War in the East – 27 Mar 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).

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War in the East – 27 Mar 1855

Tuesday 27th March 1855


Last night Captain Hill, 89th Regiment, in proceeding to post his picquets, made a mistake in the dark, and got too near the Russian picquets. He was not very well acquainted with the country, and the uncertain light deceived him. The Russians challenged, “Qui va la?” “Nous, Francais!” was the reply. The two picquets instantly fired, and Captain Hill dropped.

There were only two or three men with him, and they retired, taking with them the Captain’s great-coat. They only went a few yards to the rear io get assistance, and returned at once in the place where Captain Hill fell, but his body had been already removed, and the Russian picquets had withdrawn. His fate is uncertain, but it is hoped that he is not severely wounded, and is safe in the hands of the Russians.

Two little “affairs,” calculated to break the monotony of Balaklavan existence, occurred on Monday. Imprimis, a fight broke out among the Croats. These gentry were all armed when they landed, and it was judged inexpedient to deprive them of their stomachs-full of pistols and yataghans. It was known for some time past that ill-blood existed between various little sections of these wild mountainers; Montenegrins, Albanians, Croats, Arnauts, Greeks, even Affghans and Koords – all had their quarrels. Some of the men accused the head men of cheating them. Last night a squabble took place between two parties of the Croats. They drew their pistols and daggers, a regular fight took place. Thirty or forty shots were fired, and men fell wounded, two of whom have since died. Colonel Harding, the commandant, with a party of men, proceeded to the spot and quelled the riot, and disarmed all the Croats on the spot. It is a pity it was not done before. Secundo, a fire broke out in the harbour on board a vessel (No. 113), I believe, laden with combustible stores. The alarm bell was rung, the “Leander” sent round her boats, and after an immense deal of excitement the fire was extinguished. An inquiry has taken place into the origin of the fire, but it appears to have sprang from nothing more than the drunkenness of some of her crew.

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