Page:The life of Tolstoy.djvu/62

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Tolstoy passed his examination as an officer and obtained his promotion. With the Danube army he took part in the storming of Silistria, and in the retreat of the army. This retreat was devoid of interest for him, and he petitioned to be transferred to Sebastopol, where he arrived in November, 1854, and was appointed to the 3rd battery of the 14th artillery brigade. Here he was imbued at once with the intense patriotic enthusiasm of the famous defenders of Sebastopol. In one of his letters to his brother he wrote:

"The spirit of the army is indescribable. Even in ancient Greece there was not so much heroism. Korniloff, when making the round of the troops, instead of saying, as usual, 'Good health to you, boys,' said, 'We must die, my boys. Will you?' And the soldiers shouted, 'We will die, your Excellency. Hurrah!' And this was not affectation. On the face of each man it was plain that he meant it. Already 22,000 of them have kept their promise."

Though Tolstoy did not take part in any important assaults and sorties, nevertheless his life was exposed to great danger. He was often on duty at the most dangerous points of the fourth bastion, and this danger he met always with unflinching courage.