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A History of the Nineteenth Century, Year by Year

Formerly commanded by Liprandi


Half a league, half a league, Half a league onward, All in the valley of Death Rode the six hundred. "Forward, the Light Brigade! Charge for the guns!" he said: Into the valley of Death Rode the six hundred.

[Sidenote: Liprandi's victory]

The whole Brigade would have been wiped out after the repulse, when the Russian cavalry rode in pursuit, had not several squadrons of French cuirassiers ridden to the rescue. The fact that the Russians retained the hills which they had captured justified Liprandi in claiming the victory.

[Sidenote: Preparing for battle]

In November, the French infantry in the Crimea numbered 81,000, the British 16,000, and the Turkish 11,000. Brave as the Moslems undoubtedly were, they were not permitted to demonstrate their value in subsequent encounters. While the allies strengthened their batteries and replenished their magazines, the Russians likewise fortified their position and gathered reinforcements. It was a race on both sides for the first delivery of the attack. On November 4, the allied commanders definitely arranged for a cannonade and an assault which was to place Sebastopol at their mercy. The Russians, recognizing their peril, completed the assembly of their forces to attack the allies and forestall them. In all, Menzikov could oppose 115,000 soldiers to the 65,000 available men of the allies.

The Russian commander assigned the main attack to General Soimonov with 19,000 infantry and 38 guns and to General Paulov with 16,000 infantry and 96 guns. The regiments in the valley of the Tchernaya, formerly commanded by Liprandi, but now led by Gortschakov, were "to support the general attack by drawing the enemy's forces toward them." The garrison of Sebastopol was to cover with its artillery fire the right flank of the attacking force. After effecting their junction, the two divisions were to place themselves under General Danneberg's command.

[Sidenote: Inkermann]

Soimonov issued under cover of a thick fog from the fortress before dawn on November 5, and to the surprise of the allies began the attack on the English left. The timely arrival of reinforcements under Buller enabled the British to repel the Russians. Soimonov was left dead on the field. The attack of Paulov on the right was no more successful. The Russians were here repulsed with frightful loss. When Danneberg arrived on the scene he found that, with Paulov's battalions on Mount Inkermann and with those of Soimonov, he could recommence the battle with 19,000 men and 90 guns. Ten thousand of these men were hurled against the English centre and right by Danneberg. The carnage was frightful. Between the hostile lines rose a rampart of fallen men. The Russians would probably have swept away the British by the sheer force of greater numbers, had they not been taken in the flank and repulsed by a French regiment which arrived just in time to save their English comrades.

[Sidenote: A dear victory]

Although the Russian attacking force had been diminished to 6,000 men, it was once more resolutely launched against the enemy, this time against the centre and left of the allied armies. So impetuous was the assault, that for a time the Russians carried all before them. But a simultaneous, irresistible advance of the French and English not only repulsed the attacking force, but drove it off the field. Shortly before noon the battle was decided. The heavy losses suffered by the Russians enabled the allies to oppose greater numbers of men against Danneberg's broken battalions and his still unused reserve, and to make use of their guns, now for the first time superior in number to the Russian ordnance. The battle of Inkermann closed with no grand charge on the one side, nor wild flight on the other. When the Russians saw that success was hopeless, they withdrew gradually, with no attempt on the part of the wearied allies to convert the repulse into a rout. On both sides, men had been ruthlessly sacrificed.


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