock this morning, when Brigadier-General CODRINGTON, in accordance with his usual habit, visited the outlying pickets of his own brigade of the light division. It was reported to him that "all was well," and the General entered into some conversation with Captain PRETYMAN, of the 33d Regiment, who was on duty on the ground, in the course of which it was remarked that it would not be at all surprising if the Russians availed themselves of the gloom of the morning to make an attack on our position, calculating on the effects of the rain in disarming our vigilance and spoiling our weapons. The Brigadier, who has proved a most excellent, brave and cool officer, turned his pony round at last and retraced his steps through the brushwood towards his lines. He had only proceeded a few paces when a sharp rattle of musketry was heard down the hill, and on the left of the pickets of the light division. It was here that the pickets of the second division were stationed. General CODRINGTON at once turned his horse's head in the direction of the firing, and in a few moments galloped back to turn out his division. The Russians were advancing in force upon us! Their gray greatcoats rendered them almost invisible even when close at hand.

The pickets of the second division had scarcely made out the advancing lines of infantry who were clambering up the steep sides of the hill through a drizzling shower of rain, here they were forced to retreat by a close, sharp volley of musketry, and were driven up towards the brow of the hill, contesting every step of it, and firing as long as they had a round of ammunition on the Russian advance. The pickets of the light divisions were assailed soon afterwards, and were also obliged to retreat and fall back on their main body, and it was evident that a very strong sortie had been made upon the right of the position of the allied armies, with the object of forcing them to raise the siege, and, if possible, of driving them into the sea. About the same time that the advance of the Russians on our right flank took place, a demonstration was made by the cavalry, artillery, and a few infantry in the valley, against Balaklava, to divert the attention of the French on the heights above, and to occupy the Highland brigade and marines; but only an interchange of a few harmless rounds of cannon and musketry took place; and the enemy contented themselves with drawing up their cavalry in order of battle, supported by field artillery, at the neck of the valley, in readiness to sweep over the heights, and cut our retreating troops to pieces, should the assault on our right be successful. A Semaphore post had been erected on the heights over Inkermann, in communication with another on the hill over their position, from which the intelligence of our defeat was to be conveyed to the cavalry general, and the news would have been made known in Sebastopol by similar means, in order to encourage the garrison to a general sortie along their front. A steamer with very heavy shell guns and mortars was sent up by night to the head of the creek at Inkermann, and caused much injury throughout the day by the enormous shells she pitched right over the hill upon our men. Everything that could be done to bind victory to their eagles — if they have any — was done by the Russian Generals. The presence of their Grand Duke MICHAEL NICOLAVITCH, who told them that the Czar had issued orders that every Frenchman and Englishman was to be driven into the sea ere the year closed, cheered the common soldiers, who regard the son of the emperor as an incarnation of the Divine Presence. They had abundance of a coarser and more material stimulant, which was found in their canteens and flasks; and, above all, the priests of the Greek Catholic Church "blessed" them ere they went forth upon their mission, and assured them of the aid and protection of the Most High. A mass was said for the army, and the joys of Heaven were freely offered to those who might fall in the holy fight; and the favors of the Emperor were largely promised to those who might survive the bullets of a heretical enemy.

The men in our camps had just begun a struggle with the rain in endeavoring to light their fires for breakfast when the alarm was given that the Russians were advancing in force. Brigadier-General PENNEFATHER, to whom the illness of Sir DE LACY EVANS had given for the time the command of the second division, at once got the troops under arms. One brigade under Brigadier-General ADAMS, consisting of the 41st, 47th, and 49th Regiments, was pushed on to the brow of the hill to check the advance of the enemy by the road through the brushwood from the valley. The other brigade (PENNEFATHER's own) consisting of the 30th, 55th, and 95th regiments, were led to operate on their flank. They were at once met with a tremendous fire of shell and round shot from guns which the enemy had posted on the high grounds, in advance of our right, and it was soon found that the Russians had brought at least 40 pieces of heavy artillery to bear upon us. Meantime, the alarm had spread through the camps. Sir GEORGE CATHCART, with the greatest promptitude, turned out as many of his division as were not employed in the trenches, and led the portions of the 20th, 21st, 46th, 57th, 63d, and 68th Regiments which were available against the enemy, directing them to the left of the ground occupied by the columns of the second division. It was intended that one brigade, under Brigadier-General TORRENS, should move in support of the brigade under Brigadier-General GOLDIE; but it was soon found that the enemy were in such strength that the whole force of the division, which consisted of only 2200 men, must be vigorously used to repel them. Sir GEORGE BROWN had rushed up to the front with his brave fellows of the light division — the remnants of the 7th Fusiliers, of the 19th Regiment, of the 23d Regiment, of the 33d Regiment, and the 77th and the 88th Regiments, under Brigadiers CODRINGTON and BULLER. As they began to move across the ground of the second division, they were at once brought under the fire of an unseen enemy. The gloomy character of the morning was unchanged. Showers of rain fell through the fogs, and turned the ground into a clammy soil, like a fresh ploughed field; and the Russians, who had, no doubt, taken the bearings of the ground here they placed their guns, fired at random indeed, but with too much effect on our advancing columns. While all the army was thus in motion the Duke of CAMBRIDGE was not behind hand in bringing up the Guards, under Brigadier BENTINCE — all of his division now left with him as the Highlanders are under Sir COLIN CAMPBELL, at Balaklava. These splendid troops, with the greatest rapidity and ardor, rushed to the front on the right of the second division, and gained the summit of the hills towards which two columns of the Russians were struggling in the closest order of which the nature of the ground would admit. The third division, under Sir. R. ENGLAND, was also got under arms as a reserve; and one portion of it, comprising the 50th, part of the 28th, and of the 4th Regiments, were engaged with the enemy ere the fight was over.

And now commenced the bloodiest struggle ever witnessed since war cursed the earth. It has been doubted by military historians if any enemy have ever stood a charge with the bayonet; but here the bayonet was often the only weapon employed in conflicts of the most obstinate and deadly character. We have been prone to believe that no foe could ever withstand the British soldier wielding his favorite weapon, and that at Maida alone did the enemy ever cross bayonets with him; but, at the battle of Inkermann, not only did we charge in vain — not only were desperate encounters between masses of men maintained with the bayonet alone — but we were obliged to resist bayonet to bayonet the Russian infantry again and again, as they charged us with incredible fury and determination. The battle of Inkermann admits of no description. It was a series of dreadful deeds of daring, of sanguinary hand-to-hand fights, of despairing rallies, of desperate assaults — in glens and valleys, in brushwood glades and remote dells, hidden from all human eyes, and from which the conquerors, Russian or British, issued only to engage fresh foes, till our old supremacy, so rudely assailed, was triumphantly asserted, and the battalions of the Czar gave way before our steady courage and the chivalrous fire of France. No one, however placed, could have witnessed even a small portion of the doings of this eventful day; for the vapors, fog and drizzling mist, obscured the ground where the struggle took place to such an extent as to render it impossible to see what was going on at the distance of a few yards. Besides this, the irregular nature of the ground, the rapid fall of the hill towards Inkermann, where the deadliest fight took place, would have prevented one under the most favorable circumstances, seeing more than a very insignificant and detailed piece of the terrible work below. It was 6 o'clock when all the head-quarter camp was roused by roll after roll of musketry on the right, and by the sharp report of field guns. Lord RAGLAN was informed that the enemy was advancing in force, and soon after 7 o'clock he rode towards the scene of action, followed by his staff, and accompanied by Sir J. BURGOYNE, Brigadier General STRANGWAYS, (Royal Artillery), and several aides-de-camp. As they approached the volume of sound, the steady, unceasing thunder of gun, and rifle, and musket told that the engagement was at its height. The shell of the Russians, thrown with great precision, burst so thickly among the troops that the noise resembled the continuous discharges of cannon, and the massive fragments inflicted death on every side. One of the first things the Russians did, when a break in the fog enabled them to see the camp of the second division, was to open fire on the tents with round shot and large shell, and tent after tent was blown down, torn to pieces, or sent into the air, while the men engaged in camp duties, and the unhappy horses tethered up in the lines were killed or mutilated. Colonel GAMBIER was at once ordered to get up two heavy guns (18 pounders) on the rising ground, and to reply to a fire which our light guns were utterly inadequate to meet. As he was engaged in this duty, and was exerting himself with Captain DAGUILAR to urge them forward, Col. GAMBIER was severely but not dangerously wounded, and was obliged to retire. His place was taken by Lieutenant-Colonel DICKSON, and the conduct of that officer in directing the fire of those pieces, which had the most marked effect in deciding the fate of the day, was such as to elicit the admiration of the army, and as to deserve the thanks of every man engaged in that bloody fray. But long ere these guns had been brought up there had been a great slaughter of the enemy, and a heavy loss of our own men. Our generals could not see where to go. They could not tell where the enemy were — from what side they were coming, and where going to. In darkness, gloom and rain they had to lead our lines through thick, scrubby bushes and thorny brakes, which broke our ranks and irritated the men, while every pace was marked by a corpse or man wounded from an enemy whose position was only indicated by the rattle of musketry, and the rush of ball and shell.

Sir GEORGE CATHCART, seeing his men disordered by the fire of a large column of Russian infantry which was outflanking them, while portions of the various regiments composing his division were maintaining an unequal struggle with an overwhelming force, rode down into the ravine in which they were engaged, to rally them. He perceived at the same time that the Russians had actually gained possession of a portion of the hill in rear of one flank of his division, but still his stout heart never failed him for a moment. He rode at their head encouraging them, and when a cry arose that the ammunition was falling, he said coolly. "Have you not got your bayonets?" As he led on his men it was observed that another body of men had gained the top of the hill behind them on the right, but it was impossible to tell whether they were friends or foes. A deadly volley was poured into our scattered regiments. Sir GEORGE cheered them and led them back up the hill, but a flight of bullets passed where he rode, and he fell from his horse close to the Russian columns. The men had to fight their way through a host of enemies, and lost fearfully. They were surrounded and bayoneted on all sides, and won their desperate way up the hill, with diminished ranks, and the loss of hear 500 men. Sir GEORGE CATHCART'S body was afterwards recovered with a bullet wound in the head, and three bayonet wounds in the body. In this struggle, where the Russians fought with the greatest ferocity, and bayoneted the wounded as they fell, Colonel SWYNY, of the 63d, a most gallant officer, Lieutenant DOWLING, 20th, Major WYNNE, 68th, and other officers, whose names will be found in the Gazette, met their death, and Brigadier GOLDIE, of the 57th Regiment, received the wounds, of which he has since died. The conflict on the right was equally uncertain and equally bloody. In the light division, the 88th got so far into the front, that they were surrounded and put into utter confusion, when four companies of the 77th, under Major STRATON, charged the Russians, broke them, and relieved their comrades. The fight had not long commenced ere it was evident that the Russians had received orders to fire at all mounted officers. Sir G. BROWN was struck by a shot, which went through his arm and struck his side. I saw with regret his pale but sternly composed face, as his body was borne by me on a litter early in the day, his white hair flickering in the breeze, for I knew that we had lost the services of a good soldier that day. Further to the right, a contest, the like of which, perhaps, never took place before, was going on between the Guards and dense columns of Russian infantry of five times their number. The Guards had charged them and driven them back, when they perceived that the Russians had outflanked them. They were out of ammunition too. They were uncertain whether there were friends or foes in the rear. They had no support, no reserve, and they were fighting with the bayonet against an enemy who stoutly contested every inch of ground, when the corps of another Russian column appeared on their right far in the rear. Then a fearful mitraille was poured into them, and volleys of rifle and musketry. The Guards were broken; they had lost twelve officers, who fell in the field; they had left one half of their number on the ground, and they retired along the lower road of the valley. They were soon reinforced, however, and speedily avenged their loss. The French advanced about 10 o'clock, and turned the flank of the enemy.

The Second Division in the centre of the line were hardly pressed. The 41st Regiment, in particular, were exposed to a terrible fire, and the 95th were in the middle of such disorganizing volleys that they only mustered 64 men when paraded at 2 o'clock. In fact, the whole of the Division numbered only 300 men when assembled by Major EMAN in rear of their camp after the fight was over. The regiments did not take their colors into the battle, but the officers nevertheless were picked off wherever they went, and it did not require the color-staff to indicate their presence. Our ambulances were soon filled, and ere 9 o'clock they were busily engaged in carrying loads of men, all covered with blood, and groaning, to the rear of the line. About 9½ o'clock, Lord RAGLAN and his staff were assembled on a knoll, in the vain hope of getting a glimpse of the battle which was raging below them. Here General STRANGWAYS was mortally wounded, and I am told that he met his death in the following way: A shell came right in among the staff — it exploded in Captain SOMERSET's horse, ripping him open; a portion of the shell tore off the leather overalls of Captain Somerset's trousers, it then struck down Captain GORDON's horse and killed him at once, and then blew away General STRANGWAY's leg; so that it hung by a shred of flesh and a bit of cloth from the skin. The poor old General never moved a muscle of his face. He said merely, in a gentle voice, "Will any one be kind enough to lift me off my horse?" He was taken down and laid on the ground, while his life blood ebbed fast, and at last he was carried to the rear. But the gallant old man had not sufficient strength to undergo an operation, and in two hours he had sunk to rest, leaving behind him a memory which will ever be held dear by every officer and man of the army.

The fight about the battery to which I have alluded in a former part of my letter was most sanguinary. It was found that there was no banquette to stand upon, and that the men inside could not fire upon the enemy. The Russians advanced mass after mass of infantry. As fast as one column was broken and repulsed, another took it s place. For three long hours about 8,500 British infantry contended against at least four times their number. No wonder that at times they were compelled to retire. But they came to the charge again. The admirable devotion of the officers, who knew they were special objects of attack, can never be too highly praised. Nor can the courage and steadiness of the few men who were left to follow them in this sanguinary assault on the enemy be sufficiently admired. At one time the Russians succeeded in getting up close to the guns of Captain WODEHOUSE'S and of Captain TURNER's batteries, in the gloom of the morning. Uncertain whether they were friends or foes, our artillerymen hesitated to fire. The Russians charged them suddenly, bore all resistance down before them, drove away or bayoneted the gunners, and succeeded in spiking some of the guns. Their columns gained the hill, and for a few moments the fate of the day trembled in the balance, but ADAMS' brigade, PENNEFATHER's brigade, and the light division, made another desperate charge, while DICKSON'S guns swept their columns, and their Guards, with undiminished valor and steadiness, though with a sadly decreased front, pushed on again to meet their bitter enemies. The rolling of musketry, the clash of steel, and the pounding of the guns were deafening, and the Russians as they charged up the heights, yelled like demons. They advanced, halted, advanced again, received and returned a close and deadly fire, but the Minié is the king of weapons — Inkermann proved it. The regiments of the fourth division and the marines armed with the old and much belauded Brown Bess, could do nothing with their thin line of fire against the massive multitudes of the Muscovite infantry, but the volleys of the Minié rifle cleft them like the hand of the destroying angel, and they fell like leaves in Autumn before them. About 10 o'clock a body of French infantry appeared on our right, a joyful sight to our struggling regiments. The Zouaves came on at the pas de charge. The French artillery had already begun to play with deadly effect on the right wing of the Russians. Three battalions of the Chasseurs d'Orleans (I believe they had No. 6 on their buttons,) rushed by, the light of battle on their faces. They wore-accompanied by a battalion of Chasseurs Indigenes — the Arab Sepoys of Algiers. Their trumpets sounded above the din of battle, and when we watched their eager advance right on the flank of the enemy, we knew the day was won. Assailed in front by our men — broken in several places by the impetuosity of our charge, renewed again and again — attacked by the French infantry on the right, and by artillery all along the line, the Russians began to retire, and at 12 o'clock they were driven pell-mell down the hill towards the valley, where pursuit would have been madness, as the roads were all covered by their artillery. They left mounds of dead behind them. Long ere they fled the Chasseurs d'Afrique charged them most brilliantly over the ground, difficult and broken as it was, and inflicted great loss on them; while the effect of this rapid attack, sided by the advance of our troops, secured our guns, which were only spiked with wood, and were soon rendered fit for service. Our own cavalry, the remnant of the light brigade, were moved into a position where it was hoped they might be of service; but they were too few to attempt anything, and while they were drawn up they lost several horses and some men. One officer, Cornet CLEVELAND, was struck by a piece of shell in the side, and has since expired. They are now only two officers left with the fragment of the 17th Lancers — Captain GODFREY MORGAN and Cornet GEORGE WOMBWELL. At 12 o'clock the battle of Inkermann, seemed to have been won, but the day, which had cleared up for an hour previously so as to enable us to see the enemy and meet him, again became obscured. Rain and fog set in, and as we could not pursue the Russians, who were retiring under the shelter of their artillery, we had formed in front of our lines and were holding the battle field so stoutly contested, when the enemy, taking advantage of our quietude, again advanced, while their guns pushed forward and opened a tremendous fire upon us. General CANROBERT, who never quitted Lord RAGLAN for much of the early part of the day, at once directed the French to advance and outflank the enemy. In his efforts he was ably seconded by General BOSQUET, whose devotion was noble. Nearly all his mounted escort were down beside and behind him. General CANROBERT was slightly wounded. His immediate attendants suffered severely. The renewed assault was so admirably repulsed that the Russians sullenly retired, still protected by their crushing artillery. The Russians, about 10, made a sortie on the French lines, and traversed two parallels before they could be resisted. They were driven back at last with great loss, and as they retired they blew up some of the mines inside the Flagstaff Fort, evidently afraid that the French would enter pell-mell after them. At 1 o'clock the Russians were again retiring. At 40 minutes past 1 DICKSON's two guns smashed their artillery, and they limbered up, leaving five tumbrels and one gun carriage on the field.

Additional Particulars: Personal Incidents — Awful Aspect of the Field — Thrilling Details

From the Correspondence of the London Morning Herald

BAKLAVA, 10 o'clock PM, 8 November

By the delay of the Caradoc, which carries down the dispatches to Constantinople, I have an opportunity of sending a few more particulars of the bloody struggle at Inkerman. It is now admitted on all hands that the attack of the enemy took the English completely by surprise, and a good deal of murmuring and dissatisfaction is expressed at our right flank near Inkermann being left without either trenches or breastworks. Had there been either the Russian loss would have been double, and our loss less than half of what we have now to deplore. Our total loss is 38 officers killed, 95 wounded, and 2400 rank and file killed and wounded — in all, upwards of 2500 men, which just now we can ill afford. The French lost 12 officers killed, 35 wounded, and 1500 rank and file killed and wounded. The Russian loss is far beyond what was first estimated. At the lowest computation it seems rather over than under the enormous amount of 20,000 men. Up to this evening, 5,000 corpses have been interred, and there still remains as many more upon the field.

Neither the Duke of CAMBRIDGE nor Major MACDONALD are, as it was first reported, wounded. Both had most extraordinary escapes. The Duke had his horse completely smashed under him by a round shot, and the fall of the animal bruised his leg severely. Beyond this he was not hurt. Major MACDONALD, also, as at Alma, had his horse killed under him. In fact, nearly all the staff officers were either wounded or had their horses killed. Perhaps there never was an infantry action in which so many chargers, and artillery horses were destroyed. Altogether, with staff, we lost about 150, the French about 100, and the Russians nearly 400 horses. Their mangled bodies quite covered the ground. Lord RAGLAN and staff were in the front of the troops, and in the very thickest of the fire. So hot was the cannonade and musketry round his lordship that no one can understand how he escaped uninjured. An 8-in. shell came roaring and hissing along the ground, passed right between the legs of Lord RAGLAN'S horse, and exploded behind him and the staff. They were covered for the moment with dust and smoke, but fortunately escaped unhurt. Major-General STRANGWAYS was killed close beside Lord RAGLAN. When raised from the ground he was perfectly calm and collected, and appeared not to suffer in the least. His thigh was fractured near the hip joint, and the brave old soldier looked at the mangled limb with perfect composure, saying he knew the wound was mortal. He died in about half an hour after the amputation was performed. Sir GEORGE CATHCART, who was only a few paces in front of Lord RAGLAN, was shot through the heart, and fell from his horse a dead man. Colonel SEYMOUR, who was with him instantly dismounted, and was endeavoring to raise the body, when he himself received a ball which fractured his leg. He fell to the ground beside his general, and a Russian officer and five or six men running in bayoneted him, and cut him to pieces as he lay helpless. General CATHCART's corpse was also bayoneted in five or six places. I have mentioned in my letter of this morning, the cold-blooded cruelty with which the enemy treated all the wounded who fell into their hands. In not one solitary instance, as far as can yet be ascertained, was a man spared.

The Coldstream Guards, when they retired from the Two-gun Battery, leaving about 100 wounded behind, were maddened to perceive that the instant the enemy occupied the place they commenced massacring all the poor defenceless objects. The conduct of the Coldstream Guards should immortalize their name. They fought literally to the death. They went into action with 16 officers and about 400 men, and out of this small number had 8 officers killed, 5 wounded, and upwards of 200 rank and file killed and wounded. The Grenadiers and Fusiliers also performed prodigies. On the whole, the brigade of guards lost 13 officers killed, 15 wounded, and 580 rank and file, out of about 1,600 men engaged. The Coldstreams charged the enemy at the point of the bayonet eleven times. At each time the Russians crossed bayonets, and fought fiercely, but were slaughtered like sheep by our gallant fellows. The three battalions of Guards now barely mustered 1,000 effective men. After the Guards, the 2nd and 4th divisions have suffered most. The 95th and 30th Regiments are the principal sufferers, having lost most of their officers and men. The unfortunate 23d Regiment of the light division, which was so terribly cut up at Alma, has again last heavily. The 20th and 55th Regiments, of the 4th division, have lost many men and officers, as well as the 41st, 47th, and 49th Regiments, of the 2nd division. A council of war had been held between the chiefs of the allies on the 4th, at which it was decided Sebastopol should be stormed on the 6th. Another council of war was to have been held on the 5th, when the sudden attack prevented it. So completely were the English taken by surprise, that some of the regiments came up by small companies at a time. Had there been anything but English troops in the position, the surprise would have been fatal.

Last modified 22 April 2002; maps added 15 January 2014