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Black Sea by a few steamers, with. One little place — Realmost as if courting a Russian doute Kaleh—was taken with attack; but the Russians re- the help of a Turkish force fused to come out. War did landed for the purpose. Lyons not actually break out till here showed his diplomatic caApril 9, 1854, more than three pacity by his success in keepmonths after the allied squad ing on cordial terms with the rons had been acting together; French. but they were still unprepared During the months of May, for combined action. The June, and the early part of writer remarks
July, the twenty line-of-battle "Plans for sailing and navigation, ships composing the main body to bring different methods of signal of the allied fleets lay at Varna, ling and tactics into harmony, had with little or nothing to occupy to be organised ; and though much them save assisting in the landhad been done towards this end during the time the two squadrons ing of the troops and their lay together in the Bosphorus, it stores. The Russian fleet of required a few days after war had fifteen sail-of-the-line lay unbeen declared to complete them. watched 250 miles off at SevasWhen people talk glibly about the
topol. strength conferred by an alliance,
On July 19 a council they little knew how difficult it is met, and decided to attack to make things go smoothly, especi- Sevastopol. It was only then ally when the forces are acting side discovered that nothing was by side.”
known of the place, and the For ten days the fleets did combined fleet stood across to nothing. It was then decided the Crimea to reconnoitre. to bombard Odessa. For this The reconnaissance was, howpurpose seven steamers and one
ever, most cursory; no soundsailing frigate were detached, ings were taken, and the mouth and threw a number of shells of the Katscha river, which into the storehouses and shore a result of this reconnaisbatteries of Odessa, and then was agreed on drew off. The effect does not best place for landing an expeseem to have been great. The dition, afterwards proved unfleets remained doing nothing suitable. Lyons was now given off Odessa for another week, definite charge of all the transand then blockaded Sevastopol port arrangements; and as the for six days, after which they home authorities when providreturned to Varna. In the ing transports had taken no meantime small squadron thought as to how the men, under Lyons, comprising both horses, and guns were to be British and French steamers, landed, the work of providing raided the coast of Circassia. the necessary boats and ponThe Russians most wisely evacu toons had to be done by the ated the smaller ports, and con officers of the fleet. The councentrated 8000 men at Anapa, try was fortunate in having which was therefore far too under Lyons a young and enerstrong for the squadron to deal getic set of officers. His flag
captain, Mends, especially dis- and only snorted. In another second tinguished himself by the ability he was swinging in the air half-way with which he arranged the up the ship's side. details of the scheme for land But work as they would, ing a large number of men, the British transports were not horses, and guns at one and ready quite as the same
an open French, for we had far more beach.
cavalry and artillery than they. In the middle of these pre- Under these circumstances the parations came the cholera. The French sailed on September 5, French army lost 4000 men, and the British two days afterand in one of their line-of-battle wards, on the 7th. On the 8th ships 140 men died in three the fleets united. Before this days. The mortality amongst junction the Russians had a the British did not amount to splendid opportunity more than one-fifth of the tack. They were stronger than above, but still it was most the French, and were quite unsevere and discouraging. It was watched at Sevastopol only at this trying time that Sir 200 miles off; and, as Captain Edmund's cheerfulness and de- Eardley - Wilmot points out, termination to go on was most even if beaten they might have useful in supporting the waver broken up the expedition and ers. At last, on August 20, it defeated its purpose, for that was finally decided that the ex
year at any rate. pedition was to go at once, and Now came more delays: the September 2 was fixed for the French were not satisfied with start. Varna was a nasty place the Katscha, and asked for a for an embarkation, with conference, and a fresh reconheavy swell breaking on naissance had to be made. This open beach; but the seamen took two days, during which did marvels. Captain Eardley- time the expedition anchored Wilmot quotes a “staff-officer's in entirely unprotected letter":
anchorage, where bad weather “The sea was very rough, and it would have been most serious. took us some time to get alongside, When the landing - place was and then no little difficulty in putting decided upon the flotilla weighed, the things on to the already frightened and proceeded to a point some horses. I never saw anything like the pluck of the bluejackets.
thirty miles or so from the One horse would not allow the slingslanding-place. Next day they to be put under him, and kept on made only a dozen miles or so, lashing out with one hind-leg in a and again anchored—this time most furious manner (it was too rough to kick with both, or he would at Eupatoria. Finally, they have fallen). This beast was delay- arrived at “Old Fort," nine ing the embarkation of the other days after the French had horses, so one sailor called out to his started, and seven days after messmate, Jack, next time he kicks the sailing of the British porlay hold of his leg,' which Jack very coolly did, and to our utter astonish- tion of the flotilla—the distance ment the horse stood perfectly still traversed being about 250 miles.
As Captain Eardley - Wilmot still, without the assistance of points out, during all this time the men and guns from the either bad weather or the Rus- ships, it is probable that the sians might have completely siege would have failed. Albroken up the expedition. And together, from first to last, though the landing began in 4500 men were landed from such fine weather that more the fleet, about 1200 being than half the army was landed usually on shore at the same in twelve hours, bad weather time. Their losses in killed then set in, and no less than three and wounded amounted to 575. days were taken in landing the About half the guns for the remainder, so that it took four siege batteries were also supdays to put some 50,000 men plied from the ships. on shore. This, too, with no op The one operation in the position whatever, either afloat Crimea in which the navy or ashore, and with the boats of failed to satisfy
to satisfy those who a large fleet to assist.
The believe that ships can go anyauthor does well to point out where and do anything was that an invasion is not quite the attack on the sea-front of such an easy operation as some Sevastopol. Captain Eardleywould have us believe. Even Wilmot devotes some space to after the successful battle of the considering the reasons for the Alma, the armies were still en- attack, and falls foul of Sir tirely dependent on the fleets E. Hamley because that officer for food and stores, as, indeed, ascribes to Sir E. Lyons' inthey remained all through the fluence over Lord Raglan the war; and if the command of the very strongly worded request Black Sea had at any time made by the general that the passed into the hands of the navy should assail the forts. enemy, the expeditionary force There is no doubt that Sir E. must have surrendered.
Hamley writes strongly, and in Captain Eardley - Wilmot styling Lyons “Lord Raglan's throws no light on the ques- evil genius,” or in stigmatising tion as to who it was that first his zeal as “his rash desire to mooted the idea of the flank- do something effective," he is march and the change of direc- probably taking an extreme tion of the operations; and he view. On the other hand, as is unable to find any papers to Captain Eardley-Wilmot himcorroborate Sir E. Hamley's self points out, it is clear that view that Sir E. Lyons urged Lyons was constantly with Lord Lord Raglan to attack the Raglan, and that his advice North Side.
had great influence. Moreover, When once the expedition Hamley was on the spot, and was landed, and the Russians had good opportunities of had crippled their fleet by sink- gauging the effect of Lyons' ing seven ships across the mouth advice, and Captain Eardleyof the harbour, the main work Wilmot's evidence is mainly of of the allied fleets was done: a negative character. Nor was
this advice always confined to sea-forts, the most important matters maritime. For example, being that the works should be after the battle of the Inker- engaged at close range.
This Edmund recom was impossible at Sevastopol, mended, however, that our where, moreover, the works batteries [i.e., the siege-batteries] were exceptionally strong. To should reopen fire the next day have materially assisted the as if nothing unusual had oc- army in the assault
, the ships curred, and this view prevailed.” should have been in a position
Though there is no evidence to enfilade or take in reverse as to Lyons' opinion of the the works to be attacked by flank - march, it is plain that the army.
To do this it was he thought well of Balaclava, necessary to go a mile or so in which, as Captain Eardley- past the outer forts and well Wilmot makes clear, he was into the harbour, - an imposfully justified, for that insig- sible achievement, owing to the nificant little harbour held 200 sunken ships, which, moreover, vessels safely. The length of equally prevented our vessels road between Balaclava and from coming to close quarters the British lines was not Lyons with the inner forts. The only business; but on Lord Raglan thing left for the fleet to do must rest the responsibility for was to attack the sea-faces of the final decision to the the outer forts; but had every base for supplies. Lyons was gun here been silenced, it would also in favour of an attack still have been almost as diffion the forts by the navy. He cult as before to get into the writes when at Balaclava, “I harbour. Whether either the am naturally very anxious to admirals or the generals realised rejoin the fleet and take part this at the time is extremely in the attack on the batteries, doubtful. Lyons himself was which should of course take so hard at work at Balaclava place simultaneously with the that it is probable he did assault on Sevastopol by the not get time to thoroughly army. And again his bio- reconnoitre the forts,—indeed, grapher records “ Sir Edmund there never seems to have been anticipated the fleet would join overmuch reconnoitring in the in the attack, and no doubt Crimea at any time. Kinghe so expressed himself to Lord lake, whose detailed account of Raglan.' Sir E. Hamley may the attack remains the best have used the epithet “rash” that we have, and who is rather unguardedly, but other- practically uncontradicted so wise I agree with him, espe- far as the part assigned to cially that Lyons learnt by the British ships is concerned, experience how fruitless such supposes that the power of the an attack must be. The bio- works was well known, and grapher well points out the that the navy generally fully conditions necessary for success appreciated the difficulty of when ships are pitted against doing anything really effective.
Captain Eardley - Wilmot re- by a naval officer for the produces a plan made after the general public, the omission of attack by Cowper Coles, Lyons' Mends' name is somewhat unflag-lieutenant, representing the gracious. The handling of position taken up by the ships. the Agamemnon is frequently In this plan the power of the alluded to by Captain Eardleyforts, so far from being under- Wilmot, especially in estimated, is considerably ex- tion with the weighing of the aggerated. For example, the flotilla of transports and the cliff batteries are credited with entry into Balaclava harbour; three times the number of guns but in each instance the credit that they really possessed, and is given to Lyons, without any at least 300 guns in the outer mention or explanation that forts are depicted as bearing even a flag - ship is always on the ships, whilst Todleben handled entirely by her captain. gives the number as only 152. Owing mainly to the fact The number of guns in the that the French insisted second line of forts is also over- carrying out their part of the estimated, and it is scarcely attack at very long ranges, the conceivable that Lyons could much - talked - of naval attack have been at all sanguine of was really only a reconnaissance success if this plan had been in force. The fleets carried before him previous to his leav- about 12,000 men, and the total ing Balaclava. There is noth- loss in killed and wounded ing, indeed, in what is brought amounted to only 450. Not a forward by Captain Eardley- single ship was disabled, though Wilmot to show that Hamley the Albion was a good deal and Kinglake are not correct damaged. More than a third in making it appear that Lyons of this loss was borne by the only learnt by bitter experience Agamemnon, Sanspareil, and that nothing could be done by Albion, which were the only the ships which would be of three ships really warmly enmaterial assistance to the army. gaged for any time. The LonThe skill and gallantry with don, Rodney, and Arethusa also which the Agamemnon was
assisted this inshore squadron ; anchored exactly in the posi- but the combined fire of the six tion assigned to her has been ships, although it produced some already made clear by King- temporary effect, failed to silence lake. It is not astonishing the guns which they engaged. that the landsman gives all These guns, according to Todthe credit for the expert hand- leben, did not number much ing of the ship to the admiral, more than twenty or thirty. and ignores the captain of the The gallant attack of the inAgamemnon, Mends, who was shore squadron, therefore, went really responsible for the work- quite far enough to make it ing of the ship. But in this clear that it was hopeless for book, which is in great measure the fleets to break their way a popular naval history written into the harbour, whilst outside