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estimated by Lord Raglan, a force of some 60,000 men. The command of the assailing army was entrusted, according to some reports, to Genera Dannenberg; according to others, to Prince Gortschakoff.
Simultaneously with this advance on the right flank of the British, a sortie was executed by the Minsk Regiment, with a light artillery battery, under the command of General Timofeieff, against the French lines, to keep them occupied and prevent large reinforcements being sent to the British. With the same view, and to keep the Highland brigade occupied, a strong demonstration was made against Kadi-Koi-the position above Balaklava.
The contingents which the Russian army had received since the battle of Alma, amounted, according to General Canrobert, to a first from the coast of Asia, Kertch, and Kaffa; a second, of six battalions and detachments of marines, from Nicolaieff; a third, of four battalions of Cossacks, from the Black Sea; fourth, a great portion of the army of the Danube, and the tenth, eleventh, and twelfth divisions of infantry, forming the fourth corps, commanded by General Dannenberg. These latter three divisions were transported by the vehicles of the country, with their artillery, from Odessa to Simpheropol in a few days. There were then upwards of 100,000 men to garrison Sebastopol, assail the English position, effect a diversion on the French side, and a demonstration on Balaklava on the ever memorable 5th of November. The two imperial princes, Michael and Nicholas, were also there to excite and encourage the troops by their presence.
The British had on their side only some 8000 men to oppose the advance of the 60,000 Russians up the ridges of Inkermann, till reinforced by a French division of 6000 under General Bosquet.
The triumph of such a handful of brave men against the dense legions of the enemy opposed to them, covers them with imperishable renown. Every detail which has come to light has testified, that in a battle fought almost in obscurity, in which the army assailed could not see the number of assailants, the positions occupied by them, or the points at which they were advancing, whilst those coming to the assault knew precisely the weak points of the allies, the whole conflict was one great scene of individual acts of heroism. Every single detail comes to augment the admiration and amazement felt by all for the heroic resistance of the British and French divisions engaged that day on the heights and in the valley of Inkermann. It was throughout a conflict almost unsurpassed for individual prowess, unyielding endurance, and chivalrous valour.
The battle of Inkermann is, indeed, described by one present at the
"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 favourite 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 Tsar 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 vapours, 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 favourable circumstances seeing more than a very insignificant and detailed piece of the terrible work below."
The campaign in the Crimea has been, as is now manifest to every one, and most painfully so to the friends of those who have fallen in these repeated unequal combats, hitherto carried on upon a scale totally incommensurate with the resources of the enemy.
By telegraph or by newspaper the Tsar learns in a few hours, or a few days, the whole amount of preparations making in this country or on the Continent; and before they have left these shores, or those of the Mediterranean, he knows the strength of every reinforcement almost to a man. In the present posture of affairs, he has nothing to do but to forward double the same number of men to the seat of war, and he utterly annihilates all advantages to be attained by the supposed welcome succour.
According to the Fremden Blatt, whose information is said to be of an authentic character, the effective force of Prince Menschikoff is 150,000 men, of whom 75,000 have joined him, thanks to Turkish inertia and the interposition of the Austrians on the Danube, within the last month. These reinforcements all came by way of Perecop. The first column, which was 30,000 strong, with 100 guns, under Liprandi, reached Sebastopol about the middle of October, and got into position on the 18th, the day after the first bombardment. These 30,000 men were abstracted from Osten Sacken's corps. The two other columns belong to General, Dannenberg's corps. The first of them, consisting of 25,000 men, reached Sebastopol at the end of last month; the other, 20,000 strong, was in communication with the main army at the beginning of the month, and was engaged in the battle of the 5th, further strengthened and encouraged by reinforcements under Prince Gortschakoff and the Grand-Dukes Michael and Nicholas. These reinforcements are, it is to be observed, independent of those noticed by General Canrobert as having arrived from Asia by way of Kertch and Kaffa-a circumstance which a strict blockade ought to have prevented-the six battalions and marines from Nicolaieff, and the battalions of Cossacks from the Black Sea provinces.
Deducting 50,000 men as put hors de combat by the progress of the siege, the sortie of the 20th, the battles of Balaklava, of the Tchernaya, and of Inkermann, there must thus be still nearly 100,000 Russians at the seat of war. These can be reinforced any day by 15,000 men sent from Kichenoff to Odessa, and other still greater reinforcements are on their way. The Tsar, it is well known, is determined to defend Sebastopol to the last, and to spare neither men nor means in securing a stake of such enormous value, and upon the possession of which Russian power in the south depends.
Such an army, constantly reinforced, can go on delivering battles of Balaklava or of Inkermann every other day; perpetually repairing the devastation of Sebastopol, they can fill up the gaps made in the garrison by the guns of the allies, as easily as they can the breaches made in their earthworks or in their more important strongholds. Assailed thus only on one side, Sebastopol may last out till scarcely an ally remains on the field, and the Tsar's solitary man is represented by the last of the light division, a lone Highlander, or a starved Zouave!
The point at which the advance of reinforcements could at the outset have been impeded, would have been Perecop itself. At such a position, a body of some 20,000 or 30,000 men could have held in check almost any force of Russians, especially if assisted by gun-boats, or men-of-war steamers of small draught of water. Supposing Sebastopol taken tomorrow, the allies could not hold possession of it without giving battle to the army of the Crimea, or driving it out of the country-so it must come to a defence of the lines of Perecop after all; and what advantage would not have accrued from the effective bombardment of Odessa, and of Kertch and Yeni Kalah—the New Castle of the Cimmerian Bosphorus? By such proceedings all succour to the Queen fortress of the Black Sea would have been withheld from Southern Russia and from the Caucasian provinces. Supposing proceedings upon so large a scale to be out of the question, still the besieging force ought to be relieved by a diversion from the north. This might be effected from Eupatoria—an excellent landing-place already in our possession-or from the Katcha river. Its operations might be confined to demonstrations against the Crimean army, or it might advance to aid in a real and effectual investment of Sebastopol. As it is, the reduction of a whole group of first-rate fortresses, defended by a fleet on the water and a large army by land, by a handful of brave troops, huddled, almost driven, to the very extremity of the Tauric Chersonesus, in daily danger of being deprived of their port and the whole base of their position, with a most severe and inclement season before them, communications intercepted by a sea pre-eminently boisterous in winter, and a courageous, indefatigable enemy, ever ready to assail them at all available times and places, is a result more devoutly wished for than really believed in.
END OF VOL. CII.
C. WHITING, BEAUFORT HOUSE, STRAND.