{short description of image}  

Return to part 5.


But what was the spell which bound the Czar's commanders? and why did they throw back the gifts which seemed to be brought them by the fortune of battle?
When our storming-force under Codrington was ascending the glacis in a crowd -in a crowd torn through and through by grape and canister -how came it that the enemy could suddenly make up his mind to stop the massacre and dismantle his Great Redoubt?
When the remnant of our storming-force was flocking back down the hill, why did the enemy spare from destroying it, and bring to a halt his triumphant Vladimir column?
Having several thousands of troops between the Causeway and the Kourgane Hill, why did the Russian Generals suffer Lacy Yea still to keep his stand on open ground with one disordered battalion?
We saw that when Mentschikoff disturbed by the report of Bosquet's flank movement, rode off ,in great haste towards the sea, Prince Gortschakoff was left in command of all that part of the Russian army which confronted the English. Kvetzinski, the brave and able general who commanded the Division on the Kourgane Hill, was under the orders of Prince Gortschakoff; and as long as the absence of the Commander-in-chief was protracted, Gortschakoff was the officer who had to answer for the defence of the Pass, and of the whole position thence extending to the extreme right of the Russian army. Every part of the ground thus committed to Prince Gortschakoff's care was precious, but the Kourgane' hill was the key of the whole position on the Alma. There, and there only, the ground had been entrenched; there, and there only, heavy guns had been planted. That barren hill had become the very gage for which the Great Powers of the West and the Czar of All the Russias were to join in a strife computed to last many days. Prince Mentschikoff himself had so judged it. Establishing his headquarters on the slope overlooking the Great Redoubt, and -so disposing his troops that whilst standing there he could exercise an immediate personal control over two thirds of his whole force, he had intended that every movement of this part of the field should be under his own eyes. It might well be deemed certain that any one of Prince Mentschikoff's lieutenants entrusted, during the absence of his general, with this great charge, would be tenacious of the ground. As a general in high command, be would act upon the knowledge that the hill was vital to the whole position: as an officer commanding troops placed in a fortified work, he would be taught by the punctilio of his profession to hold his entrenchments, even at great sacrifice, until the weight of his charge should be taken from him by an order from the commander of the forces.
But there was a whim of the Emperor Nicholas which tended to weaken and disperse the authority of any man in command of his army. Longing always to make Wellington an example for his generals, but mistaking the gist of the saying that 'the Duke never lost a gun,' Nicholas gave his commanders to understand that the loss of a piece of ordnance would be likely to bring them into disgrace.* The result of such an intimation was just what a more sagacious prince would have easily foreseen. The commander who received the warning took good care to hand it down-to hand it all down the steps of the military hierarchy; and every general of division, every brigadier, nay, every officer who commanded a battery, was evidently made to understand that, happen what might, he must not lose a piece of artillery. In other words, every such officer was encouraged to deem the loss of a 'position' less calamitous than the loss of a gun, and thus brought into the mood for commencing a retreat, which perhaps under some conditions might carry with it the retreat of the whole army.
* The fact of the Duke never having lost a gun in action is a superb and summary proof that his career was uncheckered by the loss of a battle but his avoidance of the loss of guns was not the cause, but the effect and the proof, of his ascendancy in war. The Duke would have scorned the notion of risking the loss of a battle for the sake of keeping his guns safe.

It was therefore very natural that the anxiety which had seized upon the mind of Prince Mentschikoff should not only extend to Prince Gortschakoff and to General Kvetzinski, but also to the artillery officers who commanded the Causeway batteries and the guns in the Great Redoubt. Now, from the moment when Prince Mentschikoff rode off towards the sea, he had never reappeared the Pass, nor on the Kourgane Hill; he had sent no good tidings, and apparently had despatched no orders or directions of any kind.* With every moment the just grounds for alarm were increasing; and when the foremost divisions of the British army sprang to their feet and rapidly advanced along their whole line, the Russian generals and commanders of batteries had to cast in their minds and see how far their desire to hold fast a position very precious to the army and to the honour of the empire could be made to consist with the absolute safety of a few pieces of ordnance. They were about to be assailed by the English army. But this was not all they had to look for. The continued detention of Prince Mentschikoff in that part of the position which confronted the French, gave ground for the fear that an evil crisis must there be passing. The fear would be that Bosquet's turning movement against the Russian left was producing its full effect, and that the tide of war, rolling up along the line of the Russian position, had set in from west to east.
* I think I might have almost ventured to leave out the 'apparently,' for although the narratives of Gortschakoff and Kvetzinski do not in terms declare that they received no orders, the tenor of their statements is all but equivalent to actual assertion.

If men were filled with this dread-a dread well justified by inference fairly drawn at the time, though not by actual facts-it would be to the Telegraph Height that they would bend their inquiring eyes, and there they would gaze with minds prepared to learn that the French, marching eastward, had doubled up the Russian left wing, and were coming to ground from which they would look down triumphant into the flank of the Causeway batteries. Suddenly, to men thus expectant of a dreaded calamity, there was presented a sight well fitted to confirm their worst fears-nay, even to make them imagine that the whole tenor of their duty was changed. For one of the high knolls jutting up from the eastern slopes of the Telegraph Height, and closely over-looking the Russian reserves, became crowded all at once with a gay looking group of horsemen, whose hats and white plumes showed that they were Staff officers. What made the apparition seem the more fatal was that it was deep in the very heart of the Russian lines, and even somewhat near to the ground where Prince Mentschikoff had posted his reserves. It could be seen that the horsemen wore coats of dark blue-the colour of the French uniform. They were exactly on the ground where the van of the French army might hope to be if it had achieved a signal victory over the left wing of the Russian army. It was hardly to be imagined possible that the Allies could have a numerous staff in that part of the field without being there in great strength. Even a tranquil and cautious observer of the apparition could hardly have failed to infer that the French, carrying all before them, had marched through and through from west to east, and made good their way into the centre, nay, almost into the rear, of the Russian position. Oppressed by this belief Russian officers would be left to think that if they stood bound to provide against the possibility of losing their guns, the time they had for saving them was beginning to run very short.
The divisional general who was in command on the Kourgane Hill does not allege that he had any authority from Prince Gortschakoff or from the commander of the forces to remove the guns which armed the Great Redoubt. What he says is, that the defeat of the Kazan battalions by the English troops left the battery exposed, and necessitated its withdrawal.* General Kvetzinski, however, was the master of sixteen prime battalions, of which twelve were at this time untouched. At the time when the order must have been given for the removal of the guns, the defeat which one of his Kazan columns had sustained was nothing which, in the eyes of a man so firm as he was, would seem to justify despair.**
* This is what Kvetzinski says: 'During this time masses of English troops were directing their steps towards the regiment of the Grand Duke Michael (the Kazan regiment). The batteries of our first lines began firing violently. Shells and missiles worked their bloody way through the lines of the enemies, but they immediately reformed their lines, and, under cover of a strong line of bayonets and their battery then 'standing behind the smoky ruins of Bourliouk, they hastened to force their way over the ford in order to reach the breastwork. The Kazan regiment bravely met them, but, tormented by the destroying fire of the enemy, and having lost a frightful amount of men, was obliged to give way under the superior number of the enemy. The battery, being thus left exposed was obliged to move .
** Up to the same time when Kvetzinski dismantled the redoubt, the only defeat which the Kazan corps had sustained was the one inflicted upon two of its battalions by the 19th Regiment and the left companies of the 22d see ante. The defeat of the other two battalions - the battalions engaged with Lacy Yea - had not then occurred.

Yet to remove these guns was to abandon the key of the position on the Alma. It is hard to imagine that Kvetzinski could have brought himself to take such a step without trying resistance, unless he had been in some measure governed by an inculcated dread of losing guns, and also by what he wrongly imagined to be the state of the battle on the other side of the Causeway. Be this as it may, it is certain that, within some fifteen minutes from the time when the horsemen were first seen on the knoll, the Great Redoubt was dismantled.
The riders whose sudden appearance on the knoll thus scared or misled the enemy were a group of perhaps eighteen or twenty Englishmen. How came it that they were sitting unmolested in their saddles and contentedly adjusting their field~glasses in the heart of the Russian position?
At the time when Lord Raglan despatched to his leading divisions the final order to advance, he was riding between the French and the English armies, and was close to a road or track which led down towards a ford below the burning village. Impelled by his desire for a clear view of the coming struggle, and guided only by Fortune, or by the course of the track, he rode down briskly into the valley, followed close by his Staff, but leaving our troops in his rear. He soon reached, soon passed through the vineyards, and gained the bank of the river.
The stream at this spot flowed rapidly, breaking against a mass of rock, which so far dammed it back as to form on the upper side of it a pool about four feet deep. One of the Staff rode into the stream at that point, and his horse nearly lost his footing. Lord Raglan, almost at the same moment, took the river on the right or lower side of the rock, and crossed it without any trouble. Though he was parted at this time from his own troops, there were several French soldiers near him. They were a part of the chain of skirmishers which covered the left flank and left front of Prince Napoleon's Division. They seemed to be engaged with some of the enemy's sharpshooters, whom they were able to discern through the foliage; for they were sheltering themselves behind vineyard walls, watching moments for firing, and receding in order to load, or cautiously; peering forward. They looked surprised when Lord Raglan, with the group which followed him, rode down and passed them. More than one of them, sagacious and curious, paused in his loading, and stood gazing with ramrod half-down as though he were trying to make out how it accorded with the great science of war that the English General and his Staff should be riding through the skirmishers, and entering without his battalions into the midst of the enemy's dominions.
Though unseen by our officers, the Russian sharpshooter; who had been exchanging shots with the French riflemen, were not far away. Of this they gave proof. Leslie dropped out of his saddle and fell to the ground. His startled horse made a move much as though he were blundering at a grip, and the fall seemed at first sight like a fall in hunting; but a rifle-ball had entered Leslie's shoulder. Nearly at the same time Weare, another of the Staff, was struck down. There was not a heavy fire, but the Russian sharpshooters had been patiently dueling with the French skirmishers, and of course, when they saw Lord Raglan and his plumed followers, they seized the occasion for easier shooting, and tried to bring down two or three of the gay cavalcade.
After gaining the left bank of the river, Lord Raglan speeded on into a kind of gully towards his right, and there for a moment he had no one very near him, except one man who had crossed the stream next after him; for the rest of the horsemen, when they reached the dry ground, had borne rather towards their left. Some one, however, from that quarter cried out, 'This seems 'a better way, my lord;' and Lord Raglan, then turning, rejoined the rest of the Staff, and took the path recommended. I do not know who the officer was who advised this road.*
* The officer was Lord Burghersh, now Lord Westmoreland. Colonel, now Major-General, Patton (who was present), has been so good as to write to me stating this; and adding, "I heard the words" - Note to the 5th Edition.

He has possibly forgotten the counsel he gave; but if he remembers it, and sees how the issue was governed by taking the path which he chose, he may suffer himself to trace the gain of a battle, with all its progeny of events, to his few hurried words.
The brown bay Lord Raglan rode was of course well broken to fire, and he had been quiet enough during the earlier part of the action; but now, suddenly, his blood rose, and for all the rest of the day he was so eager that he would hardly suffer his rider to use a field-glass from the saddle. The truth is, that in other times he had been ridden to hounds in England, and although he had long stood careless of all that was done by the Causeway batteries, yet when he and his rider and the horsemen around him cantered down into the valley, when they plunged into the river, when they briskly dashed through it, and began to gallop up the steep broken ground on the Russian side, the old hunter seemed to think of the chase and great days in the Gloucestershire country.
But it was not 'Shadrach'* alone who felt the onward impulse. They say that there lurks in the men of these isles a vestige of Man the Hunter and Man the Savage, and that this, after all, is the subtle leaven which, in spite of the dangerous inroads of luxury, still keeps alive the warlike spirit of the people and the freedom which goes along with it. It was not right -nay, if it were not that success brings justification, it would have been scarcely pardonable - that a general, charged with the care of an army, should be under the guidance of feelings akin to the impulses of the chase; but what one has to speak of is not of what ought to have been, but what was. By the stir and joyous animation of the moment, Lord Raglan was led on into a part of the field which he would not have sought to reach in cold blood. He would have regarded as nothing the mere difference between the risk of being struck by shot in one part of the field and the risk of being struck by shot in another; but he knew that, in general, it is from a point more or less in rear of battalions actually engaged that a chief can exercise the most constant and the most extended control over his army; and certainly an ideal commander would not suffer himself to ride to so forward a spot as to run the risk of losing the government of his troops for many minutes together in the critical period of an action: but the horseman who now rode his hunter across the valley of the Alma, and indulgently gave him his head, was not an ideal personage, but a man of flesh and blood, with many very English failings. 'Avant tout je suis gentilhomme Anglais' was the preface of the fierce message sent by the then foremost man of the world to the King of France;* (*To Luis the Eighteenth in the summer of 1815, shortly after his second restoration) and certainly in the nature of that 'gentuhomme Anglais' the wilfulness is so firmly set that no true sample of the breed can be altered, and altered down, to suit a pattern. The State must dispense with his services or take him as he is.
Body and soul, Lord Raglan was so made by nature, that, though he knew how to be prudent enough in the orders he gaye to officers at a distance, yet when he was in the saddle directing affairs in person, and there came to be a question between holding back and going for-ward, his blood always used to get heated, and, like his great master, he had so often been happy in his choice of the time for running a venture, that his spirit had never been cowed. Having once begun to ride forward, he did not restrain himself. And surely there was a great fascination to draw him on. The ground was of such a kind that, with every stride of his charger, a fresh view was opened to him. For months and months he had failed to tear off the veil which hid from him the strength of the army he undertook to assail; and now suddenly, in the midst of a battle, he found himself suffered to pass forward between the enemy's centre and his left wing. As at Badajoz, in old times, he had galloped alone to the drawbridge and obtained the surrender of St Christoval, so now, driven by the same hot blood, he joyously rode without troops into the heart of the enemy's position; and Fortune, still enamoured of his boldness, was awaiting him with her radiant smile; for the path he took led winding up by a way -rather steep and rough here and there, but-easy enough for saddle-horses; and presently in the front, but some way off towards the left, he saw before him a high commanding knoll, and, strange to say, there seemed to be no Russians near it. Instantly, and before he reached the high ground, he saw the prize and divined its worth. He was swift to seize it. Without stopping-nay, even, one almost may say, without breaking the stride of his horse he turned to General Airey, who rode close at his side, and ordered him to bring up Adams's brigade with all possible speed. Then, still pressing on and on, the foremost rider of the Allied armies, he gained the summit of the knoll.
I know of no battle in which, whilst the forces of his adversary were still upon their ground, and still unbroken, a general has had the fortune to stand upon a spot so commanding as that which Lord Raglan now found on the summit of the knoll. The truth is, that the Russian commander had not troops enough to occupy the whole position, and the part he neglected was, happily, that very one into which Lord Raglan had ridden. During the earlier part of the day a battalion had been posted in the ravine close under the knoll but, in an evil hour for the Czar, the battalion had been removed,* (The No 1 Taroutine bn - Chodasiewicz) and, the enemy having no other troops in the immediate neighbourhood, and having no guns in battery which commanded the summit of the knoll, the English General, though as yet he had no troops with him, stood unmolested in the heart of the enemy's position - stood between that wing of the Russian army which confronted the French, and that doubly large portion of it which confronted the English. The knoll was not, indeed, so situated as to command a distant view towards our right; but, glancing to his left, or, in other words, glancing eastward and up the valley of the river, Lord Raglan saw in profile his own line of battle, but also (rare fortune!) he equally saw in profile the whole of that line of battle which the Russians opposed to his troops. Nor was even this all; for upon turning his eyes towards the rear of the enemy's Causeway batteries, he saw what then constituted the whole of Prince Mentschikoff's 'Great Reserve' -that is, a force of infantry drawn up in two heavy columns.*
* The three 'Minsk' battalions bad been withdrawn, as we saw, from the 'Great Reserve;' and accordingly, if the Russian accounts be accurate, the two columns mentioned in the text must have included only the four 'Volynia' battalions. It was certainly, I believe, the impression of our officers that each column had a strength of four battalions; but without trusting blindly to the official accounts of the Russians, I am nevertheless unwilling to cast myself loose from the guidance they offer me so far as concerns the presence or absence of particular regiments.

The formation of each mass looked close and perfect as though it had been made of marble, and cut by rule and plumb- line. These troops being held in reserve, were, of course, on ground much less advanced than the front of the Russian array; but they were only 900 yards from the eye of the English General; for it was Lord Raglan's strange and happy destiny to have ridden through a gap left in the enemy's line of battle till he had approached thus closely to the very rearmost of Prince Mentschikoff's forces.
All this-now told with labour of words-Lord Raglan saw at a glance, and at the same moment he divined the fatal perturbation which would be inflicted upon the enemy by the mere appearance of our Headquarter Staff in this part of the field. The knoll, though much lower than the summit of the Telegraph Height, stood out bold and plain above the Pass. It was clear that even from afar the enemy would make out that it was crowned by a group of plumed officers; and, Lord Raglan's imagination being so true and so swift as to gift him with the faculty of knowing how in given circumstances other men must needs be thinking and feeling, it hardly cost him a moment to infer that this apparition of a few horsemen on the Spur of a hill was likely to govern the enemy's fate. It would not, he thought, occur to any Russian general that fifteen or twenty Staff officers, whether French of English, could have reached the knoll without having thousands of troops close at hand. The enemy's generals would therefore infer that a large proportion of the Allied force had won its way into the heart of the Russian position. This was the view which Lord Raglan's mind had seized when, at the very moment of crowning the knoll, he looked round and said, 'Our presence here will have the best effect.'* Then, glancing down, as he spoke, into the flank of the Causeway batteries, and carrying his eye round to the enemy's infantry reserves, Lord Raglan said, 'Now, if we had a couple of guns here!'*
His wish was instantly seized by Colonel Dickson** and Captain Adye, both of the Royal Artillery, and one or two other officers. Captain Adye and one or two others rode off in all haste.
The rest of the group which had followed Lord Raglan remained with him upon the summit of the knoll; and now facing eastward, and making use of their field-glasses, they began to examine the battle. There was much that awaited their gaze; for the time when Lord Raglan attained this singular vantage- ground was a little anterior to the moment when our troops, led by General Codrington, sprang up as already narrated, to crown the left bank of the river.
* I heard him say so, and say so immediately upon crowning the knoll.
** Colonel Dickson of the Artillery. It was the happy accident of his being with Lord Raglan as chief of the staff of interpreters which gave him the opportunity of rendering the services narrated in the text.

The Light Division had not then begun to emerge from the thick ground and the channel of the river; but presently some small groups, and afterwards larger gatherings of the red-coats, appeared upon the top of the river's bank on the Russian side, and at length - passing almost at right angles across Lord Raglan's line of vision -there went on before him that eager tumultuous onset of the troops, led by Codrington, which we long ago saw them maintaining until they had seized the Redoubt.
Lord Raglan knew that the distance between him and the scene of the struggle at the Redoubt was too great to allow of his then tampering with it; for any order that he might send would lose its worth in the journey, and tend to breed confusion. And it was not in his way to assuage his impatience by making impotent efforts; nor would he even give vent to his feeling by words or looks disclosing vexation. He had so great a power of preventing his animal spirits from drooping, that no one could see in his glowing countenance the faintest reflection of the sight which his eyes took in. His manner all the time was the manner of a man enlivened by the progress of a great undertaking without being robbed of his leisure. He spoke to me, I remember, about his horse. He seemed like a man who had a clue of his own, and knew his way through the battle.
Watching the onslaught of Codrington's brigade, Lord Raglan had seen the men ascend the slope and rush up over theparapet of the Great Redoubt. Then moments, then whole minutes -precious minutes -elapsed, and he had to bear the anguish of finding that the ground where he longed to see the supports marching up was still left bare. Then -a too sure result of that default -he had to see our soldiery relinquishing their capture and retreating in clusters down the hill.
Moreover, at that moment affairs were going ill with the French. The appearance of our Headquarters on the knoll had been marked by our Allies as well as by the enemy; for now a French aide-de-camp, in great haste came climbing up the knoll to seek Lord Raglan. He seemed to be in a state of grievous excitement; but perhaps it was the violence of his bodily exertion which gave him this appearance, for he had quitted his horse in order the better to mount the steep, and he rushed up bareheaded to Lord Raglan, but so breathless from his exertions that for a moment he could hardly articulate; and when he spoke, he spoke panting. He persisted in remaining uncovered. What he came to ask was that Lord Raglan would give some support to the French; and, as a ground for the demand, he urged that the French were hardly pressed by the enemy 'My Lord,' he said- 'my Lord, my Lord, we have' before us eight battalions!'* Milord, milord, nous avons devant nons hult bataillons.'*
* I heard him say those words.

One could see, or imagine that one saw, what was passing in Lord Raglan's mind. He was pained by thinking that, either from mental excitement or from the violence of his bodily exertion, the officer should seem discomposed; but what tormented him most was the sight of the young man standing bareheaded, for to tell him to be covered would be to assume that the bared head was an obeisance meant to be rendered to himself. Bending in his saddle, Lord Raglan turned kindly round towards his right -towards the side of his maimed arm -and his expression was that of one intent to assuage another's pain, but the sunshine of the last two days had tanned him so crimson that it masked the generous flush which used to come to his face in such moments. He did not look at all like an anxious and vexed commander who had to listen to a desponding message in the midst of a battle. He was rather the courteous, lively host entertaining a shy, youthful visitor, and trying to place him at his ease. In his comforting, cheerful way, he said, 'I can spare you a battalion.'*
* 'Je pals vous donner an bataillon.' I heard Lord Raglan make that answer. Lord Raglan, I imagine, meant to fulfil the promise by detaching one of the two battalions about to arrive under Adams; but by the time that force came up the course of events rendered it unnecessarv to send the promised aid. However, Sir Richard England afterwards moved into the close neighbourhood of Prince Napoleon's Division.

But it was something of more worth than the promise of a battalion that the aide-de-camp carried back with him. He carried back tidings of the spirit in which Lord Raglan was conducting the battle. At the time when the French were cast down, it was of some moment to them to learn that the English Headquarters, strangely placed as they were in the midst of the Russian position, were a scene of robust animation, and that Lord Raglan looked and spoke like a man who bad the foe in his power.


It is now time to speak of events which had been bringing the French army into a state of increased depression. We saw that General Kiriakoff, commanding the Russian left wing, had charge of the Telegraph Height, and confronted the Divisions of Prince Napoleon and Canrobert, having also on his left and left front, though at greater distances, the two separated brigades of Bosquet's Division, and the five battalions of Turks. The infantry force remaining under Kiriakoff's orders had been reduced, by Prince Mentschikoff's abstraction of the 'Moscow' troops, to a force of only nine battalions; and afterwards, when the second 'Moscow' battalion rejoined the rest of the corps, the infantry force remaining under Kiriakoff consisted only of the four 'Taroutine' and the four 'Militia' battalions. The part which these 'Taroutine' and 'Militia' battalions had been taking in the battle may be told in a summary way. They did not attack the French, and were not themselves attacked by any French infantry; but, because kept massed in battalion columns, upon slopes which faced towards their adversaries, they were exposed to a good deal of artillery-fire at long range, and were from time to time forced to shift their ground. The 'Militia' battalions were troops of inferior quality; and finding at last that, wherever they stood, they were more or less galled by artillery, they dissolved.* So, although he was supported by Prince Mentschikoff in person, with 'the column of the 'eight battalions,' of which we shall presently speak, yet in his own hands Kiriakoff had only four battalions of sound infantry with which to show a countenance to thirty thousand Frenchmen and Turks. But on the other hand, both of Bosquet's brigades were distant. General Canrobert, indeed, had so spread out his battalions on the verge of the plateau, as to have them in readiness for an encounter, so soon as his guns should come up; and having somewhat brought round his right shoulder, he fronted towards the Telegraph, but, because still without his artillery, he was hanging back in expectancy on the steep broken ground close below the smooth cap of the hill.
Prince Napoleon's Division at this time was in the bottom of the valley close to the river; and, indeed, of the whole force which the Prince at this time had around him, there were only two battalions which had hitherto forded the stream.**
* Chodasiewicz.
** The battalion of the 19th Chasseurs, and one of the battalions of the Marine Corps. The 2d Zouave Regiment had also crossed, but this. it will presently be seen, was not a part of the force which Prince Napoleon 'had around him.'

To the hopes which the French army had of being able to take a great part in the action, this backwardness of one of their finest divisions was almost ruinous; and it is natural enough that a divisional general, whose rank gave him shelter from the ordeal of a fair military investigation, should for that very reason be made to suffer the more bitterly from the stings which men robbed of their freedom are accustomed to plant with the tongue.
Resembling the first French Emperor in outward looks, Prince Napoleon was also very like his uncle, not apparently in his main objects, but in the character of his intellect; for he had that rare and exceeding clearness of view which man is able to command when he can separate things essential from things of circumstance, and keep the two sets of thoughts so clean asunder as to be able to go to the solution of his main problem with a mind unclouded by details-unclouded by even those details which it is vital for him to master and provide for, though he refuses to let them mix with the elements from which he fetches out his conclusion. And although one cannot help knowing that the most cruel of all the imputations which can be brought against a soldier has long been kept fastened upon Prince Napoleon, I may say that the knowledge of his peculiar career which I have hitherto chanced to gain is far from being such as to warrant a denial of his personal courage. Before the delinquency of the 3d French Division on the day of the Alma is accepted as one of the grounds which entitle the world to ratify its harsh judgment against Prince Napoleon, men ought in all fairness to know the mishap which befell the Division, and to understand the considerations which rendered this same mishap a much more grave evil than it might seem to be at first sight. The French are so military a people that, when a great national sentiment is once aroused, the very children are ready to seize their little muskets and fall into columns of companies; but in the mean time, and until the mighty nation is challenged, the great bulk of the French peasantry are perhaps more homely, more rustic, more unadventurous than most of the people of Europe. From these quiet millions of people, many tens of thousands of small, sad, harmless -looking young men are every year torn by the conscription; and immense energy - energy informed with the traditions of an ancient and ever warlike nation - is brought to bear upon the object of turning these forlorn young captives into able soldiers. All that instruction can achieve is carefully done; but the enforced change from rural life to the life of barracks and camps seems not to be favourable to the animal Spirits of the men: for although, when seen in masses or groups working hard at their military duties, they always appear to be brisk, and almost merry, their seeming animation is the result of smart orders - the animation of a horse when the rowels on either side are lightly touching his flanks; and during the hours whilst they are left to themselves, the French soldiers of the line engaged in campaigning are commonly depressed and spiritless.* Of course, this want of lustiness in the French army is superby masked by all the resources of military pomp, and all the outward signs which seem to show the presence of vigour, despatch, and warlike ardour; but the material of which the line regiments are composed must always keep a good deal of its original nature; and whoever glances at the rising steps of French officers successful in Africa will find that they have climbed to eminence, not by leading troops of the line, but by obtaining, in the critical part of their career, the command of choice French regiments, or, failing that, the command of troops of foreign race.** These choice French regiments are not composed of materials at all like those which supply the line: on the contrary, they number in their ranks many thousands of bold, adventurous men who take service in the army of their own accord; and it is in these choice regiments that France sees the true expression of her warlike nature. Of all these choice regiments the 'Zouaves' are the most famous; and each of the three foremost Divisions of the French army on the Alma had in it a regiment-a regiment with its two war battalions -belonging to the corps of the Zouaves.
* I rest this upon what I have seen of the French army in Africa, in the Crimea, and on board ship.
** i.e., of the Foreign Legion, or of the native African levies.

What the spear-head is to a spear, that its Zouave Regiment was to each of these three Divisions.*
*I have borrowed this expressive image from Lord Clyde, who used it once in conversation as a means of illustrating the kind of power which even a large body of our native, Indian troops is accustomed to derive from the presence of one or two English battalions.

Prince Napoleon's division comprised 9000 men; and of these, some 2000 were men of the 2d Regiment of Zouaves. Whether this regiment was impatient of the supposed slowness with which Prince Napoleon had hitherto advanced- whether it was governed by its contempt of line regiments, and a fierce resolve to have no neighbourship with any other than Zouave comrades, whether there were other causes which shaped its movements, I have not learnt; but what happened was this: the regiment after fording the river, broke away from the unfortunate Division to which it belonged, marched off towards its right front, began to climb the height, and never stopped until it had coolly ranged itself close alongside of the 1st Zouave Regiment -a regiment which formed the left of Canrobert's array. With Canrobert's Division, instead of with Prince Napoleon's, the regiment continued to act until the close of the battle. Before men are hard upon a divisional general for his seeming backwardness in an action, they ought to allow for the misfortune which left him indeed the master of some 7000 men, but robbed him of the warlike corps on which he must have relied as the element for giving life and fire to his masses. For, if one might recur to the image already used, one would say that the spearhead had flown off; and that what remained in the hands of Prince Napoleon was only the wooden shaft. Justice in this regard is the more needful, since it would plainly be unfitting and impolitic for Prince Napoleon to say in his defence that with 7000 French troops around him he was still reduced to helplessness by the want of his Zouave Regiment.
There is another consideration which alone would seem to free Prince Napoleon from almost all the blame founded upon the backwardness of his Division. In the midst of that very Division, Marshal St Arnaud was all this time riding and it is obvious that by being thus present with a force which was hanging back out of its place the officer who commanded the whole French army brought full upon his own shoulders the weight of the blame which might otherwise be thrown upon the divisional general.
But the eloping of his Zouave Regiment was not the only mishap which befell Prince Napoleon. We saw that D'Aurelle's brigade - a brigade forming part of the 4th or Reserve Division - had been ordered to support Canrobert. Of the motives which governed the leader of this brigade I know nothing. Perhaps, whilst he was low down in the bottom of the valley, he lost his conception of the distance (the lateral distance from east to west) which separated him from the Division he was ordered to support. At all events, what he did was this: having his whole brigade in a close, deep, narrow column, he pushed forward and jammed it into a steep road exactly in front of Prince Napoleon's foremost battalion. He thus made it impossible for Prince Napoleon to get into action by that road,* and put him in the plight of a man left behind -in the plight of a general who commands one of the Divisions intended to be foremost, and yet is left planted with his force in the rear of troops meant to act as reserves.
* There was another road by which the Prince could. and by which at a later period he did, ascend.

Nor did D'Aurelle's brigade do any the least good by thus thrusting itself into the road in advance of Prince Napoleon; for, either because of the nature of the ground or from some other cause, the brigade never spread itself out so as to be capable of fighting. Always in deep column with narrow front, it hung back clinging fast to the steep part of the hill, and remaining unseen by Kiriakoff, who moved freely across its front as though there were no such force on the hillside. Upon the whole, the result was, that, taken together, D'Aurelle's brigade and Prince Napoleon's mutilated Division were a column of near 12,000 men, which might be said to be in mere order of march during all the critical period of the battle; for, with a depth of nearly a mile, the column had a front of only a few yards. Thus disposed, the 12,000 men who formed the column were not, of course, in a state which allowed of their attempting to engage an enemy inclined to make a stand against them; aud they were even, it would seem, very helpless for purposes of mere selfdefence.*
* See the plan showing the way in which Prince Napoleon's Division and D'Aurelle's brigade were disposed. It is taken from the official French plan of the Atlas de la Guerre d'Orient.'

Indeed, it is hard to see how they could have escaped a great disaster, if a bold Russian officer who knew the ground had come down with a few score of light infantry men upon the flank of D'Aurelle's brigade. Apparently Kiriakoff's abstinence from all enterprises of this sort, and the quiet confidence with which he afterwards manoeuvred on the plateau, were both owing to the steepness of ground which hindered him from perceiving the small slender head of D'Aurelle's column.
Upon the whole, then, Kiriakoff though handling no forces except his two batteries, his four Taroutine battalions, and his fast dissolving milltiamen, was not at this time out of heart. His artillery, sweeping down the smooth cap of the Telegraph Height both on its northern and north-western sides, commanded the only ground by which Canrobert could advance; and, firing over the heads of the Taroutine battalions, effectually kept him down. Moreover, it still tormented all those masses of French infantry which, though approaching the Telegraph Height, were not yet so close as to have come in for the shelter which the steepness of the hillside afforded.
And now we shall see the cause of the stress which had been put upon the French army by that incubus of the 'eight battalions' of which the aide-de-camp spoke. We left Prince Mentschikoff countermarching from west to east with the seven battalions which he had under his personal orders. The detached battalion of the 'Moscow' corps had been afterwards called in, and its junction brought up the whole body to eight battalions. With this force gathered in mass, and standing halted on the right rear of the Telegraph, Prince Mentschikoff was preparing to make an onslaught upon the bead of Canrobert's Division; but just as he was going to move, he abandoned the idea of leading the column in person. The cause of this change is obvious. Evidently Prince Mentschikoff was called off to another part of the field by tidings of what the English were doing.
Kiriakoff had had a horse shot under him, and was standing on foot near one of his Taroutine battalions, when Prince Mentschikoff rode up, and (apparently suppressing the tidings which forced him to quit this part of the field) gave Kiriakoff the charge of the great 'column of the eight battalions' which had been amassed for the purpose of an attack upon Canrobert's Division. The Prince then rode off; and was not seen again or heard of in this part of the field. Of course it follows that he went as straight as he could towards that part of his position which was undergoing the assault of the English.*
* I say it follows, because Prince Mentschikoff was a brave man, incapable of quitting one of the two scenes of battle except for the purpose of going to the other. In the mention which they make of Prince Mentschikoff's presence in different parts of the field, the narratives of the Russian divisional generals leave a chasm of several important minutes. This chasm as will be seen at a later page, I try to fill up by conjecture.

Kiriakoff instantly took a fresh horse and rode to the ground -ground on the right rear of the Telegraph - where the- 'column of the eight battalions' awaited him. This vast column he disposed in a solid body, with a front of two, and a depth of four massed battalions. When all was ready, be began to move it flankwise from east to west. Plainly hindered by the ground from seeing the head of the column which was formed by D'Aurelle's brigade and Prince Napoleon's Division, he dealt with the French as though they had no such force near. For with that heavy column of his, which trailed, as we have seen, to a depth of four battalions, he marched straight across the front of D'Aurelle's brigade. He marched in peace. Nay, so far were the French from looking upon his hazardous movement in the light of a gift offered them by Fortune, that it was the dread apparition of this vast Russian column which had sent the panting aide-de-camp to the side of Lord Raglan's stirrup.
Bending afterwards more towards the north, Kiriakoff advanced upon the right centre of the ground on which Canrobert had spread his battalions. Canrobert's troops did not long stand their ground; for when Kiriakoff advancing and still advancing, was nearly at last within musket-shot of his foe, the French no longer bore up under the weight that is laid upon the heart of a Continental soldier by the approach of a great column of infantry. Kiriakoff conceives that he inflicted a sheer defeat upon his foe: 'Canrobert's Division,' he writes, 'could not resist our charge. Hastily taking off their batteries, they began to descend the hilly bank.'* On the other hand, the French say nothing of this reverse. Perhaps the truth lies intermediately between the broad assertion - of Kiriakoff and the unfaithful silence of the French; for what seems the most likely is, that Canrobert, being still without his artillery, was for the moment resolved to decline the combat, and that with that view, and of his own free will, without waiting to be put under stress of actual fight, he drew his troops down to a steeper part of the hillside. Be this as it may, it is certain that, under the pressure of Kiriakoff's great column, the head of Canrobert's Division fell back.**
* Kiriakoff's narrative. It will be observed that his statement clashes with the passage in which I say that Canrobert was without his guns. I have relied upon the detailed statements supplied to me from French sources; and if I am right in doing so, it follows that Kiriakoff must have been mistaken in supposing that he saw the French carrying off their guns. (See sketch map.)
** Upon this point Kiriakoff's narrative is confirmed by Romaine. Writing from his saddle, and at the very minute of witnessing the event, he recorded it in these words: "French centre falling back." - Romaine's saddle-notes.

Along almost their whole array at this time it seemed to fare ill with the Allies. Still close to the sea-shore, Bouat, with one French brigade and 5000 Turks, was without artillery, and was therefore holding back from the plateau, far away from any scene of strife. Following the same barren track, General Forey with Lourmel's brigade was marching to the sea-shore, and was annulled. Bosquet, with his one brigade on the plateau, had long been isolated, and was not so near to any Russian battalion as to be able to engage it with his infantry. Canrobert was undergoing the check which we have just seen. The unwieldly column formed by D'Aurelle's brigade and by Prince Napoleon's Division - a column with a front of only a few yards and the depth of a mile -was in an order adapted for the march, but not for fighting, and, its small slender crest being kept close down out of sight, had failed to exert that pressure which, even without firing a shot, may be inflicted by the known presence of a great body of troops. And the forces thus palsied were nothing less than the whole French army, including even their reserves. Much, of course, might always be hoped from the bravery and the swift invention of the warlike French; but apart from that vast though undefined resource, and apart from what fortune might do for him, Marshal St Arnaud was without the means which would enable him to bear up against any grave disaster, and hinder it from becoming -sheer ruin.
The fortunes of the English had been checkered; and it might be said that at this moment their prospects were a good deal overcast. Evans, still repressed by the commanding fire of the Causeway batteries, and having but three battalions to fight with, was sustaining a hard conflict. Codrington's people had been forced to relinquish their hold of the Great Redoubt; and the shattered remains of the battalions which stormed the work were not only descending the slope of the hill, but (as will be afterwards seen more particularly) breaking down by their bodily weight the left wing of a battalion of Guards. Finally, General Buller, on our extreme left, was in an attitude of mere defence. It is true that the Great Redoubt had been dismantled -that (with the exception of the centre battalion of the Guards) our supports had not yet tried their prowess -and that the bare apparition of our Headquarter Staff on the knoll was putting a heavy stress on the enemy. It is true, also, that there was one English regiment still fighting with a Russian column. All else had of late gone ill.
Go to maps. Go to illustrations.
Go to part 7.