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).
Activity and Energy of the Russians
THE weather has been exceedingly fine since the despatch of the last mails, and has been very favourable for all siege operation. Nevertheless, the day on which the fire is to be reopened remains buried in the womb of the future, or, in other words, no one can say with any degree of confidence that our batteries will be ready on any fixed date to continue the work which has languished since the 22nd of last October. On the other hand, the Russians have displayed the greatest activity and energy. They have actually thrown up two new redoubts-one opposite the left, another on the flank, of the right attack, since my last letter was despatched, and the works which they have constructed on Mount Sapoune, to the right of the Mamelon, have been strengthened and partially armed, notwithstanding the enemy have had to work under a galling fire of shells. Their rifle pits are now regularly connected and intrenched, and in one of them they have mounted a heavy gun in advance of the Round Tower. In fact, they have made a parallel towards our works, and are now gradually approachiag the French right attack towards Inkermann. Heavy guns, with small charges, are used to “lob” shot and shell into the advanced works on both sides.
For the last three or four mornings the force under Sir Colin Campbell has been turned out before four o’clock a.m. The men are all under arms at dawn, and ready for any duty that may be required of them; but the Russians do not show in any numbers near Balaklava. Our two new batteries on the left attack have been finished, and the night before last our men made a covered way in front of these batteries with great energy.
The Russians have been greatly puzzled, and are exceedingly angry with the proceedings of our lime-burners in front of the Division. The volumes of smoke arising from the kilns have attracted their notice, and they have shelled the spot at intervals ever since, to the discomfiture of Major-General Barnard’s poultry in the rear of the quarries. One shell grazed the General’s tents, another burst among the little temporary establishment of cocks, hens, and sheep, and is said to have injured some of them, and the General has had to shift his quarters. The navies who were burning the lime took the exigencies of their position with great coolness, and contented themselves with expressing a wish for a private cannon to themselves to fight the Russians with in the intervals of lime-burning. The Russians evidently think the smoke arises from some works connected with the railway, and although the kiln, which is concealed by the quarried stone before it, is full two miles from their batteries, they direct shells at it now and then during the day.
The telegraph is now in full play between the right attack, the left attack, and Lord Raglan’s quarters. From the latter place there is also a line to Sir Colin Campbell’s, at Kadikoi. Our scattered camp is thus, as it were, concentrated and kept in close communication. The railway is now completed up to the plateau, and has been carried close to head-quarters, where there will be a large depot and station established.
Captain Christie, who has been superseded by Captain Heath, as Agent of Transports, has issued a memorandum taking leave of the Commanders in that branch of the service.
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 BikWil