Mrs. Duberly's War: Journal and Letters from the Crimea, 1854-6

By Frances Isabella Duberly; Christine Kelly | Go to book overview

CHAPTER 3
The Expedition to the Crimea

The embarkation for the Crimea took the British army six
days, to the annoyance of the French, who loaded swiftly
with no cavalry horses to winch on board but then had to
wait idly for days in their overcrowded ships while cholera
continued to decimate their ranks. The British transports
were so crowded that each man was allowed only one horse
and one piece of baggage. With so many men and horses
emaciated and ailing, the lack of extra horses to carry
equipment and transport the sick and wounded created
problems from the moment they landed. The entire Heavy
Brigade was also left behind, hampering the cavalry's
effectiveness during the battle of Alma. And with so little
space on board, hundreds of desperate soldiers' wives were
abandoned on the quayside to fend for themselves. The
subsequent history of most of these unfortunate women is
unknown, although some 250 found their way back to
Scutari where they were discovered months later in the
cellars, lice-ridden and starving, by Florence Nightingale
(see Biographies, p. 315).

Even as the fleet cast off, no final decision had been
made about their landing place. Only after Raglan had
personally carried out a further reconnaissance in his
steamer the Caradoc, together with the French general
Canrobert, was it decided to land at Kalamita Bay some
thirty miles north of Sebastopol. Early on the morning
of 14 September some 26,000 British, 30,000 French and
6,000 Turks, with a combined total of 128 guns, began to
disembark. No tents were landed the first night for the
British and they slept, 'nesting like pigs', in the pouring
rain. The heavy, eight-men bell-tents were later briefly

-54-

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Mrs. Duberly's War: Journal and Letters from the Crimea, 1854-6
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Maps and Illustrations ix
  • Notes on Endpapers x
  • Chapter 1 - The Voyage 1
  • Chapter 2 - Embarkation and Encampment at Varna 17
  • Chapter 3 - The Expedition to the Crimea 54
  • Chapter 4 - Balaklava October-November 1854 75
  • Chapter 5 - Balaklava December 1854– March 1855 113
  • Chapter 6 - The Camp 154
  • Chapter 7 - The Fall of Sebastopol 200
  • Notes and Commentary 263
  • Biographical Notes 307
  • Appendix I - How the War Began 327
  • Appendix 2 - The Battle of Balaklava 334
  • Books Referred to and Further Reading 343
  • Acknowledgements 345
  • Index 347
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