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slope of the heights commanding the troops could resist successfully when causeway across the marsh, converted surprised, no hope remained of defeattheir retreat into a flight.
ing them, now that they were reinAt the commencement of the battle, forced, and on their guard. Liprandi's force had moved forward, On our part it was a confused and threatening two distant points of our desperate struggle. Colonels of reline-while a sally was made in force giments led on small parties, and on the French trenches, which was fought like subalterns, captains like repulsed, with a loss to the enemy of privates. Once engaged, every man one thousand men, the French pursu- was his own general. The enemy ing them within their works.
was in front, advancing, and must be Until the arrival of the fourth divi- beaten back. The tide of battle ebbed sion and the French, the ground was and flowed, not in wide waves, but in held by about 5000 of our troops. In broken tumultuous billows. At one all, 8000 English and 6000 French point the enemy might be repulsed, were engaged. The Russian force while, at a little distance, they were was estimated by Lord Raglan at making their most determined rush. 60,000.
To stand on the crest and breathe Few great battles require less mili- awhile, was to our men no rest, but tary knowledge to render them intel- far more trying than the close combat ligible than this. The plan of the of infantry, where there were human enemy was, after having succeeded in foes with whom to match, and prove placing their guns unopposed in the strength, skill, and courage, and to required position, to pour on one par. call forth the impulses which blind ticular point of our line which they the soldier to death or peril. But over knew to be inadequately guarded, a that crest poured incessantly the refire which should at once throw the sistless cannon-shot, in whose rush troops assembling for its defence into there seems something vindictive, as disorder, and then to press on at the if each were bestridden by some angry same point with overwhelming masses demon; crashing through the bodies of infantry. Our position once pene- of men and horses, and darting from trated, the plains afforded ample space the ground on a second course of misfor the deployment of the columns, chief. The musket-ball, though more which might then attack in succession deadly, and directed to an individual the different corps of the allied army mark, bears nothing appalling in its scattered on the plateau at intervals sound, and does not mutilate or distoo wide for mutual and concerted figure where it strikes. But, fronting defence.
uncovered and inactive a range of The Russians succeeded in posting guns which hurl incessantly those iron their artillery, in sweeping the field masses over and around you, while on selected with a tremendous fire, and all sides are seen their terrible traces, in bringing an enormously superior it is difficult to stave off the thought force to a vigorous and close attack. that, in the next instant, your arm or According to all calculation, they were leg may be dangling from your body a justified in considering the day their crushed and bloody mass, or your own. But the extraordinary valour spirit driven rudely through a hideous of the defenders of the position set cal- wound across the margin of the unculation at defiance. At every point discovered country. alike the assailants found scanty num Rarely has such an artillery firo bers, but impenetrable ranks. Before been so concentrated, and for so long, them everywhere was but a thin and on an equally confined space. The scattered line opposed to their solid whole front of the battle-field, from masses and numerous skirmishers, yet the ravine on the left to the two-gun beyond it they could not pass. No battery on the right, was about three doubt, to their leaders it must long quarters of a mile. Nine hours of have appeared incredible they could such close fighting, with such interfail. Again bravely led, they came vals of cessation, left the victors in bravely to the assault, and with the no mood for rejoicing. When the same result; and, unwillingly, they enemy finally retired, there was no at length perceived that, if the allied exultation, as when the field of the Alma was won : it was a gloomy the Frenchman, strolling up with his though a glorious triumph.
hands in his pockets, pushed his foot Neither our loss nor that of the against the Russian's head; the stiffenemy was fully known that day; but ened body moved altogether like a a glance at any part of the ground piece of wood, and the soldier, with showed the slaughter to be immense. a shrug and one word, “mort," passA few of the enemy were dead within ed on. Large trenches were dug on our lines ; along the whole front of the ground for the dead; the Russians the position they lay thick in the cop- lay apart; the French and English pice. Every bush hid a dead man, were ranged side by side. Few sights and in some places small groups lay can be imagined more strange and heaped. In a spot which might have sad in their ghastliness than that of been covered by a common bell-tent, dead men lying in ranks, shoulder to I saw lying four Englishmen and shoulder, with upturned faces, and seven Russians. All the field was limbs composed, except where some strewn; but the space in front of the stiffened arm and hand remain pointtwo-gun battery, where the Guards ing upward. The faces and hands of fought, bore terrible pre-eminence in the slain assume, immediately after slaugbter. The sides of the hill, up death, the appearance of wax or clay; to and around the battery, were lite- the lips parting show the teeth ; the rally heaped with bodies. It was pain- hair and mustache become frowzy, ful to see the noble Guardsmen, with and the body of him who, half-antheir large forms and fine faces, lying hour before, was a smart soldier, wears amidst the dogged, low-browed Rus- a soiled and faded aspect. sians. One Guardsman lay in ad- Down the ravine along which the vance of the battery on his back, with Woronzoff road runs to the valley, his arms raised in the very act of the dead horses were dragged and lay thrusting with the bayonet; he had in rows; the English artillery alone been killed bya bullet entering through lost eighty. The ravine, like all those his right eye. His coat was open, and channelling the plains, is wild and I read his name on the Guernsey barren ; the sides have been cut down frock underneath- an odd name steeply for the sake of the limestone, “ Mustow." While I was wondering which lies close to the surface, in beds why his arms had not obeyed the laws of remarkable thickness. A lime-kiln, of gravity, and fallen by his side when about ten feet square, built into the he fell dead, a Guardsman came up side of the hill, afforded a ready-made and told me he had seen Mustow rush sepulchre for the enemy left on this out of the battery and charge with the part of the field, and was filled with bayonet, with which he was thrusting bodies to the top, on which a layer of at two or three of the enemy when earth was then thrown. he was shot. In their last charges, While I was on the ground, a day the Russians must have trodden at or two after the battle, several shells every step on the bodies of their com- were thrown from the ships in the harrades. In the bushes all around bour, some of which pitched amongst wounded men were groaning in such the parties collecting the wounded. numbers, that some lay two days be. General Pennefather, finding I was fore their turn came to be carried going to headquarters, desired me to away. I passed a Russian with a deliver a message stating the fact. broken leg, whom some scoundrel had Next day a flag of truce was sent into stript to his shirt, and calling a soldier the town to complain of this, and furwho was passing, desired him to take ther, to say that, both in this battle a coat from a dead man and put it on and the action at Balaklava, Russian the unfortunate creature ; at the same soldiers had been seen killing our time directing the attention of a party wounded on the field ; demanding if of men collecting the wounded to the the war was to be carried on in this place where he lay. Passing the same manner. The answer of Prince Menspot next day, the Russian, still stript schikoff was, that the shells had been to his shirt, lay motionless, with his directed, not at the parties engaged eyes closed. I told a French soldier in clearing the field, but at those inwho was near to see if he was dead; trenching the position; and that, if any of the wounded had been pat to soldiers were much exasperated in death, it could bave been only in a consequence of the fire from the few particular instances; in excuse of French trenches having destroyed one which he remarked, that the Russian of the churches of Sebastopol.
CHAPTER XIV.- WINTER ON THE PLAINS.
Early in November the weather, sitting amid the ruins of their beds, hitherto mild and sunny as the Indian and watching, with intense interest, summer of Canada, began to grow the dispersion of their property, while foggy, moist, and raw. The horizon those tents which had continued to of the Black Sea was blotted with resist the gale, fell over, one after mists, and its surface changed from the other, like inverted parachutes. blue to cold grey, while the sky was Horses, turning their scattered tails either leaden or black with clouds. to the blast, leaned against it with
About daybreak on the 14th, a slanting legs, blinded by their clothing, strong wind from the south drove which, retained by the surcingles, before it a flood of rain ; the tents, was blown over their heads; and all swelling inward beneath the blast, left around were seen men struggling up, no slant sufficient to repel the water, with frequent loss of ground, each which was caught in the hollows, and holding some recovered article. Whatfiltered through. I was awoke by it ever could be collected in this way dripping on my face, which I covered was placed beneath the fallen tents, with my cloak, and slept again. Again the edges of which were then loaded I was awoke, and this time more rude with heavy stones. In the distance ly. The wind had increased to a other encampments were seen in simihurricane, in which the canvass flap- lar plight, and everywhere the rows ped and fluttered, and the tent-pole of tents which had dotted the plain quivered like a vibrating harp-string. had disappeared. At the opening of the tent, my ser Hard as it seemed to be stript of vant appeared uttering some words, shelter by the storm, those who had which were blown away, and never passed the night in the trenches had reached me till, putting his head with still greater reason to complain. in, he told me I must get up-adding. There they had consoled themselves that the tents were nearly all blown during the watches of the wet, gusty away. As he spoke, the pegs that night, by the promise of warmth and held mine to the ground parted-the rest in the morning ; and hastening, canvass was driven against the pole, chilled and weary, to their camp for and the whole structure fell with a the comforting hot coffee, and pleacrash across my bed.
sant well-earned sleep, officers and Sitting up and grasping my flutter- men found their temporary homes ing blankets, I beheld such of my level as a row of Persians worshipeffects as had not weight enough to ping the rising sun, and the space they keep them stationary, dispersed in the had kept dry, in the midst of mire, air, and borne on the wings of the become a puddle. No fires could be wind into a distant valley. Half- lit, no breakfast warmed, for the blast written letters clung for a moment, in extinguished the flame and scatterplaces, to the muddy ground before ed the fuel ; and all that could be pursuing their airy flight, and gar- done was, to gather the blankets out ments of every description strewed of the mud, and to try to raise again the plain. My servant was in full the fallen tents. pursuit of a cocked hat which was But these were by no means the whirled onward at a tremendous pace, greatest sufferers. The hospital tents, till its course was arrested by a low higher than the rest, were blown wall; and on the muddy wheel of a down, leaving the patients exposed, cart hung a scarlet waistcoat griev- almost naked, to the bitter wind and ously bemired. All round me were driving rain : and the first efforts of figures like my own, of half-clad men the men in camp were directed to
obtain some shelter for these unfor. French 80-gun ship, Henri IV., the tunates. The wooden building already most beautiful vessel in their navy, described as so comfortably housing went aground in eight feet of water; the wounded French, fell over, fortu- and it being impossible to float her, nately without seriously adding to she was used as a battery against the the injuries of the occupants; but I shore. The Retribution, an English heard that a Russian prisoner, who war-steamer, having the Duke of lay wounded in another hospital, was Cambridge on board, escaped with killed by its fall.
difficulty, casting her guns overboard. Towards noon the storm began to The army soon felt severely the abate, though it still blew violently loss it had sustained when the Prince till next morning, when the extent of went down. For the remainder of damage sustained by the ships, to- November it rained almost without wards which many an anxious thought cessation, and the plains became one had been cast, was known. Our vast quagmire. The soil is remarkhardships on shore were as nothing ably tenacious, and the feet both of compared with the state of those at men and horses were encumbered at sea, who saw instant destruction in every step with a load of clay. Not the gale,- which bore towards them, only all the interior of the camps was on the one side, the most terrific bil- deep in mire, but the floors of the lows, while on the other was a wall tents themselves grew muddy. It is of perpendicular rocky cliff.
difficult to imagine a more cheerless On the 15th the narrow barbour of scene than that presented wherever Balaklava was strewed with float- you traversed the plains the landing timbers and trusses of hay so scape, all lead-coloured above, was all thickly, that boats were with diffi- mud-coloured below; the tents themculty forced through the masses; selves, wet and stained with mud, while numbers of the drowned were had become dreary spots on a dreary washed about the bases of the cliffs background. Sometimes low walls of at the entrance. The ships inside, stone or mud were thrown up round ranged in line close together as in a them, and in part succeeded in keepdock, had been driven towards the ing out the keen raw gusts. About head of the harbour, and, pressing in the tents waded a few shivering men a mass upon the Sanspareil, carried in greatcoats, trying to light fires her a hundred yards from her moor- behind small screens of mud or ings, where she grounded by the stern. Stones, or digging up the roots of the One or two vessels went down close bushes where the coppice bad vanto others, who could aid only by say. ished from the surface. Rows of ing the crews. Seven English trans- gaunt, rough horses, up to their fetports were lost at Balaklava, and locks in the soft drab-coloured soil, thirteen at the Katcha. The Resist- stood with drooping heads at their ance, a magazine ship cast away at picket ropes, sheltered from wind and the former place, contained large rain each by a dirty ragged blanket-in quantities of ammunition both for which it would have been difficult for siege guns and infantry; and the the keenest connoisseur in horse-flesh Prince, a very large and magnificent to recognise the glossy, spirited, steamer, had just arrived from Eng. splendid teams that had drawn the land with a great supply of warm artillery along the plains of Scutari. clothing for the army, all of which When the Scots Greys, after landwent down in her. She had also ing at the Katcha, marched through the brought out an apparatus to be em camp on the Balbek, the whole army ployed in our operations against Se- admired their magnificent appearance bastopol; and Lieutenant Inglis, an the horses, unsurpassed in any cay. engineer who had gone on board the alry in the world for shape, size, spinight before to superintend the dis- rit, and condition, contrasted strongembarkation of the machine, was lost ly with those which had been through along with the ship and crew. One the campaign, and which, even then, of our line-of-battle ships was dis- except the strongest and soundest, masted, and another injured ; and the had begun to look travel-stained and battered. When the winter began, las of the plateau. Driven from their the survivors of the Greys, long- ruined homes, they collected in packs haired, bony, spiritless, and soiled on the untenanted portions of the with mire, preserved no trace of their plain, and fed by night on the dead former beauty. Perhaps the most horses. At first they were, in consi. painful feature in the dreary scene deration of their services as scawas the number of dead and dying vengers, and their inoffensiveness, horses scattered, not only round the left upmolested; but, latterly, I was cavalry and artillery camps, but along sorry to see that the French soldiers the various roads which traversed the began to shoot them for the sake of position. Some had fallen and died their skins. But very little native from fatigue, some perished from cold, animal life was seen after the cold some from starvation. Once down, a drove the numerous lizards underhorse seldom rose again. After a few ground. A hare would sometimes faint attempts he lay still, except for start from a bush—a few crows, maga feeble nibbling at the bare ground; pies, and ravens occasionally held then he would fall over on his side, council over some dead horse lying and, stretching out his legs, would so remote from the camp-and, once or end his career, leaving a smooth space twice, I saw large flocks of magnifiin the mud where his head and neck cent eagles swooping so near that had moved slowly to and fro, or their stern searching eyes were visible. where his hind leg had scratched con- On the setting in of rain, the road vulsively before he died. Sometimes from Balaklava to the camp at once an ownerless horse, probably too lame became almost impassable. Man and unserviceable to be worth inquir and beast plunged along knee-deep, ing after, would linger about the through thick sticky mud in some neighbourhood of an encampment. parts, while in others the mire was Day after day he would be there, sloppy, with slippery stones beneath. waiting patiently, wondering, perhaps, Near Balaklava great pools were colwhy no hay nor corn came, getting lected in the low ground: the gardens thinner and thinner; nobody could and vineyards had become swamps, relieve him without robbing his own and not a trace of cultivation remained horse, on whose strength and condition in the desolate and melancholy valley. his own efficiency depended-until, In a pool, between the posts of the after wandering to and fro over the gateway of a field near the town, a barren spot, if no friendly hand could camel lay for days, which had fallen be found to send a bullet through his from weakness, and was unable to head, he would drop and die there a rise-its huge structure of ribs, bald lingering death. It was impossible and bare of flesb, was painfully to traverse the position in any direc- visible-till, dying, it soon almost tion without seeing many carcasses— disappeared in the surrounding filth. somo swoln and bloated, some mere Files of cavalry horses, carrying proskeletons. Here and tbere would be visions and forage, might be met at seen the curious spectacle of a horse's all parts of the road, as well as artilbones covered only with his loose, lery waggons, laden with hay and collapsed hide, all the flesh, muscles, corn, instead of ammunition, all toil. and even ribs, having disappeared ing slowly and painfully through the which would be explained presently, slough. The road along the margin when, on passing the next carcass, a of the harbour, more filthy and boggy gorged dog would put his head out than the rest, was thronged with from the hollow arch of the ribs, and, arabas drawn by mules, bullocks, and after looking lazily at the comer, re- camels, waiting for stores and proviturn to his horrible feast. These sions. These, in their journey to the spectacles never ceased to be painful, camp, frequently broke down, or though oustom diminished their effect; stuck too fast to be extricated-and, for, a few months before, the sight of once abandoned, a carriage, no matter A dying horso would have haunted how serviceable or important, might me for days,