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

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

CHAPTER 6
The Camp

News of the death of Tsar Nicholas (on 2 March)
reached the Crimea in mid-March, prompting hopes
for an end to hostilities; these were crushed when his
successor Alexander II declared that he 'would rather
perish than surrender'. Nicholas was widely believed
to have died of chagrin soon after learning that
the formidable mid-February Russian assault on
Eupatoria, led by Menshikov, had been repulsed by
the newly arrived Turkish commander-in-chief, Omar
Pasha. (Allied control of Eupatoria threatened the
Russian supply route to Sebastopol via the Sea of Azov
and Simpheropol; see map, p. 328.) Leaving Turkish
troops to garrison the port, Omar Pasha and a combined
Turkish-Egyptian force of some 20,000 men moved
south to Balaclava in preparation for the Allied spring
offensive. This began on 9 April with a massive assault
by 501 guns, of which only 101 were British. Although
there were numerous casualties within Sebastopol, it
once again proved impossible to breach the Russian
fortifications permanently. Shortage of ammunition
meant the Allies were forced to curtail the bombardment
and within fifteen days it had petered out with no
attempt to storm the city. Meanwhile Menshikov
had been replaced by Gorchakov, who immediately
complained to his Minister of War that he feared he
could be 'cut off, and perhaps broken, if the enemy had a
little good sense and decision'.

On 16 April Simpson wrote privately in equally
depressed tones to Panmure, the new Secretary of State
for War: 'The result of my observations since coming here

-154-

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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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