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Back to Part I.


Lord Raglan now crossed the front of Prince Napoleon's Division in order to meet Marshal St Arnaud, whose guidon was seen coming towards and our lines. The two commanders rode forward together, inclining towards their left.
** They had met before at about half-past nine, but the Russian cavalry had not then quitted the heights, and they were obliged to postpone their reconnaissance. When the Marshal got near, he was cheered by the English soldiery. Pleased with the compliment, he lifted his hat, and said (speaking in English and with only a slight accent)- 'Hurrah for Old England!'

No one was with them. They rode on till they came one of those mounds or tumuli, of which there were many on the steppe. From that spot they scrutinised the enemy's position with their field- glasses. At this interview no change was made in that portion of the plan which determined that the French should turn the enemy's left; but the part to be taken by the English was still in question, and St Arnaud threw out or revived the idea of a flank movement by the English on the enemy's right. Lord Raglan, however, now gazed upon the real ground which the French counsellors of the night before had striven to scan in their im aginations, and, having an eye for country, he must have begun to see the truth. He must have begun to see that the French, hugging the seashore, and pouring two-fifths of their whole force against the undefended part of the opposite heights, would not only fail to confront the whole Russian army in the way promised by the sketch, but would in reality confront only a small portion of it, leaving to the English the duty of facing the enemy along two-fifths of their whole front. Of a certainty he did not entertain for a moment the idea of making a flank attack, but it was not according to his nature to explain to men their errors, and it seems he spoke so little that St. Arnaud did not yet know what the English General would do; (infered from what follows) but presently, Sir George Brown rode up and joined the two chiefs. Then the marshal, closing his telescope, turned to Lord Raglan and asked him 'whether he would 'turn the position or attack it in front?' Lord Raglan's answer was to the effect, that, 'with such a body of cavalry as the enemy had in the plain, he would not attempt to turn the position.'* Whilst the chiefs were still side by side, it being now one o'clock, the advance sounded along the lines, and the French and the English armies moved forward close abreast. The Marshal then rode off towards his centre.
*This-heard and recorded in writing by Sir George Brown -disposes of the notion which seems to have been really entertained by many of the French- the notion that Lord Raglan stood engaged to turn the enemy's right.
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The orders for the advance were sent forward to Bosquet; and, as soon as they reached him, he threw out skirmishers and moved forward in two columns. His right column was the brigade commanded by General Bouat; the left column was Autemarre's brigade. Moving with its regiments in column at section distance, each brigade was followed by its share of the artillery belonging to the Division; and Bouat's brigade was followed by the whole of the Turkish Division except two battalions. Towards Bosquet's left, but far in his rear, there moved forward the 1st Division under Canrobert, and the 3d Division under Prince Napoleon. These two divisions advanced in the same alignment. The 4th Division, under General Forey, marched in rear of the 1st and 3d Divisions, and two Turkish battalions escorted the baggage.
The formation Of Canrobert's and Prince Napoleon's Divisions was upon two lines. The first brigade of each division was in front and deployed into a line of columns, whilst the second brigade of each division followed the first brigade, and was massed with the regiments in column at section distance. The 4th French Division marched in the same order as the 1st and 3d Divisions, except that its leading brigade was not deployed. The artillery of each division was enfolded between its two of brigades.
On the immediate left of the French, Sir DeLacy Evans advanced with his 2d Division; and being close alongside of Prince Napoleon's troops, he caused his own men to adopt a similar order of march. He was followed by Sir Richard England with our 3d Division in column. The batteries belonging to each of these divisions marched on its right or inner flank.
Immediately on Sir DeLacy's left, the Light Division, preceded by Colonel Lawrence with a wing of the 2d Rifle battalion in skirmishing order, moved forward under Sir George Brown.*
*In former Editions I was led into the mistake of substituting the name of Major Norcott for that of Colonel Lawrence, by what I must call the erroneous wording of Sir George Brown's Report to Lord Raglan. I say 'erroneous,' because, though Sir George Brown does not, in terms, deny that the right wing of the 2d battalion of Rifles was fighting in front of his Division, he suppresses all mention of its achievements, and this in a despatch which gives a prominent plate to the operations of the left wing under Major Norcott. In excuse for the error into which I was led by trusting too implicitly to Sir George Brown's Report, I may say that Lord Raglan also trusted to it, and was obviously misled by it into the adoption of the same mistake; for although we now know that Lawrence and the men of the right wing were among the foremost of those who stormed the redoubt, Lord Raglan - seeing no mention of this in Sir George Brown's Report, and observing that Sir George specially spoke of Major Norcott's wing as taking part with the 23d Regiment in the capture of the redoubt- was induced to speak of the aid given by Major Norcott and the left wing of the Rifles, without speaking at all of the right wing, which was also taking a foremost part in the storming of the redoubt, under the orders of Colonel Lawrence.

The Division was in double column of companies from the centre, and had the front and left flank covered by riflemen in extended order. It was supported by the 1st Division under the Duke of Cambridge, and that in turn was followed by the 4th Division* under Sir George Cathcart. Sir George Cathcart, however, in accordance with a suggestion made by himself was authorised to take ground to left and place his force in echelon to the 1st Division.
*Minus the 63d and some companies of the 46th, left under he command of General Torrens at the place of disembarkation. The force actually with Sir George Cathcart during the action consisted of the 20th, 21st, and 57th Regiments, the 1st battalion of Rifles, and Townsend's battery.
The three great infantry columns thus composing the left wing of our army were covered in front, left flank, and rear, by riflemen in extended order, and by the cavalry. The battery belonging to each division marched on its right or inner flank.

But Colonel Lawrence with his riflemen soon got on so far in advance as to provoke a fire from the Russian skirmishers then swarming in the vineyards below, and some rifle-balls shot from that quarter came dropping into the ground near the column formed by the Light Division. Almost at the same moment, the artillerymen on the Russian heights began to try their range; and although the air was so clear that our men could see and watch the flight of the cannon-balls, it seemed prudent for our leading divisions to go into line. Those divisions, therefore, were halted, and their deployment immediately began.
In deploying, Sir DeLacy Evans, being pressed upon by Prince Napoleon's Division on his right, was compelled to take ground to his left, and to encroach upon a part of the space which Sir George Brown had expected to occupy with his Division.
The deployment of the Light Division was effected by each regiment with beautiful precision,* but, unhappily, the Division was not on its right ground.
*The deployment was upon the two centre companies of the division. Whilst the movement was proceeding, one man, a sergeant, was killed by a rifle-ball. This was probably the first death in our lines.

Sir George Brown was near-sighted, and had accustomed himself to repair the defect, as some commanders have done, by a constant and well-practised use of glasses; and, on the other hand, the very fire and energy of his nature, and his almost violent sense of duty, prevented him from getting into the habit of trusting to the eyes of other men. For hours in the early morning the Division had been wearied by having to incline towards its right. At half-past eleven the effort was reversed, and the Division then laboured to take ground to its left; but in that last direction it had not taken ground enough. Lord Raglan, with his quick eye, had seen the fault, and sent an order (carried by Colonel Losons) to have it corrected. Not content with this, he soon after rode up to the Division, and, failing to see Sir George Brown at the moment, told Codrington that the Division must take more ground to the left. Then, unhappily, when he had uttered the very words which would have thrown the British army into its true array, and averted much evil, Lord Raglan was checked by his ruling foible. He had already sent the order to the divisional general, and he could not bear to pain or embarrass him by pressing the execution of it upon one of his brigadiers; so he recalled his wholesome words.**
** I derive my knowledge from an officer who heard Lord Raglan's words.

The Division failed to take ground enough to the left; and when the deployment was complete, Sir George Brown had the grief of seeing his right regiment (the 7th, the Royal Fusiliers) overlapped by the left -nay, even by the centre- of Pennefather's brigade.* The fault was not retrieved, and we shall see it embarrassing the dispositions that had to be made for advancing in order of battle.
The artillery attached to our two leading divisions was now also drawn up in line, and Sir George Brown reckoned that he alone showed a front extending to nearly a mile.
At the same time, the Duke of Cambridge, at Sir George Brown's request, altered the formation of his Division by distributing it into a line of contiguous quarter-distance columns.
These changes having been completed, the English army resumed its march; and the leading divisions coming more closely within range, and being a little galled by the enemy's fire, Sir George Brown halted, and tried the experiment of wheeling into open column. Afterwards, however, he returned to the line- formation, and in that order continued his advance.**
*When the deployment took place, the 7th, the Royal Fusiliers, were in rear of the 95th Regiment; and they afterwards, as will be seen, marched through it.
** My knowledge respecting the movements and evolutions of our infantry divisions is derived mainly from original MSS.-in my possession, written by Sir George Brown, the Duke of Cambridge, Sir DeLacy Evans, and Sir George Cathcart.


So now the whole Allied armies, hiding nothing of their splendour and their strength, descended slowly into the valley; and the ground on the right bank of the river is so even and so gentle in its slope, and on the left bank so commanding, that every man of the invaders could be seen from the opposite heights.
The Russian officers had been accustomed their days to military inspections and vast reviews, but they now saw before them that very thing for the confronting of which their lives had been one long rehearsal. They saw a European army coming down in order of battle- an army arrayed in no spirit of mimicry and not at all meant to aid their endless study of tactics, but honestly marching against them, with a mind to carry their heights and take their lives. And gazing with keen and critical eyes upon this array of strangers, whose homes were in lands far away, they looked upon a phenomenon which raised their curiosity and their wonder, and which promised, too, to throw some new light on a notion they bad lately been forming.
The whole anxiety of Prince Mentschikoff had been for his right. If he could hold the main Pass, and scare the Allies from all endeavour to turn his right flank, he believed himself safe; and it had been clear long ago that his conflict in this part of the field would be with the English. It was therefore the more useful to try to spread amongst the Russian troops an idea that the English, all-powerful at sea, were thoroughly worthless as soldiers.
The working of this little cheat had been hitherto aided by circumstance. With the force under Mentschikoff there were two battalions of Russian seamen-men belonging to those valiant crews of the Black Sea fleet which were destined to maintain the glory of the Russian arms in the bitterest hours of trial, when the land - forces seemed to desert them-but partly from their want of precision in maneuvering, partly from their sailor-like whims, and partly, no doubt, from the mere fact of their being a small and peculiar minority, they had become a standing subject of merriment to the rest of the troops. The Russian soldiery, therefore, were prepared to receive tales assuring them that the bodies of redcoats now discernible in the distance were, all of them, battalions of sailors, against whom they might well have their laugh as they had at their own naval comrades. This idea had fastened so well upon the mind of the Russian army, that before the battle began, it was shared by some of the more illiterate of the officers, and even, it was said, in one instance by a general of division.
But the sight now watched with keen eyes from the enemy's heights was one which seemed to have some bearing upon the rumour that the English were powerless in a land engagement.
The French and the Turks were in the deep, crowded masses which every soldier of the Czar had been accustomed to look upon as the formations needed for battle; but, to the astonishment of the Russian officers, the leading divisions of the in red were massed in no sort of column, and were clearly seen coming on in a slender line- a line only two deep, yet extending far from east to west. They could not believe that with so fine a thread as that the English General was really intending to confront their massive columns.*(Chodasiewicz) Yet the English troops had no idea that their formation was so singular as to be strange in the eyes of military Europe. Wars long past had taught them that they were gifted with the power of lighting in this order, and it was as a matter of course that, upon coming within range, they had gone at once into line.
Meanwhile, the war-steamers - eight French and one English-had pushed forward along the shore in single file, moving somewhat in advance of the land forces; and now, at twenty-five minutes past one o'clock, the leading vessels opened fire against the four guns at the village of Ulukul Akles, and again tried the skill of their gunners upon the distant masses of infantry which occupied the Telegraph Height and the low flat ledge at its base. This last part of the cannonade from the ships was followed by a change of no small moment in the Russian front of battle.
Convinced that his chief had been guilty of a grievous error in placing the Taroutine and the militia battalions on this low narrow ledge, General Kiriakoff, who commanded in this part of the field, had tried by indirect means to procure a change of plan, but had not ventured to say anything on the subject to Prince, Mentschikoff himself. It is plain, however, that Kiriakoff's opinion, getting abroad, was adopted by the officers of these two corps; for first, the militia battalions, and then the battalions of the Taroutine corps, without orders, and without having been assailed or touched (except perhaps by a chance shot or two at very long range from the shipping), began a retrograde movement, and slowly ascended the steep hill till they gained a more commanding position at no great distance from the Telegraph. No effort was made to check this seemingly spontaneous movement.*
*General Kiriakoff's statement, confirmed by Romaine, who observed and noted the movement. The General thought the change of position requisite; but be admits that a retrograde movement of this kind, just before the commencement of the battle, was a grave evil.


At half-past one o'clock a round-shot from the opposite heights came ripping the ground near Lord Raglan, and it marked the opening of the battle between the contending land-forces; for thenceforth, the enemy's fire was continuous. He directed a steady cannonade against the English line. At first no one fell; but presently an artilleryman riding in front of his gun bent forward his head, handled the reins with a convulsive grasp, and them uttering a loud inarticulate sound, fell dead. The general peace of Europe had continued so long, that to many the sight was a new one; and of the young soldiers who stood near, some imagined that their comrade had fallen down in a sudden fit; for they hardly yet knew that for the most part, in modern warfare, death comes as though sent by blind chance, no one knows from whence or from whom.
Since the enemy's artillery fire had now become brisk, our leading infantry divisions were halted, and ordered to lie down. Soon afterwards, it was found that the 1st Division had also come within range, and it was then forthwith thrown into line. In preparing for this manoeuvre, the Duke of Cambridge took care that ground should not be wanting. Both on his right and on his left he took more ground than had been occupied by the division which marched in his front. Whilst the Light Division in his front was jammed in and entangled with the 2d Division, the Duke had the happiness of seeing his Guards and Highlanders well extended, and competent to act along the whole length of that superb line. The effect of this deployment was, that the extreme right of the Duke's line became a force operating in support of the 2d Division, and that a part of his Highland Brigade, reaching much further eastward than the extreme left of the Light Division, became in that part of the field the true front of the British line. When this manoeuvre was completed, the men of the 1st Division lay down.
Observing the extent of ground occupied by the first Division, Lord Raglan at once saw that the 3d Division would not have room to manoeuvre in the same alignment with the Duke of Cambridge. He therefore ordered Sir Richard England to support the Guards. It was this, or some other order sent nearly at the same time, which, for some reason, good or fanciful, Lord Raglan chose to have carried quietly. The directions had been given, and the aide-de-camp was whirling round his charger, in order to take a swift flight with the message, when Lord Raglan stopped him, and said, 'Go quietly; don't gallop.' He knew he was, so to speak, in the presence of Russian commanders, and seemed to like that whenever the enemy pointed a field-glass towards the English headquarters he should look upon a scene of tranquillity and leisure.
Our batteries tried their range, but without effect, and they ceased to fire, reserving their strength for the time when they would come to close quarters.
The batteries on the Telegraph Height did not yet open fire upon the French columns.
Lord Raglan conceived that the operation determined upon by the French ought to take full effect before he engaged the English army in an assault upon the enemy's heights; and perhaps, if the whole body of the Allies had been one people under the command of one general, their advance would have been effected in echelon, with the left held back for some time, whilst the effort on the right was in progress; but the pride of nations must sometimes be suffered to deflect the course of armies; and although there was no military value in any of the ground north of the vineyards, Lord Raglan, it seems, did not like to withhold his infantry whilst the French were executing their forward movement. Since our soldiers lay facing downwards upon the smooth slope which looked against the enemy's batteries, they were seen, every man of them, from head to foot, by the Russian artillerymen, and they drew upon themselves a studious fire from apparently about thirty guns.
Thus the first trial our men underwent in the action was a trial of passive, enduring courage. They had to lie down, with no duty to perform, except the duty of being motionless; and they made it their pastime to watch the play of the engines worked for their destruction-to watch the jet of smoke-the flash-the short, momentous interval-and then, happily and most often, the twang through the air above, and the welcome sound of the shot at length imbedded in the earth. But sometimes, without knowing whence it came, a man would suddenly know the feel of a rushing blast and a mighty shock, and would find himself bespattered with the brains of the comrade who had just been speaking to him. When this happened, two of the comrades of the man killed would get up and gently lift the quivering body, carry it a few paces in rear of the line, then quietly return to their ranks, and again lie down.* This sort of trial is well borne by our troops. They are so framed by nature, that, if only they know clearly what they have to do, or to leave undone, they are pleased and animated, nay, even soothed, by a little danger. For, besides that they love strife, they love the arbitrament of chance; and a game where death is the forfeit has a strange, gloomy charm for them. Among the guns ranged on the opposite heights to take his life a man would single out his favourite, and make it feminine for the sake of endearment. There was hardly perhaps a gun in the Great Redoubt which failed to be called by some corrupt variation of 'Mary' or 'Elizabeth.' It was plain that our infantry could be in a kindly humour whilst lying down under fire. They did not perhaps like the duty so well as an animating charge with the bayonet; but if they were to be judged from their demeanour, they preferred it to a church parade. They were in their most gracious temper. Often, when an officer rode past them, they would give him the fruit of their steady and protracted view, and advise him to move a little on one side or the other to avoid a coming shot. And this the men would do, though they themselves, however well their quickened sight might warn them of the coming shot, lay riveted to the earth by duty.
*Casualties of this sort were going on here and there along our line, but the exact incident described in the text was observed in the 30th Regiment.


The recumbent posture of our infantry threw into strong prominence the figure of every mounted man who rode along their lines; but the group of horsemen composing or following the Headquarter Staff was so marked by the white flowing plumes of the officers, that at a distance of a mile and a half it was a conspicuous object to the naked eye; and a Russian artilleryman at the Causeway batteries could make out, with a common field-glass, that of the two or three officers generally riding-abreast at the head of the plumed cavalcade, there was one, in a dark blue frock, whose right arm hung ending in an empty sleeve. In truth, Lord Raglan, at this time, was so often standing still, or else was riding along the line of our prostrate infantry at so leisurely a pace, that he and the group about him could not fail to become a mark for the Russian artillery. The enemy did not, as it seemed, begin this effort malignantly; at first, perhaps, he had no further thought than that of subjecting the English Headquarters to an ordinary cannonade, and forcing them to choose a more retired ground for their surveys.
Still, as might be expected, the Russian artillerymen could not easily brook the conclusion that, whilst the English General chose to remain under their eyes and within range, it was beyond the power of their skill to bend him from his path, or even, as it seemed, to break the thread of his conversation; so, at length growing earnest, they opened fire upon the group from a great number of guns-but in vain, for none of the Staff at this time were struck. Failing with round-shot, the enemy tried shells-shells with the fuses so cut as to burst them in the air a little above the white plumes. This method was tried so industriously and with so much skill, that a few feet over the heads of Lord Raglan and those around him there was kept up for a long time an almost constant bursting of shells. Sometimes the missiles came singly, and sometimes in so thick a flight that several would be exploding nearly at the same moment, or briskly one after the other, right and left, and all around. The fragments of the shells, when they burst, tore their shrill way down from above, harshly sawing the air; and when the novice heard the rush of the shattered missile along his right ear, and then along his left, and imagined that be felt the wind of another fragment of shell come rasping the cloth on his shoulders almost at the same moment, it seemed to him hardly possible that the iron shower would leave one man of the group untouched. But the truth is, that a fragment of shell rending the air with its jagged edges may sound much nearer than it is. None of the Staff were wounded at this time.
Some of the suite were half vexed and half angry; for they knew the value of their chiefs life, and they conceived that he was affronting great risk without due motive, and from mere inattention to danger. The storm of missiles generally fell most thickly when Lord Raglan happened to be riding near the great road; for the enemy, having got the range at that point, always laboured to make the bursting of his shells coincide with the moment when our Headquarters were passing. This soon came to be understood, and thenceforth, when the Headquarter group were going to cross the Causeway, they rode at it briskly, as at a leap, and spanned it with one or two strides, thus leaving the prepared storm of shells to burst a little behind them. This effort of the Russian artillery against Lord Raglan and the group surrounding him lasted a long time, and was carried on upon a scale better proportioned to the destruction of a whole division than to the mere object of warning off a score of horsemen. If the fire thus expended had been brought to bear on Pennefather's brigade, it might have maimed the English line in a vital part of the field.
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The time was now come when the Allies could measure their front with the enemy's position. It will be remembered that the plan* proposed the night before by Marshal St Arnaud rested upon the assumption that the whole of the enemy's forces except two or three battalions would be confronted by the French army, and that therefore, the only opportunity for important service which the English army could find would be that of making a great flank- movement against the enemy's right; but, there being by this time a certainty that no more than a moderate portion of the Russian army would be met by the French, it followed that by simply providing a line of battle with which to confront face to face the rest of the enemy's forces, Lord Raglan would secure for his troops an ample field of duty; and now that the invading armies had come within cannon-shot range, it began to be seen that the entire front presented by the 1st and 3d French Divisions, and by our 2d and Light Divisions, would be only just commensurate with the length of the position which the Russian commander was occupying.

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Of course, therefore, if Lord Raglan had not already rejected the French plan of a flank attack by our forces, it would have now fallen to the ground. It had never made any impression on his mind.*
*I infer this from the fact that those with whom Lord Raglan was thoroughly confidential in such matters never heard him speak of it. Lord Raglan, as we saw, distinctly and finally rejected the plan at the close of his interview with St Arnaud. It became a plan simply preposterous as soon as it was apparent that St Arnaud would not confront any part of the Russian army except part of their left wing for to make two flank-movements, one against the enemy's left and the other against his right, and to do this without having any force wherewith to confront the enemy's centre, would have been a plan requiring no comment to show its absurdity. The French accounts, whether official or quasi official, have always persisted in saying that Lord Raglan had engaged, and afterwards failed to make, a movement on the enemy's right flank. This is the only reason why the matter requires anything like careful elucidation.
The Allies were now so close to the enemy's that the General of each of the five leading divisions could form a judgment as to the particular sphere of action which awaited him. To Bosquet the advance against the West Cliff had long ago been assigned. Canrobert faced tcwards the White Homestead and those spurs of the Telegraph Height which lie towards the west Prince Napoleon confronted the centre and the eastern steeps of the Telegraph Height. Sir De Lacy Evans with the 2d Division faced the village of Bourliouk; and it seemed at this time that his left would not reach further up the river's bank than the bridge, for Sir George Brown had been reckoning that his first or right brigade would be charged with the duty of attacking the enemy's position across the great road, and that it would be his left, or Buller's brigade, which would assail the Great Redoubt. The Generals of the five leading Divisions were thus directing their forces, and already the swarms of skirmishers thrown forward by the French, and the thinner chains of riflemen in advance of our divisions, were drawing close to the vineyards, and beginning their combats with the enemy's sharpshooters; but then, and with a suddenness so strange as to suggest the idea of some pyrotechnic contrivance, the whole village of Bourliouk, except the straggling houses which skirted it towards the east, became wrapped in tall flames.* No man could live in that conflagration; and the result was, that in one minute a third of the ground on which the English army had meant to operate was, as it were, blotted out of the field. If this firing of the village took place under the orders of the Russian commander, it was the most sagacious of all the steps he took that day; for his gravest source of care was the want of troops sufficing for the whole extent of the position at which he grasped, and therefore an operation which took away a large part of the battlefield was of great advantage to him. Our infantry were immediately thrown into trouble. The Light Division, as we saw, did not take ground on the and the firing of the village now cut short our front on the right. Sir De Lacy Evans, thus robbed of space, was obliged to keep his second brigade in rear of the first, and even then he continued to overlap the right of the Light Division. The smoke from the burning village was depressed and gently turned towards the bridge by faint breeze which came from the sea. There, for hours, in a long fallen pillar of cloud, it lay singularly firm and compact, obscuring the view of those who were near it, but not at all staining the air in any other part of the field.
* General de Todlehen says that the materials for burning the village had been previously collected and besides tbe great number of haystacks, and the peculiar nature of the hay, were causes accounting for the extreme swiftness of the conflagration. The hay of that country is full of stiff prickly stems, which resist compression, and so leave ample room for air.


The operations of the great column entrusted to General General Bosquet now began to take effect. Bosquet was a man in the prime of life. Ten years of struggle and frequent enterprise in Algeria had carried him from the rank of a lieutenant to the rank of a general officer;* and he was charged on this day, not only with the command of his own -the 2d- Division, but with the command of the troops which formed the Turkish contingent. The whole column under his orders numbered about 14,000 men. The Arabs and Kabyles of Algeria, though men of a fierce and brave nature, and prone to petty strife, are so wanting in the power of making war with effect, that, as far as concerns the art of fighting, they can scarcely be said to have given much schooling to the bold and skilful soldiery of France; but the deserts, the broad solitudes, and the great mountain-ranges of Northern Africa, have inured the French army to some of those military toils which are next in worth to the business of the actual combat; and for Bosquet, the hero of many a struggle in the passes of the Middle and the Lesser Atlas, it was no new problem to have to cross a stream and carry a body of troops to the summit of a hill with a steep-looking face. In the morning, he had ridden forward escorted by a few Spahis, to reconnoitre the ground with his own eyes; and thus, and by the aid of the careful surveys effected by the naval men, he was able to assure himself, not only that the river could be passed at its bar, but that troops there crossing it would be likely to find the means of getting round and ascending to the summit of the cliff from the south-west. Examining also the face of the cliff further inland, he saw that the broken ground opposite to the village of Almatamack could be easily ascended by foot-soldiers; and he also, no doubt, perceived that the road leading up from the village (unless it should prove to have been effectually cut or guarded by the enemy) would give him a passage for his artillery. Upon these observations Bosquet based his plan. He resolved to march in person with Autemarre's brigade upon the village of Almatamack, there to cross the river, and afterwards endeavour to ascend the plateau at the point where the road from Almatamack goes up between the West Cliff and the Telegraph Height; but he ordered General Bouat, with his brigade and with the Turkish Contingent, to incline far away towards his right, to try to pass the river at its bar, and then to find the best means he could for getting his troops up the cliff.
The two bodies of troops under Bosquet's command began their diverging movement at the same time and before two o'clock the swarms skirmishers which covered the front of the columns were pushing their way through the village of Almatamack, and the vineyards on either side of it. A few moments more and they were firing with a briskness and vivacity which warmed the blood of the many thousands of hearers then new to war. One of our officers, kindling a little with the excitement thus roused, and impatient, perhaps, that the French should be in action before our people, could not help drawing Lord Raglan's attention to the firing on our right. But the stir of French skirmishers through thick ground was no new music to Lord Fitzroy Somerset; rather, perhaps, it recalled him for a moment to old times in Estremadura and Castile, when, at the side of the great Wellesley, he learned the brisk ways of Napoleon's infantry. So, when the young officer said, "The French, my lord, are warmly engaged," Lord Raglan answered, "Are they? I cannot catch any return-fire." His practiced ear had told him what we now know to be the truth. No troops were opposed to the advance of Bosquet's columns in this part of the field; but it is the custom of French skirmishers, when they get into thick ground near an enemy, to be continually firing. They do this partly to show the chiefs behind them what progress they are making, and partly, it would seem, in order to give life and spirit to the field of battle.
When General Bouat reached the bank of the river, he found that bar of sand at its mouth made it possible for his men to keep good their footing against the waves flowing in from sea; and in process of time, with all his infantry, including the Turkish battalions, he succeeded in gaining the left bank of the river. He could not, however, carry across his artillery, and he therefore sent it back with orders to follow the march of Autemarre's brigade.
When he reached the left bank of the river, Bouat found an opening in the cliff before him, which promised to give him means of ascent. Into this opening he threw some skirmishers, and these, encountering no enemy, were followed by the main body of the brigade, and by the Turkish battalions. Pursuing the course thus opened to him, Bouat slowly crept forward with his column, and wound his way up and round towards the summit of the cliff. But it was only by marching upon a very narrow front that he was able to effect this movement; and it was not until a late period of the action that he was able to show himself in force upon the plateau. Even then he was without artillery. The troops under his command had not an opportunity of engaging in any combat with the enemy because they marched upon that part of the heights which the Russian General had determined to leave unoccupied.
Meanwhile Bosquet, marching in person with Autemarre's brigade, traversed the village of Almatamack forded the river at ten minutes past two o'clock, and immediately began to ascend the road leading up to the plateau. The road, he found, was uninjured, and guarded by no troops. His artillery began the ascent; and meanwhile the keen and active Zouaves, impatient of the winding road, climbed the heights by shorter and steeper paths, and so swiftly, that our sailors, looking on the ships (men accustomed to perpendicular racing), were loud in their praise of the briskness with which the Frenchmen rushed up and 'manned' the cliff. As yet, however, Bosquet had encountered no enemy.
It has been seen that the position taken up by Prince Mentschikoff fell short of the sea-shore by a distance of more than two miles, and that he was not in military occupation of the cliff, now ascended by Bosquet with Autemarre's brigade; but also it will be remembered that, at the village in rear of the cliff, called Ulukul Akles, there had been posted some days before one of the 'Minsk' battalions of infantry, with four pieces of light artillery, and that the detachment had there remained. These four guns were now brought out of the village, and after a time were placed in battery at a spot near the village of Ulukul Tiouets, and within range of the point where the Zouaves were beginning to crown the summit of the cliff. The 'Minsk' battalion at this time could not be discerned by the French; but, on he cliff overlooking the beach, there were seen a few squadrons of horse.
As soon as the whole battalion of Zouaves had gained the summit, they were drawn up and formed on the plateau. No shot was as yet fired by the enemy; and General Bosquet, with his staff ascended a tumulus or mound on the top of the cliff in order to reconnoitre the ground.
Meanwhile, his artillery was coming up, and the first two of his guns had just reached the summit when one of the carriages broke down. This accident embarrassed the rest of the column, and whilst the hindrance lasted, the enemy opened fire from his four guns.* Coinciding as it did with the breaking down of the gun- carriage, this fire produced for the moment an ill effect upon the head of the French column, and one of its battalions fell back under the shelter of the acclivity. But this check did not last. The road blocked by the broken-down gun-carriage was quickly cleared, the guns were moved up rapidly, and swarms of skirmishers pressed up in all directions. Then the troops which were already on the summit moved forward, and lodged themselves upon a part of the plateau a little in advance of steep by which they had ascended.
As soon as he began to hear guns in the direction of the West Cliff Kiriakoff took from his reserves two of his 'Moscow' battalions, and posted them, the one low down and the other higher up, on that part of the hill which looked down upon the White Homestead. He also brought up his artillery to the slopes of the Telegraph Height, placing some of the guns in battery with front towards the sea, so as to command, though at a long range, the part of the plateau which Bosquet crossed by the Hadji road. Kiriakoff did not take upon himself to make any other dispositions for dealing with the turning movement which threatened his left.
Amongst the French who were gaining the summit of the plateau, no one seems to have divined the reason why a little body of Russian horsemen should have made its appearance on the cliff overlooking the sea, nor why, without attempting hostile action, it had tenaciously clung to the ground. Those troopers were the attendants of a man in great trouble. They were the escort of Prince Mentschikoff.
Half of the No. 4 battery of the 17th brigade of the Russian artillery.
* Sir Edward Colebrooke saw this operation from the deck of one of our ships of war, and describes it very well in his memorial. He was a skillful and very accurate observer of military movements.


The enemy's survey of the allied armies had been so carelessly made, and had been so little directed towards the sea- shore, that Bosquet, it seems, had already got near to the river before his movement was perceived. Prince Mentschikoff, with Gortschakoff and Kvetzinski at his side, had been standing on the Kourgane Hill watching the advance of the English army, and giving bold orders for its reception: but presently he was told that a French division was advancing towards the unoccupied cliff on his extreme left. At first, he was so shocked by the dislocation which his ideas would have to undergo if his left flank were indeed to be turned, that he had no refuge for his confusion except in mere disbelief, and he angrily refused to give faith to unwelcome tidings.* For days, he had been on the ground which he himself had chosen for the great struggle; but he was so certain that he had effectually learnt its character by glancing at its general features, that he had not, it seems, had the industry to ride over it, nor even to find out the roads by which the villagers were accustomed to ascend the heights with their waggons.
He seems to have imagined it to he impossible that ground so steep as the cliff had appeared to be could be ascended by troops at any point westward of the Telegraph Height; but when at length he was compelled to know that the French and the Turks were marching in force towards the mouth of the river, his mind underwent so great a revulsion, that, having hitherto taken no thought for his left, he now seemed to have no care for any other part of the position. In his place, a general, calm, skilful, and conscious of knowing the ground, might have seen the turning movement of the French and the Turks with unspeakable joy; but instead of tranquilly regarding the whole field of battle under the new aspect which was given to it by this manoeuvre, he only laboured to see how best he could imitate the mistake of his adversary -how best he could shift his strength to the distant unoccupied cliff which was threatened by Bosquet's advance. The nature of the ground enabled him to make lateral movements in his line without much fear of disturbance from the Allies; and as soon as he saw that the French were detaching two-fifths of their army in order to turn his flank, he wildly determined to engage a portion of his scanty force in a march from his right hand to his left-in a march which would take him far to the westward of his chosen ground. For this purpose he snatched two batteries from his great Reserve and also two from his right, gave orders that he was to be followed by the four 'Moscow' battalions which were the reserve of his left wing, and by the three 'Minsk' battalions which formed part of his 'Great Reserve,' and then with four squadrons of hussars rode off towards the sea.*
* The batteries which Prince Mentschikoff thus drew from his Great Reserve were, the 10-gun light battery, No. 5, and the 8-gun troop of Horse-artillery, No. 12; whilst the two be took from his right were the two 8-gun Don Cossack batteries, one of which was a battery of position, the other a light battery.

It was certain that a long time would elapse before the troops engaged in this vain journey could be expected to get into action with Bosquet; and, meanwhile, the power of the whole force engaged in the flank movement was neutralised. But that was not all. Prince Mentschikoff's mind was so strangely subverted by the sensation of having his left turned, that, although a long time must needs pass before he could be in force on the West Cliff, he yet could not endure to be personally absent from the ground to which he now fastened his thoughts. So when, with his Staff and the horsemen of his escort, he had got to the ground overlooking the sea, near the village of Ulukul Tiouets, and had seen the first groups of the Zouaves peering up on the crest of the hill, he still remained where he was. Whilst he sat in his saddle, the appearance of his escort drew fire from the shipping, and four of his suite were struck down; but the Prince would not move. It is likely that the fire assuaged the pain of his thoughts.
At this time, it would seem, he gave either no orders, or none of a kind supplying real guidance for his generals. Lingering upon the ground without troops at hand, he impotently watched the progress of Autemarre's brigade. His light batteries soon came up; but neither these nor the squadrons of Hussars which formed his escort were the best of implements for pushing back General Bosquet into the steep mountain-road by which he had ascended; and in the hands of Prince Mentschikoff they were simply powerless. However, his guns, when they came up, were placed in battery, and Bosquet's guns being now on the plateau, there began a cannonade at long range between the twelve guns of the French and the whole of the light artillery which Prince Mentschikoff had hurried into this part of the field. At the same time the French Artillery drew some shots from the distant guns which Kiriakoff had placed looking seaward on the Telegraph Height; and the annals of the French artillery record with pride that the twelve pieces which Bosquet brought up with him engaged and overpowered no less than forty of the enemy's guns. Nor is this statement altogether without someth ing like a basis of truth, for the Russians had now thirty-six pieces of artillery on the West cliff or the Telegraph Height;* and though most of them at this time were so placed that their gunners could attempt some shots at a more or less long range against Bosquet's guns, the French artillerymen not only held their ground without having a gun disabled, but soon pushed forward their batteries to a more commanding part of the plateau.
* They had that number even upon the supposition that the heavy 8- gun battery of the Don Cossacks had not yet come up.

By this time, the seven battalions of infantry which Prince Mentschikoff had been moving flank-wise were very near to the spot where their General had been eagerly awaiting them; but when at last, after agonies of impatience, he was about to have these troops in hand, the Prince seems to have come to the conclusion that, after all, he could do nothing in the part of the field to which he had dragged them. He was brought, perhaps, to this belief by seeing that the French and the Turks, who had been crossing the river at its mouth, were now beginning to show their strength towards the westernmost part of the cliff; for he may not have known that this force, being without artillery, could be easily prevented from advancing against his batteries on the open plateau. At all events, Prince Mentschikoff now thought it necessary to reverse his flank - movement, and to travel back towards his center with all the forces which he had brought from thence to his left.
But when the Prince began this last counter-movement, he was already beginning to fall under the dominion of events in another part of the field. Bosquet now stood undisturbed on the part of the plateau which he had reached. But he was not without grounds or deep anxiety. It did not fall to his lot on that day to be engaged in any conflict except with the enemy's artillery; but, from the moment when he began to establish himself on the plateau until towards the close of the action, he was in a dangerously isolated position, for he had no troops around him except Autemarre's brigade; and, until the action was near its end, he got no effective support either from Bouat on his right or from Canrobert on his left.

Go to Part 3.