Imagens das páginas

Peninsular War very far exceeded, in- | voice of the “Great Eltchee” was raised stead of lamentably falling short of, the on the side of the French. The extraeffective coöperation vowed and prom- ordinary mission of Prince Menschikow ised by their successive commanders in was a well-intentioned move in a conciltheir name.

iatory direction : he demanded nothing These few words of warning will not more than the strict observance of treaty be found superfluous when we come to rights; and his abrupt departure, as the disputed battles or events; and even well as his peremptory demeanor, have the preliminary chapters setting forth been most unfairly represented as derogthe designs, resources, and preparations atory to the independence and dignity of Russia, should be perused with cau- of ine Porte. The crossing of the tion; although there is little fear of her Pruth, and the occupation of the Prinsucceeding in passing herself off as the cipalities, were equitable and moderate most inoffensive and least grasping of steps towards a reasonable object; and the great powers. General Todleben, if Austria and Prussia had not played however, insists that she played the part false, that object would have been atof lamb to our wolf throughout, and tained without further complication. says distinctly that “not to agree at the Energetic measures on their part would present time on this fact--that the two have prevented the war; but, fatally antagonistic powers, France and Eng. carried along by the current of public land, ardently desired war-would be to opinion, they held aloof, and at the last defy evidence.” What has been mis. moment Austria passed from neutrality taken for ambition in Russia, is simply to threats. a double impulse arising from ber geo Such, in substance, is General Todgraphical situation. “ With boundaries leben's explanation of the immediate touching Europe on one side and Asia canses of the war. His sketch of the on the other, she finds herself the natu- military and naval events which precedral intermediary between the east and ed the invasion of the Crimea, is not less the west.

Thence for her the necessity opposed to the popular impression of of the double end towards which her England and France. Thus, he says policy must be directed. she must pur that it is altogether a mistake to supsue the development of her interest in pose that the Turks single-handed gained the East by means of European civiliza- any advantages over the Russians in any tion, and seek to consolidate the founda- quarter; and as for Silistria, that the tions of the political importance that she siege was raised solely because Marshal has acquired in the great family of E1- Prince Paskievitch's lines of communiropean states.” As head of the Greek cation were commanded by the AlgChristians, the czar could not help inter- trians, whose intentions were unknown. fering to protect his co-religionists, and He says: thus afforded a pretext for the quarrel for which Napoleon the Third was eager- listria in special compilations; and in these

“A great deal has been written about Sily on the look out; whilst the ever-wake- recitals there is frequent mention of the rare fal jealousy of England was aroused by energy of the defenco, of assaults repulsed, of finding the constantly extending frontier audacious sorties of the Turkish garrison, of Russia, though still a few thousand who are said to have got possession of our miles off, and separated by a kingdom trenches, of the skilful disposition of counteror two, approaching nearer and nearer mines, etc., etc. All this is inexact to such a the heart of her oriental empire.

point that it is impossible to recognize in Her lurking hostility was first exhib- under the ramparts of Silistria in 1854.”

these recitals the facts which really occurred ited by what is described as the first manifestation of the progress of English He goes on to deny in detail the alinfluence in Turkey-the formal retusal leged mining and counter-mining; to of the Ottoman Porte to deliver up to describe the Arab Tabia as a formidable Austria and Russia the Hungarian and fort; to scout the notion of a regular Polish insurgents who had taken refuge siege; to represent the sorties of the in the states of the Sultan. Then fol. garrison (which he limits to two) as unlowed the quarrel of the Greek and Lat- successful, although he admits that one in churches, in which the dictatorial cost the Russians seven bundred men;

and to assert that the besiegers never were each, it is contended, of such a sustained a repulse, although they lost nature as to require a separate army for twenty-five hundred men before the place. its protection. The coasts of the Baltic,

the Polish and Gallician borders, and the “The Marshal quitted the army on the 12th Russian possessions on the Black Sea, June (old style). By the order of Prince Gortschakow, measures were taken for the might be simultaneously assailed; and assault of the advanced forts. They were in the want of good means of communicasuch a situation as to make it impossible for tion made it impossible to rely on the them to oppose a powerful resistance. But rapid transfer of forces to a threatened in the night of the 20th to the 21st June, and spot in an emergency. “This,” says when the troops, already at their posts, wait- the General, “ was our weak side. But, ed but the signal-gun to rush to the assault, by way of compensation, we had an inthere arrived unexpectedly a courier from the contestable superiority over our enemies. Marshal, bearing the order to raise the siege. This superiority consisted in the possiand retire to the left bank of the Danube."

bility of recruiting and maintaining an So that, if we accept this Russian ver- army such as it was not given to any sion, the memorable exploit of Mr. King. other European power to possess. The lake's three " English lads,” Nasmyth, entire independence of the government, Butler, and Ballard (although confirmed and the cheap maintenance of the solby the printed journals of two of them dier, compared with his cost in other in the Times) must henceforth be con- countries, made it possible for Russia to sidered little better than a myth. oppose to her enemies an army numer

We know few more striking examples ous enough to struggle with success of the extent to which human credulity against their united forces." Her miliinay be stretched than the theories with tary forces are divided into active troops, which Mr. Urquhart managed to inoc- regular and irregular ; troops of reserve; ulate his disciples touching the irresisti- troops destined to the interior service of ble strength of Russia, her project of the empire. The active regulars are comuniversal empire, and the complicity of puted at 678,201; the active irregulars British statesmen in her views. There at 242,203 ; the troops destined to the are persons who believe still that Lord interior service, composing the Garde Palmerston was amongst.her emissaries, Intérieure, at 144,937; the active troops and that he brought about the Crimean of reserve and depot, 212,433 ; grand War in the hope of aiding her in some total in January, 1853, 1,365,786. The inscrutable way. Calm, calculating poli active regulars consisted of 544,927 inticians were not wanting to contend that fantry, 81,723 cavalry, 41,551 artillery, the only real danger to the balance of horse and foot. Twenty-four men in power was to be apprehended from the each battalion were armed with rifles, giant of the north; and these derived making rather less than five per cent. of small comf rt from the reflection that the infantry. the first aggressive movement on a large With regard to the disposition of this scale wouli dispel the delusion that force, in the summer of 1854, the numthe feet of the giant were of clay. It is ber of fighting men which could be emcurious, therefore, to learn, on official ployed to carry on the war against the authority, what was the actual available Turks, and defend the frontiers of the strength of the Muscovite empire in empire, was 701,824. The Russian navy, 1854, and whether its condition indi- at the same period, consisted of 512 vescated either the capacity or the wish to sels, carrying 7105 guns ; inc'uding 31 overrun or overawe Western Europe. ships-of-the-line, 10 sailing frigates, 10

The proposition laid down and par- steam frigates, and 2 corvettes. Of tially established in the first chapter of these, 295 vessels, with 4105 gms, comthis work is, that at the very time when posed the Baltic fleet; and 145, with the Emperor Nicholas was accused of a 2855 guns, that of the Black Sea. The extending his hand to grasp, by antici- only screw men-of-war in the Russian pation, the inheritance of the “ sick navy, three ships -of-the-line and two man,” he bad male no preparations on frigates, were in the Baltic. The Turkbis frontiers either for attack or defence; ish land forces are estimated at 230,000; and these frontiers, vast but vulnerable, those which England could spare for the

[ocr errors]


service at 35,000; and the French con- readily replaced, and that the sustained tingent at 63,000; making in all 328,000 discharge at all hours of the day and to encounter Russia in the East. The night along the whole line of the fortifinaval superiority of the maritime pow cations argued an inexhaustible stock of ers was confessedly such as to render powder and ball. The number of canexact computation and comparison use non captured with the place was enorless.

But we now learn that a large We made known in August, 1856, a proportion of the guns laid up in the fact which has since become notorious, parks of artillery were old and unserDamely, that the land defences on the viceable; that the very metal was use. north of Sebastopol were so weak that less for want of foundries; and that the the Russians bad given up all hope of whole of the powder in Sebastopol, at defending them, when the French com- eight pounds a charge, amounted to mander refused to coöperate with Lord 325,000 charges. Very few tools for Raglan in the attempt to carry them by the engineers and pioneers were to be assault. Besides the fullest confirmation found in the government stores; not of this statement regarding the north, more than enough for 200 men; so that we find in the work before us accumu- it became necessary to collect all the lated proofs that the town was equally tools in the town and vicinity for the open to a coup-de-main on the south: execution of the works. This is the

most remarkable want of all, when it is " It must be confessed that all the fortifica- remembered how much was effected by tions on the south side of Sebastopol, were the spade and pickaxe for the defence. particular imperfections; but since, at the Building utensils (mnatériaux de contime of their construction, no further use of struction) also fell short, with the excepthem was contemplated than to repulse the tion of the wood, iron, cordage, and attack of a weak invading force, the works sail - cloth in the naval arsenal. The might thon, up to a certain point, appear suf- bread provided for the land forces was ficient. These fortifications were armed with sufficient for four months and a half's 134 guns; and the total of the guns for the defence of Sebastopol on the land side, consumption; that for the fleet, seven

months. There were military hospitals amounted to 145. This artillery was spread over all the circuit of the line of defence, on

for 1125 patients, and intirmaries capa. an extent of six and a half versts,* and could ble of receiving 1200. The naval hospinot concentrate on almost any point of the tal was put upon a footing to receive space in front of the fortifications the fire of 18,000. The hospital chests were only more than three or four of its picces; there provided with medicines, lint, and other were even spaces not covered by it on the necessaries for the proper treatment of approaches of the land batteries.'

1500 sick, and the dressing of 6000 The Russian troops in the Crimea on wounded. This explains the frightfal the 13th of September, the day of the condition in which they were found by disembarkation, did not exceed 51,500 the Allies at the conclusion of the siege. men; and these being dispersed over The difficulties to be encountered by the peninsula, Prince Menschikow could an invading army were so vividly imnot concentrate more than 30,000 in and pressed on the mind of Prince Menschiabout the place. To these must be add. kow that he remained incredulous touched the crews of the vessels of war in ing the meditated expedition till it took the harbor, computed at 18,500. These place. Little had, consequently, been were about the numbers at which the done to strengthen the defences, and British government had estimated the the appearance of the armament off the defensive forces. Bint we seem to have coast of the Crimea was a most disavery greatly over-estimated (or the Gen- greeable surprise. eral has greatly under - estimated) the resources io munitions of war, magazines

“On the 13th of September, 1854, about of provisions, hospital stores, and other ten in the morning, two ships of war were

discovered in the horizon from Sebastopol, necessaries. It was remai ked, during and behind them a white cloud of smoke the siege, that a disabled piece was raised by a large number of steamers. Soon

afterwards arrived the news that seventy • Rather more than four English miles. vessels of the enemy had doubled the Cape of

Tarkhan - koute. About mid - day the tele- | to divert our attention, by false demongraph of Cape Loukul announced to Sebasto- strations, towards any given point of pol that the feet which had been seen in the the peninsula, to induce us to direct our northwest, was sailing in three columns to forces on that point, and after having wards the west-northwest. After mid-day

effected a disembarkation on the same telegraph announced, at divers inter

a totally vals, that the number of ships was succes

different point, to strengthen themselves sively augmenting, and towards six o'clock in it before our troops had time to connearly a hundred were already counted. A centrate anew.” Thus, if Prince Menslittle later appeared some more steamers and chikow, on the first news of the appearmany sailing vessels. At length a Cossack

ance of the fleet off Eupatoria, had hurbrought the news that the number of enemy's ried there with the bulk of his forces, vessels was so considerable that it was im: the Allies might have given him the possible to count them. At half - past eight the telegraph signalled that the enemy's fleet of the fortifications and the weakness of

slip, and possibly-considering the state was casting anchor.

* The invasion of the Crimea by the Allies the garrison – have got possession of had then become imminent. Let us now see the place without a battle. The Genwhat, at such a moment, the commander of eral is further of opinion, that the coverour forces by sea and land could undertake ing fire of the English and French ships to resist the enemy, at a time when the ap- would have made it an extremely rash proach of autumn was day by day contirming and perilous proceeding to oppose the the conviction at Sebastopol that the Allies would attempt nothing decisive against the landing, even had there existed no unplace during the year 1854.”

certainty as to the spot. The best

course, he contends, was that actually The first question that arose was, pursued — to take up a strong position whether it was possible or advisable to as far as possible out of reach of the oppose the landing, and the Russian ships, and make a resolute stand there. commander has been severely criticised It is undeniable that the position of for missing the opportunity. But Gen- the Alma was well chosen for the pureral Todleben gives solid reasons for the pose of enabling an inferior force to bar tactics of his chief. To be able, he says, the passage of one nearly double its num. to oppose the disembarkation of the bers; the Russian army consisting of enemy, it was essential to be informed 33,600 men of all arms, and 96 guns; of the place where it was to be effected. whilst that of the Allied may be roughly But if it is difficult enough to fix pre- computed at 60,000 men and about 150 cisely, in the case of a river, the spot guns. The Prince's superiority in cavwhere the enemy intends to pass, it is alry prevented the English from attemptmore difficult still to declare beforehand ing a turning movement over the open the point the enemy may propose to ground on his right, and he fancied himchoose for his landing on a coast more self, until undeceived by the Zouaves, or less accessible to invading troops on equally protected by the steepness and all its extent. At the degree of perfec. ruggedness of the ground on his left. tion to which steam transport has been General Todleben's plans of the field brought, distances can be cleared with substantially agree with the English and such celerity, that neither infantry nor the French; and he tells us livile new cavalry disposed along the coast can touching the disposition of the troops. ever keep pace with the steamers of What strikes us most in his account of their foes. Railroads alone can, to a

the batt is its similarity to that of M. certain extent, give means of remedying de Bazancourt; a similarity extending this disadvantage in land forces; but it even to the style. Indeed, it would seem is well known that in the Crimea there from numerous examples—Thiers and was a complete absence of railroads, and Lamartine among the rest—that no batthat in general all the means of commu- tle could be described in French without nication existing at the time, with the the use of inflated terms or phrases which solitary exception of the chaussée on the carinot be construed literally without south, were little to be depended on and causing confusion and inconsistency. It especially difficult to use in the rainy is difficult to understand how troops can

In such circumstances, he con- gain a victory, or carry a position, withtinues, “it became easy for the enemy out losing more than five per cent. of


their entire force in killed and wounded, cimated by a front and flank fire, and after having been culbutées, écrasées, or fearing to be harassed in its retreat, décimées par un feu meurtrier. Unluck this battalion, after having exchanged ily, moreover, General Todleben's duty fire with the French skirmishers, and as commandant of the engineers, con- checked their attack as much as possible, fined him strictly to the town and forti- commenced its retreat towards the vilfications of Sebastopol; and he was lage of Orta-Kissek. General Kiriakow obliged to depend on the reports of also, who commanded at the extreme left, others for the details of the narrative of to avoid the fire of the ships, was withwhich we now propose to give an ab- drawing in the direction of the telegraph, stract or summary:

when a battery of light artillery and the According to this history, then, the regiment of Moskow came up, and the division of Bosquet was already on the retreat was temporarily suspended. But march at six in the morning. At seven, these reënforcements did not arrive till when the French centre also began to the French bad crossed the river in force, move, Marshal St. Arnaud having been and had extricated Bosquet from the informed that the English army was not risk to which he had been exposed of yet ready, suspended the march of Bos being outnumbered and cut off. Canroquet's division for a time, and the serious bert and Prince Napoleon with their diFrench attack consequently was not com- visions advanced to the right bank of the menced till half past eleven. Bosquet Alma at one o'clock. Their skirmishers reached the right bank of the river about engaged the Russian skirmishers in the half-past twelve.* At the same time the gardens, whilst five of their batteries steamers increased their fire, and threw opened fire against the Russian centre. shells on the Russian left wing, which, One battery was sent to rejoin Bosquet, distant as they were, suffered considera- and two other brigades with a battery ble loss. Supported by this fire, the were ordered up by St. Arnaud to supbrigade D'Autemarre advanced to the port the French attack; so that on this ford of Alma-Tamack, which was imme- part of the field, 6000 Russians had to diately crossed by the Zouaves, who make head against 7000 French, whose headed the brigade, and, dispersing as flank was covered by 7000 Turks. Deskirmishers, began to scale the heights. spite their numerical inferiority, the RusThe brigade followed, and, with a bat- sians, on the arrival of the regiment of tery of Bosquet's brigade, formed on Minsk, made an effort to drive the French the plateau across the road leading from from the heights with the bayonet, but Alma Tamack to Hadjiboulet. About were met with such a sustained fire of the same time, the brigade Bouet and grape and musketry, that they fell back the Turks were crossing the ford at the and resumed the defensive. They had mouth of the river.

also the worst of it in the artillery comThe battalion which first opened fire bat that ensued, their gunners being on the Russian side was the second bat- rapidly picked off by the French rifles. talion of the infantry regiment of Minsk, Despite of what is described as a despewhich, from its position near the village rate resistance, Bosqnet, Canrobert, and of Aklese, did not become aware of the Prince Napoleon, won their way formovement of the brigade D’Autemarre wards; although it was not until the regtill the head of the French column iments of Minsk and Moscow had lost emerged from the ravine and took up a 1500 men, and the majority of their offiposition on the crest of the heights. The cers, including their colonels, were killed Zouaves had hardly succeeded in clearing or wounded, that they began to retreat the heights of the left bank of the Alma, towards the telegraph, stopping at inthan already this (the Minsk) battalion tervals and opening a brisk fire. Two found itself very critically placed. De batteries of light artillery did the same.

“At length”-here we translate literA glance at a map will show that crossing ally—“the left wing, stopping at the the river opposite the French position was a very telegraph, opposed a last resistance to different operation from that which fell to the the French ; and it was not till after a share of the English, who had to climb a rugged bank and face a hot fire of grape and musketry furious conflict, that it was obliged to

yield definitively to the enormous superi

at once.

« AnteriorContinuar »