assertions which I made in support of it, are set at naught, and your lordship is satisfied that your irresponsible informants are more worthy of credit than I am.’
The charge brought against him of not visiting the camps had some foundation, but was exaggerated. The habits of a long official life predisposed him to work at his desk, and his extreme dislike of ostentation caused the visits he had made to pass almost unnoticed. As regards his staff, General (afterwards Sir James) Simpson [q. v.] (who was sent out to report upon it) found himself unable to recommend any changes. Some reflections were made upon certain officers by the two commissioners, Sir John McNeill and Colonel Tulloch, who inquired into the commissariat; but the board of general officers which held an inquiry into these statements in 1856 did not sustain them.
The siege-works, never altogether suspended, were actively resumed at the end of February 1855. The French had been largely reinforced, and were now so much stronger than the British that they undertook a fresh attack, on the right of the British, against the Malakhoff. On 9 April the second bombardment began, and the assault was fixed for the 28th; but Canrobert drew back on the 25th. An expedition against Kertch was then arranged, to cut the main line of communication of the Russians, but it had no sooner started than Canrobert insisted on its recall. It was successfully carried out at the end of May, when Pélissier had replaced Canrobert, and returned in the middle of June. Meanwhile there had been a third bombardment of Sebastopol, the Mamelon (an advanced work in front of the Malakhoff) had been taken, and the 18th, the anniversary of Waterloo, was chosen for the general assault.
It was to be prefaced by a two hours' cannonade, to silence guns remounted in the night, but Pélissier decided at the last moment to attack at daybreak. Raglan reluctantly accepted the decision. The effective strength of the allied armies at this time was 188,000 men, of which more than one-half were French, one-third Turkish and Sardinians, and less than one-sixth British. Raglan's character and services gave him a weight out of proportion to the number of his men; but in this case, as often before, he was overborne by his French colleague, and gave way rather than imperil the alliance. The result was disastrous. The French columns for the assault of the Malakhoff, numbering in all twenty-five thousand men, were met by a storm of fire and driven back with heavy loss. Seeing how it fared with them, Raglan ordered the British forward against the Redan, though the chance of success there was much less. He knew that otherwise ‘the French would have attributed their non-success to our refusal to participate in the operation’ (to Panmure, 19 June). The two leading British columns, about five hundred men each, ‘had no sooner shown themselves beyond the trenches than they were assailed by a most murderous fire of grape and musketry. Those in advance were either killed or wounded, and the remainder found it impossible to proceed’ (official despatch). The number of men sent forward was quite inadequate, but under the circumstances more men would only have meant larger loss.
Raglan felt the failure deeply. On the 23rd one of the staff wrote: ‘He looks far from well, and has grown very much aged lately.’ He went that day to take leave of Estcourt, the adjutant-general, who was dying, and ‘for the first time his wonted composure left him, and he was quite overcome with grief.’ The impassive demeanour to which he had schooled himself, after the example of his great chief, covered—those who knew him say—a nature exceptionally tender and sympathetic. He was already suffering from dysentery, and his strength was undermined by all he had gone through. On the 26th he wrote his last despatch, and on the evening of the 28th he died, ‘the victim of England's unreadiness for war’ (Sir Evelyn Wood).
Among the many manifestations of grief for his loss, none were more marked than those of his colleague Pélissier, who in his general order next day referred to the history of his life, ‘so pure, so noble, so replete with service rendered to his country,’ ‘his fearless demeanour at the Alma and Inkerman,’ and ‘the calm and stoic greatness of his character throughout this rude and memorable campaign.’
In the words of the general order issued from the horse guards, ‘by his calmness in the hottest moments of battle, and by his quick perception in taking advantage of the ground or the movements of the enemy, he won the confidence of his army, and performed great and brilliant services. In the midst of a winter campaign—in a severe climate and surrounded by difficulties—he never despaired.’ This last characteristic well deserved emphasis. He had a vacillating and sometimes despondent colleague in Canrobert, and one of the best of his lieutenants—Sir George De Lacy Evans [q. v.] —strongly urged him after Inkerman to give up the siege