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Return to part 8.


But, after all, if only the firmness of the slender English line should chance to endure, there was nothing except the almost chimerical event of a thorough charge home with the bayonet which could give to the columns the ascendancy due to their vast weight and numbers; for the fire from a straitened, narrow front could comparatively do little harm, whilst the fire of the battalion in line was carrying havoc into the living masses. Still, neither column nor line gave way. On the other hand, neither column nor line moved forward. Fast rooted as yet to the ground, the groaning masses of the Russians and the two scarlet strings of Guardsmen stood receiving and delivering fire.
But meanwhile, on the part of the English another mind, as we shall see by - and - by, was bringing its strength to bear upon this part of the battle.
If the English array puts a grievous stress upon the soldiery of Continental masses, its pressure is not less hard upon the mind of a general who has the suffering columns in his charge. It not only condemns him to know of the havoc that is rending his people upon a small space of ground within the reach of his own sight, and his own hearing, but afflicts him besides with a sense of being largely outflanked; and, although he may be really contending with foes who are but few against many, he sometimes becomes oppressed by a belief that he is overwhelmed by mighty numbers. General Kvetzinski was with the right Vladimir column. He was a brave, able man, and we have already seen something of what the relative numbers were with which the Russians and the English were fighting; but it seems that the spectacle of the extended front presented by the English array broke down the General's sense of his own comparative strength, and put upon him the belief that he was cruelly outnumbered. Even the sight of the wide chasm there was between the two battalions of the Guards did not lift the weight from his heart. 'The enormous forces,' said he, -'the enormous forces of the enemy made our position a very dangerous one.'
It was near the eastern shoulder of the redoubt that he sat in his saddle. Every moment he had been growing more anxious, for, besides the troubles that were besetting his front, he could not but know that Pennefather's brigade was established in the Pass; and the apparition of our Headquarter staff on the knoll, followed quick by Turner's guns, had cheated him into the notion that the whole French army was marching straight eastward into the English field of battle. Nay, he imagined that the guns on the knoll were throwing a flanking fire into the left of his Vladimir battalions;* and indeed it would seem that these battalions were really struck-not by shot discharged from the knoll, but from some of Franklin's guns then newly established in battery upon a spur overlooking the Pass.**
* He was wrong in this. Turner's guns tried their range against the columns on the Kourgane Hill, but found the distance too great. The passage in which Kvetzinski speaks of the state of things in the direction of 'the knoll' is this: -'From the left, the French, having forced our left-wing fore-posts, were hurrying to the rescue of their allies, whose efforts were beginning to flag before the unheard-of and un-paralleled heroism of the brave Vladimirtzi. The French battery, having taken up its position on the left wing of our side' (this so-called 'French battery' was Turner's battery on the knoll), 'began to fire sideways on the fast-thinning ranks of our gallant regiment. Their reserve were hastening to cut off our retreat.' I have already shown how all but inevitable it was that Kvetzinski and all other Russians on the Kourgane Hill should make this mistake -should suppose that the group of plumed officers in blue frocks who crowned the knoll betokened the presence of the French army in that part of the field, and that Turner's guns were a French battery. If amongst the French or their friends there are any men so constituted as to wish to keep the benefit derived from this mistake their best course will be to quote this passage from Kvetzinski and to suppress the explanation which shows how his error arose. For the sake of fairness, and not without a foresight of the wrongful use which may be made of the passage, I give what I believe to be a close and accurate translation from Russian words in which it was written. Note to 1st Edition
** I rest this belief entirely upon the authority of Colonel Hamley's soldierly narrative, 'The Campaign of Sebastopol,' p. 31. Colonel Hamley was himself in the Artillery, and all that he says respecting the operations of the arm to which he belonged has, of course, a peculiar value. The guns were some of those thirty pieces of ordnance which Evans and Sir Richard England had just brought into the Pass. -Note to 1st Edition.

But now, when he looked to his right - when he looked slantwise down to the east of where the Coldstream stood ranged - he saw an array of tall plumes, having eight times the front of one of his own battalion columns; looking a little farther eastward, he saw another array which, though it was not yet so near, was like to the first, and was moving. Again, when he looked still farther eastward, he saw yet another array coming up, and though it was less near than the first, and even less near than the second, it was like to either of them in the greatness of its front and the towering plumes of the men. Kvetzinski could see that, taken together, these three lines of plumed soldiers had a front some twenty times broader than one of his battalion columns, and (still, it seems, suffering himself to infer vast numbers from mere extent of front) he began to have that torturing sense of being outnumbered and outflanked which weighed upon the memory and for ever replenished the diction of the warlike Psalmist. It seemed to him that the enemy 'increased upon him to trouble him;' that 'the nations compassed him round about;' that they came round about him like water;' that they kept him in on every side; yea, that they kept him in on every side.' This anxiety was all wrongly based. Far from having his whole array outflanked towards the east to any woeful extent, Kvetzinski had a column on his extreme right which fairly enough confronted the extreme left of the English infantry; and, far indeed from being himself outnumbered, he was largely outnumbering his adversaries; but it followed from the difference between his and his enemy's manner of fighting that each of his columns, taken separately, was widely outflanked, and he was becoming an example of what must happen to the commander of columns when (without exerting his weight by trying to charge home with the bayonet) he strives to set his dense masses against troops standing firmly in line.
Presently, he saw that the array of plumed soldiers which had stood ranged next to the Coldstream was moving-was moving -was moving swiftly; and he knew that the nearest of the columns which he had on his right was so far from the ground where he stood, and so hindered too, by the intervening dip of the ground, as to be unable to engage the new-comers before the moment when (unless he retreated) they would reach the flank of his right Vladimir battalions. On the other hand, he could not, in common prudence, stand still and wait to be turned by the battalion now gliding up the slope on his right; for brave as were his Vladimir men, a huge massive Russian column was not the delicate weapon with which he could try to imitate Colonel Hood, showing a front at once on two sides. Therefore it became but too clear to him that the columns along the redoubt must move to some ground other than where they were, and this almost instantly, for the bending plumes did not cease from coming.
But, also, all this while, the columns along the redoubt had been more and more feeling the stress that was put upon them by the fire and the array of the Guards. After the moment when the Vladimir men were brought to a halt by Colonel Hood's manoeuvre, Prince Gortschakoff; still riding at the head of the column, was violently thrown to the ground. He had received no wound from the shot which caused his fall, but his charger was killed by it; and, there being no other horseman near, he was obliged to remain on foot. It would seem that the concussion of the fall may have clouded his judgment. At all events, after this accident he walked away towards a column which he saw coming down in support.* (The four Ouglitz battalions.)
On his road he passed through the site of the Great Redoubt, and there found General Kvetzinski. The Prince, walking up to the Divisional General, told him that he had had his horse shot under him, and that all the field-officers of the regiment* he commanded had been killed.
* Meaning, I imagine, the Kazan Chasseurs.

It is not stated that the two generals, thus meeting at a critical moment, took occasion to consult about the way in which they should fight out the battle. When their conversation had ended, Prince Gortschakoff walked up the hillside toward a column he wanted to meet.*
The shot which dismounted Prince Gortschakoff, his departure from the ground where the Vladimir stood, the spruce beauty of the slender red line which had brought it to bay, and the steadiness of the fire with which the brave column had been plied for now several minutes-all these were causes which helped to distress the left Vladimir battalions; and although it was the turning movement on the right of the Russian columns which made it a thing of sheer need to move, and to move at once,** still, it would seem that General Kvetzinski's measures for dealing with the new emergency were forestalled by what he presently saw on his left front; and the event which was destined to put its actual and direct governance upon this part of the battle was the still pending fight between the left Vladimir battalions and the Grenadier Guards.***
* All this is told by Prince Gortschakoff himself with simplicity and apparent truthfulness. It is plain that his fall had shaken and confused him.
** Kvetzinski says,'The decisive moment I had been fearing and expecting had arrived: the English moved higher up in three lines, and threatened to turn our right wing.'
*** 'The left wing,' he says, 'began to falter, leaving my left side exposed.' I understand him to be speaking of troops on the immediate left of the column with which he was riding, and not of any troops on the left of the whole Division which he commanded, because the retreat of the troops in the Pass had taken place before the time of which he is speaking.

The Grenadiers, when we left them just now, were busy with their rifles along their whole line, and were making good use of that delicate bend in the formation of their leftmost company which enabled them to pour their fire into the heart of the Vladimir column then hanging on their flank. The reckoning of him who puts his trust in column is mainly based on the notion that its mere grandeur of aspect will give it a clear ascendant as soon as it is seen at all near; and when the English line had once delivered its fire, the front-rank men of the column were not without grounds for making sure that their next glimpse of the red-coats would be a glimpse of men in retreat; for to have come forward to within a distance convenient for musket shots and to have once delivered their fire, this was surely the utmost in the way of close fighting that files of only two men each would attempt against masses. But when, though only a little, the smoke began to lift, the gleams that pierced it were the light that is shed from bayonet-points and busy ramrods~gleams twinkling along the line of the two ranks of soldiery who still, as it seemed, must be lingering in their strange array; and wherever the smoke lifted clear, there-steadfast as oaks disclosed by rising mist - the long avenue of the Bearskins loomed out, and so righteously in place as to begin to enforce a surmise that, after all, the files of the two men each might be minded to stand where they were, ceremoniously shooting into the column and filling it minute by minute with the tumult of men killed or wounded. And though it was but a few of the men planted close in the massive columns who could thus from time to time look upon the dim forms of the soldiery who dealt the slaughter, yet the anxiousness of those who could gain no glimpse of the Bearskins was not for that reason the less. Nay, it was the greater; for he who knows of a present danger through his reading of other men's countenances, or by seeing his neighbours fall wounded or killed around him, is commonly more disturbed than he who, standing in the front, looks straight into the eye of the storm.
Still, up to this time it was only from the extreme left of the Grenadiers' line that fire was poured into the column. A harder trial was awaiting the Vladimir men. Colonel Hood had hitherto wielded his line as though he judged it right to deal carefully with the left Kazan battalions still lingering on his front; and, up to the last, he did not think himself warranted in disdaining their presence, for he could not know that their loss in officers had made them so helpless as they were; but he now saw enough to assure him that his real foe was the left Vladimir column on his flank. Thither, therefore (though he would not altogether avert his line from the defeated troops in his front) he now determined to bend the eyes and the rifles of a great portion of his battalion. So he wheeled forward his battalion upon its left in other, and perhaps the more expressive, form of military speech, he 'brought forward his right shoulder.'* Still respecting the presence of the defeated Kazan troops, he did not carry this manoeuvre so far as to place his battalion bodily on the flank of the Vladimir column; but he carried it far enough to make the column a mark for the troops which formed his left wing. The Vladimir was wrapped in fire; was wrapped in that fire which is hardly tolerable to soldiery massed in column-fire poured upon its flank.**
* 'I brought up my right shoulder.'- Private letter from Colonel Hood, dated the day after the battle. One of the characteristics which can hardly fall to interest any one who has had the advantage of reading Colonel Hood's letters, is the exceeding modesty which makes him continually seek to ascribe all merit to others rather than to himself. Thus, although, in hurriedly writing the six words above quoted, he chanced to use the first person, he hastened, in a subsequent letter from the banks of the Alma, to give the whole merit of the manoeuvre to the battalion. He writes, 'Instinctively our men brought right shoulders forward.'-Note to 4th Edition.
** 'Instinctively our men brought right shoulders forward, and commenced file-firing with such coolness and accuracy that the effect was instantaneous. They [the Russians] were checked perceptibly with astonishment at the telling nature of our flank-fire.' N. B. -The word which I have written 'perceptibly' seems in the original to have the syllable 'im' at its commencement, but I imagine that the word as I have written it was the one intended.--Note to 4th~ Edition.

Even this, for some minutes, the brave Vladimir bore.*
If the voice of the English soldier is heard loud in fight, his shout may be the shout of triumph achieved, or else-and then it is of a thousandfold higher worth-it may be the like of what used to foretoken the crisis of the old Peninsular battles, when late in the day the voice of 'the Light Division' was heard; -the almost inspired utterance by which the soldier, growing suddenly conscious of an overmastering power, declares and makes known his ascendant. Of two things happening in a field of battle, at nearly the same time, it is often hard to say which was the first; and yet upon that narrow priority of a few moments there may depend the question of which event was the cause, and which the effect. What people know is, that there was an instant when the Vladimir column was seen to look hurt and unstable, and that, either at the same instant, or the instant before, or the instant after, the Grenadiers were hurrahing on their left, hurrahing at their centre, hurrahing along their whole line. As though its term of life were measured -as though its structure were touched and sundered by the very cadence of the cheering-the column bulged, heaving, heaving. 'The line will advance on the centre!** The men may advance firing.'***
* Speaking of course roughly, Colonel Hood puts this period of Russian endurance at 'five minutes.' Private letter, 21st Sept. 1854.-Note to 4th Edition.
** In this, and in the sentence presently following where it recurs, the word 'on' should be replaced by the word 'by.'- -Note to 4th Edition.
*** 'Unsupported I would not charge, but made my men advance, firing steadily.' Private letter from Colonel Hood, 21st Sept. 1854.-Note to 4th Edition.
This, or this nearly, was what Hood had to say to his Grenadiers. Instant sounded the echo of his will: 'The line will advance on the centre! Quick march!' Then between the column and the seeing of its fate the cloud which hangs over a modern battle-field was no longer a sufficing veil; for although, whilst the English battalion stood halted, there lay in front of its line that dim, mystic region which divides contending 'soldiery, yet the Bearskins, since now they were marching, grew darker from east to west, grew taller, grew real, broke through. A moment, and the column hung loose; another, and it was lapsing into sheer retreat; yet another, and it had come to be like a throng; in confusion.* Of the left Kazan troops there was no more question. In an array which was all but found fault with for being too grand and too stately, the English battalion swept on.**
* 'In five minutes the Russian column faltered, then turned, then ran.' Private letter from Colonel Hood, 21st Sept. 1854.-Note to 4th Edition.
** The criticism alluded to in this sentence was that of a French officer who witnessed the advance of the Guards. After speaking of it with enthusiastic admiration, he ended by saying that it was 'too majestic'- 'trop majestueux.' -End of Note to 1st Edition.

Speaking of this advance of his Grenadiers, Colonel Hood writes: 'I am told the effect was great, and this commonsense manuoevre of a line against a dense column is my only merit. 'It was done at Waterloo effectively, and on the Alma yesterday I hope due credit will be done to my fine fellows, for it was a proud sight to see them behave so well; and what an honour to command such a body of men!.. The battalion has been the admiration of French, English, and Russians." Private letter, 21st September 1854.
My numerous quotations from the private journal and private letters of Colonel Hood correspond so closely with the tenor of this part of the narrative that the reader will be likely to say, "That journal and those letters were evidently the authority on which the Author based his account of the operations of the Grenadier Guards". It is, however, a fact, that I never saw the journal nor the letters, and never knew anything of their tenor, until after the publication of the first and second editions of this book. _Note to 4th Edition.

Seeing that, before many moments were over, the Grenadiers would be up in the redoubt, Kvetzinski conceived that his retreat by the great road was already out off and he ordered that the right Vladimir column - the column with which he was present - should move from the field obliquely, avoiding the English right. This was a path which would take the column along the eastern skirts of the Kourgane Hill, and bring it towards the spot where the right Kazan column stood posted. Kvetzinski, still firm and soldierly, charged a few of his men with the duty of covering his retreat; and, entrusting the command of this little rear-guard to Ensign Berestoffsky, gave orders that the march should be leisurely. He was not ill obeyed; but the movement was hardly one which could be executed with all the accustomed dignity of Russian troops in retreat, for the column had to move slantwise across the front of the battalion which was swiftly ascending the hill, and, if it were to lose many moments, the plumed soldiery would be on its flank.
The left wing of the Grenadiers was quickly in the part of the battery where lay the dismounted howitzer; and on the opposite or eastern shoulder of the work, the Duke of Cambridge, riding up with the Coldstream, stood master of the Great Redoubt.
In its retreat the right Vladimir column was still plied with the fire of the Coldstream. General Kvetzinski had his horse shot under him; and presently afterwards he was so wounded in the leg as to be unable to move on foot. The soldiers around him formed a litter for him with their muskets, and the brave man, causing his bearers to march with the rear-guard, continued to give his orders to Ensign Berestoffsky. Presently, however, he was again struck by shot; and indeed he was now almost shattered, being wounded in two of his limbs, and in the side. To the last he had comported himself as a good soldier.
Go to maps. Go to illustrations.


But whose was the mind which had freshly come to bear upon this part of the fight, and what was the plumed array which, threatening Kvetzinski on his right front, forbade him from further tarrying on the line of the Great Redoubt? Before the moment when the Guards and the columns began their fight, Sir Colin Campbell was sitting in his saddle by the left of the Coldstream, and talking from time to time with the Duke of Cambridge. The veteran was watching for his time. And, although the ground before him favoured the concealment of troops, yet his skill in the reading of a field of battle had enabled him to see, or in some way know or divine, that what forces the Russians had on their right of the Great Redoubt were all more or less held back. So, if he could swiftly move up a battalion to the crest which rose straight before him, he would be on the flank of the position from which the Vladimir confronted the Guards before any other battalions could come down to engage him.*
* 'The immediate object being to turn the redoubt, while the attack in front was made by the Guards.' Original MS Report, dated 'Bivouac on the river Alma, 22d September 1854,' and signed C. Campbell, Major-General. -Note to 4th Edition.

Upon descrying his advance, the Russians, he thought, would see the instant need of abandoning their struggle with the Guards; but if by chance, or because of their obstinacy, they should fail to do so, then, as soon as he could reach the ground he longed for, he would bring round the left shoulder, turn full towards the west, and roll up the Muscovite columns before their supports could come down to save them. This was what he thought might be done; and the keen, perfect weapon with which to do it had come fresh into his hand. The other battalions of the Highland Brigade were approaching; but the 42d -the far-famed 'Black Watch' -had already come up. It was ranged in line. The ancient glory of the corps was a treasure now committed to the charge of young soldiers new to battle; but Campbell knew them-was sure of their excellence-and was sure, too of Colonel Cameron, their commanding officer. Very eager -for the Guards were now engaged with the enemy's columns -very eager, yet silent and majestic, the battalion stood ready.
Before the action had begun, and whilst his men were still in column, Campbell had spoken to his brigade a few words -words simple, and, for the most part, workmanlike, yet touched with the fire of warlike sentiment. 'Now men, you are going into action. Remember this: who ever is wounded -I don't care what his rank is -whoever is wounded must lie where he falls till the bandsmen come to attend to him. No soldiers must go carrying off wounded men. If any soldier does such a thing, his name shall be stuck up in his parish church. Don't be in a hurry about firing. Your officers will tell you when it is time to open fire. Be steady. Keep silence. Fire low. Now, men' - those who know the old soldier can tell how his voice would falter the while his features were kindling - 'Now, men, the army will watch us; make me proud of the Highland Brigade!'*
* Of course, the memory of those who unexpectedly found themelves hearing Sir Colin's address to his brigade, can supply but an imperfect record of the words which were uttered; and perhaps, if the impressions of any great number of the hearers were compared, few or none would he found to be closely similar. I think, however, that the address given in the text is not grossly wide of the truth; at all events, I can answer for thesubstantial accuracy of the injunction against quitting theranks in order to carry off wounded men.

It was before the battle that this, or the like of this, was addressed to the brigade; and now, when Sir Colin rode up to the corps which awaited his signal, he only gave it two words. But because of his accustomed manner of utterance, and because he was a true, faithful lover of war, the two words he spoke were as the roll of the drum: 'Forward, 42d!' This was all he then said; and, 'as a steed that knows his rider,' the great heart of the battalion bounded proudly to his touch.
Having directed his staff not to follow him, Sir Colin Campbell went forward alone in front of the 42d; but before he had ridden far, he saw that his reckoning was already made good by the event, and that the column which had engaged the Coldstream was moving off obliquely towards its right rear. When the 42d had come up, he was rejoined by his Staff, and he then rode up a good way in advance, for he was swift to hope that the withdrawal of the column from the line of the redoubt might give him the means of learning the ground before him, and seeing how the enemy's strength was disposed in this part of the field. In a few moments he was abreast of the redoubt, and upon the ridge or crest which divided the slope he had been ascending from the broad and rather deep hollow which lay before him.
* Because he knew that a group of officers would be likely to draw more fire than a single horseman.

On his right he had the now empty redoubt, on his right front the higher slopes of the Kourgane Hill. Straight before him there was the hollow, or basin, just spoken of bounded on its farther side by a swelling wave or ridge of ground which he called the 'inner crest.' Beyond that, whilst he looked straight before him, be could see that the ground fell off into a valley; but when he glanced towards his left front he observed that the hollow before him was, so to speak, bridged over by a bending rib which connected the inner with the outer crest -bridged over in such a way that a column on his left front might march to the spot where he stood without having first to descend into the lower ground. More towards his left, the ground was high, but so undulating and varied that it would not necessarily disclose any troops which might be posted in that part of the field.
Confronting Sir Colin Campbell from the other side of the hollow, the enemy had a strong column-the two right battalions of the Kazan corps and it was towards this body that the Vladimir column, moving off from the line of the redoubt, was all this time making its way. The Russians saw that they were the subject of a general officer's studies; and Campbell's horse at this time was twice struck by shot, but not disabled. When the retiring column came abreast of the right Kazan troops it faced about to the front, and took part with them in opposing a strength of four battalions -four battalions hard worked and much thinned -to the one which, eager and fresh, was following the steps of the Highland General. Looking towards his left front, and along the natural bridge or viaduct which has just been spoken of Sir Colin Campbell saw another column much heavier than either of the two which confronted him. This heavy column was composed of two battalions of the Sousdal corps, and it was of greater size and strength than the Vladimir and the Kazan columns, because it was as yet untouched. A column formed of the two remaining Sousdal battalions -battalions also untouched - was on the extreme right of the enemy's infantry position, but so placed that at this moment it could not be seen by Campbell. On the higher slopes of the Kourgane Hill, the four Ouglitz battalions stood impending over the scene of the coming fight, and these battalions were a]so untouched. With three battalions Sir Colin Campbell was about to engage no less than twelve; but the three were in line, and the twelve were massed in five columns.
The time that it took Sir Colin Campbell to learn the ground before him, and to read the enemy's mind, proved almost enough for enabling his superb 42d to reach him. In the last part of their advance, the men of the battalion had had to come up over ground both broken and steep, but they traversed it with a speed which observers admired from afar. In the land where; those Scots were bred, there are shadows of sailing clouds skimming straight up the mountain's side, and their paths are rugged, are steep, yet their course is smooth, easy, and swift. Smoothly, easily, swiftly, the 'Black Watch' seemed to glide up the hill. A few instants before, and their tartans ranged dark in the valley -now, their plumes were on the crest. The small knot of horsemen who had ridden on before them were still there. Any stranger looking into the group might almost be able to know-might know by the mere carriage of the head-that he in the plain, dark-coloured frock, he whose sword-belt hung crosswise from his shoulder, was the man there charged with command; for in battle, men who have to obey sit erect in their saddles; he who has on him the care of the fight seems always to fall into the pensive yet eager bend which the Greeks -keen perceivers of truth -used to join with their conception of Mind brought to bear upon War. It is on board ship, perhaps, more commonly than ashore, that people in peace-time have been used to see their fate hanging upon the skill of one man. Often, lands-men at sea have watched the skilled, weatherworn sailor when he seems to look through the gale and search deep into the home of the storm. He sees what they cannot see; he knows what, except from his lips, they never will be able to learn. They stand silent, but they question him with their eyes. So men new to war gaze upon the veteran commander, when, with knitted brow and steady eyes, he measures the enemy's power, and draws near to his final resolve. Campbell, fastening his eyes on the two columns standing before him, and on the heavier and more distant columns on his left front, seemed not to think lightly of the enemy's strength; but in another instant (for his mind was made up, and his Highland blood took fire at the coming array of the tartans) his features put on that glow which, seen in men of his race -race known by the kindling grey eye, and the light, stubborn crisping hair - discloses the rapture of instant fight. Although at that moment the 42d was alone, and was confronted by the two columns on the farther side of the hollow, yet Campbell, having a steadfast faith in Colonel Cameron and in the regiment he commanded, resolved to go straight on, and at once, with his forward movement. He allowed the battalion to descend alone into the hollow, marching straight against the two columns. Moreover, he suffered it to undertake a manoeuvre which (except with troops of great steadiness and highly instructed) can hardly be tried with safety against regiments still unshaken. The 'Black Watch' 'advanced firing.'*
* We saw that Colonel Hood with the Grenadier Guards 'advanced firing,' but at that moment he had already brought the column which he attacked to the verge of its ruin. See Plan of the Highlanders engaged.)

But whilst this fight was going on between the 42d and the two Russian columns, grave danger from another quarter seemed to threaten the Highland battalion; for, before it had gone many paces, Campbell saw that the column which had appeared on his left front was boldly marching forward; and such was the direction it took, and such the nature of the ground, that the column, if it were suffered to go on with this movement, would be able to strike at the flank of the 42d without having first to descend into lower ground.
Halting the 42d in the hollow, Campbell swiftly measured the strength of the approaching column, and he reckoned it so strong that he resolved to prepare for it a front of no less than five companies. He was upon the point of giving the order for effecting this bend in the line of the 42d, when, looking to his left rear, he saw his centre battalion springing up to the outer crest. But almost in the same moment he saw, or in some way divined, that this battalion, in its exceeding ardour for the fight, was coming up wild and raging. He instantly rode to his left.
The 93d in the Crimea was never quite like other regiments, for it chanced that it had received into its ranks a large proportion of those men of eager spirit who had petitioned to be exchanged from regiments left at home to regiments engaged in the war. The exceeding fire and vehemence, and the ever ready energies of the battalion, made it an instrument of great might, if only it could be duly held in, but gave it a tendency to be headlong in its desire to hurl itself upon the enemy. In a minute, this fiery 93d -it was commanded by Colonel Ainslie- came storming over the crest, and, having now at last an enemy's column before it, it seemed to be almost mad with warlike joy. Its formation, of course, was disturbed by the haste and vehemence of the onset; and Campbell, saw that, unless the regiment could be halted and a little calmed down, it would go on rushing forward in disordered fury, at the risk of shattering itself against the strength of the hard, square-built column which was solemnly coming to meet it.
But he who could halt his men on the bank of a cool stream when they were rushing down to quench the rage of their thirst, was able to quiet them in the midst of their warlike fury. Sir Colin got the regiment to halt and dress its ranks. By this time it was under the fire of the approaching column.
Campbell's charger, twice wounded already, but hitherto not much hurt, was now struck by a shot in the heart. Without a stumble or a plunge the horse sank down gently to the earth, and was dead. Campbell took his aide-de-camp's charger; but he had not been long in Shadwell's saddle when up came Sir Colin's groom with his second horse. The man, perhaps, under some former master, had been used to be charged with the 'second horse' in the hunting-field. At all events, here he was; and if Sir Cohn was angered by the apparition, he could not deny that it was opportune. The man touched his cap, and excused himself for being where be was. In the dry, terse way of those Englishmen who are much accustomed to horses he explained that towards the rear the balls had been dropping about very thick, and that, fearing some harm might come to his master's second horse, he had thought it best to bring him up to the front.
When the 93d had recovered the perfectness of its array, it again moved forward, but at the steady pace imposed upon it by the chief. The 42d had already resumed its forward movement; it still advanced firing.
There are things in the world which, eluding the resources of the dry narrator, can still be faintly imagined by that subtle power which sometimes enables mankind to picture dim truth by fancy. According to the thought which floated in the mind of the churchman who taught to All the Russias their grand form of prayer for victory, there are 'angels of light' and 'angels of darkness and horror,' who soar over the heads of soldiery destined to be engaged in close fight, and attend them into battle.*
* This is part of the Russian prayer for victory -'0 Lord .. hear us this day praying for these troops that are gathered together. Bless and strengthen them, and give them a manly heart against their enemies. Send them an Angel of Light, and to the enemies an Angel of Darkness and Horror to scatter them, and place a stumbling-block before them to weaken their hearts and turn their courage into flight.'

When the fight grows hot, the angels hover down near to earth with their bright limbs twined deep in the wreaths of the smoke which divides the combatants. But it is no coarse, bodily help that these Christian angels bring. More purely spiritual than the old Immortals, they strike no blow, they snatch no man's weapon, they lift away no warrior in a cloud. What the angel of light can bestow is valour, priceless valour, and light to lighten the path to victory, giving men grace to see the bare truth, and, seeing it, to have the mastery. To regiments which are to be blessed with victory the Angel of Light seems to beckon, and gently draw his men forward. What the Angel of Darkness can inflict is fear, horror, despair; and it is given him also to be able to plant error and vain fancies in the minds of the doomed soldiery. By false dread he scares them. Whether he who conceived this prayer was soldier or priest, or soldier and priest in one, it seems to me that he knew more of the true nature of the strife of good infantry than he could utter in common prose. For indeed it is no physical power which rules the conflict between two well-formed bodies of foot.
The mere killing and wounding which occurs whilst a fight is still hanging in doubt, does not so alter the relative numbers of the combatants as in that way to govern the result. The use of the slaughter which takes place at that time lies mainly in the stress which it puts upon the minds - of those who, themselves remaining unhurt, are nevertheless disturbed by the sight of what is befalling their comrades. In that way, a command of the means necessary for inflicting death and wounds is one element of victory. But it is far from being the chief one. Nor is it by perfectness of discipline, nor yet by a contempt of life, that men can assure to themselves the mastery -over their foes. More or less all these things are needed; but the truly governing power is that ascendancy of the stronger over the weaker heart which (because of the mystery of its origin) the churchman was willing to ascribe to angels coming down from on high.
The turning moment of a fight is a moment of trial for the soul and not for the body; and it is, therefore, that such courage as men are able to gather from being gross in numbers, can be easily outweighed by the warlike virtue of a few. To the stately 'Black Watch' and the hot 93d, with Campbell leading them on, there was vouchsafed that stronger heart for which the brave pious Muscovites had prayed. Over the souls of the men in the columns there was spread, first the gloom, then the swarm of vain delusions, and at last the sheer horror which might be the work of the Angel of Darkness.*
* See the next note.

The two lines marched straight on: The three columns shook. They were not yet subdued. They were stubborn; but every moment the two advancing battalions grew nearer and nearer, and although -dimly masking the scant numbers of the Highlanders -there was still the white curtain of smoke which always rolled on before them, yet, fitfully, and from moment to moment, the signs of them could be traced on the right hand and on the left in a long, shadowy line, and their coming was ceaseless.
But, moreover, the Highlanders being men of great stature, and in strange garb, their plumes being tall, and the view of them being broken and distorted by the wreaths of the smoke, and there being, too, an ominous silence in their ranks, there were men among the Russians who began to conceive a vague terror -the terror of things unearthly; and some, they say, imagined that they were charged by horsemen strange, silent, monstrous, bestriding giant chargers.*
* It was from the poor wounded prisoners that our people gathered the accounts of the impression produced upon their minds by the advance of the Highlanders.

The columns were falling into that plight -we have twice before seen it this day -were falling into that plight, that its officers were moving hither and thither, with their drawn swords, were commanding, were imploring, were threatening, nay, were even laying hands on their soldiery, and striving to hold them fast in their places. This struggle is the last stage but one in the agony of a body of good infantry massed in close column. Unless help should come from elsewhere, the three columns would have to give way.
But help came. From the high ground on our left another heavy column -the column composed of the two right Sousdal battalions -was seen coming down. It moved straight at the flank of the 93d.
So now, for the third time that day, a mass of infantry some fifteen hundred strong was descending upon the uncovered flank of a battalion in English array; and, coming as it did from the extreme right of the enemy's position, this last attack was aimed almost straight at the file -the file of only two men -which closed the line of the 93d.
But some witchcraft, the doomed men might fancy, was causing the earth to bear giants. Above the crest or swell of ground on the left rear of the 93d, yet another array of the tall bending plumes began to rise up in a long, ceaseless line, stretching far into the east; and presently, in all the grace and beauty that marks a Highland regiment when it springs up the side of a hill, the 79th came bounding forward. Without a halt, or with only the halt that was needed for dressing the ranks, it advanced upon the flank of the right Sousdal column, and caught the mass in its sin -caught it daring to march across the front of a Highland battalion -a battalion already near, and swiftly advancing in line. Wrapped in the fire thus poured upon its flank, the hapless column could not march, could not live. It broke, and began to fall back in great confusion; and the left Sousdal column being almost at the same time overthrown by the 93d, and the two columns "which had engaged the 'Black Watch' being now in full retreat, the spurs of the hill and the winding dale beyond became thronged with the enemy's disordered masses.
Then, again, they say, there was heard the sorrowful wail that bursts from the heart of the brave Russian infantry when they have to suffer defeat; but this time the wail was the wail of eight battalions; and the warlike grief of the soldiery could no longer kindle the fierce intent which, only a little before, had spurred forward the Vladimir column. Hope had fled.
After having been parted from one another by the nature of the ground, and thus thrown for some time into echelon, the battalions of Sir Colin's brigade were now once more close abreast; and since the men looked upon ground where the grey remains of the enemy's broken strength were mournfully rolling away, they could not but see that this, the revoir of the Highlanders had chanced in a moment of glory. Knowing their hearts, and deeming that the time was one when the voice of his people might fitly enough be heard, the Chief touched or half lifted his hat in the way of a man assenting. Then along the Kourgane slopes, and thence west almost home to the Causeway, the hillsides were made to resound with that joyous, assuring cry, which is the natural utterance of a northern people so long as it is warlike and free.*
* Many of our people who had heard the cheers of the of the Highlanders were hindered from seeing them by the bend of the ground, and they supposed that the cheers were uttered in charging. It was not so. The Highlanders advanced in silence.

Descending into the hollow where the vanquished troops flooded down, the waves of sound lit upon the throng and touched it, some imagined, as a breath of air touches a forest, lightly stirring its numberless leaves. And, in truth, it might be that even in this the hour of turmoil and defeat the long - suffering Muscovites were stirred with a new thought, for they never before that day had heard what our people call 'cheers;' and the sound is of such a kind that it startles men not born to freedom.
The three Highland regiments were now reformed, and Sir Colin Campbell, careful in the midst of victory, looked to see whether the supports were near enough to warrant him in pressing the enemy's retreat with his Highland Brigade. He judged that, since Cathcart was still a good way off; the Highlanders ought to be established on the ground which they had already won; and, never forgetting that, all this while, he was on the extreme left of the whole infantry array of the Allies, he made a bend in his line, which caused it to show a front towards the south-east as well as towards the south.
The great column of the four Ouglitz battalions was still on the rise of the hill beyond the hollow. It was a force some 3000 strong, was as yet untouched, and was glowing with the same fire and zeal as when it had come down in anger to support the attack upon Codrington's brigade. From the high and commanding ground where the column stood posted, its officers had been able to see and understand the numerical proportions of the combatants more clearly than any man could who was toiling in the smoke of the fight. Looking down from the slope, they had had to endure to see the gathered masses of their fellow - country-men giving way to the slenderness of the redcoats; and not bearing to think that their Czar and his famed infantry were to be coerced by means so small and delicate, they became inflamed with indignation against their own people for being defeated; and presently the whole column came down the hill, undertaking nothing less than to stay the ebb of the tide. It thrust itself full against the retreating masses, and angrily strove to drive them back into the fight.*
* After speaking (as shown in the former notes) of the defeat of the Russian columns with which his brigade had been fighting, Sir Colin Campbell says that they 'were driven down into 'the valley upon a mass of troops which were placed in reserve 'on the heights in their rear, and an attempt was made by this reserve to move in advance, forcing forward the retiring troops. The MS. by Sir Colin Campbell, quoted ante at page 256.
But the Highland Brigade now again opened fire; and, the enemy being left very helpless, and having no guns in battery wherewith to attempt a stand, the Ouglitz column was forced to turn.**
** But fire being again opened, this reserve returned to its position, evidently with a view to cover the men who had been driven by the three Highland regiments. 'Ibid'.

It went part way up to its old ground in order to be able to cover the retreat of the vanquished masses.
The enemy's brave and devoted infantry, already abandoned by their ordnance, were now also left uncovered by the Russian cavalry. That force, nearly 3000 strong, had been so palsied by orders or want of orders, or by some other unexplained cause, that, although long confronted by a comparatively small body of horse, it had not only abstained from all challenge, but had twice borne to look upon the open flank of a slender infantry line ascending to carry the heights without interposing in the fight; and now, when the faithful battalions might well look for charges of horsemen to cover the retreat, the Russian cavalry still remained idle, though it lingered for a while on the field.*
* At an early period of the action, symptoms of the unenterprising intentions of the Russian cavalry had been detected by Sir George Cathcart. Being on our extreme left, he had narrowly watched the enemy's horsemen, and even before the deployment of the 1st Division be had found himself able to assure Lord Raglan that nothing serious was likely to be attempted by the enemy's cavalry on the right bank of the river. This message was carried, I think, by Captain Elliot.

Our cavalry, long impatient of the restraint imposed upon it by the commander of the forces, had crossed the river without Lord Raglan's authority; and although the nature of the ford and the upset of a gun-carriage had caused a good deal of delay, they reached the top of the hill soon after the Highlanders had crowned it. With Lord Lucan's sanction, three guns of the horse-artillery, under Captain Maude, were placed in battery, and three guns of Captain Brandling's troop, which came up at the time, were established on the right of the 42d. The fire of these six guns told cruelly upon the enemy's retreating masses; and, the like being done by other English batteries on the west of the Kourgane Hill, the slaughter was so great that, of those who fell, very many fell upon their comrades, making in some places small banks of slain or wounded men; but where the round-shot ploughed into columns still keeping something of their old coherence, there the men so fell that there were - but I care not to speak any more of the slaughter that is wrought by cannon when the infantry strife is all over.
Of the four Russian Generals who took part in this fight of the Kourgane Hill, three were wounded; and nearly all the field-officers, together with very many officers of humbler grade who were on duty with the enemy's infantry in this part of the field, were either killed or wounded. The brave Vladimir and the Kazan corps suffered dreadful losses. The loss of the four Kazan battalions alone was put at no less than seventeen hundred.*
* Chodasiewicz, p.76. The estimate was not official, and was made under the influence of the despondency created by the retreat. It seems probable, therefore, that it exaggerated the loss.

This achievement of the Guards and the Highland Brigade was so rapid, and was executed with so steadfast a faith in the prowess of our soldiery and the ascendancy of Line over Column, that in vanquishing eighteen battalions of infantry,** and in going straight through with an onset which tore open the Russian position, the six battalions together did not lose 500 men.***
* Including the two battalions of sailors.
** The exact number seems to be 438, and of this loss a large proportion was occasioned by the disaster which befell the Scots Fusilier Guards. Besides the casualties occurring to officers, which have been mentioned elsewhere, Cust of the Coldstream and Abercrombie of the 93d were killed, and Baring of the Coldstream was wounded. Cust was a man so much beloved by his friends, that when I was going to the Crimea in 1869 several of them asked me to try to find his grave. I found it; and a lovelier grave there could not be. It was on the right bank of the Alma, and richly overgrown with the 'flowers of the field.'

Is it then with slight loss -is it thus in a swift march of a few hundred paces on a hillside, and with all this seeming ease and grace, that the last of the work is done whereby nation gains the mastery over nation?
Well, the truth is that, before it comes to a struggle like this, a State waging war may have to bear cruel losses -losses at sea, losses by pestilence and famine; losses also inflicted by the enemy before he consents to give battle with his infantry upon open ground; and it might happen to a nation to have to go through a campaign without coming once to the strife for which her people are fitted; but when at last, after many an obstacle vanquished, after many a tormenting delay, the English array of two deep is suffered to reach open ground, and there measures its strength with gross columns, then the annals of our country have taught us that, unless there be an almost overwhelming disparity of numbers, there ought to be no misgiving about what will be the end of the fight.


On the western slopes of the Kourgane Hill, no step, that I know of; was taken for covering the withdrawal of the defeated troops; and if is the minds of Russian officers in that part of the field there yet remained any notion of trying to govern the retreat, their last hope was blasted by the new and ominous sign which then started full into view. On the fatal knoll, whence evil seemed always to come to the army of the Czar, there took place a sudden change. The horsemen with the white plumes were quite suddenly withdrawn from sight, and in a minute the knoll was surmounted with a scarlet arch. The arch was an arch built of English troops ranged in line across the summit, and thence on either side stretching down the steep shoulders of the knoll. And this arch of formed troops rose up in the heart of what had been the Russian position. Moreover, it faced towards the southeast, plainly showing that it was in the mind of the redcoats to cross the higher part of the Pass, and spring upon the flank of the troops which were retiring along the Great Causeway.
Then, perhaps, if not long before, the most hopeful of the Russian officers who looked from the Pass or from the western slopes of the Kourgane Hill, would be constrained to acknowledge; that their army had fallen under the mastery that gracious-looking horseman long seen on knoll, who managed his charger and his field glass with one hand and a half-empty sleeve. And indeed, the mastery was now so complete that to any poor Muscovite soldier who was simply moving from the field with all the speed he had his officers could hardly say with truth that they had any better tactics to show him.
It will be remembered that when Lord Raglan, after crossing the river, gained his first joyful glimpse of the knoll, he ordered up Adams's brigade in all haste. The force obeying this order comprised two battalions, the 41st under Colonel Carpenter, and the 49th under Major Dalton.*
* The 47th, as we saw, remained under the personal direction of Evans, and crossed the river when he did.

These troops encountered some trouble in passing the river, but were keenly urged forward; and the moment they gained the summit of the knoll, Lord Raglan, with his own eye and voice, caused them to be drawn up in line. In order to make way for them on the top, the Headquarter Staff moved aside, and Lord Raglan so placed the line that it fronted towards the south-east.
If the battle at this time had been hanging in doubt, Lord Raglan, placed as he was with these two battalions in his hand, could hardly have failed to make them the means of governing the result, for their advance would have threatened to roll up the enemy's line from its centre to its extreme right. As it was, the force became that scarlet bow on the knoll which seemed to present to the enemy the alternative of sheer flight or captivity.
Lord Raglan, however, perceived that the cogency with which these battalions would act in hurrying the retreat, depended rather upon their mere appearance on this part of the field than upon any real power that they had of intercepting the enemy; for though the enemy might judge them to be very near, they were parted from him by deep hollows, and it was plain that if they were moved forward before the knowledge of their presence had sufficiently spread, they would in a great measure lose their weight; because in crossing the hollow which divided them from the line of the retreat, they would necessarily drop out of sight. So, in order that the aspect of the force might sink into the enemy's heart, Lord Raglan kept it formed upon the summit of the knoll for two or three minutes. He then moved it towards the south-east. General Eyre at nearly this time advanced by the line of the Causeway with one of Sir Richard England's brigades.
The column of the Ouglitz battalions began to fall back; and thenceforth there remained no part of the Russian army in this part of the field which was not in full retreat.
The guns of Turner's battery were limbered up and pushed forward to a commanding spot further up in the Pass, and thence, at long range, they continued to pour their fire upon the enemy's retreating troops. In the performance of this duty they were aided by a French battery. Afterwards Lord Raglan sent an aide- de-camp with orders to cause the guns to advance to a more commanding ground which he had observed on their left front. The English battery advanced accordingly; but the officers in command of the French battery declined to move forward. It was at this time that Walsham was killed. He was the last officer who fell that day. Besides Walsham, our artillery corps lost two officers killed -namely, Dew and Cockrell; and of the rank and file, nine were killed, and twenty (besides one sergeant) were wounded.


Lord Raglan now descended from the knoll whither Fortune, in her wild and puissant governance of human events, had happily chosen to lead him. Bending his steps towards the ground just won by the Duke of Cambridge's Division, he rode across the main Causeway.
At that very time, as I make it, there was riding towards Lord Raglan, and riding, too, along the same road, though at a distance of some few hundred yards, a man, confounded and troubled, who had helped to bring great woe on his country.*
* The General who describes his interview with Prince Mentschikoff tells us what was the state of the battle at the time when the meeting took place: and it seems to me that that stage was the very one that the battle had reached when Lord Raglan crossed the great road. If so, it follows of course that the two facts occurred simultaneously.
Clearly wanting in many, nay, perhaps, in most, of the qualities which make an able commander, Prince Mentschikoff was still a brave man. It could not but be that his heart was in the cause. A momentous battle had been raging. Of one of the contending armies he was the Commander-in-Chief. He was in full health. He yearned to be acting: yet from the moment when he entrusted to Kiriakoff the great column of the eight battalions, his mind had given no impress to events.
In order to see how this came to be possible, it must be remembered, first that the tract of ground over which Prince Mentschikoff watched was somewhat broad; and, secondly, that all the decisive fighting of that day was condensed into a narrow period of time. The Allies had been advancing upon a front of five miles; and all the fights in which the combatants had engaged with their ranged battalions took place, as I reckon it within a period of some thirty-five minutes. Now, if any man used to the saddle, and acquainted also with a country of open downs much divided by hollows and ravines, will fasten his mind upon any two hill-tops or other landmarks which he knows to be five miles asunder, and will then imagine a number of brief events to be happening, first in one part of this extended tract and then in another, but all within little more than half an hour, he will be able to understand how it might be possible for the Russian General to be eagerly riding from east to west and from west to east, yet always being so luckless as never once to strike in upon the ground where the event that he yearned to witness and to control was swiftly passing. It was not, I am sure, from any neglect or delinquency that Prince Mentschikoff came to be annulled during all the heavy stress of the battle.
We left the Prince handing over to Kiriakoff the charge of the great column of the eight battalions, and it is only by conjecture that I can form an idea of what became of him during the critical period of several minutes which then immediately followed. He would not have abandoned the personal command of the column which he had eagerly gathered together for a great enterprise, unless he had been dragged away by tidings of what was happening in the English part of the field. Thither, therefore, he would ride, and he would ride, no doubt, with the knowledge (for that was what his last tidings must have taught him) that the English had stormed and carried the Great Redoubt. But he would have to cross the great road, and before he got thither he would see-and would see, one may imagine, with unspeakable astonishment -that the Volhynia columns then constituting what remained of his 'great reserves' were no longer in their place. Finding that they were retiring, or had already retired, and knowing nothing of the way in which Lord Raglan had driven them from the field by the use of his two guns on the knoll, the Prince would be likely to ride in the direction which the reserve columns took, very eager to find some man upon whom to vent his anger. The minutes it took him to ride after the reserves to seek out the cause of their retreat, and to come back to the front, would be those very minutes in which the position held by the centre and the right of the Russian army was falling into the bands of the English.
This, I repeat, is only a conjectural mode of filling the chasm which is left open by the Russian narrators; but the spot where the Prince is found when he reappears in the eye of History, is exactly the one in which those who adopt my surmise would expect to see him riding. For it was by the great road, where his reserves had been posted, that Prince Mentschikoff came back into that part of the field with which the English had dealt. When last he saw it, the position, immensely strong by nature, was held in the grip of powerful batteries, and battalions standing rigid as granite. Since that time, it is true, some hours had passed, but it was only a few minutes before that he had been the assailant in the other part of the field, placing a mighty column in the hands of Kiriakoff with orders to make an onslaught upon Canrobert's Division. Now -he gazed, and gazed again, being slow to understand- being slow to let in the belief-that the grey, rolling masses which approached him were the ruins of two-thirds of his army. But presently he came upon a sight hardly less strange, hardly less shocking to him, than his retreating soldiery. He met on the road a lone man - a lone man on foot, walking away from the field. He looked, and came to make out that this lone pedestrian was Prince Gortschakoff -Prince Gortschakoff, the chief to whom he had entrusted the command of the whole centre and the whole right wing of his army. What is this?' 'What is the matter?' 'Why are you on foot?' 'Why are you alone?' These, as was natural, were the questions hurled at Prince Gortschakoff by his troubled, amazed commander.'My horse,' said Gortschakoff; 'was 'killed near the river. I am alone, because all 'the aides-de-camp and officers of my Staff have been killed or wounded. I have received six 'shots;' and then, in a spirit scarce worthy of historic moments, scarce matching with the greatness of the disaster which his overthrow had brought upon a proud and mighty empire, Prince Gortschakoff showed the rents which shot had made in his clothes.*
* It is Prince Gortschakoff himself who gives this account of his meeting with Prince Mentschikoff.

At this time, so far as I know, Prince Mentschikoff used none of the means by which, though forced to retreat, skilled commanders can make themselves feared. On the very road where he stood, the Czar's faithful infantry -infantry famous for its heroism in the trying hour of a retreat -was left to extricate itself from the field by brute flight. It would seem that Prince Mentschikoff's authority - already for some time neutralized by the mischances which, all the day long, had been throwing him into the wrong part of the field -now slipped from out of his hands. He had no longer a grasp of his army. A little later, he was seen borne along with the ebb, a dismal unit in the throng. Endued with a high spirit, and having a good deal of the pride which a man may justly take in his country so long as it is warlike and honest, he broke out into a loud, angry cry. It is a disgrace,' he said, 'for a Russian soldier to retreat.' An officer, hearing his words, and being maddened, partly by the defeat and partly, as they say, by strong drink, fiercely answered his General, and told him to his face, in the hearing of the soldiery, that if he had ordered the men to stand, they would have held their ground. To this depth of wretchedness Prince Mentschikoff fell in the nineteenth month from the time when, in the name of a mighty empire, and under the gaze of all Europe, he came down into the Bosphorus with commission to trample upon the Ottoman State.
Go to maps. Go to illustrations.
Go to part 10.