some days in Paris, and reached Constantinople at the end of the month. By the end of June the bulk of the English and French armies were in camp at Varna; but the Russian army had recrossed the Danube, and the European provinces of Turkey were no longer threatened.
On 29 June instructions were sent to Raglan that he should take measures for the siege of Sebastopol, ‘unless with the information in your possession, but at present unknown in this country, you should be decidedly of opinion that it could not be undertaken with a reasonable prospect of success.’ Raglan and his French colleague, Saint-Arnaud, had grave misgivings of the enterprise, but they had no such information as the letter mentioned. They regarded the instructions, therefore, as ‘little short of an absolute order,’ and they acquiesced. The ravages of cholera, especially among the French, caused some delay; but on 14 Sept. nearly fifty thousand men were landed without opposition at Kalamita Bay, on the west coast of the Crimea, an ideal landing-place chosen by Raglan himself.
It took four days more to land the horses and guns, and to collect transport. The French, having brought no cavalry, were ready first, and on the 18th St. Arnaud wrote characteristically: ‘Il y a deux jours que j'aurais pu avoir battu les Russes qui m'attendent à Alma, et je ne peux partir que demain, grâce a MM. les Anglais qui ne se gênent guère, mais me gênent bien!’ (Causeries du Lundi, xiii. 450).
Two days later the battle of the Alma was fought. The right of the allies consisted of twenty-eight thousand French and seven thousand Turkish infantry, with sixty-eight guns; the left of twenty-three thousand British infantry, one thousand British cavalry, and sixty guns. The bulk of the Russian army—twenty-one thousand infantry, three thousand cavalry, and eighty-four guns—were in front of the British; while they had only twelve thousand infantry, four hundred cavalry, and thirty-six guns to oppose the advance of the French. That advance could be supported by the fire of the ships. It was agreed, therefore, that the French should begin the battle, and turn (or threaten to turn) the Russian left. But before this movement was sufficiently developed to make itself felt, Raglan, partly from impatience, but also at the urgent instance of the French commanders, ordered the British infantry to attack, and ‘took the bull by the horns.’ He then rode forward with his staff across the stream, through the French skirmishers, and up to a knoll well within the Russian position. He gained an admirable point of view, but at no small personal risk, and he lost touch of his own troops. ‘The French had but little share in the battle, and half the British infantry attacked with great gallantry the centre of the position, while the other half remained out of action. … Though each of the divisional generals acted as he thought best for the general result, there was no concerted action’ (Sir Evelyn Wood).
However, the battle was won, and raised high hopes of the prompt capture of Sebastopol, both in the armies and at home. The enemy's works on the south side of the fortress were known to be very incomplete, but when the armies were established in front of them, after the flank march to Balaclava, their commanders were soon convinced that a bombardment by siege guns must precede an assault. Already 172 guns were mounted on the works, and the garrison, after the withdrawal of the field army under Menschikoff, numbered thirty thousand, mostly seamen and marines. Trenches were opened and batteries built under Raglan's general supervision; the French, on the left, attacking the works of the town, and the British, on the right, those of the Karabelnaia suburb. On 17 Oct. the allies opened fire with 126 guns; but by this time, through the energy of Todleben, the enemy's works had been greatly strengthened, and 341 guns were mounted on them, of which 118 bore on the besiegers' batteries. The French batteries were soon overmatched; one of their magazines blew up; and at the end of four hours they were silenced. All thoughts of an assault had to be postponed, and the allies had to look to their own defence against the growing strength of the Russian field army.
On 25 Oct. came the Russian attempt on Balaclava, and the disaster to the light brigade [see Nolan, Lewis Edward]. All agreed that ‘some one had blundered.’ Raglan, in his despatch, blamed Lord Lucan: ‘From some misconception of the order to advance, the lieutenant-general considered that he was bound to attack at all hazards.’ But he himself did not escape blame. Sir Edward Hamley has found fault, not only with the wording of his order—‘Cavalry to advance rapidly to the front, and try to prevent the enemy carrying away the guns’—but with his purpose in sending it. It was, at all events, in marked contrast with his own words a month before: ‘I will keep my cavalry in a band-box.’
On 5 Nov. the Russians dealt a heavier blow with fifty-five thousand men upon the right of the allies, and the battle of Inker-