"Frigida me cohibent Euxini littora ponti;
Dictus ab antiquâ Axenus ille fuit.
Nam neque jactantur moderatis æquora ventis;
Nec placidos portus hospita navis adit.
Sunt circa gentes, quæ prædam sanguine quærunt:
Non minus infida terra timetur aquâ.
Nec procul a nobis locus est ubi Taurica dirâ
Cæde pharetratæ pascitur ara Deæ..."
OVID.,,Opfer fallen hier,
Weder Lamm noch Stier,
Uber Menschen-Opfer unerhört.~
WEDNESDAY, October 4th. - This morning I landed at Balaklava, having left the "Pride of the Ocean" with regret, after endeavouring to express to Captain Kyle my deep sense of the great consideration and kindness he showed me whilst on board his ship.
Mr. Cunningham, the admiralty agent, was going on shore, and I availed myself of a seat in his boat, notwithstanding the day was a rough one; and then I learned the entrance to this wonderful harbour, where the ships lay side by side, moored to the shore as thickly as they could be packed.
In the afternoon, Henry came down to see me; and scrambling into his regimental saddle - for I had left my own on board the "Shooting Star" - we rode up to see the Cavalry camp. Here I was obliged to confess, though sorely against my will, that it was impossible I could live in the camp. Henry shares his tent with three men. The cold - the impossibility of getting a separate tent, has made me resolve to remain on board ship, and go daily to the camp.
Thursday, 5th. - I rode all over the camp; went on to the Light Division, to the 63rd and 68th took my first look at Sebastopol from the land as it lay in a hollow about two miles from us. It is a much finer town as seen from the land. The fortifications appear of great strength and number, and the buildings struck me as being large and handsome. They were busy throwing shell into our lines, but the range was too long to do us any harm. The shells fell into a hollow at our feet; and all that I saw exploded harmlessly; though two days before one had burst in a tent of the 68th, killing one man, and wounding two. We returned through the French lines. The French soldiers seemed astonished at the apparition of a lady in their lines, and made various but very flattering remarks thereon. Late at night Mr. Cator arrived in Balaklava, and came on board the "Star of the South" to see me.
Friday, 6th. - The "Shooting Star" arrived outside Balaklava last evening. Mr. Cator sent off a gig to her for my saddle, which came ashore about twelve, and will save me much fatigue, as I find the big grey and the regimental saddle very tiring, especially in trotting.
I hear to-day of poor Dr. Mackay's death with great regret. He died from the effects of over-exertion in the zealous discharge of his arduous duties amongst the sick.
Sunday, 8th. - Lord Cardigan very kindly lent me a horse, and Mr. Cator and I rode up to the front. Here we saw Captain Hillyar, of the Naval Brigade, who is working hard to get his guns into position.
These seamen appear to work with the greatest energy and good-will. One meets a gang of them harnessed to a gun, and drawing with all their might and main; or digging at entrenchments, singing, laughing, and working heartily and cheerily. But their experience of camp-life is short indeed in comparison with that of our poor soldiers, with whom they contrast so gaily.
Returning home, we met Sir Edmund Lyons, to whom I was introduced, and who asked me to dine with him to-night on board the "Agamemnon," where I met a very old and valued friend, Captain Drummond, of the "Retribution."
To-day an affair took place which was severely canvassed at dinner. Some Russian Cavalry drove in our out-lying piquet in the morning, and in consequence all the Cavalry, and Captain Maude's troop of H.A., turned out under Lord Lucan. By judicious generalship, they say, the whole force might have been taken, or severely punished; but a hesitation at the wrong moment allowed them all to retire out of range, after having killed two or three of our men, while they escaped unhurt.
Monday, 9th. - Walked up to camp with Mr. Bosanquet. Found Henry, who accompanied us part of the way back, and then went on board the "Danube" to luncheon. Henry and I dined there at six o'clock. In the afternoon I walked along the ridge of the stupendous rocks overlooking the sea. The spray dashed into my face - the sea foamed far beneath my feet. There was something in the strong wind, the beetling cliffs, the churning sea, and boundless view that filled me with glorious admiration and delight. Last night our dear horses "Bob" and "Whisker" arrived from Varna, and were taken to the camp this afternoon. I look forward to to-morrow, when I shall see them again.
Tuesday, 10th. - Henry brought down the grey horse, and "Whisker." The day was intensely cold, a bitter wind swept through us, chilling every pulse. When we reached the camp, we found poor "Bob" half dead with cold; so, shifting the saddles, Henry got on his back, and we stretched away at a rapid canter for the front.
Here we met Major Lowe, of the 4th Light Dragoons, and Captain Portal, who asked us to dine. We gladly accepted; and while dinner was preparing, he rode with us to the extreme right, to show us Sebastopol from a fresh point of view.
Close to us, hid in brushwood, was our own piquet; about 1000 yards from us was the Russian piquet. From the forts of Sebastopol the shot and shell came hissing every two minutes.
I could not but feel a high degree of excitement, and I think it was not unnatural. We were standing on the brow of a hill, backed by our magnificent troops, and fronting the enemy; the doomed city beneath our feet, and the pale moon above: it was indeed a moment worth a hundred years of every-day existence. I have often prayed that I might "wear out my life, and not rust it out," and it may be that my dreams and aspirations will be realised.
Wednesday, 11th. - A French transport got aground yesterday before Sebastopol. The Russians fired at her, and carried away her bowsprit. The crew deserted her, but endeavoured to get her off during the night. The garrison made a sortie this morning with the bayonet, but retreated as soon as our men turned out.
Friday, 13th. - A report was current that the fire of the siege was to open to-day, but hardly a shot disturbed the warm serenity of the air. What a variable climate! Three days ago the cold was intense, to-day the sun is oppressive. Captain Lockwood rode down to call on me. He told me with a melancholy face, that the Russians had made a successful descent on Eupatoria, and had wrested the place from us; but a lieutenant in the navy who came in shortly after, declared this information was false, as, although driven back, the force had returned, and effectually driven out the enemy.
The arrival of ships from Eupatoria laden with supplies, would seem to say that at any rate the Russians had not possession of it. The "Cambria" and "Medway" arrived today, each with a regiment of 1300 Turks.
Saturday, 14th. - Since last night two yachts have come into harbour, the "Dryad" (Lord Cardigan's) and the "Maraquita" (Mr. Carew's). What a satire is the appearance of these fairy ships amidst all the rough work of war! They seem as out of place as a London belle would be; and yet there is something very touching in their pretty gracefulness.
Henry, Captain Fane, Mr. Goss, R.N., and I started on horseback for the camp. We lunched at our own tent. Our ride took in nearly the whole front line of the camp, commencing on the right, at the ground lately occupied by the 4th Light Dragoons, passing the Rifles and the 23rd, and then returning by the French.
The entrenching work progresses rapidly, under a heavy and continuous fire. I hear that Lord Raglan was in the foremost trench last night till one o'clock. A rifleman standing near him had his head taken off by a round shot.
Either to-day, or yesterday, a rifleman, seeing a shell light in the entrenchment, knocked out the fuse with his rifle. He was mentioned in general orders. I cannot but think it a pity that our service provides no decoration, no distinctive reward of bravery, for such acts as this. If it were only a bit of red rag, the man should have it, and wear it immediately, as an honourable distinction, instead of waiting for a medal he may never live to obtain, or may only obtain years hence, when it shall have lost half its value.
Guns are run into position to-night; the wheels were being muffled in sheep-skin when I was in camp. I heard of a sortie on the French this morning, but no particulars.
Sunday, 15th. - Awoke exhausted.
What an exhaustion! It seemed to me as though my life was ebbing away, my sands running quietly down; so I lay for a long time, becalmed in soul and body. I cannot account for this at all. I remained in this state all the morning, and did not get up till twelve o'clock; at which time Captain Nolan came in, and we had a long and interesting conversation. After discussing my afternoon's amusement, I determined on accepting his horse and saddle, with a tiger-skin over the holsters; while he borrowed a pony, and we rode together to see Henry at the camp. After spending an hour in his tent, Henry and I walked down to the "Star of the South" to dinner, Henry returning on foot at night.
Monday, 16th. - For three days the firing has been continuous. Captain Nolan told me yesterday that the siege would open in earnest on Tuesday. A party of us sat till late on deck, watching the flashes of the guns.
All night they kept it up, but now, 11 A.M., are quiet. The "Agamemnon" steamed out yesterday from Balaklava to join the fleet. The French are at this moment landing a fresh regiment of Cavalry, and the "Medway" is being cleared of her cargo of Turks. We wait, with some little excitement, for to-morrow. I have ordered my horse at eight o'clock in the morning.
Tuesday, October 17th, 1O P.M.- At half past six o'clock began that fearful rain of shot and shell, which poured incessantly on the forts and batteries of Sebastopol, until night befriended the city, and threw her shade over it. At a quarter past seven the Round Tower was silenced, though the battery at its foot still kept up a fire from two guns, which we could not enfilade. Soon after ten Henry and I had arrived, and took our place opposite the Fourth Division.
At ten o'clock a French powder magazine exploded, which dismounted fifteen guns, and killed about forty of their men.
At half-past one, the French and English fleets, with the "Mahmoudie," brought in their fire. The "Agamemnon," with Sir E. Lyons on board, went close in, followed by the "Sanspareil." The "London," "Albion," "Bellerophon," "Retribution," were all more or less severely mauled, as they poured in broadside after broadside, with incredible and incessant noise. I merely mention the names of such ships as I know something of. There were many others, amongst them the "Rodney," "Arethusa," "Trafalgar," and the "Tribune." The "London " was twice on fire. The "Albion" had a shell which, by unlucky chance, pitched into Captain Lushington's stores, destroying his cellar and his clothes. The "Bellerophon" had a shell through Lord George's cabin; the "Retribution" lost her mainmast.
At ten minutes past three a magnificent sight presented itself - a huge explosion in the Mud Fort (Redan), the smoke of which ascended to the eye of heaven, and then gathering, fell slowly and mournfully down to earth. I thought of torture and sudden death, and was softened to tears, while round me cheers burst from every throat -
Officers and men were carried away with enthusiasm, and I felt myself half cheering too. Three quarters of an hour after a smaller explosion caught our eye. Again the cheer rang out. "Men ! Men, for God's sake! It is ours!" and an ammunition-waggon sent up its contents to form a fierce cloud in the serene sky.
We left at dusk, and rode slowly down to Balaklava, our hearts and ears filled with the magnificent din of war. Our casualties have been very few. Poor Captain Rowley and the assistant-surgeon of the 68th are dead. The gathering twilight prevented our seeing much of the damage done to the town. We fancied it greater than it proved. One of our Lancaster guns burst to-day; the other is doing good work. The shot rushes with such vehement noise through the air that it has been surnamed the "Express Train." We fired 170 rounds a gun yesterday (so they say). I was not sorry to find rest on board ship, being tired out with the excitement and exertion o£ the day.
Wednesday, 18th. - Did not intend going out early, but at nine o'clock I saw my horse saddled on the beach. A large Russian force is collected on the plains, at whom, as is evident, we are firing hard. I dressed in all haste, and started to the front. Here I found Cavalry, Artillery, and Turks drawn up beyond our camp, and a Russian force in the valley, at some 1,800 yards distance, standing gazing at them. The firing had all ceased, and the greater part of the Russians had retired under shelter of a hill. As soon as we were tired of looking at them, and tired of waiting for them to advance, we left the field battery, behind which we had taken our places, and went slowly on to the front.
The French batteries were unable to reopen fire. The ships were a great deal too much mauled yesterday to be able to go in again for some time. The English guns were firing, and we had some red-hot shot, in the hopes of setting fire to the town; but the town appears built of incombustible materials, although it was twice slightly on fire yesterday, the flames were almost immediately extinguished I am told that the men of Captain Lushington's battery last night refused to be relieved, though they had been at work all day. They said they had "got their range, and were doing good work, and would not go away, - all they wanted was something to eat, and some grog."
Sir George Cathcart sent them down immediately all the food and grog he could muster. "Ah!" exclaimed one of the riflemen who had been firing at the gunners in the Mud Fort before the explosion took place, "When it blew up, in the confusion, there was beautiful shooting! "
We had luncheon in Major Wynne's tent, of the 68th, and left again about three o'clock to ride back to Balaklava. Passing the fortifications between the front and rear, we found the French mustered in rather a strong force in the battery overlooking the Russian army. No movement had been made by the Russians. They will probably remain in the shelter of the hill until they are drawn. Artillery and Cavalry were coming slowly home as we approached our lines. The heavy guns of the siege still follow us with their ceaseless sound.
Colonel Hood, of the Guards, was killed today, and the ambulance corps brought down forty sick, to be embarked on board ship at Balaklava. I saw, with the aid of glasses, today a loose horse going with a strange halting gait before the batteries of the Russian forts. He was thought to be an English Artillery horse wounded yesterday; strange that, among all that thunder of shot and shell, not one bullet could be spared for him.
Thursday, l 9th. - We thought Sebastopol to stand, perhaps, a three days' siege - more likely a single day's; while some, more arrogant still, allowed it eight hours to resist the fury of the allies!
Now there are orders that no shot is to be fired into the town for fear of destroying the houses. Is this because Lord Raglan is confident of the speedy possession of the town, or from the estimable amiability of his private character, which makes him shrink from inflicting wanton damage or death? This order to spare the town is much commented on. However commendable the greatest humanity may be, we cannot but remember that the blood of 2090 men, lying on the field of Alma, calls to us from the ground. Were we besieged, the Russians would not show the like consideration to us.
To-day we moved our camp, so as to be out of the way of the batteries we have erected on the heights round Balaklava.
I did not go to the front to-day. I got sick with anxiety, and deaf with the guns.
Friday, 20th.- To-day the French siege-guns are in good play, and firing with good aim. They commenced their rocket-practice about two o'clock, and created a fire in the direction of the harbour. The battery at the foot of the Round Tower is still working away, though the Round Tower itself has been silenced since seven o'clock in the morning of the siege.
The French silenced a square fort on the left early to-day. As we rode home, we found the Russian army had moved out again, and all our forces were outposted in the batteries and at the top of the hills. However, I was too hungry to stay and watch them, and left them to look at each other at their leisure.
There is a talk of storming the town tomorrow. I fancy, if it was intended, it would not be talked about beforehand. A deserter reports that the troops inside are in fear and disheartened; if so, an assault may not be necessary.
Major Norcott, of the Rifles, to whom I was talking to-day, gave me a most affecting account of the death of his favourite horse at Alma. He spoke with his eyes filled with tears; and, indeed, he could hardly have found a more sympathising auditor, for I never think of my own dear grey without a sharp and cruel pain. A sailor in one of the naval batteries was wounded yesterday. But "he wasn't going to be carried about as long as he could walk;" and he actually crawled to the 68th camp, and asked for a "drink of water." Individual instances of courage are too many for me to record separately.
Saturday, 21st. - Hearing that nothing more than the usual fire was going on at the front, I did not hurry forward to-day, but reached my usual ground of observation in time to see an explosion behind the Round Tower, followed by a heavy fire from the two unsilenceable guns, which they kept up viciously for some time. The Russian fire was slack, and principally directed on the French lines. The French batteries are firing well. Sir George Cathcart, with whom I was in conversation for some time, tells me that no attempt must be made to storm the town now, until the French are ready to act in concert with us. All appear to concur in thinking that the Crimea will be our winter quarters. A very promising officer, Mr. Greathed, was killed in the naval battery to-day.
Sunday, 22nd. - Guns as usual.
Monday, 23rd. - Rode up to the battery on the left; I do not know which it was. Last night the men were making a new parallel, 500 yards in advance of the present ones. At what an enormous range (it appears to me) we have placed our guns! Will this long range answer? I think the siege progresses very slowly. They ran the Lancaster in and pointed it on the dockyards.
A sortie was made this morning on the French. Their first intimation of it was from a party of soldiers appearing on the embrasures, crying out, " Ne tirez pas! nous sommes Anglais!" Before the French discovered their mistake they had spiked three guns. A sortie was also made on our piquets, led on most gallantly by a Russian officer. He was shot in the mouth, and taken prisoner. Captain Brown, of the 44th, lost his right arm and two fingers of his left hand.
Tuesday, 24th. - Awful confusion, hurry, and noise in the harbour of Balaklava, facilitating (?) the disembarkation of twenty-four pound shot and powder.
Some Artillery officers, who lunched on board the "Star of the South," speak much of the fatigue consequent on the work in the trenches. Our batteries succeeded in setting fire to a part of the town at half-past three, P. M., which burnt fiercely for a short time, but was eventually extinguished. A flag of truce was sent to our head quarters to-day, to say that the sick and wounded were distributed in various houses in Sebastopol, which should be distinguished by a yellow flag, and to request that they might be exempt from fire; but Lord Raglan, fancying this merely a scheme to make magazines of such houses, refused to comply with the proposal.
Wednesday, 25th. - Feeling very far from well, I decided on remaining quietly on board ship to-day; but on looking through my stern cabin windows, at eight o'clock, I saw my horse saddled and waiting on the beach, in charge of our soldier-servant on the pony. A note was put into my hands from Henry, a moment after. It ran thus: "The battle of Balaklava has begun, and promises to be a hot one. I send you the horse. Lose no time, but come up as quickly as you can: do not wait for breakfast."
Words full of meaning! I dressed in all haste, went ashore without delay, and, mounting my horse "Bob," started as fast as the narrow and crowded streets would permit. I was hardly clear of the town, before I met a commissariat officer, who told me that the Turks had abandoned all their batteries, and were running towards the town. He begged me to keep as much to the left as possible, and, of all things, to lose no time in getting amongst our own men, as the Russian force was pouring on us; adding, "For God's sake, ride fast, or you may not reach the camp alive." Captain Howard, whom I met a moment after, assured me that I might proceed; but added, "Lose no time."
Turning off into a short cut of grass, and stretching into his stride, the old horse laid himself out to his work, and soon reaching the main road, we clattered on towards the camp. The road was almost blocked up with flying Turks, some running hard, vociferating, "Ship Johnny! Ship Johnny!" while others came along laden with pots, kettles, arms, and plunder of every description, chiefly old bottles, for which the Turks appear to have a great appreciation. The Russians were by this time in possession of three batteries, from which the Turks had fled.
The 93rd and 42nd were drawn up on an eminence before the village of Balaklava. Our Cavalry were all retiring when I arrived, to take up a position in rear of their own lines.
Looking on the crest of the nearest hill, I saw it covered with running Turks, pursued by mounted Cossacks, who were all making straight for where I stood, superintending the striking of our tent and the packing of our valuables. Henry flung me on the old horse; and seizing a pair of laden saddle-bags, a great coat, and a few other loose packages, I made the best of my way over a ditch into a vineyard, and awaited the event. For a moment I lost sight of our pony, "Whisker," who was being loaded; but Henry joined me just in time to ride a little to the left, to get clear of the shots, which now began to fly towards us. Presently came the Russian Cavalry charging, over the hill-side and across the valley, right against the little line of Highlanders. Ah, what a moment! Charging and surging onward, what could that little wall of men do against such numbers and such speed? There they stood. Sir Colin did not even form them into square. They waited until the horsemen were within range, and then poured a volley which for a moment hid everything in smoke. The Scots Greys and Inniskillens then left the ranks of our Cavalry, and charged with all their weight and force upon them, cutting and hewing right and left.
A few minutes - moments as it seemed to me - and all that occupied that lately crowded spot were men and horses, lying strewn upon the ground. One poor horse galloped up to where we stood; a round shot had taken him in the haunch, and a gaping wound it made. Another, struck by a shell in the nostrils, staggered feebly up to "Bob," suffocating from inability to breathe. He soon fell down. About this time reinforcements of Infantry, French Cavalry, and Infantry and Artillery, came down from the front, and proceeded to form in the valley on the other side of the hill over which the Russian Cavalry had come.
Now came the disaster of the day - our glorious and fatal charge But so sick at heart am I that I can barely write of it even now. It has become a matter of world history, deeply as at the time it was involved in mystery. I only know that I saw Captain Nolan galloping; that presently the Light Brigade, leaving their position, advanced by themselves, although in the face of the whole Russian force, and under a fire that seemed pouring from all sides, as though every bush was a musket, every stone in the hill side a gun. Faster and faster they rode. How we watched them! They are out of sight; but presently come a few horsemen, straggling, galloping back. "What can those skirmishers be doing? See, they form up together again. Good God! it is the Light Brigade!"
At five o'clock that evening Henry and I turned, and rode up to where these men had formed up in the rear.
I rode up trembling, for now the excitement was over. My nerves began to shake, and I had been, although almost unconsciously, very ill myself all day. Past the scene of the morning we rode slowly; round us were dead and dying horses, numberless; and near me lay a Russian soldier, very still, upon his face. In a vineyard a little to my right a Turkish soldier was also stretched out dead. The horses, mostly dead, were all unsaddled, and the attitudes of some betokened extreme: pain. One poor cream-colour, with a bullet through his flank, lay dying, so patiently!
Colonel Shewell came up to me, looking hushed, and conscious of having fought like a brave and gallant soldier, and of having earned his laurels well. Many had a sad tale to tell. A1l had been struck with the exception of Colonel Shewell, either themselves or their horses. Poor Lord Fitzgibbon was dead. Of Captain Lockwood no tidings had been heard; none had seen him fall, and none had seen him since the action. Mr. Clutterbuck was wounded in the foot; Mr. Seager in the hand. Captain Tomkinson's horse had been shot under him; Major De Salis's horse wounded. Mr. Mussenden showed me a grape-shot which had "killed my poor mare." Mr. Clowes was a prisoner. Poor Captain Goad, of the 13th, is dead. Ah, what a catalogue!
And then the wounded soldiers crawling to the hills! One French soldier, of the Chasseurs d'Afrique, wounded slightly in the temple, but whose face was crimson with blood, which had dripped from his head to his shoulder, and splashed over his white horse's quarters, was regardless of the pain, but rode to find a medical officer for two of his "camarades," one shot through the arm, the other through the thigh.
Evening was closing in. I was faint and weary, so we turned our horses, and rode slowly to Balaklava. We passed Mr. Prendergast, of the Scots' Greys, riding down to the harbour, wounded in the foot; the pluck with which an Englishman puts pain out of the question is as wonderful as it is admirable. Time would fail me to enumerate even the names of those whose gallantry reached my ears. Captain Morris, Captain Maude, both cut and shot to pieces, and who have earned for themselves an imperishable name!
What a lurid night I passed. Overcome with bodily pain and fatigue, I slept, but even my closed eyelids were filled with the ruddy glare of blood.
Thursday, 26th. - They are sending as many ships as possible out of harbour. On board the ship in which I live are 400 tons of gunpowder, and she is to be gradually filled up.
The Russians, to the number of 5000, made a sortie on the French lines this morning, but were repulsed with loss.
Two Russian officers, wounded yesterday, were brought: down and embarked to-day from Balaklava. No tidings of Captain Lockwood. They tell me that there is a chance that Captain Morris may survive, and that poor Maude, though seriously, is not mortally wounded. I wrote to his wife to-day, to endeavour to break to her, as best I could, the fact that he was only wounded!
My poor servant, whose husband was in the 8th, has been in deep anxiety and distress, as, when I left last night, her husband had not been seen. One man told me he thought he saw him fall; but, of course, I would give her no information but facts. To-day, hearing that he had returned wounded, and was in hospital, she started to see if it was true. Alas, poor woman! all she heard was tidings of his death.
Mr. Cator walked over from Khersonnese to-night, and arrived about nine o'clock.
Saturday, 28th. - What an anxious night. Guns firing incessantly from the batteries round Balaklava! and occasional volleys of musketry seemed to say that the enemy were having another try for it. I lay awake, a little anxious and doubtful. The harbour was astir - steamers getting up their steam, anchors being weighed, and all made ready for departure. If they should be able to shell the harbour!
The " Star of the South" is full of powder, and every ship has more or less on board.
Daylight brought news that upwards of 200 horses had escaped from the Russian lines, and galloped towards our entrenchments and those of the French. The marines, thinking, in the dark, that it was a charge of Cavalry, fired right and left; the affrighted horses, turning off, dashed over the plain towards the French, who opened on them immediately. Many were killed, but many more, rushing over everything, were caught in the camp, and distributed - a welcome windfall after the 25th.
A flag of truce went into Sebastopol to-day, to enquire the number of officers taken, and their fate and names. The answer was, that eleven officers were captured, of whom only two survive. Who may those two be? We are to send again to-morrow to learn their names. Lord Cardigan tells me, that the loss of the Light Brigade in the charge was 300 men, 24 officers, and 354 horses. Twenty-seven wounded horses have since been shot. Lord Cardigan received a slight lance wound in the side; he distinguished himself by the rapidity with which he rode.
Shifted camp to-day to be out of the way of the French guns.
Sunday, 29th. - Tremendous gale of wind all last night. Fortunately it blew off shore, or it might have caused serious damage among the ships lying outside.
Why are the ships allowed to lie outside? All the transport masters object to the anchorage. Why are they kept there against their judgments and their will?
Saw Colonel Lake and Mr. Grylls yesterday, for the first time since they so kindly assisted me in my search for Henry, at Kalamita.
The flag of truce went in again to-day, and returned answer that Mr. Clowes, 8th Hussars, and Mr. Chadwick, 17th Lancers, were the only survivors. Poor Lockwood!
Wednesday, November 1st. - A bright, cheery day in harbour tempted me to ride to the camp. Oh, false valley of Balaklava, to conceal amongst thy many surrounding hills the bitter cold of the higher lands! Auctions of deceased officers' effects occupied almost every one to-day. The prices were fabulous. An old forage cap fetched 5 l. 5 s. O d.; an old pair of warm gloves, 1 l. 7 s. O d.; a couple of cotton nightcaps, 1 l. l s. O d.: whilst horses sold as absurdly cheap- one fetched 12 l. Os. Od. and another, 9 l. A common clasp knife fetched l l. 10s. Od.
Reinforcements of French troops, Guards, and Highlanders, to the amount of 2000, arrived to-day. Osten Sacken, with a force of 20,000 men, has come to the relief of the besieged city. We are doing nothing particular to-day beyond firing red-hot shot. All are in expectation of the storming, and all, meanwhile, shivering with cold. Henry succeeded in purchasing a very large waterproof wrapper for "Bob," which makes me much easier on his account; but, Oh! how anxious do I feel as often as I look at that dear old friend, and think of the hardships he has to undergo.
Sunday, 5th. - I heard very heavy and continuous firing, which lasted all the morning; but as I saw no one from the front, and Henry was there with his regiment, I could learn nothing about it before twelve o'clock. Then, indeed, news came in fast. At five o'clock this morning, in the middle of a dense fog, our out-lying piquets suddenly found themselves surrounded and fired at from all sides - heavy guns, of large calibre, with shell and musketry, ploughing in every direction.
How can I describe the horrors and glories of that day? It was a hand-to-hand battle, wherein every man fought for his life. Stunned, and confused for a moment, our troops rallied with inconceivable energy and courage. From five, A.M., till three in the afternoon they fought with all the acharnement of wild beasts -
" Groom fought like noble, squire like knight,
As dauntlessly and well."
But I! - I only knew that Henry was there; and begging Captain Buckley, of the Fusilier Guards, who was recovering from his wound at Alma, and on board the "Star of the South," to accompany me, we started on foot for the front.
With such work going on, reports were not likely to be slack.
I had barely left the town before I was told of the utter destruction of the Cavalry, which had "remained the whole day passive under a galling fire." But I had learnt experience, and this did not trouble me much. We pushed on, and met a cart coming down slowly: in it was Sir George Brown, wounded in the arm. A melancholy train of ambulance was winding slowly down to Balaklava. Alas! I well knew its ghastly freight. An hour later, and Henry was- giving me himself an account of the terrible casualties of the day. He spoke with grief of Sir George Cathcart, who bravely met with a soldier's highest honour - a death won with such impetuous courage that the memory of it must last throughout all time. The brigade of Guards has suffered cruelly. General Strangways is dead; poor Major Wynne, of the 68th; Major Dalton, of the 49th, who leaves a young widow and children alone at Constantinople.
But who is not among the list of dead? Poor young Cleveland, with his fair, boyish face! Ah me! how ruthless is the sword!
I cannot hope to glean full and correct particulars of this day, wondrous in the world's history, until time has allowed the feeling of excitement a little to subside.
Monday, 6th. - Henry and I rode up to our camp, which is situated near the windmill at the front. Here we met le Baron de Noe, who, with Henry, rode on to inspect the battle. field.
I could not go. The thought of it made me shudder and turn sick. On his return, Henry told me that the field of Alma was child's play to this! Compressed into a space not much exceeding a square half-mile, lay about 5000 Russians, some say 6000; above 2000 of our own men, exclusive of French, of whom, I believe, there were near 3000; lines upon lines of Artillery horses, heaps upon heaps of slain, lying in every attitude, and congregated in masses - some on their sides, others with hands stiffening on the triggers of their muskets; some rolled up as if they died in mortal pain, others smiling placidly, as though still dreaming of home: while round the batteries, man and horse piled in heaps, wounds and blood - a ghastly and horrible sight!
We were taken by surprise, attacked where we had no intrenchment or fortification of any kind. We fought as all know Englishmen will fight; and our loss was in proportion to the carelessness that permitted the attack, rather than to the magnificent courage that repelled it.
Wednesday, November 8th. - The 46th, under Colonel Garrett, arrived in Balaklava to-day, and disembarked this afternoon. They are a particularly fine looking regiment; two companies are already here. They landed 750 strong.
Thursday, 9th. - Rode up to the front to-day with Captain Sayer and Mr. Rochfort, who took up their quarters yesterday on board the "Star of the South;" the former having come out to see his brother, who was wounded at "Alma," and the latter as an amateur. They went to inspect the horrors of the battle-field; Henry and I went to Sir George Cathcart's grave - fit resting-place for the heart of such a soldier. In the centre of what has been a ruined fortification, in front of the division he led so gallantly, almost within range of the guns of Sebastopol, surrounded by those officers of his division who fell by his side, he sleeps until the reveillée of the Great Day. A cross, rudely built of rough stones, stands at the head of his grave.
Friday, 10th. - A heavy gale of wind made terrible disturbance among the shipping, both inside and outside the harbour, so much so that several ships' masters outside protested at not being admitted to the shelter of the harbour.* Owing to the heavy rain, the roads were nearly impassable on Wednesday and today. I hear that several of the poor, starved, worn-out Artillery horses died on the road, vainly endeavouring to drag up guns to the front.
Saturday, 11th. - The 62nd regiment landed to-day at Kamiesh Bay.
The severe weather affects both men and horses terribly; of the latter, I fear, few will live to feel the warm breath of spring.
These horses have no clothing, and very insufficient food; and the men live in a state that few of our paupers in England would endure.
Monday, 13th. - The "Jura" arrived to- day' It is still blowing as if it never blew before, and raining in torrents. The Russians made a sortie last night on the French, and were repulsed - with what loss, on either side, I am unable to learn.
Tuesday, 14th. - The most terrific gale commenced blowing at about five o'clock this morning. At seven o'clock, when I looked through the stern-cabin windows, the harbour was seething and covered with foam, and the ships swinging terribly. By nine it had increased to a frightful extent, and I could hardly, even when clinging to the ship, keep my footing on deck. The spray, dashing over the cliffs many hundred feet, fell like heavy rain into the harbour. Ships were crushing and crowding together, all adrift, all breaking and grinding each other to pieces. The stern-work of the "Star of the South" was being ground away by the huge sides of the "Medway," which was perpetually heaving against her.
By ten o'clock we heard that the most fearful wrack was going on outside amongst the ships at anchor, and some of the party - Captain Sayer, Mr. Rochfort, and Captain Frain - started for the rocks to try if by any means they could save life. The next tidings were, that the "Prince" and the "Resolute," the "Rip van Winkle," the "Wanderer," the "Progress," and a foreign barque, had all gone down, and, out of the whole, not a dozen people saved. At two o'clock, in spite of wind and weather, I managed to scramble from ship to ship, and went ashore to see this most disastrous sight. Ah me! such a sight, once seen, who can forget !
At the moment after my arrival, the devoted and beautiful little clipper ship "Wild Wave" riding to her death. Her captain and crew - all but three small boys - had deserted her at nine o'clock; and she was now, with all her masts standing, and her helpless freight on board, drifting with her graceful outlines and her heart of oak, straightway to her doom. She is under our feet. God have mercy on those children now!
Captain Frain, Captain Liddell, and some seamen heave a rope downwards, at which one boy springs, but the huge wave is rolling backwards, and he is never seen again.
A second time they hurl it down to the boy standing on the stern frame, but the ship surging down upon the ruthless rocks, the deck parts beneath his feet, and he is torn, mangled, and helpless; but clinging still, until a wave springs towards him eagerly, and claims for the sea.
The third and last survivor catches at the friendly rope, and swooning with exhaustion and fear, he is laid upon the rock; while in a moment, with one single bound, the little ship springs upwards, as though she, too, was imploring aid, and falls back a scattered mass, covering the sea with splinters, masts, cargo, hay, bread, and ropes.
Meantime the "Retribution," the " Lady Valiant," the "Melbourne," the "Pride of the Qcean," the "Medora," the "Mercia," and several more, are all more or less damaged, and. most of them entirely dismasted, riding it out as. best they may. The greatest praise is due to the crew of the "Avon's" life-boat, who went out fearlessly to endeavour to render aid; but were unable, owing to the heavy sea, to get near the ships. Let me shut up my book; for the more I contemplate it, the more terrible the disaster appears.
Captain Jennings, who came on board ill today, talks of beds and clothing carried bodily into the air, and of tents being split to ribbons, or torn from the ground, and hurled away.
This is nine o'clock, P.M. The "Medway," "Marmion," "Brenda," and "Harbinger " are still hard at work on the sides of our unlucky ship; and I much fear the figure-head of the "Medway" will be into my cabin to-night.
Wednesday, 15th.- The sky is serene and blue, and nature, weary of her hurricane of tears, has sobbed herself into quietness. Captain Kyle, of the "Pride of the Ocean," came into harbour this morning, having, together with his crew, abandoned his ship. How beautifully she rode through yesterday's gale! all her masts cut away, and her long black hull, with its graceful lines, sitting on the troubled water like a bird. The "Retribution" rode out the gale safely, though holding by only one cable.
Thursday, November 16th. - Report mentions twelve ships lost at Katcha, and thirteen at Eupatoria, but as yet this wants confirmation.
To-day one of the crew of the "Star of the South," Welsh by name, has been indefatigable in endeavouring to save the lives of some poor fellows who had been cast on the lower rocks, where they were scarcely to be got at from the heights above. About twelve o'clock, we heard that this fine fellow, in endeavouring to reach a sailor below him, lost his balance, and was lying with a broken leg close to the man he had risked his life to save. A party went to fetch him in, and found him suffering only from contusion, and not from a broken limb. The man appears to have behaved with wonderful courage and good feeling, and is deserving of unqualified praise.
Saturday, November 18th. - A day like the renewal of youth! - cloudless, warm, and so bright! Captain Howard, of the 44th, took pity on me, a prisoner on board ship, and sent down a white Spanish horse for me to ride. I went to the camp, and found them all spreading themselves out to dry in the sunshine, like so many torpid flies. Henry applied to be allowed an office in Balaklava, so as to secure a stable for " Bob," who is half starved and as rough as a terrier. The grey horse was stolen two days ago, and is not yet recovered.
Sunday, 19th. - A mail has arrived. I thirst for letters from England, as a feverish man thirsts for a draught of water. On Friday the Cavalry horses had one handful of barley as their day's food.
Yesterday they had the same.
Monday, 20th. - Heavy rain. The 97th landed to-day. They look fresh and well; but I should fancy few will be so to-morrow morning, if this is to be their inauguration day in camp.
Wednesday, 22nd. - Yesterday the "Queen of the South" disembarked draughts of Guards, &c., to the amount of 800 men. They were hardly disembarked before nightfall, and as we were returning at dusk from a ride to the camp, we met them marching up.
Henry and I had an adventure to-day, exciting though harmless. We were riding slowly across the plain, under the French batteries, but in full view of the Russian force, when I saw a fragment of shell lying on the ground, and forgetting all about the Russian Artillery, requested Henry to pick it up; he dismounted for the purpose, when luckily I turned round in time to see the smoke of a piece of field artillery. I need hardly say we lost no time in taking ourselves out of range! We were both on white horses, and afforded a conspicuous mark. Lord George Paget is gone home. Thirty-eight other officers, profiting by his example, have sent in their papers.
Thursday, 23rd. - Perpetual sounds of heavy firing during the night told us that something was on hand; and next morning we heard that the Rifles had attacked a battery of twenty guns, but owing to insufficient numbers, they were three times driven back, until a French reinforcement enabled them to hold it. A very intelligent French soldier of the 20ième de la Ligne came into our tent today, when we were up in camp. He had read part of "Byron," and the "Vicar of Wakefield!" He told us that on the 5th several of our men, in the confusion, lost their regiments, and placing themselves in the French ranks, fought side by side with their neighbours and allies. Poor Colonel Shewell, overcome at last by the rough life, has been obliged to make up his mind to remain for some days on board ship.
The appearance of the officers very much resembles that of the horses; they all look equally thin, worn, ragged, and out of condition in every way.
Sunday, 26th. - A brilliant morning induced us to try and attend church on board the "Sanspareil." Arrived there, we were told there was no service, all the men being employed ashore. We stayed for some time in the ward room, looking at the many scars left in the good ship's timbers by the shells on the 17th of October, when she followed the Agamemnon so closely into action.
In the afternoon Captain Anderson, Mr. Goss, and I went to service in the chaplain's room in Balaklava, - an interesting congregation enough, composed entirely of soldiers who had come fresh from the noise of war. The quiet voice of the chaplain was inexpressibly soothing, and the words he chose peculiarly applicable to the excited and half-tired state of my mind - "There remaineth therefore a rest." He spoke for ten minutes, though at times his voice was barely audible amidst all the din and noise on the quay, the flogging of jaded and dying horses, and the voices of the soldiers, cursing with every imaginable oath their exhausted cattle.
The grey horse, "Job," died this evening of sheer starvation: his tail had been gnawed to a stump by his hungry neighbours at piquet. Misfortune appears to haunt us, as this is the third horse we have lost since leaving England: but we will "live misfortune down," with that dreary and desperate courage that the terrible scenes of this terrible life impart. Poor "Job!" he earned his name from his exhaustless patience under innumerable afflictions: he was an enormous, powerful, and hungry horse, and he sold his life by inches. There was no help for it: had it been myself instead of him, I must have died.
Tuesday, 28th. - Captain Dawson Damer came down this afternoon; and I rode back with him to Kadekoi, where the officers of the Guards have a house, and dined there, Henry joining us from the camp. The excellent dinner and kindly hospitality put us quite in spirits, after the ship food and our long fit of depression. Major Hamilton lent me his white pony. Oh, dainty pony! with black lustrous eyes, and little prancing feet, and long white tail dyed red with henna, like the finger tips of the most delicate lady in Stamboul! We rode home at dark, along the rotten, deep, almost impracticable track. The dead horses lying right across the road, as they fell, and the dead and dying bullocks, filled me with horror, and the white pony with spasms of fear. Now we trod upon the muddy carcass of a horse; now we passed a fallen mule, and a huge bullock, sitting up, with long ghastly horns pointing upwards in the moonlight, awaiting his death.
No horse is permitted to be destroyed without a special order from Lord Lucan, except in case of glanders, and, I believe, a broken leg. Some horses in our lines have been lying steeped in mud, and in their death-agony, for three days!
Thursday, November 30th. - Tempted by the sunshine, I left my work, and walked over the cliffs with Captain Damer. My work (what will the young ladies at home say to my fingers?) is an enormous canvass sheet and breastplate, which I have made to cover up "Bob," and which I must take to-morrow to the "Sanspareil" to have waterproofed. I was scarcely over the ship's side, when the boat drifted - oh, horror! - against a dead body, one of the many that were floating in from the wrecks outside. It was the first I had happened to see. The Times of the 13th is in harbour, and somebody, I forget who, tells me that my name appears in it. I wish they could put in that I had left the ship, and was established on shore, if only in a single room. Of this, however, I fear there is but little chance, as I hear Balaklava is to be given up to the sick. The place stinks already with the number of sick Turks, who have turned it into a half-putrid hospital. I never saw people die with such a dreary perseverance as these Turks. Two hundred of them were buried in one day a short time since.
I am happy to hear that it is at last arranged to bring the Light Cavalry down from the front, and quarter them near Balaklava, it being found impossible to convey forage up to them at the front.® Fifteen of our horses died last night.
Sunday, December 3rd. - It rained viciously all day. Captain Buckley came down to see me in the afternoon. I hear the sick are dying at an average of eighty per diem. I know that the mortality amongst the newly-arrived regiments is very great; nor can any one wonder at it! We, who are acclimatised, can hardly make head against the hardships of the life, - what, then, must those feel who have just left an English barrack, or even the crowded discomforts of a transport! With some little horror (not much), and a great deal of curiosity, I watched from over the taffrail of the "Star of the South," the embarkation of some Russian prisoners and English soldiers (all wounded) for Scutari. The dignified indifference of the medical officer, who stood with his hands in his pockets, gossiping in the hospital doorway, - the rough and indecent way in which the poor howling wretches were hauled along the quay, and bundled, some with one, and others with both legs amputated, into the bottom of a boat, without a symptom of a stretcher or a bed, was truly an edifying exemplification of the golden rule, " Do to others as you would be done by."
On board the steam-ship "Avon," I hear the sights and sounds are too dreadful to imagine. An officer, who was sick on board, tells me the wounded men were laid on the deck with nothing but a blanket between them and the boards. Oh, how their wounded limbs must have ached! He said the groans and moans of these poor creatures, on the first night he spent on board, were heart-rending; but by the next night the noise had considerably decreased - death had been more merciful to their pain than man. Independently of the wounded soldiers, with whom our hospitals are full - the dreary, weary Turks have got a kind of plague amongst them, which infects the air. If any body should ever wish to erect a "Model Balaklava" in England, I will tell him the ingredients necessary. Take a village of ruined houses and hovels in the extremest state of all imaginable dirt; allow the rain to pour into and outside them, until the whole place is a swamp of filth ancle-deep; catch about, on an average, 1000 sick Turks with the plague, and cram them into the houses indiscriminately; kill about 100 a-day, and bury them so as to be scarcely covered with earth, leaving them to rot at leisure - taking care to keep up the supply. On to one part of the beach drive all the exhausted bât ponies, dying bullocks, and worn-out camels, and leave them to die of starvation. They will generally do so in about three days, when they will soon begin to rot, and smell accordingly. Collect together from the water of the harbour all the offal of the animals slaughtered for the use of the occupants of above 100 ships, to say nothing of the inhabitants of the town, - which, together with an occasional floating human body, whole or in parts, and the driftwood of the wrecks, pretty well covers the water - and stew them all up together in a narrow harbour, and you will have a tolerable imitation of the real essence of Balaklava. If this is not piquante enough, let some men be instructed to sit and smoke on the powder-barrels landing on the quay; which I myself saw two men doing to-day, on the Ordnance Wharf.
Monday, December 4th. - The "Europa," steam-ship, came in this afternoon with draughts, and the 97th regiment -1100 men in all. Last night the Russians from Kamara made an attempt to get into the town and fire the shipping. They were intercepted, - some shot, and some taken prisoners. It was well they were; for had they not been, Balaklava by this time would have existed only in the past tense, as I should also have done most probably myself - an event on which I do not wish to calculate just yet.
There are Russian residents permitted in Balaklava; amongst them a Mr. Upton, son of the engineer who constructed the forts of Sebastopol, and who was taken prisoner when we first marched down upon that place.
Thursday, December 7th. - The "Queen of the South" came in to-day with Turks on board, but was sent on to Eupatoria to disembark them. The "Sydney" also arrived with part of the 34th on board, and Mr. Chenery, the Times correspondent at Constantinople.
Several men dined on board, and we had no lack of intelligent conversation for that evening at least, whatever the case may usually be. Captain Hillyar, of the "Agamemnon," came down from the trenches to-day and called on me. He tells me the French were repulsed last night in attacking a Russian battery; and also that the Russians made a sortie on our trenches, from which we drove them back.
It appears that the Russians are every day improving their position, as far as new batteries, new trenches, and fresh guns go. A story is current in Balaklava (but people in Balaklava are apt to be scandalous) that one of the Engineers, whose business it indubitably is to watch the various points of attack, being in a battery this morning (whose battery I will not mention), a new mud fort, with sixteen guns mounted and in position, was pointed out to him. "God bless my soul; so there is! I never knew anything about that!" was his exclamation.
A Maltese man and a woman were found murdered on the rocks just outside Balaklava yesterday. I have not heard that anything has been done towards tracing the crime; indeed, such a process would be impossible in such a crowd and confusion of all nations, languages, and peoples.
Sunday, December 10th. - A mild, warm, damp day. I write so seldom in my journal now, because I have nothing to say, except to grieve over the cruel detention of the mail, now four days over-due.
Tuesday, 12th. - Heavy firing last night from nine o'clock till twelve - followed this morning by an exquisite specimen of Balaklava reports. They said, "The Russians had come down last night in force, and had established themselves (or endeavoured to do so, I forget which) between the army in front and the army in the rear; that the Rifles had fired away all their ammunition; and that the Russian loss was (as usual) tremendous!" An Artillery officer, who came down this evening from the trenches, in which he had passed all the previous night, was considerably astonished to hear of this wondrous battle; but said that the Rifles certainly fancied they heard the sound of approaching troops, and blazed away as hard as they could - firing all their ammunition; - the result being, I believe, one dead Russian!
Saturday, December 16th. - Torrents of rain have fallen. The country is more swampy than any words of mine can convey an idea of. Fresh Russian reinforcements have arrived, both to the army in Sebastopol and the army in the field. To-day two steamers arrived; one full of Artillery, and the other with the 89th regiment on board. The French have been landing troops very fast, the last few days, at Kherson; and there is a sort of vague idea floating about in the minds of men that a battle is in meditation on the 19th.
The French, who the other day put their admirable walking ambulance at our disposal to bring down our 1300 sick, have to-day lent us sixty horses to assist to drag up the munitions de guerre. Finding it impossible, by any amount of curses and blows, to get as much strength out of a dying horse as out of one in full vigour, they have at last agreed to give up the attempt; and 400 Turks are to be stationed on the hills to unload the carts at the bottom, and load them again at the top, passing their shot and shell up from hand to hand.
A few Russian prisoners are also employed in assisting the French to mend our roads. Their countenances are wonderfully alike, all with flat noses and short chins; but they seem cheerful and wondrously willing to work. I hear they receive one shilling a-day, and a ration of rum.
Sunday, 17th. - Went to morning church; afterwards walked with Mr. Anderson, and, returning through a deluge of mud, met the 89th and 17th regiments, which had disembarked at an hour's notice, as an attack is expected to-morrow, it being St. Nicholas's day, when the Russian soldiers are supposed to have an extra ration of rakee; and as they never fight unless half drunk, the argument is not so bad after all.
Monday, 18th. - A brilliant, warm day tempted us out; and, at eleven o'clock, Henry, Mr. Rochfort, Mr. Aspinall, and I, found ourselves on horseback starting for the Monastery of St. George. After about three miles of extremely heavy riding, we got upon the downs, and broke our wearisome walking-pace. The monastery soon came in sight. Built on the edge of a rock, with a precipitous and wooded descent to the sea, it stands quite alone, a solid and rather fine building, surrounded by massive rocks and high cliffs. We tied our horses to the railings of a church outside the precincts, and, guided by a Zouave, penetrated to the gardens within. A few monks were amusing themselves on the terraces, and against the rails, over which we leaned to take in the beauty of the abrupt cliffs, which sloped, laden with trees and foliage even at this time of year, down to the water's edge. Mr. Rochfort left us, and presently returned with a handful of Russian stocks in bloom, which he gave to me. Several Russian families have taken refuge here from the lines of the English and French armies. One Englishman interested us all; a Mr. Willis, who had been for five-and-thirty years head caulker in the harbour of Sebastopol. He grumbled sorely at the advent of his countrymen, who, as he said, had pulled down his house, and loop-holed it, and had destroyed his vineyard - his 999 trees! General Bosquet and staff rode up as we left, and several English officers were leaving at the same time as ourselves. We had a cheery canter home, during which one of us put up a hare, which, although we had a very speedy greyhound with us, we could not catch. I rode the white Spanish horse.
Tuesday, l9th. - Rode my dear old horse to-day, for the first time since his starvation, and nearly cried with joy as I felt him straining on the bit. A few days ago, when he came down from the front, a mere skinful of bones, and with an expression of human woe and suffering in his large sad eyes, he haunted me night and day; but, remembering my former loss, I would neither mention him in this book, nor would I inquire whether he was dead or alive, as each morning came, and to-day he was able to canter for a couple of dozen yards.
Wednesday, 20th. - Rode the white Spanish horse, and hearing that the French were intending to make a reconnaissance, we cantered into the plain and joined them. The Chasseurs d'Afrique, the 6ième Dragons, and another regiment (which, I do not know) were riding towards Kamara and Canrobert's Hill. As they approached the latter, the enemy showed themselves on the top; mutual skirmishers were sent out; several shots were fired. One Dragon was killed, a Chasseur wounded, and a Chasseur horse destroyed; and then, after sitting and looking at each other for some little time, we turned and rode slowly back.
The object of this reconnaissance was to endeavour to ascertain the number of the enemy, and also to try to recover the batteries abandoned by the Turks on the 25th of October. Whether either of these objects was accomplished, I cannot tell, but I think not. It seemed to me cruel enough to leave the one poor fellow in the middle of the great plain, lying on his face, in his gay-coloured uniform, to be either prodded to death with the Cossack lances, or eaten by the eagles and the wild dogs. The scene haunted me for days - aye, even in my dreams.
Friday, 22nd. - Incessant rain.
Saturday, 23rd. - Ditto, only twice as hard.
Sunday, 24th. - The two previous days condensed in one; and this is Christmas eve. How many hearts in our sodden camp must feel sad and lonely to-day! How many pictures of home, and how many faces (how much loved we never knew till now) rise before our hearts, all beaming with a happiness probably unpossessed by them, but in which our imagination loves to clothe them!
Alas! how many assembled round the blazing fires at home drink no healths, but meet in sorrow to pour out the wassail as a libation to the many honoured dead !
Heavy firing to-day from the ships. Sir Edmund Lyons has been but three days in command. He is popular, and much is expected of him.
Christmas Day. - A brilliant frosty morning. After church Henry and I walked up to the Cavalry camp, and invited Lord Killeen and Colonel De Salis to join our dinner party on board the "Star of the South," which somehow was prolonged far into the night.
Wednesday, 27th. - We started intending to ride up to head quarters, but the roads were so deep and rotten, so full of holes that seemed to have no bottom, the day was so raw, and our progress so slow, that, notwithstanding my endeavours to keep my habit short and temper long, I was too much disgusted and wearied to struggle further than our Cavalry camp.
The cold to-night is intense, and as we have no fire on board this ship our sufferings are very great. But "there is in every depth a lower still," and we should be worse off in the trenches. It is when suffering from these minor evils of cold and hunger (for our table is very much neglected), that I feel most how much my patience, endurance, and fortitude are tried. The want of fire, of a carpet, of even a chair, makes itself terribly felt just now.
Friday, 29th. - Lieutenant Ross, of the "Stromboli," called on me this afternoon, and joined us in a charming walk to the ruins of the Genoese Fort, whence we watched the sparkling sunlight on the sea; and then turning to our left, we stretched across the hills to the Marine and Rifle camp, and returned by descending the precipitous cliff into Balaklava.
Saturday, 30th. - The French Cavalry, a regiment of Zouaves, and some of the Highlanders of Sir Colin Campbell's division, made a reconnaissance to-day over the ground supposed to have been occupied by the Russian army under Liprandi. This force they found had almost entirely vacated the plain, owing, as we suppose, to the severe weather cutting off their supplies of provisions. The French set fire to all the huts they found, and the party returned about dusk, having met with very few casualties.
I did not go out with the reconnaissance, as our horses require rest rather than work, and would never have carried us through the deep mud for so many hours. Instead, we walked up to the camp, where the sale of the late Major Oldham's kit was in progress. We were fortunate enough to find some excellent soup, manufactured by Captain Jennings, of the 13th Light Dragoons, of which I am afraid we left him very little.
We hear that Lord George Paget has started on his return to the Crimea.
Monday, January 1st, 1855. - Day cruelly cold, but very bright. Henry and I walked to the Genoese Fort, and watched the ships sailing harbourwards on the calm and shining sea.
The 39th regiment arrived in the "Golden Fleece," and Mr. Foster shortly after came on board the "Star of the South;" and we discussed the merry old days spent together at Weymouth, until the sound of the old waltzes rang in my ears, and the horn of Mr. Farquharson's huntsman came up echoing from far over the sea.
Wednesday, January 3rd. - The quay covered with French soldiers, whom I watched with the greatest amusement, as they absolutely plundered our shot and shell, so rapidly did it disappear under their hands for conveyance to the front. Before our men can collect their wits for the work, 100, 200, 250 shell are passing from hand to hand into the waggons waiting to receive them.
But, as their officer remarked to me, "Les Anglais sont de très bons soldats, mais ils ne savent pas faire la guerre. Ils se battent tres bien (Allons, mes enfans, vite! vite!), mais ils n'aiment pas travailler. Ils ont peur de se souiller les mains. (Nous voilà prêts pour le départ.) Nous sommes aussi prêts pour aller à Sevastopol; mais les Anglais - c'est eux qui nous font toujours - attendre - attendre. Madame, j'ai l'honneur de vous saluer;" and away went the whole corps, every two men carrying a 10-inch shell. Ah, how have our resources been wasted! - our horses killed! - our men invalided; while over it all broods the most culpable indifference!
Tuesday, January 9th. - A day of miraculous escape. Henry and I were writing in the cabin, and I was just finishing a note which a sergeant of the 62nd was waiting to take up to the front - our ship had been engaged for some days previous in taking in powder and ammunition, and she had on board nearly 1000 tons - when suddenly the sergeant put his head in at the door, and asked if the note were ready. I said, "Not yet; you must wait a moment." The reply was, " I cannot wait - for - the ship's on fire! "
A moment after, and the noise and hurry showed us it was too true. The fire was in the lower hold, and burning within six feet of the magazine!
At such a time there was no thought of fear. It had been raining; and Henry and I, unwilling to add to the crowd forward, after getting some galoshes, went on deck. We were then advised to go and stand on shore, and to take my poor maid, who was screaming, and praying to every saint in the calendar, by turns. We were soon overboard, and watching the exertions o£ the men at the pumps. The hose of the steam-ship "Niagara" was in a few moments at work, as well as our own, and in a short time the alarm was over, and the fire extinguished. Moored next us was the "Earl of Shaftesbury," also a powder ship; and a little a-head of us lay the "Medora," likewise with powder on board. All felt that their last moment was come; and yet, a strange exultation possessed my heart in contemplating so magnificent a death - to die with hundreds in so stupendous an explosion, which would not only have destroyed every vessel in harbour, and the very town itself, but would have altered the whole shape of the bay, and the echoes of which would have rung through the world!
Wednesday, January 10th. - Not liking the anchorage, after yesterday's experience, I endeavoured to ride up to head quarters, to petition for rooms on shore, but the heavy rain stopped all that.
Saturday, 13th. - Frost, snow, and bitter cold. This morning I ran up on deck, for the day was bright and sunny, in spite of the cold, keen air. It was a wondrous sight! - everything buried in a foot of snow; rocks, houses, gun-limbers, plants, and tents, all covered. The ships in harbour were the prettiest: they were all dressed in purest white; the capstan tops looking like huge twelfth cakes; the yards and spars glittering like rods of ice bound together by fairy ropes of snow; the whole glistening in the sunlight like an illumination.
I thank God heartily that I can see and appreciate beauty of every kind. How many have eyes which see not; ears which ear not; hearts which cannot understand! - men who perpetually remind one of the character described by Wordsworth, of whom he says -
"The primrose by the river's brim
A yellow primrose was to him,
And it was nothing more."
Monday, 15th. - Took the dear old horse's bridle over my arm, and walked him up to camp, as he has not been out for some days, and it is too slippery to ride.
Appreciated most gratefully the kindness of Captain Naylor, who sent me out, two days ago, a wondrous plaid, the thickness and warmth of which is of the greatest service to me. Tried to find a pair of muffetees for poor Lord Killeen, whose fingers, like mine, are chilled to the bone.
Tuesday, January 16th. - We changed our anchorage to-day, and moved to a berth nearer the mouth of the harbour. Ingress and egress to the ship is now much more difficult, as we are much further from shore.
Thus we shall lose many of our most frequent visitors, and be made almost prisoners on board the ship, which is a nuisance that we resent in true English fashion, by grumbling all day long.
A large augmentation of the Russian army arrived yesterday near Inkermann. Our (English) force consists now of 11,000 bayonets. The leaders of the Times have, I see, taken up the subject warmly enough, and by so doing have cheered and refreshed many a heart that was well nigh tired of
Friday, 19th. - Captain Sayer, who has been so long a resident on board the "Star of the South," left us early and suddenly this morning, fearing he should not be able to reach England by the expiration of his leave. When going ashore this afternoon, I discovered that, not satisfied with the ten dead horses and three camels already rotting on the shore, they make a practice of goading all the dying commissariat animals to this corner, to add to the congregation already assembled.
Saturday, 20th. - For two days we have had alongside our ship a Turkish steamer, so close as to chafe our ship's side very considerably. She took up a position in the harbour pointed out to her by the authorities; and soon after she had anchored, she began blowing off her steam, and emptying the burning cinders overboard between her own side and ours. Henry and Captain Frain were both on deck; but it was not until after many and frantic efforts that they at last made the captain of the steamer understand that we had powder on board.
To-day 360 plague-stricken Turks have been put into her; but one becomes so indifferent and callous that nothing dismays one now. Henry and I tried to go out fishing this morning, but we got the net foul of the rocks, and caught nothing. The band of the 14th regiment was playing on board the "Emeu" all the time. They have just arrived in harbour.
The 39th, on board the "Golden Fleece," are suffering terribly from sickness, and have lost so many men that a portion of them are to be disembarked and sent ashore to day, so as to render her less crowded and more fit for the accommodation of the sick. The "Arabia," steam-ship, which succeeded the Turkish steamer in the occupation of the berth alongside us, was discovered to be very extensively on fire this morning about five o'clock. I look upon the preservation of our lives, entrusted as they are to such inefficient and unprincipled hands as those who have the management of ships in this harbour, to be a perpetual miracle.
Wednesday, 24th. - Riding to the camp today I met Lord Raglan coming down to Balaklava, and I took the opportunity of asking his lordship whether I might not live in any house, however small, on shore. My request was not acceded to.
Saturday, 27th. - 250 sick embarked to-day.
Sunday, 28th. - 130 sick embarked to-day.
Monday, 29th. - 295 sick embarked to-day.
Truly our army is in a lamentable state. I have grieved until I have no power of grieving left. I think that if I knew I was going to die myself, I should merely shrug my shoulders and lie down quietly.
We have no ambulance waggons; they are nearly all broken down, or the mules are dead, or the drivers are dead or dead drunk: as well one as the other, as far as usefulness goes. Our poor Cavalry horses, as we know full well, are all unequal to the task of carrying down the sick; and the French have provided transports for us for some time. They were complaisant enough about it at first, but now (the men I mean) begin to grumble, and to do their work cruelly. One poor fellow, wounded and frostbitten in the hands and feet, was taken roughly from his mule and huddled down in the mud, despite his agonised screams and cries. Another Frenchman drove his empty mule so carelessly past one that was still laden as to cut the poor sufferer's legs with the iron bar, and cause him cruel pain.
Why can we not tend our own sick ? Why are we so helpless and so broken down ?
Oh, England! England! blot out the lion and the unicorn: let the supporters of your arms henceforth be, Imbecility and Death!
A cargo of "navvies" came out to-day in the "Lady Alice Lambton." Their arrival makes a great sensation. Some of them immediately went ashore, and set out for a walk "to see if they could see e'er a ____ Roosshian."
The 39th, who have been hitherto employed as working parties on the road, yield their work to the navvies, after having given the greatest satisfaction at it themselves.
Henry and I dined in camp with Captain Portal, of the 4th Light Dragoons, who gave us a dinner that contrasted wonderfully with our hard fare on board ship, and whose hospitable and cheerful welcome we shall always remember with pleasure.
Tuesday, 30th. - Captain Hillyar, who came in last night in the "Malacca," called on me this morning with his brother, and asked us to dinner to-night.
Wednesday, 31st. - Eight nurses, under the direction of a "Lady Eldress" and Miss Shaw Stewart, came up to-day from Scutari to the Balaklava hospital.
We lunched on board the "Malacca," and met Captain Lushington, who engaged us to luncheon on Tuesday next.
The report is that the Grand Dukes are again in Sebastopol.
Monday, February 5th. - Dined with Major Peel.
Oh! what terrible work it is to ride over these wretched roads! You flounder along in the most helpless manner; and coming back in the dark, I put the reins on the old horse's neck, and exhorted him in this wise: - "Remember, 'Bob,' that any fool of a horse can tumble down here, so pray recollect what a much cleverer horse you are than any other of your species." I conclude the admonition had the desired effect; at any rate, we got safely home.
Tuesday, 6th. - A beautiful morning, but blowing very heavily. We started about twelve for the naval camp,- and ten minutes after down came the rain! We persevered, and arriving at last like drowned rats, were most hospitably entertained. Captain Lushington appeared sufficiently amused at my determined indifference to the rain. The weather cleared about four; and we had a delightful ride home along the high land, and then down to Kadekoi, by the brook in the valley, and over the dykes. I hardly know whose heart laughed the most, the brave old horse's or mine, as he laid his slender ears back, and, bearing on the bit, flung himself along, as though the starvation and the cruel suffering were all a myth, and he was once more in the merry hunting field at home.
Thursday, 8th. - Roused in the middle of the night by a report that the Russians were coming down in force, and that the crews of the transports must all turn out armed. What an order! What could such a disorganised rabble do in the midst of regular troops? They would most probably fire away at whatever came first, and cause endless worry and confusion.
Saturday, 10th. - Exchanged the "Star of the South" for the "Herefordshire," a fine old East Indiaman, and a most comfortable ship; a most desirable change in every way as far as comfort and good living go.
Monday, 12th. - What a soft and pleasant day. The sun was so hot as to make it impossible to walk uphill. We sat in the valley and thoroughly enjoyed the genial day, and, then descending to the shore, watched the varying colours on the rocks and sea.
At night came on a hurricane of wind and rain.
Tuesday, 13th. - Blowing terrific squalls. Captain Lushington, however, came on board, at great risk, to call on me. Some of the sick officers, who are on board the "Herefordshire," left to-day for Scutari, and others came in their places. Amongst them Colonel D_____, of the 90th, who had wounded himself this morning while playing with a revolver.
Friday, 16th. - Henry, Mr. Foster, Mr. Carr, Captain Lushington, and I rode over to the monastery, and I was as much pleased with it the second time of seeing it as the first. They report an attack on Inkermann this morning, but, although the firing was very heavy, I believe nothing extraordinary occurred.
Lord Lucan sailed for England to-day.
Tuesday, 20th. - A reconnaissance in force started this morning at four o'clock, to endeavour to surprise and take the outlying army over the hills. The snow began to fall immediately that the men were under arms, and presently came down with such hearty good-will as to render it impossible to proceed
The English Infantry who turned out were the 14th, 17th, 42nd, 71st, 79th, 93rd. The Light Cavalry, also, made a contribution of about thirty-five or thirty-eight men and horses. But after groping about in the intense cold and utter darkness, till every man was saturated and chilled to the bone, they were all ordered to turn in again.
On board our ship, the "Herefordshire," we have a most painful scene. One of the chaplains (Mr. Wyatt), who has long been ill of fever, is now delirious and in the utmost danger. He lies in a cabin separated from us by only a Venetian shutter; his incoherent ravings and frantic efforts to escape intrude themselves above the hushed voices of all who occupy the cabin. Fortunately, we none of us have a dread of infection.
Poor Mr. Taylor, too, another chaplain, whose exertions have been most unremitting and most noble, lies also on board another ship in the shadow of death. I know that Mr. Taylor has spent day after day in these pesti1ential hospitals, never giving himself rest or purer air.
Saturday, 24th. - Lunched in camp with Colonel Doherty, and afterwards went to see one of the women of our regiment, who is suffering from fever. I found her lying on a bed on the wet ground; she had lain there, in cold and rain, wind and snow, for twelve days. By her side, in the wet mud, was a piece of ration biscuit, a piece of salt pork, some cheese, and a tin pot with some rum! Nice fever diet! She, having failed to make herself popular among the women during her health, was left by them when she was sick; and not a soul had offered to assist the poor helpless, half-delirious creature, except her husband, and a former mate of his when he was a sailor.
Thursday, March 1st. -It being reported that all the transports are to be ordered out of Balaklava harbour, Captain Lushington rode down from the Naval Brigade, and most kindly, and with great consideration, offered to put up a hut for us in the camp - it being too cold for me to think of living in a tent. Captain Lushington, who is a very old friend of Henry's family, could not have given them a greater proof of friendship: he has offered to furnish men to put up the hut, dig the cooking-house, stables, &c.
Sunday, March 4th. - The "Herefordshire," which Admiral Boxer had long been threatening, was duly turned out of Balaklava harbour at eight o'clock this morning. We had been cried "wolf" to so often, that when the order really did arrive it took us all by surprise. The hurry and confusion was most absurd; and, after all, we were obliged to go out to sea in her, and return in the tug. But it was a lovely day, and we enjoyed the sail. Every one left the "Herefordshire" with regret; and we took leave of kind, cordial, hospitable Captain Stevenson with many expressions of hope that we should soon meet again. We returned to the "Star of the South."
Monday, 5th. - Started on horseback at one o'clock, to attend the "First Spring Meeting," the first race of the season. Wonderful, that men who have been starved with cold and hunger, drowned in rain and mud, wounded in action, and torn with sickness,. should on the third warm, balmy day start into fresh life like butterflies, and be as eager and fresh for the rare old English sport, as if they were in the ring at Newmarket, or watching the colours coming round " the corner."
There were four races: the first I was not in time to see. Just as the riders were going to the starting-post for the second race, somebody called out, " The picquets are coming in; the Russians must be advancing ! "
Away we al1 hurried to the camp, but found out it was a false alarm, caused by two Russian deserters whom our picquet had taken. It did not take long to return to the race ground: and the transition struck me as equally abrupt - from the race-course to the battle-field, from the camp to the course. Two pony races were won by sheer good riding, by Captain Thomas, R.H.A.; and after the "Consolation Stakes," as the sun was still high, the meeting dispersed for a dog-hunt. I rode with them as far as Karani, and then turned back. I could not join in or countenance in any way a sport that appears to me so unsportsmanlike, so cruel, so contrary to all good feeling, as hunting a dog.
I must mention that our hut progresses wonderfully; it is nearly finished, and the carpenters are making me a table. We are indebted to the kindness of Captain Franklyn, master of the "Columba," for a large sheet of plate glass, which makes a magnificent window.
Tuesday, 6th.- "The Canadian" went down to Constantinople to-day full of sick. What a serene and balmy day !
Wednesday, 7th. - In spite of a fog, which hung like a pall over the summits of the hills, I resolved to join a riding party we had made to the Monastery of St. George. I thought that I could fight with a Crimean fog, and get the best of it; but I very soon found out my mistake. Oh, the fever, lassitude, aches, and pains of this evening !
Wednesday, 14th. - The warm sun drew me out of the cheerless cabin, and tempted me to try and walk on deck, though so weak as to be unable to do so without help.
Thursday, 15th. - A brilliant day for our Second Meeting. The horses are improving wonderfully; and in the hurdle race for English horses which had wintered in the Crimea, they went at the fences as if they liked the fun. Men of every regiment, English and French, were on the course. Amongst the latter, a Comte Bertrand, who amused me by the eloquence with which he descanted on his own powers of equitation, his "hotel" in the country, his ten English horses, and English coachman called "Johnson." He spent the evening on board the "Star of the South," and showed us that, whatever his equestrianism might be, he could play at ecarté.
Sunday, 18th. - Walked up to camp with Colonel Somerset and Mr. Foster; found the house so far advanced that we settled to come into it on Tuesday.
Nothing reaches us from the front, except reports that the French attack, and fail nightly in taking, the rifle-pits of the Russians. The French can beat us in their commissariat and general management, but the Englishman retains his wondrous power of fighting that nothing can rob him of but death.
*It would have been well indeed had this warning and remonstrance been attended to. Not only the crews who perished on the 14th, but many brave soldiers, who afterwards died of cold and hunger, might still have survived, had the stores in the "Prince" and other vessels been saved. No inquiry has been made public, but the officer who appears to have been responsible for this catastrophe has been rewarded. - ED.
® How inconceivable it seems to us at home that our commanders should have suffered the surviving horses of our Light Cavalry Brigade to die of starvation and cold on the heights, when they could have moved them to Balaklava, where they would have found both forage and shelter. - ED.