War in the East – 14 Feb 1855


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Below is another excerpt from “The War” by William Howard Russell – War Correspondent to The Times Newspaper, its a daily account from the battlelines during the Crimean War (157 years ago).

The Recall of Lord Lucan

Wednesday 14th February 1855

THE great topic of conversation and gossip to-day is the recall of the Earl of Lucan from the command of the Cavalry Division. The circumstances under which this unusual exercise of authority has taken place are not very accurately known, except to a few officers to whom Lord Lucan has communicated them, but the prevailing, impression among those who are likely to be well informed, and; whose opinions carry weight, is certainly to the effect that the step is not justifiable on the grounds set forth for taking it.

Thursday 15th February 1855

Last night the wind increased in force, blowing in strong gusts and squalls, which tore down tents and the materials for hutting on the heights over Balaklava, and sent them clattering down the hill. This wind, hot and dry as one of the warm breezes of the tropics, sucked up the moisture of the roads as it passed, and the tracks of deep mud and the waste of earth and water on which our camp stands are rapidly becoming solid so rapidly, indeed, that the effect is little short of magical. It much resembles the Mediterranean sirocco. The thermometer exposed outside my quarters marks no less than seventy-one degrees. The sky is overcast and lurid, but there are no clouds visible the whole atmosphere is of a slaty grey hue overhead and on the horizon, but objects at a distance give well-defined outlines, and are not at all obscure. The wind is very uncertain in force; at times the gusts are terrific; they generally come at intervals of five or six minutes, and vary in strength at each outburst. The general direction of the wind is from the south-south-east to south-west. Under the strange change of temperature, the bulbous roots, which seem to abound in the soil of the Chersonese, are putting forth shoots with vigour, and crocuses and hyacinths, some in flower, have pushed their bright green leaves above the black surface of the soil, and, by their freshness and vividness of colour, afford a strong contrast to the sterile aspect of the hoof-betrodden ground.

Towards night the violence of the gale abated. The Field-Marshal came down to Balaklava yesterday, and visited the various public establishments in the town, and inspected the progress of the railway. There was another sortie last night, which the French repulsed with a loss of thirty-five killed and wounded and missing.

The Russians lost at least as many in their hasty retreat. The works on our right are in splendid order.

The division of General Bosquet on our right and in rear of our right flank was reinforced to-day by upwards of 8000 men.

The Russians have established three batteries from Inkermann Light east on the heights over the Tchernaya towards the southeast, with the object of annoying our flank, but the distance is too great, and all their efforts to injure us have hitherto been abortive.

Excerpt from The War 1855 by W H Russell – Correspondent to The Times.

This volume contains the letters of The Times Correspondent from the seat of war in the East – The Crimean War – the first war with war correspondents.


Further Reading and External Links

Maps, Plans and Pictures of the Crimean War

William Howard Russell on Wikipedia

William Howard Russell on BikWil