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It may be doubted whether if such formal should then have depots of four companies in reports had come at the earlier date of the England for recruiting and iustruction; deoccupation of the Crimea, the organization pots at Malta as a reserve to the army in the here would have been capable of responding field, and for further training; and battalion3 to it in any proportion to the representations of eight companies in the field, always kept which they contained. However, it was complete, while the invalids might join the clearly the duty of the commander-in-chief to reserves, and a great deal of shipping would send explicit information, and now that it was thus be saved. Without reserves for the army, furnished, it was fortunate that the authorities between it and the home depots it could not here had so far reformed their ways as to be be carried on.
Lord Raglan could have his able more promptly and efficiently to respond reserves within command, and the knowledge to it. This was one of the important improve- of what he had, and what he had to expect, ments which did much to relieve the troops would be his safest guide in regulating his now pursuing the siege with more vigour; but oper
. it had been preceded by two others of imme- This appeared to be sound enough, and prodiate and practical advantage. The first of bably had occurred to others, when it was them had also been pointed out by the prince found that, instead of being taken by a coup consort, who had written in his diary on the de main, Sebastopol would have to be in26th of November (1854), the words, “The vested, and that the fortifications and eartharmy must be increased,” and two days after- works by which the Russian military engineer, wards wrote to Mr. Sidney Herbert, saying General Todleben, had protected it, would be that the step which had previously been taken a hard nut to crack. The subject was at all of bringing each regiment up to twelve com- events discussed on the very next day; the panies, though the right one, had failed in plan was submitted to the cabinet with the supplying with sufficient quickness the tremen- approval of Lord Hardinge and Mr. Sidney dous expenditure of men in the Crimea, and Herbert, and on the 1st of December Lord particularly in supplying the army of Lord Aberdeen informed the queen that it had been Raglan on account of the distance of 3000 adopted. An army of reserve amounting to miles between the basis and the field of battle. 16,000 men was to be formed at Malta, and A mere reference home in writing and its one half of this force, it was hoped, would soon answer required six weeks, and the time for be completed. But the same letter also menproviding troops increased it to two months tioned another, or rather two other pracunder the most favourable circumstances, dur- tical and really intelligent advances that were ing which the whole state of things might be now made towards successfully remedying altered. What was imperatively demanded the errors which had caused such irretrievwas an intermediate depot upon which Lord able loss. It announced that a contract had Raglan would draw at pleasure, and which been sanctioned for a railroad from Balaklava would be kept supplied from home. The to the camp before Sebastopol, "principally prince contended that for every four com- in order to spare the incredible labour necespanies in depot at home there should be an sary to drag the artillery from the coast, which equal depot established at Malta-these depots had hitherto been performed by the seamen to be united in provisional battalions like the of the fleet,” and that a contract was also enprovisional battalions at home. They would tered into for laying a telegraphic cable at the form at the same time the whole garrison, and joint expense of France and England between would require all the accommodation at that Cape Kalerga, near Varna, and the monastery place, setting free all the regiments now there. of St. George between Balaklava and Kamiesch If Malta would not hold sufficient depots Bay. the system might be further extended to Gib- The prospect of these two undertakings raltar. Our present depots might go out at may have helped to raise the spirits of the once, and fresh ones be formed at home. We men, who with invincible courage prepared
THE NAVVIES IN THE CRIMEA.
to spend an English Christmas in the trenches also engaged for the navvy corps, which on the and the camp. Some stores, and even a few whole behaved admirably and accomplished seasonable luxuries, reached them in time to its work in a very praiseworthy manner. It give them a reminder that in the general was no light labour that these sturdy fellows celebration of the national holiday, they had had to perform, and before they had been ou an abiding-place in the hearts of men and the ground many weeks, such were the viciswomen who would willingly have shared situdes of the climate that they were obliged with them their own good cheer. The queen to discard much of their winter clothing and and the royal household had held them con- resort to the change of costume which had stantly in remembrance, and the anxiety of been provided for them. Balaklava and its her majesty, and her earnest desire to relieve surrounding approaches were in a frightful their distress, had been conveyed to them by condition. The roads were mere quagmires, many gracious and affectionate messages, and the men often working up to their middles in by not a few gifts which bore tribute to the mud, while dead horses strewed the ground in loyalty and courage of the recipients.
every direction. This was all the more danPreparations were made for employing a staff gerous because of the change of weather, which of navvies who had been organized under the before the end of February had become comdirection of Sir Morton Peto, the well-known paratively sultry, the temperature having contractor, and in January, 1855, they were reached 58 degrees, though a few days preequipped and sent out to construct a railroad viously the thermometer had registered 16 from Balaklava to the trenches before the degrees below freezing-point. It may easily heights round Sebastopol. One of the firm of be understood what invaluable service was Sir Morton Peto had already arranged with rendered by the “excavators," who, acting as Sir de Lacy Evans the plan of operations. scavengers, cleared the place, and afterwards Every navvy, besides his pay and rations, under direction of their officers took measures was provided with complete suits of clothing, for improving its sanitary condition. For some adapted to the variation of the weather and time the “navvy" and the “naval” brigades, the work on which he was to be employed, the jovial handy sailors of our fleet, who had and capable of resisting the cold and wet to their own camp with its tents before Sebaswhich he would certainly be exposed. Be- topol, were among the most popular of the fore the end the following month there were forces the Crimea; the Zouaves and the nearly 900 men employed on the work, includ- men of the French navy being also held in ing some who had been sent from Constan- great estimation. tinople. The whole distance over which they Before long there was an extraordinary rehad to construct the line was nearly seven presentation of various nationalities before miles, and a mile and a half had been com- the walls of the beleaguered fortress. In pleted by the 16th of February, the first four June (1855) a company of Spanish muleteers, miles being the most important. There were with their animals, arrived from Vigo in one of course a number of horses employed, and of the Peninsular and Oriental Company's these had to be sent from England as well as steamships (the Iberia) at Gibraltar, whence the fodder for their consumption; but the they were taken to the Crimea in the ordinary promptitude and completeness of the prepara- transport vessels. There were thus inside tions and the manner in which they were car- and outside the city Russians, Finns, Cossacks, ried out by the practical staff of the “navvy and people of the various nations of the Black commission" offered a marked contrast to the and White Seas, and the Caspian, and perhaps bungling of the government officials. The as far as the borders of China itself; while comfort of the men was also well cared for; outside were French, English, Turks, Africans, they had proper huts, good rations, and were Egyptians, Tunisians, Arabs, Tartars, and superintended by their own foremen and various examples of the Moslem races, a officers, while a chaplain and a surgeon were Sardinian contingent, sundry Teutonic addi
tions to the army, Swiss officers of the Anglo- borne down with warm clothing, and furFrench legion, Corsicans, Maltese, and Ionians, nished with every luxury that the mind of and beside these a few were hourly expected the soldier can conceive? How fearfully have from Roumelia and Anatolia.
the government been deceived, or how cruelly In addition to the railway there was, as have they deceived the people of England ? we have mentioned, the new electric tele- “The warm clothing was just now, on the graph. The cable, 400 miles in length, was 3d of February, being served out, slowly connected with a telegraph from Varna to enough, heaven knows! and boots were being Rustchuk, from which place a complete system issued at the rate of six and seven pairs to of communication with England already ex- each regiment.
The distribution of warm isted. In this way direct and secret commu- clothing was not completed before the middle nication was established between the offices of of February, and many officers' servants and the war department in England and Paris and bâtmen had not even received them by the the headquarters of the English and French Oth of the month ! commanders-in-chief. The first telegram trans- “Miserable as the men were when I arrived, mitted was on the 4th of May, 1855. Hitherto I was assured that their condition had won. the first news of what was passing in the derfully improved during the last three Crimea had reached us through St. Petersburg. weeks. If that was true, in what a pitiable From this time St. Petersburg got its earliest case must they have been during January ! news through London and Paris.
“About nine or ten o'clock fatigue parties With these vigorous measures for prosecut- began to drop in from the front; gaunt, haying the war, and the advent of warm weather, gard, bearded men, with a reckless, desperate the condition of the camp soon began to im- look that was indescribable. Many of these prove, and while the operations of the allies had sheep-skin coats; some of the artillery settled down into a regular and completely and cavalry good long blue great-coats, and ordered siege the soldiers were able to enjoy even long boots; but the majority of the men, greater comfort than cau usually be secured especially those of the line, were clothed in during a campaign. Indeed life at the camp, every imaginable patched-up, worn-out garapart from the losses sustained from the fire ment it is possible to conceive; there was not of the enemy, was far from intolerable. This, an atom of uniform visible amongst the lot of however, was not until the late spring of the them." year. An eye-witness who visited Balaklava In the trenches the condition of the poor at the beginning of February wrote:
fellows' was still worse, but no
one who “The morning was bitterly cold; wind and visited them found them either cowed with snow, and twelve degrees of frost. The sight their reverses or wishing for anything more that met our eyes when we went on deck in earnestly than to have an opportunity for the morning was really quite sickening. The another decisive contest with the enemy. stern of our vessel was about twenty yards As to the town of Balaklava itself there from the shore, and there we saw scores of was nothing to be done but to destroy, and miserable, half-clothed, half-starved objects in a sense to rebuild it. Colonel Harding, shivering on the wharfs, or trying in vain to who was sent out early in February, found keep their blood in circulation by shambling the place hopelessly swamped with mud, imup and down; no workhouse could have pregnated with filth, and the very stones shown a more abject set of paupers than did of the houses containing the germs of disease. Balaklava that morning. Good heavens! was He therefore determined to pull down oue one's first thought, can these miserable objects, house after another, and to erect wooden with scanty ragged coats, clothes in tatters, houses in their places. The cellars were and boots in holes, or with none at all, be cleaned out, and the filth and rubbish brought British soldiers, whom the country is informed to the light of day, heaped up in the open by their rulers are at this moment actually places, and burned, the evil-smelling smoke
IMPROVEMENTS IN THE BRITISH CAMP.
hanging in a cloud over the town. The stones letters, and while the army had lain inactive of the ruined houses were carried away, a considerable number of officers had rebroken up, and used for the improvement of turned to England on "urgent private affairs." the roads. The places where the houses stood Now there were great preparations for the were levelled and large quantities of quicklime siege; the Russians were accumulating enorstrewed over them. It was a curious and
mous supplies of stores and ammunition at interesting sight to watch the fatigue parties Sebastopol for a spring campaign, but soon of soldiers, in their uncouth and motley winter there came news that the stronghold itself dresses, invading a doomed house. In they was being severely damaged by the tremenmarched, with axes and picks, and in a few dous fire which was launched upon it by the minutes out came from the windows and by allies. Intelligence from Berlin announced the doors, abominations, old and new, foul that the south side side of the town had straw, broken bottles, soiled rags, bits of suffered very considerably; a number of biscuit, bones with the blackened and shriv- houses were piles of ruins, of others only the elled flesh still sticking to them, mouldy external walls were distinguishable; the cheese, piles of broken furniture covered with theatre had ceased to exist. The northern vermin, and whole heaps of unalloyed, inde- portion of the town had not suffered so much, seribable,unmentionabledirt-were thrown up but yet there was hardly a house there the into a funeral pile-a matchbox was produced walls or roof of which had not been perforand a wisp of straw, the pile was properly ated by grenade, shell, ball, or rocket, or the lighted, and a dense cloud of smoke rising up window-panes and frames of which had not proclaimed that another act of purification been destroyed by fragments of exploding had commenced. Next came the work of the shells. The inhabitants of Sebastopol had, axe and the pick. Part of the fatigue party however, by no means deserted the town; outside separated the wood from the rubbish with few exceptions they continued to occupy and stones, and others at once carted away the their houses, even though battered. In the stones and levelled the place. Where the shops and warehouses traffic was said to be inorning sun shone on a house, there the even- kept up with but little diminution; even the ing suu shone on a smooth level place, whitened hotels were not shut. The only promenade over with lime and prepared for house-build- | left to the fashionable world in those parts ing, in the sense of the camp. Holes were
new Boulevard, from which there dug, posts fixed, the place was crowded and was a fine view-on the one side the surbusy all day, and in the evening there stood rounding mountains, with the allied camp, its a large wooden hut. Such huts sprang up trenches, and its fortifications; on the other between sunrise and sunset; and sheds, too, side the sea, with the allied fleets keeping for stabling horses, as if by enchantment. ward and watch over the Crimea. On the
At last there seemed to be some prospect northern side steamers and boats were seen of real improvement, though the stores came all day and all night plying to and from the slowly for some time afterwards and provi- Catherine harbour, laden with gabions, fassions were exorbitantly dear. Speculators cines, balls, shells, powder, and matériel de made a great harvest. One of them bought guerre of all sorts; while on the landinga cargo of poultry at Sinope and Samsoun, places stores of cannon and carriages, mortars, the geese costing him sixpence and the tur- beams, and other artillery materials were keys a shilling a piece; and for these he piled up. charged at the camp, turkeys 158. and geese Perhaps not much dependence could be 58., and the prices afterwards rose to 22s. for a placed on these reports at the time, but the goose, and for a skinny fowl 58.; other articles news from the camp itself was more cheering, of consumption being equally unattainable and before the end of March the aspect of except at real famine prices. These were the the allied position was materially changed. reports that came to England in private | A correspondent describing the camp, said:
“What a sad noisy place it is-such bar- but we sat chatting and talking till twelve. gaining, quarrelling, I should fancy quite equal | I had a tent to myself to sleep in, a camp bed, to the original Donnybrook. The French and plenty of warm clothing, and a very good soldiers were all busy, some making roads, fire. The tent pole was hung round with others carrying fascines, &c., and I was much hams. It blew very hard, and the tent shook, struck with their cleanly appearance. I passed so that I expected it would blow down; howseveral vivandières,' looking really smart ever, I suffered no misfortune beyond a few and pretty-a very small glass of good brandy hams tumbling on me. Turned out and had they gave for 6d. I got early to
's tent, a cold wash. Breakfasted at eight--coffee, and was at once warmly received; would not mutton chops, fried potatoes. A Frenchman hear of my going back till the following day; brought from the French camp some excellent lunched and set out for a stroll, and to get a bread, but dear-23. for a small loaf. At nine good view of Sebastopol, which I was surprised I mounted and rode to headquarters. Near to see so very little damaged. It looked very Lord Raglan's little bit of road; loads of carpretty and very quiet; boats were plying in riages, carts, and all sorts of things piled up; the harbour, and ladies walking about; it plenty of turkeys and poultry strutting about looked like anything but what I expected a -in fact his quarters have a good deal the besieged town would appear. We saw our appearance of a Dutch farmyard.” besieging batteries and took a long turn The famous M. Soyer, then chef de cuisine through the various camps of several divisions. of the Reform Club, appeared on the scene Met many I knew, and was surprised at the in the Crimea at about this time. He had, very healthy though rough appearance of them it will be remembered, taken part in the
and they all seemed satisfied and happy. relief of distress in Ireland by making a proHospitality is certainly one of the most dis- fessional tour to give lessons in the preparation tinguishing features of camp life: every one of cheap and nourishing food, and though offered a welcome, and all had a something in some people were inclined to ridicule his prethe eating and drinking way to offer. We got tensions it could scarcely be denied that he back by five or half-past; had a wash in some did some service in calling attention to the freezing water; pulled off my boots, which proper use of common food-materials and the were knee-deep in mud, put on another bor- best methods of converting them into palatrowed pair, and a dry, warm, coat, and at six able dishes. At all events, when he proposed dined. There were eight of us in all. We to go out to Scutari and organize the hospital had mutton broth and sheep's head, salmon culinary service there, his offer was not refused, and lobster from preserved tins, roast mutton, and he himself has left a more or less amusing fowls, ham, capital bread, cheese, loads of account of the expedition. It is sufficient sauces, sherry, port, and porter; and all of us here to say that he effected some very useful in capital spirits. The stove was troublesome; reforms in the barrack hospital kitchen, that having no funnel, it was kept outside till the the rations for the sick were greatly improved smoke was gone, and with the smoke went under his regulations, and that he showed the most of the heat in the men's tents; close to staff, wbich he organized, how to utilize much us we heard all sorts of jovial singing old good soup, which it had been the custom to familiar songs; and no set of men could to all throw away as mere “pot liquor.” Considerappearance have been happier than those be able interest was manifested in his plans, and sieging Sebastopol, though it was blowing hard his success was rewarded with the recognition and snowing, and any moment their songs not only of the officers but of the medical staff, might have been stopped by war in its stern and the nurses, who acknowledged the value reality. We heard constant firing of heavy guns and musketry, which my companions 1 Soyer's Culinary Campaign: being Historical Reminis. seemed insensible to the no
of. By ten p.m.
cences of the Late War, with the Plain Art of Cookery for
Military and Civil Institutions, the Army, Navy, Public, the singing and fiddling among the men ceased, 1 &c. &c.