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Return to part 2.


As soon as Marshal St Arnaud perceived that Bosquet would he able to gain the summit of the cliff he tried to give him the support towards his left which his position, when he got established on the cliff would deeply need; and he determined that the time was come for the immediate advance of his 1st and 3d Divisions. Addressing General Canrobert and Prince Napoleon, and giving them the signal for the attack, he said, I am told, these words: 'With men such as you I have no orders to give. I have but to point to the enemy!'* Hitherto these two French divisions had been nearly in the same alignment as the leading divisions of the English army; but now that they were ordered forward, leaving the English army still halted, the true char acter of the movement to be undertaken by the Allies was for the first time developed. There array was to be what tacticians call 'an order of battle in three echelons by the right, the first echelon making a turning movement.**

*I have this from an officer who assures me that he heard the words.
* * 'Un ordre de bataille a' trois echelons par la droite, le premier echelon attaquant par le flanc.' These are the words in which a staff officer present in the action, and very high in the French service, has described to me the advance of the Allies. See the diagram, a much better guide than mere words.

This disposition for the attack was not the result of any agreement made in words between Marshal St Arnaud and Lord Raglan. It resulted almost naturally, if so one may speak, from Bosquet's turning movement, from the extent of the front which the enemy was now seen to present, and from the character of the ground. Just as the Marshal had kept back his 1st and 3d Divisions till he saw that Bosquet could gain the height, so Lord Raglan, according to his conception at this time, had to see whether Canrobert and Prince Napoleon could establish themselves upon the Telegraph Height, before he endangered the continuity of the order of battle by allowing the English army to advance.
During the first forty minutes of the cannonade directed against the English infantry, there had been no corresponding fire upon the left of the French but artillery missiles discharged from the Telegraph Heights, and passing over the heads of the Taroutine and the militia battalions, now began to molest the divisions which were led by Canrobert and Prince Napoleon.
On the other hand, the artillery belonging to the Divisions of Canrobert and Prince Napoleon came down to a convenient ground above the edge of the vineyards, and opened fire upon the columns of the 'militia' battalions, now posted much farther up than before on the opposite height. And with effect; for although the range did not admit of great slaughter, some men were struck, and the rest, though they did not yet move, began to be displeased with the ground on which they stood.*
The swarms of skirmishers which the French threw forward went briskly into the cover, forded the river, and then made themselves at home in the broken ground at the foot of the Telegraph Height. When the soldier is upon service of this kind, his natural character, neutralised in general by organization, is often seen to reassert itself. One man, prying eagerly forward, would labour to get shots at Russian sharpshooters still lingering near the river; another would sit down, take at his little store of food and drink, and be glad to engage with anyone who passed him in something like cynical talk concerning the pastime of war. But, upon the whole, French skirmishers push on with great boldness and skill.
When the foremost ranks of Canrobert's massed battalions had entered the vineyards, each man got through as best he could, and rapidly crossed the river; and though, during part of the advance, the troops were under the fire of the guns on the Telegraph Height, yet the nature of the acclivity before them was of such a kind that the further they advanced (provided the heads of the battalions did not show themselves on the plateau above the broken ground), the better they were covered from fire. And, except some lingering skirmishers, they had no infantry opposed to them at this time for the two 'Moscow' battalions which Kiriakoff had sent down towards the ford of the White Homestead were now, it seems, made to take part in the marches and counter- marches which Mentschikoff was directing in person, and there were then no other Russian columns in this part of the field.* So, when the head of Canrobert's Division gained the broken ground on the Russian side of the river, it was for the moment sheltered; but if it had then ascended above the broken ground so as to peer up over the crest and face the open plateau at the top, it would not only have come under the fire of artillery, but would have before it the four battalions of militiamen, supported by the four Taroutine battalions.
* There is some ground for supposing that the second Moscow battalion was for a while forgotten, and that, not receiving in duo time the order to rejoin the other battalions of the corps, it was left alone in the ravine until it found itself opposed to Canrobert's whole division. If this is the case, and if there resulted anything which could be called a combat between the Russian battalion and the French Division, the statement that Canrobert was not met by any troops except skirmishers would have to be qualified. The statement of Chodasiewicz on this point receives no support from Kiriakoff, and that is why I have not adopted it. Chodasiewicz did not belong to the "Moscow" corps.
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For an army advancing to the attack, a rim of sheltered ground on the verge of the enemy's position is of infinite use, because it enables the assailants to make without hurry their final arrangements for the assault; but to troops which are not propelled by the decisive order of some resolute commander, such shelter as that is sometimes a snare, because it tempts men to hang back. In such a situation the best troops will often abstain from going forward of their own accord; for it seems, to officers and men, that if they are to quit good shelter and go out into the storm, they ought, at the least, to know that the movement is one really intended, and is needful to the purpose of the battle. The duty of pressing forward to terminate the isolation of Bosquet rested primarily with the General of the 1st Division.
General Canrobert was a man of whom great hopes were entertained. According to every test which could be applied by school and college examinations, he promised to be an accomplished general. To the military studies of his youth he had added the experience of many campaigns in Africa; and even in the French army, where brave men abound, his personal valour had become a subject of remark. He was so deeply trusted by his Emperor, that he had become the bearer of a then secret paper which was to put him at the head of the French army in the event of St Arnaud's death. He had the misfortune to have upon his hands the blood of the Parisians slain by his brigade on the 4th of December; but it was said, to his honour, that he, more than all the other generals employed at that time, had loathed the work of having to abet the midnight seizure of his country's foremost generals. His spirit, they say, had been broken by the pestilence which some few weeks before had come upon his Division in the country of the Danube; but the extremity of the grief to which he then gave way had so much to justify it in the appalling nature of the calamity which slew his troops, that it was not a conclusive proof of his being wanting in military composure. The most successful of respondents to school and college questions now had to undergo a new test. Commanding a fine French division, he had the head of his column close under a height occupied by the enemy, and this at a time when the isolated condition of a French brigade on his right seemed to make it a business of great moment for him to be able to bring support to his comrades.
But at the point where Canrobert faced the height he found it impracticable to drag up artillery, and he was obliged to send his guns all the way down to the village of Almatamack, in order that they might there ford the river and ascend to the top of the plateau by the road which Bosquet had taken. This operation could not but take a long time; and what Canrobert was now called upon to determine was, whether he would wait until his artillery had completed its circuitous and difficult journey or at once carry forward his infantry to the summit of the plateau and engage the battalions there posted. He determined to wait. The maxims of the French army discourage the idea of bringing infantry into action upon open ground without the support of artillery; and Canrobert did not, it seems, conceive that the predicament in which Bosquet stood was a circumstance which dispensed him from the observance of a general rule. So, whilst he was thus waiting for his artillery, he did not deem it right to push forward his battalions on the open plateau, but he brought the head of his Division to a point high up on the steep broken side of the hill, and extended it, in single and double battalion columns, on either side of the track by which he had ascended. He spread himself more towards his left than towards his right, and did not move any of his battalions in such a way as to be able to give a hand to Bosquet.
Prince Napoleon's Division hung back in the valley, and the bulk of it at this time was still on the north bank of the river.
Although the head of Canrobert's Division, being under the heights on the Russian side was enjoying good shelter, the masses of troops which stood more towards the rear, including some of Canrobert's battalions and the great bulk of Prince Napoleon's Division, were exposed to the fire of the guns on the Telegraph Height. They suffered; and a feeling of discouragement began to spread.
Marshal St Arnaud had understood the gravity of the danger which would result from any delay in the advance of his centre, but to meet it he used an ill-chosen safeguard. The way to send help to Bosquet was to give Canrobert due warrant to move up at once upon the plateau, whether with or without his artillery.*
* If the objection to advancing on the plateau without artillery was, according to French ideas, insuperable, an effort, one would think, should have been made to push forward Prince Napoleon's Division. Prince Napoleon had in his front two roads leading up to the Telegraph, and one of these, at the least, was practicable (and was afterwards used) for artillery.

What the Marshal did, however, was to order up his reserves, sending one brigade of his 4th Division to follow the march of Bosquet, and the other to support Canrobert. This last measure was actually a source of weakness rather than of strength; for, as far as numbers were concerned, Canrobert and Prince Napoleon were already in more than ample strength. With two superb divisions, numbering some 15,000 men, and having Bosquet and Bouat on their right with many thousands more, they were advancing upon a very narrow front; and the bringing up of fresh troops augmented the masses who came under the fire of the guns without at all propelling the leading divisions. So the evil lasted and increased. Inaction in the midst of a battle is hateful to the brave, impetuous Frenchman, and inaction under fire is intolerable to him. The troops towards the rear of the columns, not having the close presence of the enemy to animate them, and being without that shelter from the Russian guns which was enjoyed by the leading battalions, became discontented and uneasy. It was then that there sprang up among the French troops the ill-omened complaint that they were being massacred.'
All this while, Bosquet was on the summit of the cliff with his one brigade; and his isolation, as we shall presently see, was becoming a source of great anxiety.
Minute after minute aides-de-camp were coming to Lord Raglan with these gloomy tidings; and, in truth, the action at this time was going on ill for the Allies. The duty of crowning the West Cliff had been fulfilled with great spirit and despatch by a small body of men; but the step had not been followed up. Bouat, filing slowly round near the sea with some nine thousand men, but without guns, was for the time annulled. Bosquet, with one brigade, stood halted upon the heights which he had climbed; and though, happily, he had not been assailed by infantry, his advanced and isolated position had become a source of weakness to the Allies. Of the two French divisions charged with the duty of attacking the front and western flank of the Telegraph Hill, the one had its foremost battalions high up the steep and on the verge of the open ground at its top, whilst the other was all down in the valley; but (although in different ways, and for different reasons) these divisions were both hanging back, and no French force had hitherto attacked any part of the ground held by the enemy's formed battalions. Meanwhile the batteries still swept the smooth approach to the table-land where the Telegraph stood, and not only kept it free of all assailants, but, pouring their fire over the heads of their own soldiery, were able to throw plunging shots into the midst of Prince Napoleon's Division.
All this while, the English army had been kept under the fire of the Russian artillery; and although the men had been ordered to lie down, the ground, sloping towards the river, yielded no shelter, and many had been killed and wounded.
At first, our batteries replied; but after a while it had been ascertained that the advantage the enemy had in his commanding ground was too great to be overcome, and the English artillery had ceased to fire. Lord Raglan asked why this was: 'I observe,' said he, 'the enemy's six-pounders amongst us; why cannot we send our nine-pounders amongst them?' But he was told that our fire had proved to be ineffectual, and that it was therefore discontinued. He seemed struck. Perhaps the answer which he had received became one of the grounds on which, a few minutes later, he resolved to change the face of the battle.


For some time, the course of the action had been offering to the Russian General an opportunity of striking a great blow; and, circumstanced as he was, it would have been easier for him to gain a signal victory before three o'clock, than to stand on the defensive and hold his ground till sunset. The English forces, confronting as they did a position of great natural strength, and having their left on ground as open as a race~course, would have been hampered in every attempt to storm the Great Redoubt if their flank had been assiduously threatened, and now and then charged, by the enemy's powerful cavalry. Therefore, if Mentschikoff, checking the English forces by a vigorous use of his horsemen, had undertaken at this time such an advance against Canrobert's Division as was afterwards successfully executed by Kiriakoff, he would have found the French battalions quite soft to his touch by reason of their want of artillery;* and Canrobert's retreat from the verge of the plateau would have occurred at a time when half the French army was so far from the true scene of conflict as to be unable to give the least help. Except by reckoning broadly upon the quality of the French and the British troops, or else upon the smiles of fortune, it is hard to see how the Allies could then have escaped a disaster. But men move so blindly in the complex business of war, that often, very often, it is the enemy himself who is the best repairer of their faults.
It was so that day. During the precious hour in which the Russian forces might have wrought a way to great glory, their cavalry were suffered to remain in idleness, and the battalions which formed the instrument afterwards used for striking the blow were marching in vain from east to west and from west to east. The torpor and the false moves of the enemy countervailed the short-comings of the Allies.

* I should not have ventured upon this sentence if it were not that I am warranted in doing so by what actually occurred a little later. See post.
**During the march, as was shown in a former note, Major Norcott had been on the flank of the Division; but when the battle opened, he began to operate in front of Buller's brigade. - Note to 4th Edition.

No combat of any moment was going on at this time. It is true that Colonel Lawrence with the right, and Major Norcott with the left wing of the 2d battalion of the Rifle Brigade, had gone into; the vineyards in front of our light Division. But everywhere else, the battle flagged. The men of our infantry divisions, though under artillery fire, still lay passive upon the ground. Our cavalry awaited orders; our artillery declined to fire without being able to strike; the Russian and the French still exchanged their fire at long range. No French battalion advanced above the broken ground, though, covering their front and the left flank of their trailing columns, swarms of skirmishers were alive. Of these some were firing to show where they were, some dueling with the Russian riflemen who yet remained in the valley; others ascended the knolls and vexed any Russians they saw with long, careful shots; others, again, sat down and contentedly took their rest.
This languishing of the battle seemed to promise ill for the Allies. They had undertaken to assault the enemy's left, and to that enterprise they stood committed, for they had drawn away from the real field of battle to the West Cliff some fourteen thousand men. Yet since the moment when Bosquet began to ascend the cliff more than forty minutes had elapsed, and nothing had yet been done to win a result from his movement, nor even to give him that support which he very grievously wanted. Both from Bouat on his right and front Canrobert on his left he was divided by a wide tract of ground.
Hitherto, then, the operations planned and undertaken by the French had not only done nothing towards carrying the position, but had even brought the Allies into danger.
The causes of the miscarriage were,- the physical obstructions which hindered both Bouat and Canrobert from bringing up their guns with them, and the stiffness of the objection which prevents French Generals from engaging their infantry on open ground without the support of artillery. According to the intended plan of operations, Bosquet, after gaining the cliff with his whole column of some 14,000 men, was to bring round his right shoulder in order to fall upon the flank of the Russians; and, simultaneously with his appearance on the plateau, a vigorous and resolute onslaught was to be made by the rest of the French army upon the front of the enemy's left wing. But Bosquet, as we saw, though he was personally present on the part of the plateau overhanging Almatamack, had only one brigade here; and whether he looked to Bouat on his right, or to Canrobert on his left, he looked in either case to a general who, though he had masses of infantry, was without artillery, and he therefore looked in vain. In such circumstances the utmost that Bosquet could be expected to do as to hold his ground,-and this he did.
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For an hour and a half the Allies had lain under fire without even beginning to assail the enemy's formed battalions. The only ground gained was that occupied by Bosquet; but, Bosquet's achievement not having been followed up, his very success now threatened to bring disaster upon the Allies. When a French soldier is one of a body placed in a false position, he knows it, and comments on the fact; and the very force and vivacity of his nature make it difficult to keep him long upon ground to which he feels a scientific objection. A French aide-de-camp came in haste to Lord Raglan, and represented that unless something could be done to support or relieve Bosquet's column it would be 'compromise.'*
*Exactly the same pressure had just been applied by the French Marshal to Sir DeLacy Evans. In his published letter of the 28th of June 1855, Evans writes: 'On the arrival of the 2d Division in front of the village of Bourliouk, which, having been prepared for conflagration by the Russians, became suddenly for some hundred yards an impenetrable blaze, Major Claremont came to me in great haste, to say from the 'Marshal, that a part of the French army, having ascended the heights on the south of the river, became threatened by large bodies of Russians, and might become compromised unless the attention of the enemy were immediately drawn away by pressing them in our front. I made instant dispositions to conform to this wish, sending at the same time, as was my duty, an officer of my Staff (Colonel Herbert) to Lord Raglan, who was then a short distance in our rear, for his Lordship's approval, which was instantly granted.' From the recurrence of the word 'compromised,' acid from the coincidence in point of time, one is led to infer that the message given in the text and the message conveyed to Lord Raglan through General Evans may have been one and the same. There is nothing that I know of to interfere with this conclusion, if it be supposed that Major Claremont was accompanied by a French aide-de-camp, who rode first to General Evans, and from him to Lord Raglan. Note to 4th Edition.

Gifted himself with the command of graceful diction, Lord Raglan was not without fastidious prejudices against particular forms of expression, and it chanced that he bore a singular hatred against the French word which we translate into 'compromised.' So he archly resolved to have the meaning of the word fully expanded into plain French, and he asked the aide-de-camp what would be the actual effect upon the brigade of its being 'compromised.'
The answer was, 'It will retreat.'*
Was it time for the English General to take the battle into his own hands?
So long as Bosquet, with Autemarre's brigade, stood isolated upon the cliff, and Canrobert's and Prince Napoleon's Divisions remained hanging back in the vineyards and the broken ground below the Telegraph height, an advance of our forces would plainly distort the Allied line in a hazardous way; and Lord Raglan had watched for the moment when the development of the expected French attack on the Telegraph Height would warrant him in suffering our infantry to go forward. But he had hitherto watched in vain; and, not knowing how long the causes of the French delay might continue to operate, he resolved to depart from the scheme of action which had hitherto governed him, and to precipitate the advance of the English forces. It is true that while Bosquet stood halted on the cliff, whilst Canrobert abstained from assailing the Telegraph Height, and whilst Prince Napoleon's Division was still low down in the valley, the advance of the English forces against the Causeway and the Kourgane Hill would ruin the symmetry of the plan which the French had contrived; and if Bosquet should be obliged to retreat at a time when were English were hotly engaged in an attack upon the enemy's heights, the whole array of theAllies would be brought into peril. But the timely incurring of dangers is proper to the business of war; and the enemy had hitherto been torpid and indulgent, the cause of the Allies had fallen into such a plight, that a remedy which involved heavy risks might nevertheless be the right one. And, so far as concerned his understanding with the French, Lord Raglan was freed from all care; for he had been already assured that Marshal St Arnaud anxiously desired him to advance; and one aide-de-camp, as we have seen, had told him plainly that nothing less than a diversion by the English forces would prevent General Bosquet from retreating.
A man may weigh reasons against reasons, but sometimes, after all, it is the power of the imagination, or else some manly passion, which comes to strike the balance and lead him on to action. The motive of which Lord Raglan felt the most conscious was the simple and natural longing to cease from being passive. He could no longer endure to see our soldiery lying down without resistance under the enemy's fire.*
* This is the motive for accelerating the advance of the British troops which Lord Raglan avowed to me on the evening of the action.

He had been riding slowly upon the ground between the Great Causeway and the left of the French army; but he now stopped his horse, and the cavalcade which had trailed in his wake of whilst be moved then gathered more closely around him. There were altogether some twenty horsemen; and although with several of them Lord Raglan from time to time talked gaily, yet, so far as concerned the duty of taking thought how best to conduct the action, be was like a man riding in mere solitude; for it was not his custom to seek counsel, and the men around him so held their chief in honour that none of them would have liked to assail him with question or advice. Still, any one there could see that, besides Lord Raglan himself, there was one man of the Headquarter Staff whose mind was engaged the business of the hour. We saw that General Airey had already begun to wield great power in the English army. With the power was its burthen. Whilst most of the other men on the Headquarter Staff seemed to be merely spectators or messengers, there was care, vexing care, on the lean, eager, imperious features of the Quarter-master-General. He was not simply impatient of the delay; he judged it to be a great evil.
It was to him that Lord Raglan now spoke some five words. Whatever it was that was said, it lit the face of the hearer, and turned his look care into sunshine. The horsemen in the surrounding group rose taller in their saddles, and handled their reins like men whose limbs are braced by the joy of passing from expectancy to action. Every man, whether he had heard the words or not, saw in the gladness of his neighbour's face that the moment long awaited was come.
Our infantry was to advance. The order flew; for it was Nolan - the impetuous Nolan - who carried it to the 2d Division.*
A few moments later and the order had reached the Light Division. The whole of the foremost English line from the 47th Regiment on our right to the extreme left of the Light Division, rose alert from the ground, dressed well their ranks, and then, having a front of two miles with a depth of only two men, marched grandly down the slope.**
* My authority for this statement is the journal of poor Nolan now lying before me. There, after stating that 'a general advance was ordered,' he says: 'To the 2d Division I carried the order myself, and in riding forward with the advance brigade had my horse shot under me by a round-shot.' On the other hand, General Evans, I think, conceives that he got his warrant to advance when Colonel Herbert returned to him with the message that Lord Raglan granted his request to be allowed to accede to the prayer of the French Marshal. And again, Colonel Lysons (who was Assistant Adjutant-General of the 2d Division) states that he carried the order, and he adds this spirited record of the emotion which impressed the fact upon his memory: 'I could not he mistaken on this point; I so well remember the excitement I felt as I galloped back the 2d Division, and then went on to the right of the Light Division, passing the order along the line; and I shall never forget the excited look of delight from each face as I repeated the words, 'The line will advance!' It is evident that both Nolan's and Colonel Lysons's statements are correct; and I conceive that the impression which each of them entertained, as well as the impression entertained by General Evans, may be reconciled by supposing that the return of Colonel Herbert to Evans's side preceded the arrival of the formal orders, and that (either intentionally or else from some mistake) the carriage of the formal order was entrusted to two Staff officers. -Note to 4th Edition.
* *Computing from the righted of the 47th Regiment, the English front was a little short of two miles but, computing it from the ground on which Adams was advancing, the front was more than two miles in extent.


Sir De Lacy Evans, commanding the 2d Division, had before him the blazing village. In that conflagration no man could live; and in order to make good his advance on either side of the flames, he had split his force by detaching General Adams to his right with two regiments* and Turner's battery. With that force Adams, driving before him some Russian skirmishers, marched down towards the ford which divided the French and English armies. Evans himself, with four battalions and Franklin's battery of field-artillery, had to assail the defences which Prince Mentschikoff had accumulated for the dominion of the Pass and the great road. Soon, however, Evans was a good deal strengthened in the artillery arm; for an opportunity of rendering service in this part of the field was observed and seized by Captain Anderson with a battery belonging to the Light Division and by Colonel Dacres with a battery belonging to the 1st Division. By the time that the infantry had got down to near the enclosures, eighteen English guns had begun to reply to the fire which the enemy was pouring upon Pennefather's brigade.
* The 41st and 49th.
* The 1st brigade, under Pennefather, and the 47th Regiment, belonging to Adams's brigade.
** Fitzmayer commanded both this and Turner's battery.

But Evans's task was a hard one. Having on his right an impassable conflagration, and being cramped towards his left by our Light Division, he was forced to move along the unsheltered line of the Great Causeway upon a narrow and crowded front, and this under a converging fire of artillery; for with the sixteen guns of the Causeway batteries, with the eight other guns planted near, and the heavy guns of position discharging their shot and shell flank wise from the left shoulder of the Great Redoubt, the enemy swept the main road and the bridge, and searched the fords both above and below it. And whilst the enemy's batteries thus dealt with the more open approaches to the bridge, his infantry defended the ground which could not be searched by round-shot, for, posted in the covert on either side of the Causeway, there were the four Borodino battalions;* and, besides, the companies of sappers, and of the 6th Rifles, were operating in the vineyards below, and at the bridge, whilst, moreover, there was a great portion of the sixteen battalions posted on the slopes of the Kourgane Hill, which was near enough to be available for the defence of the Causeway as well as the Great Redoubt.
* There is some obscurity as to the operations of the Borodino corps. They were so placed as to become severed from the actual control of their divisional general, and they were covered, it seems, by the conflagration; but all accounts agree in stating that the Borodino corps was in the Pass, and close to the great road.

Moreover, the enemy's reserves were so disposed as to be in close and easy communication with this part of the field. The Russian skirmishers at this time were swarming in the thick ground which belts the river. Confronting these defences, Evans strove to work his way forward; but although the walls and enclosures on the skirts of the village here and there formed islands of shelter, the rest of the ground which had to be traversed was so bare, that every man of the force passing over it came under the eyes of the Russian gunners; and their fire being therefore effective, Pennefather's brigade, though always moving forward a little, could only gain ground by degrees.
At times, when the balls were falling thickly, the men sheltered themselves as well as they could behind such little cover as the ground afforded; and when there came a lull, they sprang forward and made for some shelter a little more in advance. There were some buildings which afforded good cover against grape and musketry; and some of the men, having gained this shelter by a swift rush across the open ground under very heavy fire, were slow to move out again into a storm of grape, canister, and musket-balls. At a later time, the enemy shattered the walls of these buildings with round shot, and some of our men ere crushed or suffocated by the ruins; but those who died that poor death were men hanging back.
This kind of struggle did not of course allow the troops to adhere to their order of formation; but whenever any number of men got together upon ground which enabled them to extend, they quickly fell into line, and this they did notwithstanding that the groups thus instinctively hastening into their English formation were sometimes men of different regiments. Several times the men were ordered to lie down.
From some unexplained cause, it happened that the Russian Sappers who had been posted near the bridge, moved off without having destroyed it.
The 47th Regiment, pushing in between the river and the burning village, and afterwards fording the stream a good way below the bridge, was better sheltered from the fire of the Causeway batteries than the regiments of Pennefather's brigade.
Colonel Hoey of the 30th persistently worked his men through the gardens and enclosures till at length he was able to cross the river and establish his regiment under cover of the steep bank on the Russian side of the stream. Thence, for some time, he maintained a steady fire against the gunners of the Causeway batteries.
The 95th, like the other regiments of the brigade, stole forward from one sheltering spot to another; and at one time three of its companies became divided from the rest of the corps, and united themselves in line with the 55th; but the whole regiment had been again got together, when, the Light Division coming on, it appeared that its right regiment was overlapped by the 95th. Lacy Yea did not choose to stop; and, the 95th being halted at the time, he with his Royal Fusiliers passed through it. But the 'Derbies' could not endure to be thus left behind, and soon the regiment rushed forward, bearing so strongly towards the left that the fortunes of the corps thenceforth became connected with the exploits of Codrington's brigade.
The 55th Regiment, whilst advancing in line over open ground, came under so crushing a fire that it staggered; and, though the line did not fall back, it was broken. But Colonel Warren soon rallied his troops, and carried them forward. Afterwards, when he reached a spot which yielded shelter to a man lying flat on the ground, he ordered his men to lie down; but he himself kept his saddle and remained steadfast in the centre of his regiment until the moment returned when again he could lead it forward.
The kind of struggle in which Evans was engaged could not be long maintained without involving heavy loss. Evans himself received a severe contusion, and almost all his Staff were struck; for Percy Herbert, his Assistant Quarter-master-General, was dangerously hit; and Captain Thompson, Ensign St Clair, and Captain A. M. M'Donald were severely wounded. Of the officers the 30th, 55th, and 47th regiments, Major Rose, Captain Schaw, and Lieutenant Luxmore were killed Colonel Warren was wounded, and so were Pakenham, Dickson, Conolly, Whimper, Walker, Coats, Bissett, Armstrong, Lieutenants Warren, Wollocombe, Phillips, and Maycock. Pennefather's brigade alone lost in killed and wounded nearly one-fourth of its strength.
So long as the Causeway batteries swept the month of the pass, Evans, with his three shattered battalions,** could do no more than maintain an obstinate and bloody combat in this part of the field, and gain ground by slow degrees. He was not yet able to push forward beyond the left bank of the river, and assail the enemy in the heart of his position across the great road.
* This, as well as all other statements which I make of casualties in the English army, is taken from the official returns.
* *The 30th, 55th, and 47th Regiments. As to the 95th, see post.
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Go to part 4.