Category Archives: Reports

War in the East – 15 Nov

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The Hurricane – 15th November 1854

by William Howard Russell – War Correspondent to The Times Newspaper

Wednesday – 15th November 1854

THE camp was visited by a hurricane to-day.  It commenced shortly after six o’clock a.m., and was preceded by rain and squalls from S.W. and S.S.W.  

For about an hour I had been in a listless state between waking and sleeping, listening to the pelting of the rain against the fluttering canvas of the tent, or dodging the streams of water which flowed underneath it, saturating our blankets and collecting on the mackintosh sheets in pools.  The sound of the rain, its heavy beating on the earth, had become gradually swallowed up by the noise of the rushing of the wind over the common, and by the flapping of the tents as they rocked more violently beneath its force.  Gradually the sides of the canvas, which were tucked in under big stones to secure them, began to rise and flutter, permitting the wind to enter playfully and drive before it sheets of rain right into one’s face; the pegs began to indicate painful indecision and want of firmness of purpose.  The glimpses afforded of the state of affairs outside, by the lifting of the tent walls, were little calculated to produce a spirit of resignation to the fate which threatened our frail shelter.

The ground had lost its character of solidity, and pools of mud marked the horse and cattle-tracks in front of the tents.  Mud and nothing but mud flying before the wind and drifting as though it were rain, covered the face of the earth as far as it was visible.  Meantime the storm-fiend was coming, terrible and strong as when he smote the bark of the Ancient Mariner.  At every fresh blast the pole of the tent played and bent like a salmon-rod; the canvas tugged at the ropes to pull them up, and the pegs yielded gently.  A startling crack!  I looked at my companions, who seemed determined to shut out all sound and sense by piling as much clothes as they could collect over their heads.  A roar of wind, and the pole bent till the fatal “crack” was heard again.  “Get up, Doctor!  up with you;  E—–, the tent is coming down!”  The Doctor rose from beneath his tumulus of clothes.  Now, if there was anything in which the Doctor put confidence more than another, it was his tent-pole.  There was a decided bend in the middle of it, but he used to argue, on sound anatomical, mathematical, and physical principles, that the bend was a decided improvement, and he believed that no power of AEolus could ever shake it.  He looked on the pole blandly, as he looks at all things, put his hand out, and shook it. “Why, man,” said he, reproachfully, “it’s all right that pole would stand for ever,” and then he crouched down and burrowed under his bedclothes.  Scarcely had he given the last convulsive heave of the blankets which indicates perfect comfort and satisfaction, when a harsh screaming sound, increasing in vehemence as it approached, struck us with horror.  As it passed along we heard the snapping of tent-poles and the sharp crack of timber and canvas.   On it came, “a mighty and a strong wind;”  the pole broke off short in the middle, as if it were glass, and in an instant we were pressed down and half stifled by the heavy folds of the wet canvas, which beat us about the head with the greatest fury. Half breathless and blind, I struggled for the door. Such a sight as met the eye! The whole head quarters’ camp was beaten fiat to the earth, and the unhappy occupants were rushing through the mud in all directions in chase of their effects and clothes, or holding on by the walls of the enclosure as they strove to make their way to the roofless and windowless barns and stables for shelter.

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.

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Further Reading and External Links

William Howard Russell on Wikipedia

William Howard Russell on BikWil

 

War in the East – 7 Nov

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Picture of the Battlefield – 1854

The Field – After the Battle – 7th November 1854

by William Howard Russell – War Correspondent to The Times Newspaper

Tuesday – 7th November 1854

I went carefully over the position to-day, and the more I examined it, the more I was amazed at the noble tenacity of our men when assailed by such vast masses of infantry; though I must give great credit to the Russians for the obstinacy with which they sought to drive us back, and the laborious determination with which they clambered up the hill-side to attack us. 

The tents of the Second Division are pitched on the verge of the plateau which we occupy, and from the right flank of the camp the ground rises gently for two or three hundred yards to a ridge covered with scrubby brushwood, so thick that it is sometimes difficult to force a horse through it.  These bushes grow in tufts, and are about four feet high.  On gaining the ridge you see below you the valley of the Tehernaya, a green tranquil slip of meadow, with a few white houses dotting it at intervals, some farm enclosures, and tufts of green trees.  From the ridge the hill-side descends rapidly in a slope of at least 600 feet high.  The brushwood is very thick upon it, and at times it is almost impervious.  At the base of this slope the road winds to Inkermann, and thence to Sebastopol.  The sluggish stream steals quietly through it towards the head of the harbour, which is shut out from view by the projections of the ridge towards the north.  At the distance of a quarter of a mile across the valley, the sides of the mountains opposite to the ridge of the plateau on which our camp stands rise abruptly in sheer walls of rock, slab after slab, to the height of 1200 or [1500] feet.  A road winds among those massive precipices up to the ruins of Inkermann – a city of the dead and gone and unknown – where houses, and pillared mansions, and temples, have been hewn out of the face of the solid rock by a generation whose very name the most daring antiquaries have not guessed at.  This road passes along the heights, and dips into the valley of Inkermann, at the neck of the harbour.  The Russians planted guns along it the other day, to cover the retreat of their troops, and at night the lights of their fires are seen glimmering through the window and door places from the chambers carved out from the sides of the precipice. 

Looking down from the ridge, these ruins are, of course, to one’s left hand.  To the right the eye follows the sweep of the valley till it is closed in from view by the walls of the ridge, and by the mountains which hem in the valley of Balaklava, and one can just catch, on the side of the ridge, the corner of the nearest French earthwork, thrown up to defend our rear, and cover the position towards Balaklava.  Below, towards the right of the ridge, at the distance of 200 feet from the top towards the valley, is the Sandbag, or two-gun battery, intended for two guns, which had not been placed there on the 5th, because Sir De Lacy Evans conceived that they would only invite attack, and would certainly be taken, unconnected as they would have been with any line of defence.  On the left hand overlooking this battery, there is a road from Balaklava right across our camp through the Second Division’s tents on their front, which runs over the ridge and joins the upper road to Inkermann. Some of the Russian columns had climbed up by the ground along this road; others had ascended on the left, in front and to the right of the Sandbag Battery.   In every bushon every yard of bloodstained ground lay a dead or dying Russian.  The well-known bearskins of our Guards, the red coats of our Infantry, and the bright blue of the French Chasseurs, revealing each a silent horror in the glades, and marking the spot where stark and stiff a corpse lay contorted on the grass, pointed out the scenes of the bloodiest contests.

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.

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Further Reading and External Links

William Howard Russell on Wikipedia

William Howard Russell on BikWil

War in the East – 4 Nov

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War in the East – 1854

Sebastopol – The Progress of the Siege – 4th November 1854

by William Howard Russell – War Correspondent to The Times Newspaper

Saturday – 4th November 1854

There was not much done to-day in the trenches.  The Russians fired about sixty guns per hour, and we replied as usual.  The French burrowed and turned up the earth most vigorously.  Their third parallel is within 250 metres of the place.  Our casualties were very few last night, and to-day we have not had one man of the siege train disabled.  Our ammunition has come to hand, but we have none to throw away.  A number of 10-inch round shot were landed yesterday, but, unfortunately, we have no 10-inch guns for them, except the Lancasters, for which they are scarcely suitable.  Two guns have been added to the batteries of the right attack.  They now contain twenty-three pieces of artillery.  Whenever I look at the enemy’s earthworks, however, I think of the Woolwich butt.  What good have we done by all this powder?  Very little.   A few guns judiciously placed when we first came here might have saved us incredible toil and labour, because they would have rendered it all but impossible for the Russians to cast up such intrenchments and works as they have done before the open and perfectly unprotected entrance to Sebastopol.  Here has been our great and our irremediable error.

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.

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Further Reading and External Links

William Howard Russell on Wikipedia

William Howard Russell on BikWil

War in the East

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War in the East – 1854

Sebastopol – The Progress of the Siege – 2nd November 1854

by William Howard Russell – War Correspondent to The Times Newspaper

Thursday – 2nd November 1854

At four this morning we were awakened by a cannonade, which shook the very earth on which we lay.  The Russians have received some information respecting the change and relief of the various covering and working parties, and the result is, that they try their utmost, by flights of cannon shot and shell, to cut up the men and wagons as they go to and fro between the camp and trenches.  We did not reply, and the French contented themselves with a few rounds.  We hear the “distressing intelligence” that 3000 workmen are building huts at Constantinople for the army to winter in, and that they are also fabricating sheds for horses. A “winter” here is a truly dismal prospect.  All that has been written about the beauty of this district and of its fertility is utter rubbish.  There are magnificent mountain ranges over Balaklava, but the country between that town and Sebastopol is a waste, covered with thistles and stones, and intersected by rocky ravines, once full of stumpy brushwood, now full of stumps only.

The weather has been so severe that, for nearly two days, the French could not communicate with their ships.  What would it be with us, who are fed from hand to mouth from Balaklava, if it were taken from us?  The “Emeu,”  which came in yesterday, landed 700 French infantry, of the 3rd Regiment of Foot, to-day, from Constantinople.  There is a great demand for winter clothing just now.  The sales of the deceased officers’ effects are scenes of warm competition for old rugs, greatcoats, cloaks, and horse clothing. A tattered rug fetches 45s. or 50s., a pot of meat 15s., an india-rubber tub 5l., a sponge ll. 5s., a half-worn-out old currycomb and brush may be seen handed over, after a warm contest, for 20s.  Officers perhaps do not know what to do with their money.

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.

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Further Reading and External Links

William Howard Russell on Wikipedia

William Howard Russell on BikWil

The Origin of the Name ‘Pipe Roll’

 

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The Pipe Roll Society

The National Archives

The Origin of the Name ‘Pipe Roll’

King Henry II – on the throne at the time of the early Pipe RolsTHE origin and meaning of the name Pipe Roll as applied to the sheriffs’ accounts of the landed and feudal revenues of the Crown seems to have escaped notice.  In fact the name should be ‘Roll of Pipes’ as the pipes were not the Roll itself, but the individual membranes of which the Roll consisted.  This comes out clearly from passages in certain ordinances of the Exchequer issued by  Edward II on 14 June anno sexto decimo (1323), and printed in the Red Book of the Exchequer, iii. 858, where we have the following direction given,

Quant (?Que) le Grant Roule soit escrit saunz rascure et les Pipes annuelement examinez;

while further on the officials are more explicitly directed to see that

soient desore annuelment tutes les pipes de tutz les accomptes renduz en lan bien et pleynement examinez avant qe eles soient mises ensemble, et roule fait de eles.

Each ‘pipe’ of the Roll must be examined before they are put together and the Roll made up.  So again on p.860 we have the ‘pipes’ of the Foreign Accounts as well as those of the sheriffs’ accounts.  From these passages we also learn that the proper name of the series was Le Grant Roule or Magnus Rotulus, but we also find it spoken of as Le roule annal; but it soon came to be known as La Pipe (Rot. Pari., ii. 101, A.D. 1348).  The ‘pipes’ or membranes of which each Roll consists are strips of parchment about 6 feet long, sewn together at one end, and not continuously, as the Patent and Pell Rolls are.  Each strip bears at its head the name of the county whose account it contains, as EBOR.  If one strip does not suffice the supplementary strip is headed ITEM EBOR , and if a third is requisite then it will be ADHUC ITEM EBOR, and so on.  That the ‘pipes’ are the individual membranes, and not the accounts, as suggested in the Oxford Dictionary, seems clear: further, as they were flat strips of parchment, in seeking for the meaning and etymology we may keep clear of the notion of anything tubular and cylindrical on which previous suggestions have run.

Excerpt taken from The English Historical Review Volume 26 – 1911

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Further Reading and External Links

The Pipe Roll Society:  Rolls for 8 Richard I and 3 John have been printed in full by the Pipe Roll Society.  The earliest record dates from 1129-30, and then continue in an almost unbroken series from 1155 until 1833.

The National Archives:  The Pipe Rolls are the oldest series of English governmental documents, and were created by the most ancient department of the English government, the Exchequer, which existed by 1110. The earliest survivor dates from the reign of Henry I, and is second only to Domesday Book itself in its antiquity as a public record. They were created principally to record the accounts of the sheriffs of the counties of England, which they made annually before the barons of the Exchequer, but came also to include the accounts of other officials.  The National Archives have extensive information on the Pipe Rolls.  Visit their website to find out more

Pipe Rolls on Wikipedia

Pipe Rolls on Google Books

The Early Explorers – Coronado 1539

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Coronado, Lewis & Clark, The Verendryes and Zebulon Pike are considered the four main Early Explorers.  

This is the second excerpt – a short peice about Francisco Vasquez de Coronado, seeker of the “Seven Cities of Cibola” – in a series about the early explorers of the western United States of America; or the lands west of the Mississippi River.

Excerpts from the Book: The Pathbreakers from River to Ocean by Grace Raymond Hebard – published 1913.

Francisco Vasquez de Coronado, seeker of the “Seven Cities of Cibola.”

Coronados CanonIn 1539, Coronado was made provisional governor of Nueva Galicia (New Gaul), by Antonio de Mendoza, viceroy of Mexico.  This Viceroy Mendoza, who had been filled with enthusiasm over the accounts that Cabeza de Vaca had brought home, urged Coronado to take charge of his province at once and to explore the unknown country to the north immediately.  Coronado, with the spirit of adventure in his blood, was equal to the task and was eager to be off.

The army was financed from the personal wealth of Coronado and what he could borrow, though the command of the soldiers was granted to him by the viceroy.  The expense of equipping the expedition was about two hundred and fifty thousand dollars, or sixty thousand ducats. If Coronado did not succeed in his high ambition – the loss was his.  If he won – he was dizzy with the vision of the empires he was to conquer and own. He would have wealth greater than that of Cortez, and lands unlimited.

Early in 1540, piloted by a monk, Fray Marcos, who had previously penetrated to the Zuni Villages, he started with three hundred horsemen, foot soldiers, crossbow men, arquebusiers, eight hundred Indians, and a thousand extra horses for ammunition and baggage.

Northward through tribes more or less hostile they marched, near the present site of Tombstone, Arizona, on to Salt River, north across the Mogollon Mountains, then northeast to the Little Colorado. Here the first station of their travels wàs reached, the Zuni Pueblos.  We are told that the city of Zuni is the home of a people who lived there centuries before the coming of Columbus. “There they still live, with very little change.  The march of progress that has swept away other Indian tribes has spared the lonely little pueblo communities in their adobe terraced houses, surrounded by the arid deserts.”

Pueblo HomesThese adobe terraces made excellent forts.  Rising tier on tier to the height of three or sometimes four stories, with no doors, they covered with unbroken walls many acres, and presented a formidable front to the little army destitute of cannon with which to batter a breach.  Ingress to these houses is had through the roof by aid of ladders.  Upon the approach of the intruders, the Zuni had drawn up ail their ladders and ranged themselves on the terraces intent on defending their homes.  Wood for the construction of new ladders was hard to obtain, and when the means of assault were finally provided it was no child’s play to storm that fortress through the hail of arrows and stones from the warriors in the terraces.  Coronado’s shining armor and his foremost place in the assault made him an especial target.  After the place was won he had gaping wounds on his face, an arrow in one of his feet, and many stone bruises on his legs and arms, and tells us that if it had not been for the strength of his armor “it would have gone hard with me.”   But more bitter than the perils of the assault was the disappointment of the victors upon finding that here was no gold or precious stones,— none of the wealth they had marched and starved, fought and bled, to win.  Evidently these were not the famed “Seven Cities of Cibola.”  They must be still farther on.

So the conquerors passed on; scouts were sent in various directions, all bringing back similar reports of “noEarly Buffalo Picture cities of gold.”  In August of this year, 1540, the famous Grand Canon of the Colorado was discovered by a division of the expedition under the command of Garcia Lopez de Cardenas.  One often wonders if this Canon were the real “city of gold,” for the discovery and possession of which more than one continent wasted its blood and treasure.  It would take no great stretch of the imagination to fancy that the glittering and sparkling mica-bearing formations responding to the sun’s rays were houses built of gold.  The tradition of this city was not a dream.  Some one had observed something.  For want of better description the vision was called a “city of gold.”  Was this the end of the rainbow with its proverbial “pot of gold”?

 

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Phoenician and Roman Antiquities

Report on the Phoenician and Roman antiquities in the group of the islands of Malta. By A. A. Caruana.  Published in 1883.

Between the primitive Phoenician period and the Roman occupation, an early Greek colony settled in the islands of Malta, contemporarily with the colonies led from Chalcis (Egripo in the island of Negropont) by the Athenian Theocles and other Greek emigrants in Sicily, by whom, as Thucydides, book IV, ch. III, relates, were founded Leontium, Catana, Taurominium, Zancla (Messina), &c., and with those led by Archias from Corinth by whom Syracuse was erected.  Subsequently, the Carthaginians held these islands up to the beginning of the second Punic war.

I understand the Phoenician and Roman antiquities as the limit of the survey called for by the Secretary of State for the Colonies, although it would seem to me, that it ought to comprehend the other monuments of Malta and Gozo between these two periods.