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Title: The Cause of the Charge of Balaclava

Author: Thomas Morley

Release date: April 2, 2014 [eBook #45309]

Language: English


Transcribed by David Price, email  Many thanks to Trish Gurney for lending her copy of original so that this transcription could be made.

The graphical cover of the booklet

The Cause of the Charge of Balaclava

Graphic of man on horse, shield with skull and crossbones etc. Oct 25th


Thomas Morley

17TH Lancers
The Man of the Hour

Entered at Stationers Hall.  All Rights Reserved.

p. 1The Man of the Hour!

(SEE 19th CENTURY, MAY, 1892.)

Drawing of Thomas Morley


Late Sergeant of 17th Lancers,
Captain of Cavalry through American Civil War.


The charge of the Light Brigade, one of the most magnificent assaults known in Military annals, and one of the greatest blunders known to military tactics, has never yet been properly described.  This may be accounted for by the party bias which has colored all accounts of the battle according to the views entertained by the various writers.  Having seen so many of these accounts for the last forty four years in various newspapers and Magazines, and having been interviewed myself many times I have felt impelled to write what I know about the action, and to give a plain unvarnished account of the same without indulging in any fine language or in technicalities, but using only soldiers’ phrases and giving the details “with malice toward none” and the truth about all.

The British Cavalry in the Crimea consisted of five heavy regiments, called the Heavy Brigade, commanded by General Scarlett, and five light regiments called the Light Brigade, commanded by Lord Cardigan.  Attached to the cavalry was one troop of the Royal Horse Artillery comprising six guns, commanded by Captain Maude.  This Cavalry Division was commanded by the Earl of Lucan who had his headquarters at Balaclava Harbour, his command being in camp about two miles nearer to Sebastopol.  Their duty was to defend Balaclava, which was the depot of supplies for the British Army engaged in the siege of Sebastopol.


In addition to the Cavalry Division Sir Colin Campbell commanded about eight hundred Highlanders (Scotch Infantry), and in camp near Balaclava we had also some sailors and marines stationed on the heights near the harbour and a British frigate was moored so that her broadside could protect it.  There were in addition about twelve hundred irregular Turkish Infantry commanded by Rustem Pasha, stationed in three redoubts, armed with seven old British ship guns, a little more than a mile from the supplies.  There were also three other redoubts thrown up to form a chain on the ridge of the Causeway Heights leading to Sebastopol.  The last three were not mounted with guns.  All these precautions were taken by Lord Raglan in case the Russians should make a descent on Balaclava in force, which they did before daybreak on the 25th of October, 1854.


Lord Lucan knew that the Russians were in strong force near his pickets, and yet he did not strengthen them or patrol the small front he had to protect, while his cavalry pickets knew nothing of the Russian advance until the Turks opened fire, they just saved themselves from capture or annihilation by being better mounted than the enemy.

The Turkish General seemed to have understood his duty better than either Lord Lucan or Sir Colin Campbell, for he advanced his pickets, sent out patrols, and hoisted ensigns in his three redoubts to signal to the British that the Russians were advancing.  Lord Lucan and Sir Colin Campbell and staffs and others riding near the Turkish redoubts before daybreak observed ensigns flying on their parapets and asked one another what it meant, thus exposing their ignorance, but they did not take the trouble to find out the meaning of it, and no one can learn from any history thus far published how long these ensigns had been flying.  They had very likely been flying all night.  Had Sir Colin Campbell but thrown out a Corporal’s guard to watch the redoubts it might have been the means of getting re-enforcements down from Sebastopol before daylight and preventing us from losing the guns and redoubts and the annihilation of the Light Brigade, and the loss of the only road for supplies.  Lord Lucan with his attendant staff went riding round till break of day, when the Turks opened fire, being the first to find the Russians and the first to attack them.  Lord Paget was with Lord Lucan’s staff and when the Turks opened fire he galloped to the Light Brigade and took command in the absence of Lord Cardigan, who was on board his private yacht then lying in Balaclava Harbour.

The British forces, as was the custom, turned out every morning about two hours before daylight, and on this eventful morning the men of the Cavalry Division were standing to their horses for nearly two hours, shivering in the cold fog.

But at the first or second shot fired they mounted, and the heavy Brigade advanced at a trot followed by the Light Brigade and Horse Artillery.  The Light Brigade halted near number 3 redoubt and the heavy Brigade halted two hundred yards in advance of it.

The Horse Artillery took up position just before it came to number 3 redoubt and opened fire on the Russian Artillery, nothing but smoke from their guns being perceived.  The heavy Brigade moved first to its left, then back again to its right, several times.  Lord Lucan calls that a demonstration.  They could not see the Russians, and the Russians could neither see nor hear the heavy Brigade.  If they had, they would not have been firing at the white smoke above the black fog of the Turkish redoubts and our Horse Artillery, but would have sent a volley into the heavy Brigade.  Our Artillery was only wasting the ammunition, and when they finally saw the Russians they had no ammunition, and had made no provision to get any.  Daylight was now approaching and Lord Cardigan arrived fresh from off his yacht.  To think of a General with an important command during an active campaign sleeping on his yacht while his command was about to fight the enemy!

Think of his vessel taking up such valuable space in the harbour, while we could not get ammunition landed nor even medicine!  He no sooner arrived at his Brigade than he ordered it to retire by alternate Regiments, leaving Lucan and his “demonstration” to their fate.  This was done without orders.  We were then supporting the heavy Brigade.  The Light Brigade retired past the Horse Artillery position just as Captain Maude was being carried off on a stretcher severely wounded.  We retired about one hundred yards past his command and remained in that position watching the Artillery fire all its ammunition away.  When it did finally retire, the heavy Brigade also retired.  Lord Lucan had now found out that an army of Russians had manoeuvred p. 4around his cavalry pickets, and that thirty guns and ten thousand Infantry had taken up position within one and half mile of Balaclava and supplies, and opened fire on the three Turkish redoubts before his cavalry pickets were aware of it.

The Russian General could not see any troops near the three redoubts, as Lord Lucan had retired with his fifteen hundred cavalry and troop of Horse Artillery and left the poor badly armed Turks to themselves.  No one had sense enough to order the Turks to fall back to the three redoubts which had not yet been armed.  We had plenty of Artillery Horses (without ammunition for their guns) which could have removed the seven guns and the ammunition out of the first three redoubts into the three redoubts without guns.  Had this been done we should not have lost any guns, but our victory would have been complete and the Light Brigade would not have been destroyed.  The Russians had thirty guns and eight pieces of heavy calibre firing at number 1 redoubt with three guns, yet the Turks held on until the Russians stormed it with some thousands of Infantry.  Kinglake says thirty guns opened upon numbers 2 and 3 redoubts and eleven battallions of Infantry stormed them; the same guns opened fire on 2 and 3 redoubts.  If five hundred Turks were defending number 1 redoubt only seven hundred Turks would be in numbers 2 and 3 redoubts of two guns each.  These ran away before the Russians got near them and also left their guns unspiked.


The British Army and the Turkish Infantry were in the south valley.  The Russian General, not seeing the enemy in his front, thought he had a clear road to Balaclava Harbour.  He began to advance his army toward it.  He sent four strong squadrons of cavalry from near number 1 redoubt which he had just captured to reconnoitre, and they advanced toward Balaclava Harbour.  Sir Colin Campbell commanding the Infantry, had taken up his position on a knoll and ordered his command to lie down, the commanding officer of the four squadrons of Russian Cavalry could not see them because of the long grass and brush.  Sir Colin Campbell was between Balaclava Harbour and the Russian Cavalry.  When they arrived within firing distance Sir Colin ordered his command to form a single line two deep and from that position they fired a volley into the four squadrons of Russian Cavalry advancing.  It took them by such surprise that it seemed to paralyse them by the sudden shock.  They all wheeled about and retired in a kind of circle back to the point from which they advanced.  Their loss, however, was but slight.  The British Cavalry was on the slopes of the Causeway heights in the south valley, looking on at Sir Colin Campbell, and his few Highlanders instead of assisting him with our Horse Artillery.  We had a sailor’s battery near the Harbour on the hills.  They fired at the Russians, but I could not see at whom.  The British Frigate lying across the harbour of Balaclava also opened fire on the Russians.  After this for some time everything seemed to be quiet.

Sir Colin Campbell’s command and the Turkish Infantry were ordered to take position at Kadikoe, to defend the approach to Balaclava Harbour.

The Heavy Brigade’s camp was situated between the 5th redoubt and the Vineyard on the slope of the Causeway heights in the south valley.

The camp lying in a very exposed position, Lord Lucan ordered it to be removed in great haste to the south side of the vineyard for safety.

At the same time the Light Brigade took up position at the top end of the South Valley about five hundred yards from the vineyard.

The first line consisted of the 17th Lancers on the right, the 13th Light Dragoons and the 8th Hussars completed it, and remained mounted commanded by Lord Cardigan.

p. 5The second line were the 4th Light Dragoons and 11th Hussars commanded by Lord Paget—they were dismounted.  Lord Cardigan was ordered to watch the enemy and attack anything but columns of Infantry.  No one could see the enemy and the enemy could not see the Cavalry Division, and not a single picket or sentry was posted to give warning.  The Heavy Brigade was allowed to go to the back of the Vineyard to hunt up their camp equipments, while parts of regiments began to water their horses.  The Horse Artillery being in some hidden place I never saw them again after clear daylight.  Lord Lucan being absent from his command made things worse at this critical time.  Lord Raglan and staff, and a French General and staff assembled on the height at the top end of the two valleys which had to be ascended to get to Sebastopol.

Both commanders-in-chief could observe all the movements of the Russian Army, their Infantry massing and a large column of cavalry marching up the valley of death.  Lord Raglan could see the Light Brigade part dismounted, yet he could not see the Heavy Brigade, most of them being back of the Vineyard.  He sent one of his staff officers to inform Lord Lucan that a large force of Russian Cavalry was advancing up the North Valley, but he could not be found with his Division.  General Scarlett assumed command in Lucan’s absence, and sent staff officers to hunt up the Regiments.  General Scarlett tried to assemble his Brigade at the east end of the vineyard, the Light Brigade camp standing in front of those he assembled.  The Russian General had military sense enough to advance a line of mounted skirmishers half a mile in advance of his main body up the North Valley.  Neither Lucan, Cardigan, nor Scarlett knew anything of this force marching up the North Valley till informed by the commander-in-chief’s aide-de-camp.  When the Russian skirmishers arrived near the top of the North Valley, about 30 rode over the Causeway height and came within thirty yards of the Light Brigade position.  A Russian officer who was directing that part of the line of Russian skirmishers was killed, sword in hand, in front of the 13th Light Dragoons by one of their officers.  Lord Cardigan did not trouble himself to go or send one of his staff officers 30 yards—had he done so he would have seen the Russian column marching up the valley.  The Russian General found out from the commander of the skirmishers where the British Cavalry was in position.  He immediately marched his column to the top of the Causeway heights, advancing toward the Light Brigade.  The Russian General saw the Heavy Brigade assembling at the end of the Vineyard, which was nearer to his command.  He made an oblique movement at a trot toward General Scarlett, advancing down the Causeway heights through the camp ground of the Heavy Brigade that had only just been removed out of danger.  I believe Lord Cardigan never saw the Russian skirmishers or the Russian columns crown the heights.  But Captain Morris commanding 17th Lancers did, and like a flash he ordered the 17th forward.  As we were advancing toward the Russian column, Lord Cardigan saw the 17th Lancers moving, halted us, and ordered us back, wishing to know where we were going, and who ordered us to move.  The consequence was, we never did attack the Russians.  When the Russian column arrived within 50 yards of the vineyard, the Russian General saw he had to cross a large ditch, extending on the side of the vineyard, and that he had also to advance through the Light Brigade camp, with picket ropes standing with sick and lame horses tied to the ropes before he could attack the heavy Brigade.  The Russian General thought he was being led into a trap.  He then halted his column with his right flank exposed toward the Light Brigade.  Then Lord Cardigan had the opportunity to attack and cover himself with glory.  No General had or ever will have a better or more favourable opportunity.  He had the ground in his favor, and not 500 yards to advance to the Russian Cavalry column, and part of the Heavy Brigade mounted only 50 yards from the Russian column to assist.  But no, he would not attack, and how he could sit on his horse, and see the Heavy Brigade fight such great odds, and never attempt to give them a helping hand, passes understanding.  The Russian column, and not more than 50 yards away General Scarlett’s few hundred in line of battle, stood looking at each other.  Kinglake says, Lord Lucan told Scarlett to take the four squadrons to attack the Russian column (it was only p. 6three squadrons however.)  General Scarlett ordered all he had assembled under such trying circumstances to advance to the attack.  In passing through the Light Brigade camp, standing together with sick and lame horses still tied to the picket ropes, two officers’ horses fell over the ropes and camp utensils, one being seriously hurt, to say nothing of a trooper falling in clearing the camp.  The command had to jump a wide ditch at the end of the vineyard which so scattered them that they were nearly in single line, and not more than 30 or 40 yards from the Russian column.  In five seconds officers and men were in their places.  General Scarlett then ordered his trumpeter to sound the charge.  It was repeated by the other trumpeters.  They had to advance up the slope of the Causeway heights.  The consequence was they never arrived at a charging speed.  The command began to cheer and could be heard all over the South Valley, the Light Brigade helping them to cheer with faces pale with rage at having to sit on their horses and not be allowed to give their brave comrades a helping hand.  General Scarlett led his command about the centre of the Russian column, going straight through it, and re-found what was left of his command the other side of the column.  Just as General Scarlett was entering the column, Colonel Hodge advanced around the east end of the vineyard with the 4th Dragoon Guards in column of troop at a brisk trot.  On they advanced, clearing the Russians column right flank 40 yards.  Colonel Hodge then gave the word of command “right wheel into line” and ordered the charge to be sounded.  Already at a trot, they got into charging speed at once, going through the Russian column, scattering them in all directions, the Light Brigade cheering with them till the 4th Dragoon Guards came out of the Russians left flank.  General Scarlett’s command had rallied and charged back through the Russian scattered column.  After receiving these three charges in rapid succession the Russian column was so disorganised that we could see them wheeling about, and almost before General Scarlett’s command had got through the Russian column a second time it began to retire at a trot back over the Causeway heights leaving their killed and wounded.  Kinglake says, 78 of the Heavy Brigade were killed and wounded all by the sword.  I consider Colonel Hodge proved himself the best cavalry officer in the division.  Had Lord Cardigan assisted with the Light Brigade, the balance of the Heavy Brigade not engaged would have given a helping hand.  It would have been one of the most crowning victories in the annals of Cavalry History.

When the Russian column had retreated over the Causeway height and down the North Valley, Lord Cardigan mounted Lord Paget’s command, advanced the Light Brigade in column of troops from the right at a trot, making a circle of a mile in the South Valley below the battle ground, arriving back at the Light Brigade camp.  We were then dismounted.

Lord Raglan saw the Russians trying to remove the guns out of the redoubts they had captured from the Turks, and also making a different disposition of their army.  Raglan also saw the inaction of his cavalry, the Light Brigade being dismounted.  He sent some of his staff officers down to it, and we were ordered in great haste to mount.  The first regiment mounted was the 11th Hussars, and was led by a staff officer of Lord Raglan’s to the North Valley.  The next regiment was the 17th Lancers, and we were formed in line on the 11th Hussars.  The next regiment was the 13th Light Dragoons.  This completed the first line of the Light Brigade in the new formation.  The second line consisted of the 4th Light Dragoons and 8th Hussars, commanded by Lord Paget.  Lord Cardigan never knew that the formation of his brigade was altered.  He did not know that Lord Raglan ordered the Light Brigade to the North Valley till informed, and this is the only time Lord Raglan ever interfered with the Cavalry—then he could not find any leaders.  Our formation before this was the 17th Lancers on the right of the first line, the 13th Light Dragoons and the 8th Hussars completed it, commanded by Cardigan.  The second line was the 4th Light Dragoons and 11th Hussars, commanded by Lord Paget.

In his book Lord Paget states that he could never understand how the 8th Hussars got into his command in place of the 11th Hussars.  The reason was, that he and Cardigan were with the Heavy Brigade taking some refreshments and congratulating p. 7the leading officers.  When Lord Cardigan joined his Brigade in the North Valley, he wanted to know by whose authority they were placed there.  He was informed by order of Lord Raglan.

The Russian General seeing the allied infantry marching down from Sebastopol knew then he could not take Balaclava, so he began to remove the guns he had captured from the Turks, out of the redoubts.  Lord Raglan and the French Commander-in-chief came to the conclusion to bring on a general engagement, and try to take back the guns that the Turks had lost, and also regain the redoubts and key to Balaclava Harbour—our good military road we had lost which was the cause of the suffering of the British Army in the winter of 1854.  Lord Raglan ordered the cavalry division to attack the Russians to prevent them from carrying off the guns.  Lord Lucan did not understand the movements of armies or orders.  Order after order was sent to him, and, during the delay the Russians were making additional alterations in their Army.  The third order was for “the cavalry to advance and take advantage of any opportunity to recover the Heights, and they would be supported by infantry which had been ordered to advance on two fronts.”  Lord Raglan ordered the Duke of Cambridge to advance his division of Infantry and Artillery down the South Valley, which he did some distance in line of battle.  Sir George Cathcart was ordered to advance his division of Infantry and Artillery down the North Valley.  Every soldier in the Cavalry Division knew what heights we had lost.  The whole Cavalry Division saw the Russians take the heights, and redoubts, with guns in them.

After Lucan received the third order, he must have read it backward, for he thought he was to support the Infantry, and prepared the cavalry for it without seeing the Infantry or knowing where they were, which he states, and never made any attempt to advance.

Lord Raglan then selected Captain Nolan to take the fourth and last order, but during all this delay of 40 minutes, the Russians, seeing the allied Infantry taking possession of both valleys, concentrated their Army and removed the captured guns which Lord Raglan wanted to prevent them from doing.  Not one of the four orders suggested that the cavalry should charge.  Lord Raglan knew it would be annihilation for them to do so with the Russian Army in such a strong and commanding position.  At the end of the North Valley the Russians put in position their best Artillery, supported by five or six thousand Cavalry, their Infantry also being in position on all the commanding hills.  The three redoubts they captured were full of Infantry and Artillery, with riflemen on the commanding positions near the redoubts on our right.  On our left they had six guns placed in position supported by Infantry and riflemen armed with needle guns.


Captain Nolan after receiving the last order galloped down the steep heights from the position of Lord Raglan and staff, finding Lord Lucan the Cavalry Commander with the Heavy Brigade in the South Valley near the scene of their engagement of two hours before.  The Causeway Heights were between the two Brigades so that they were out of sight of each other though only five hundred yards apart.  The Light Brigade were in position at the head of the North Valley, with the Chasseurs d’Afrique stationed about 250 yards at the left.

Lord Lucan describes the arrival of the order thus:—“The Cavalry was formed to support an intended movement of the Infantry when Captain Nolan came up at speed and placed in my hands this written information—‘Lord Raglan wishes the Cavalry to advance rapidly to the front and try to prevent the enemy carrying away the guns.  Troop of Horse Artillery may accompany.  French Cavalry on your left.’”  He said to Captain Nolan after reading the order “Attack sir, attack what, what guns sir?”  Captain Nolan pointed with his p. 8sword, “There, my Lord, is your enemy, there are your guns.”  This conversation must have occurred in the South Valley where the Heavy Cavalry were formed to support the Infantry and where neither guns nor enemy were in sight.  Captain Nolan probably pointed with his sword to the Causeway Heights, where the nearest guns of the enemy lay, and which was the point of attack intended by Lord Raglan.  Had they been on top of these heights the redoubts would have been in sight, had the speakers been in the North Valley the words would have been an absurdity, for the direction of the Russian Army did not require to be pointed out with a sword.  Several batteries were plainly in sight across the valley and at each side, with thousands and thousands of troops.  It is recorded that Lord Lucan made some insulting remarks to Nolan, telling him to quiet himself.  Both of them moved over to the Light Brigade, and Lord Lucan informed Lord Cardigan that it was Lord Raglan’s order for the Light Brigade to charge the Russians in the Valley.  There is probably no doubt that Cardigan called Lucan’s attention to the fact that there were batteries in front and on each flank, and that the ground was covered with riflemen.  This of course I did not hear.  I first saw Lord Lucan riding about the attacking line and was aware that we were about to charge.  I also noticed the Chasseurs over at our left preparing to move at the same time.  I saw very distinctly what does not appear in any history, Lord Cardigan gallop on perhaps three hundred yards in front and to the right to a piece of slightly rising ground, evidently to reconnoitre the position of the Russian Army and the best way-ground for his brigade.  We were now in line thus:—


Lord Cardigan.

11th Hussars.

17th Lancers.

13th Light Dragoons

Lord George Paget.


4th Light Dragoons.

8th Hussars.


Almost at the moment that Lord Cardigan had left us Colonel Douglas, commanding the 11th Hussars was ordered by Lord Lucan to fall back to support the 17th which they did, altering the attacking line so that we went on in this formation.


17th Lancers.

13th Light Dragoons.

11th Hussars.


4th Light Dragoons.

8th Hussars.


This movement was executed simply by the 11th Hussars waiting for us to advance until they were at proper supporting distance when they began to move, for we were getting under way at the time.  I never heard the word of command to go forward from any officer.  If given at all it must have been by Lord Lucan, for Cardigan was, as I said, in advance of us planning the line of movement and evidently did not see what went on in his attacking line at the moment of advance.  The whole movement was executed in the greatest haste and we were quickly off at a trot.

Then in the very beginning of the Charge, when the direction we were taking just became evident, occurred Captain Nolan’s movement that has been the cause of so much controversy.  I was only about seventy yards from Captain Nolan and distinctly saw every movement.  Captain Nolan was in front of the 13th Light Dragoons, who took their dressing and interval and speed by the 17th Lancers, the regiment of direction.  As soon as the brigade was fairly in motion, so that its direction down the valley was evident, Nolan rode away from the 13th at speed to the front of the 17th Lancers, reached a position in front of the centre of the 17th, gave his order “three’s right” with his horse’s head facing the regiment, at the same time waving his sword to the right, which signified “take ground to the right,” then turned his horse and galloped towards the Causeway Heights, still pointing with his sword in that direction.  At that moment a p. 9shell exploded and a piece of it struck him in the left breast near the heart.  Probably the unearthly scream which rang in our ears above the roar of the opening cannonade was a dying effort to make us follow his direction.

He remained in the saddle until the horse had cleared the right flank of the first squadron of the 17th, in column of threes, when the horse, finding the rider had no control over it, turned sharp to the right—the way home—throwing the lifeless body head-first to the ground.

The 17th had instantly followed his direction and gone “three’s right.”  The 13th had gone straight on instead of checking, as they should have done to respond to our movements.  They were perhaps 25 or 30 yards in front of us when Nolan fell.  At that juncture I heard Sergeant-Major J. Nunnerley, of the 1st Squadron—now living at Ormskirk, Lancashire—shout in a loud voice, “17th Lancers, (Three’s Left) or Front forward!”  (I belonged to the second Squadron).  We went three’s left, the right flank of the second squadron lapping the left flank of the first one-fourth its front or more, so that the two flanks became merged together.  At that instant, the Russian Artillery in position across the valley, fired a volley into the 17th, which seemed to paralyse it, killing and wounding a number of officers and men.  It seemed to me a troop of horses fell, myself and horse being knocked down with them.  I remounted and followed the shattered line.  All this time I never saw Lord Cardigan at all.  Kinglake’s account of him as such a conspicuous figure on his white-legged horse, riding in front of his command and constantly checking the speed by orders to “keep steady,” does not agree with my observation, although he is said to have been just in front of our regiment.

From the time I saw him ride ahead and to one side of his command to reconnoitre, I never saw him again till we had passed the Russian guns.  He probably joined some portion of the 13th Dragoons as they came up with him, but that regiment scattered completely, going down into skirmish line, having lost their base, the 17th Lancers.

No squad of it held together to pass the guns or to return.  In the tremendous uproar and confusion of such cannonading it was impossible to have any very distinct impression.  I observed everything clearly up to the moment the volley burst in our ranks and knocked me down.  After that I simply scrambled on my horse and rode on pell-mell, and I believe Lord Cardigan did the same.  The smoke prevented anyone from seeing any distance and the noise from hearing, so I never heard an officer’s voice from the time Nolan fell.  It was the order of the brave Nunnerley that brought us to front forward as stated, and I heard no further orders after that.

The Russian gunners were well drilled.  There was none of that crackling sound I have often heard in the American War and other places, where one gun goes a little ahead and the others follow, having the effect of a bunch of fire-crackers popping in quick succession.

In such case the smoke of the first gun obscures the aim of the rest.  The Russian Artillery at Balaclava went off at the word of command, all together.  One tremendous volley was heard with flashes of flame through the rolling smoke.  While they reloaded the smoke lifted so that they could see to take aim again.  There were probably twenty cannon at our right firing at us, and two batteries—twelve guns—in front.  The batteries at the left on the Fedioukine Heights were in action, but their fire probably did not affect the first lines.  Their fire was directed on the Chasseurs d’Afrique, who moved toward them simultaneously with our move forward.  The direction was such, however, that the shells would fall among the supports, Colonel Douglas’ and Lord Paget’s lines.  If we had been moving over uneven ground we should have had some slight protection in the necessary uncertainty of aim of the guns, but moving as we did in compact bodies on smooth ground directly in range, the gunners had an admirable target and every volley came with terrible effect.

There is a natural instinct to dodge cannon balls.  In such fire as we were under it changed to an impulse to hurry.  There was no time to look right or left, and the p. 10guns in front were what I looked out for.  They were visible as streaks of fire about two feet long, and a foot thick in the centre of a gush of thick white smoke, marking about every three hundred yards of the way, as they would reload in 30 or 40 seconds.  The last volley went off when we were close on them.  The flame, the smoke, the roar were in our faces.  It is not an exaggeration to compare the sensation to that of riding into the mouth of a volcano, but those who did not fall were through the guns in an instant and full of fight.  The action of the scattered troops behind the battery and on the way back was sufficient proof that they were not frightened or demoralized, even by the proceeding—unheard of for Cavalry—of attacking batteries in front.

Before we reached the guns every officer of my squadron, the second, was either killed or wounded, leaving no one to command us.

Thirty of the men followed Troop Sergeant Major O’Hara, and fifteen followed Colonel Mayow, chief of Cardigan’s Staff.  As I said before the 13th Light Dragoons were so scattered, that a group did not enter the enemy’s lines together.  The 11th Hussars was ordered to support us, the 17th Lancers, and we never saw them in the fight.  Colonel Douglas, 11th Hussars, Lord George Paget, 4th Light Dragoons, Colonel Shewell, 8th Hussars, all managed to keep groups of their commands together, to enter the line of guns.  Lord Paget commanded the 4th Light Dragoons and 8th Hussars, yet he lost the 8th and found the 11th Hussars (our supports).  The ride down the valley could not have occupied five minutes.  I could have run it on foot in seven minutes, as I was champion runner in those days, but the formation of the brigade with which we started had been destroyed, probably within three minutes.

Our arrival at the battery silenced it instantly, and the gunners began to try to move the cannon away.  The gospel of Russian fighting was always to save the guns.

My first thought after we were through the line was to look for an officer to see what we were to do, I saw Lord Cardigan at first but I had no impulse to join him.  I think no British soldier ever had.  He lead 670 and none relied on him.  I saw troopers riding past him to the right and left.  He was about 50 yards beyond the guns on their extreme left.  I turned to look for some one of my own regiment and mistook Lieutenant Jarvis, of the 13th Dragoons, for one of my officers, as the uniforms of both regiments being very similar.  Lieutenant (now Major) Jarvis is, I believe, still living.  He was about 200 yards to my left front, riding to his right towards a cannon that was retreating to the rear.  I galloped up to him and informed him that Lord Cardigan was above, pointing my sword to the place, my lance having been shot away at the last volley as we charged the guns.  He replied “Never mind, let’s capture that gun!”  We raced towards it.  He said, “Cut down the gunners!”  He shot one of the horse’s in the head bringing it to a sudden stop.  The gunners disappeared between the horses and gun-carriage as we slashed at them.  We both dismounted and took out the dead horse while more of the Brigade gathered about to assist us.  Private John Smith, who died in a London Workhouse about the end of January, 1899, mounted one of the horses attached to the gun, and I believe there is another soldier living who mounted another horse of the gun.

We started back off the field at a gallop with the mounted cannon, and were near the place where I had seen Lord Cardigan, when a large body of Cossacks charged, who appeared from behind a hill and surrounded our group.  I was riding on the right of the gun, the direction in which the Cossacks attacked us.  In the melee I got through the wrong end and had to ride back again down the valley.  I was pursued by seven of them until they fairly chased me into a body of Russian Cavalry with its back to me.  There was no alternative but to ride through or surrender to the Cossacks.  I put spurs to my horse and bolted into the line.  I got through with a knock on the head from a Russian officer, that would have wounded me but for my dress cap, which I eventually lost, but the lines saved it.  More members of the Light Brigade were riding about—some of them wounded—fighting as best they could.

Corporal Hall, of my own troop, had his lance trailing about and covered with blood.  p. 11I told him to throw it away and wanted to pick it up myself, as I needed one, but there was no time.  Hall was captured and died of amputation of a leg.

During the melee, about 40 stragglers of the Brigade were driving a line of Russian Hussars down the valley in close column.  I rode in the rear of them and began to order the men back.  I ordered Private Clifford of my own troop to halt, instead of which he charged into the solid column and was cut and pierced to death before my eyes.  The column came to a trot, and walk, and then wheeled about.  I turned my horse about and saw a line of Lancers marching down the valley and instantly thought they were the French Lancers, as they carried flags on their lances.  I rode to them, and when within 30 yards they fired at me.  I then saw their long grey cloaks and knew they were Russian.  It was in fact the Jeropkine Lancers just formed in close line across the valley, cutting off our retreat.  I turned back to my scattered comrades, who were riding about like myself in all directions, not seeing which way to go.  I raised my sword and shouted to them to fall in.  They galloped to me from all directions, and I hastily formed them in lines, putting those with lances in front.  I believe there were eight of the 17th Lancers in the front rank, with members of other regiments forming a second line.  The Russian Lancers were not more than 40 yards from us when I ordered them to cheer and charge.  The Brigade of Russian Hussars were marching up the valley about 50 yards behind and there were Cossacks on each flank.  The Russians must have thought we were assembling to surrender, and when we yelled and charged into the centre of their line, they seemed to be paralysed.

The point of a lance through my sword hilt tore the flesh off my middle finger, and this trifling wound was the only injury I received in that immortal fight.  Three of the men in my group fell in the charge but I seemed to have more when I got through the lines, other stragglers having rushed through the opening we made or rode round the flanks.  We galloped off on our way back, pursued by some of the Cossacks, firing at us, until we came to a square of infantry on rising ground with muskets and fixed bayonets pointing at us.  They yelled something in Russian, I suppose calling us to surrender.  When they saw that we was not going to surrender, they fired a volley point blank at us and at the shortest range.  This was fearfully destructive, and only a few of my little squad were left.  Weightman and Marshall together with others of the 17th were captured here, one with 13 wounds and the other with 9, and were prisoners for a year.  We found the guns again re-manned and in position again across the valley, and after we had charged through them from the rear they opened fire on us again, as well as the infantry.

There were no more of the enemy in front and I told the men to separate.  James Cope, 17th Lancers, and George McGregor, 4th Light Dragoons, opened out each side of myself, and we made the best of our way back up the valley.  Cope and I reported together to the regiment which had assembled, numbered off, and been complimented by Lord Cardigan before we got there.  We were the last squad to return, and the only squad that rallied through the guns.

The engagement may be summed up thus: There were five groups which charged into the guns.  The first two were 17th Lancers, one group commanded by Colonel Mayow, chief of Lord Cardigan’s staff, the other by Troop Sergeant Major O’Hara.  The third group was the 11th Hussars under Colonel Douglas.  The fourth group were 4th Light Dragoons, commanded by Lord Paget.  The fifth group, 8th Hussars, Colonel Shewell and the last regiment to enter the batteries.  These five groups charged the masses of Russian Cavalry that were supporting the artillery, time and time again, driving them some hundred yards down the valley.  This seems almost incredible, but it must be recalled that we had no idea of the colossal blunder of which we were victims.  Our natural thought of course was that we would be immediately followed and supported by the Heavy Brigade and Infantry, both of which were stationed close in our rear.  The French Cavalry we know had moved and I thought they were there with us until I had ridden nearly into a body of Russians, taking them for the French.  Of course, the Russians p. 12shared our impression that this was the beginning of a general attack, which accounts for their temporary confusion and partial retreat.

While these five groups were going on fighting as best they could, scattering the Russian Cavalry, the General ordered out the Jeropkine Lancers—fresh troops who had not been engaged in the attack on the Heavy Brigade two hours before.  These Lancers took their position between the guns across the valley, apparently cutting off the retreat of all the Light Brigade by forming across their rear.

The officers commanding the different groups now realised that they were unsupported and in great danger.  There was a hasty effort to join forces to make the best of their way back.  Lord Paget, happening to be near the 11th Hussars, ordered Colonel Douglas to join his command.  He refused at first, but seeing himself cut off did so, and a wordy controversy as to who was technically in command takes up many pages in Paget’s book.  Probably, at the time, neither gave thought to anything but getting out of the trap.  Colonel Mayow and Sergeant-Major O’Hara joined with the 8th Hussars, making two groups fighting and charging the Russian Lancers.  Some squads of the Light Brigade had not time to wheel about, but just time to go three’s about, and charge with rear rank in front to prevent the Russian Cavalry from charging their flanks.  Not all the Brigade had fallen into these larger groups which first cut their way out.  After the remnants of these groups had escaped the Jeropkine Lancers, six squadrons strong were formed in line to prevent the stragglers from escaping.

The Brigade of Hussars seeing the Lancers marching down the valley and only a few scattered enemy, halted, wheeled about, and marched up the valley.  It was just at this time and between these two bodies that I rallied my little squad.

It is a singular thing that every authority on the Charge of the Light Brigade gives a different number of killed and wounded, but they substantially agree as to the number 198 which reported mounted after the engagement.

Lord Cardigan gives 195.  James Cope, 17th Lancers, McGregor, 4th Light Dragoons, and myself reported after the roll was called.

I am only certain of the figures for my own regiment.  The 17th Lancers went into the engagement 145 and came out 45 mounted.  Every officer of my squadron was killed or wounded.  We lost 13 prisoners, only one of them unwounded, and he was dismounted, his horse having been killed.  Of these only 3 lived to return to the English ranks, two of them from my squad—Weightman and Marshall.  Weightman, who is still living as a retired officer, had thirteen wounds, and Marshall nine wounds.


Lord Lucan (on horse)

The phrase “Someone had blundered” is familiar to every one, but the condition of affairs which precipitated the blunder are not known and have never been stated in history.

After the Heavy Brigade made their glorious charge, the Light Brigade was placed in the North valley by order of Lord Raglan, Lords Lucan and Cardigan being absent congratulating the Heavy Brigade officers.  Both Commanders-in-chief and Staffs had assembled at the top of Sebastopol Heights and were watching the Russian Army.  They decided to force a general engagement and recapture the guns and heights the Turks had lost.  The Russian General could see the allied armies—the French massing on the heights of Sebastopol and the British Infantry and Artillery marching down both valleys.  The Russians, recognising the uselessness of trying to take Balaclava, ordered their army on the Causeway Heights to retreat and abandon the captured guns.  Lord Raglan sent General Airey, Quarter-master General, to give Lord Lucan instructions to which he paid no attention.  The third order was, “The Cavalry to advance and take advantage of any opportunity to recover the heights; they will be supported by Infantry which has been ordered to advance on two fronts.”  p. 14Now the trouble commenced.  Lord Lucan could see that Lord Raglan intended the whole cavalry to advance in one body, but he could not give the word of command for his two brigades to move together, not knowing the drill in vogue.  Again, how could he ask the cavalry to advance with the Artillery without ammunition?  How far could he advance against the Russian Artillery?  It would be simple slaughter to charge.  Lord Lucan had invaded the Crimea without any supply for his cannon.  He admits that he did not leave the forts till he had used all his ammunition, and that was before daylight.  He was then only one mile from Balaclava Harbour, the only place for supply, and he could have sent his ammunition wagons for it.  His artillery being only six-pounders—the smallest in the Crimea—it was impossible to draw or borrow it.  So the humbug went on, and instead of him informing Lord Raglan he had no supply of ammunition in the Crimea—which was his first duty to his Queen and country—he prepared the Heavy Brigade to support infantry at the top of the South valley, quite reversing the third order.

The two commanders-in-chief had their infantry ready for the general engagement; the French infantry massed on the top of Sebastopol heights to support the English; and the French Cavalry was ordered to report to General Lord Lucan, the English Cavalry commander.  The Duke of Cambridge had his division on top of Sebastopol heights the first and could see the Russian army retreating on the Causeway heights and abandoning the captured cannon.  The Duke waited some time for Lord Lucan to get a move upon his command, then marched his troops down the heights of Sebastopol to the South valley, seeing no signs of the cavalry advancing, ordered his infantry and artillery in line of battle and marched them towards the Causeway heights.  I am of the opinion—and always have been—that if Lord Lucan had continued his humbug for ten minutes longer, the Duke of Cambridge would have attacked the retreating Russians on the Causeway heights.

The Commander-in-Chief, worn out with Lord Lucan’s delay of nearly 40 minutes, despatched the fourth and last order, viz., “Lord Raglan wishes the cavalry to advance rapidly to the front and try to prevent the enemy carrying away the guns.  Troop of Horse Artillery may accompany.  French Cavalry on your left.  Immediate.”  Captain Nolan was selected specially to see this order carried out, being one of the best cavalry officers in the British Army.  When the order was given he started and galloped down the steep heights to the South valley to Lord Lucan, saluted him and gave him the order.  I suppose he read it, but knowing what took place after, I rather doubt it.  Lord Lucan says after he read the order he said to Captain Nolan, “Attack! Sir!  Attack what?  What guns, sir?” and he states also that Captain Nolan, pointing, said, “There, my Lord, is your enemy, and there are your guns.”  Captain Nolan did not tell him to attack and he had no proof to show he did.

Lord Lucan left the largest part of his command in the South valley prepared to support infantry he had never seen.  The first thing he did was to inform Lord Cardigan that Lord Raglan had ordered the Light Brigade to charge the guns, telling a lie in the Commander-in-Chief’s name.  Lord Lucan then ordered Colonel Douglass to fall back and support the 17th Lancers, and none of the Regimental Commanders or Lord Cardigan were informed of the alteration, although just going into the most deadly charge ever made.  Captain Nolan placed himself in front of the 13th Light Dragoons.  Seeing one-third of the cavalry going down the valley to be sacrificed, they having to charge one mile and a half, leaving army and supports, and the commander of the Brigade away, Captain Nolan rode in front of the 17th Lancers, the regiment that gave the speed and direction, taking Lord Cardigan’s place.  He knew the enemy were on the Causeway Heights retreating and abandoning the captured guns, not more than half a mile from the Light Brigade, and no danger to the Brigade to get where Lord Raglan intended.  Captain Nolan knew the guns we were going to charge were sent to that position to cover the Russians’ retreat from the Causeway heights.  After Captain Nolan had galloped about forty or fifty yards in the front and centre of the 17th Lancers (he did not know that the 11th Hussars were ordered to fall back) he gave the word of command “Threes right,” waving his sword and turning to his p. 15left.  At the same moment the Russians opened fire and a piece of shell struck him in the breast near his heart.  Had he not have turned he would have been struck in the back or possibly have been missed altogether.  When he gave that word of command he intended the whole attacking line to move by it.  Though killed his body still remained in the saddle, the horse, seeing the opening on the right, turned sharply in that direction and flung the corpse to the ground.

The dress worn in the charge by the 17th Lancers, October 25th, 1854

The dress worn in the charge by the 17th Lancers, October 25th, 1854.

The Russians having opened fire, the 13th Light Dragoons did not hear the word of command but advanced.  If Sergeant-Major Nunnerley had not given the word of command “Three’s Left” (or front forward), it is a question how far we should have taken ground towards the Causeway heights.  The 13th Light Dragoons had their commanding officer, Captain Oldham killed, and all the regiment so scattered that a group of men never held together.  The 11th Hussars, through the 17th Lancers taking ground to the right, lost them entirely.  The 8th Hussars that were in the 2-line under Lord Paget, with the 4th Light Dragoons, got separated and joined part of the 17th Lancers, after fighting through the guns.  Lord Paget, with the 4th Light Dragoons, found the 11th Hussars through the guns, and Colonel Douglas commanding would not obey Lord Paget because Lord Lucan had given him the command of the regiment to support the 17th Lancers, although Lord Paget was the senior officer.  Yet they had to join together to fight their way out.

In the meantime, Sir George Cathcart marched his division down the heights of Sebastopol and across the North valley near the 5th redoubt, (without guns) on the top of the Causeway heights.  He could see the Light Brigade charging 12 to 20 guns in front and receiving flank fire from 20 other cannon, being the Russian field artillery and the seven ship guns the Turks had lost, together with ammunition in the three redoubts.  Sir George could also see the French Cavalry charging a battery of field artillery of six guns on our left.  The Russian cannon were all brass polished, 12 and 24 pounds.  Their infantry were in square, and the commanding hill covered with the Needle riflemen.  Sir George saw all this destruction of life and he could see the Heavy Brigade and Horse Artillery had not even been ordered from the South valley to support or assist the Light Brigade or French Cavalry.  Sir George said it would be dangerous to advance further.  Lord Lucan brought up two regiment and yet Cathcart would not budge an inch.  I believe I saw the whole of the regiments—five in all.  (See Lord Raglan’s letter where he states only two regiments).

The Duke of Cambridge is the only General living that commanded a division in the battles of Alma, Balaclava and Inkerman, and he knows what I have written is the living truth in every particular.  He saw over 400 horses killed in less than 15 minutes after receiving the order to charge.  The combined forces who took part in the Charge numbered 670 all told, of whom only 198 returned mounted.

p. 16Lord Lucan only gave one order to the Light Brigade, and that led to its destruction, sooner than inform the Commander-in-Chief that he had no ammunition for his artillery.  If Lord Raglan had known, there would not have required any order or A.D.C., and there would not have been any murderous charge by order of Lord Lucan.  Had Lord Raglan had known there was no ammunition, he would not have ordered the Horse Artillery to accompany, (see his letter for proof).  Lord Lucan allowed the Russian cavalry to advance at a trot through the camp ground of the Heavy Brigade, and none of the commanders knew about it till informed by the Commander-in-Chief.  Lord Lucan could not be found, and in consequence it was left to five regiments, under General Scarlett, to engage and defeat the Russians, who numbered seven to one.  Lord Cardigan asserts there were only three regiments engaged.  And that seven regiments were mere spectators, and yet Lord Lucan asserts he was not taken by surprise.  If so, it is an amazing thing that a commander should permit a Russian cavalry force (3500) to make its way, in broad daylight, directly through the camp ground of his own troops.

After the charge Lord Lucan ordered the remnant of the Light Brigade six miles off on the hills near Inkerman to recuperate.  In a few days the rain came down and every thing became a mass of mud, impossible to procure either meat, drink, or clothing.  All the water we could get to drink was ladled off the ground.  The supply consisted of small holes the horses made with their feet and all kinds of filth being on the ground helped to make things worse.  We were left to die without having any medicine or even a cup of hot water.  Several weeks elapsed before Lord Lucan found it out, for everyone seemed afraid of him and Cardigan, and these two never talked together.  Lord Lucan occupied all the houses in Balaclava Harbour, while Lord Cardigan lived on his yacht seven miles from his command, and never visited them, although they were dying of hunger and starvation, and even when we went into action at Balaclava and Inkerman he still lived aboard.  It was twelve o’clock when he arrived at Inkerman and his command never went under fire again during his service.

At last a storm came on the 14th of November, 1854, which continued for three days, and not a tent could be made to stand up.  Some were blown away and never found again.  Think of men dying under such conditions.  The horses also were dying of hunger some of them eating all the hair off their bodies.  If it had not been for Lord George Paget I do not know what would have become of us.  He marched us down to Balaclava but the journey proved too much for our horses, over 100 stuck fast and died in the mud.  The Light Brigade received several hundred horses that broke loose on from the Russians on the night of October 25th, 1854, or I would not be counting horses by the hundred.  (See Lord George Paget’s Book for proof.)

Lord Cardigan died serenely satisfied because he had destroyed his command in obedience to orders, after stating in the Times, “No one man surpassed another in gallantry.”  He is the only officer who had a command that returned back mounted, and that did not give a helping hand.  He lost the whole of his command, five regiments and staff, and returned back by himself.  He states in Kinglake, “I rode slowly up the hill and met General Scarlett.  I said to him, ‘What do you think, General, of the aide de camp after such an order being brought to us which has destroyed the Light Brigade, riding to the rear and screaming like a woman’?  Sir J. Scarlett replied, ‘Do not say any more, for I have ridden over his body.’”

Lord Cardigan, in less than six months after, published a letter in the Times newspaper, dated April 6th, 1855, viz.:—“The Light Brigade had not advanced more than 100 yards when they were fired upon, and Captain Nolan, who had placed himself in front of a squadron of the 13th Light Dragoons, was killed.”  Lord Cardigan’s statement to Kinglake, published in the appendix 14 years after the charge, viz.:—“After advancing about eighty yards a shell fell within reach of my horse’s feet, and Captain Nolan, who was riding across the front retreating with his arms up through the interval of the brigade.”

I should like to know which statement is true about Captain Nolan.  It was impossible for him to be killed in front of the 13th Light Dragoons.  It was impossible for him to be retreating with his arms up through the interval in front of Lord Cardigan.  The interval was in the rear of him, and he would have to look back.  Did Nolan scream in front or rear of Cardigan?  How did he get in p. 17front of Lord Cardigan without him seeing him go?  Lord Cardigan was in front of his command a minute or less before the attacking line commenced the charge, and this is why so many saw him.  Captain Nolan would not dare take command if Lord Cardigan had been there.  What kind of leading was he doing not to see him; and the 17th Lancers go “threes’ right” and take ground to the right.  Many things I should like to explain if I had space.


Lord Raglan re Lord Lucan.

Before Sebastopol,

Dec. 16th, 1854.

Field-Marshall Lord Raglan

to Duke of Newcastle, Sec. for War.

My Lord Duke,

I regret to be under the necessity of forwarding to your Grace the copy of a letter which has been addressed to me by Lieutenant General the Earl of Lucan.

When I received it I placed it in the hands of Brigadier-General Airey, the Quartermaster-General, and requested him to suggest to his lordship to withdraw the communication, considering that it would not lead to his advantage in the slightest degree; but Lord Lucan having declined to take the step recommended, I have but one course to pursue—that of laying the letter before Your Grace and submitting to you such observations upon it as I am bound, in justice to myself, to put you in possession of.

Lieutenant General the Earl of Lucan complains that in my dispatch to Your Grace of the 28th of October, I stated that, “from some misconception of the instruction to advance, the Lieutenant General considered that he was bound to attack at all hazards.”  His Lordship conceives this statement to be a grave charge and an imputation reflecting seriously on his professional character, and he deems it incumbent upon him to state those facts which he cannot doubt must clear him from what he respectfully submits as altogether unmerited.

I have referred to my dispatch and far from being willing to recall one word of it, I am prepared to declare, that not only did the Lieutenant General misconceive the written instruction that was sent him, but that there was nothing in that instruction which called upon him to attack at all hazards, or to undertake the operation which led to such a brilliant display of gallantry on the part of the Light Brigade, and unhappily, at the same time occasioned such lamentable casualties in every regiment composing it.

In his lordship’s letter he is wholly silent with respect to a previous order which had been sent him.  He merely says that the cavalry was formed to support an intended movement of the infantry.

This previous order was in the following words:—“The cavalry to advance and take advantage of any opportunity to recover the heights.  They will be supported by infantry which has been ordered to advance on two fronts.”

This order did not seem to me to have been attended to, and therefore it was that the instruction by Captain Nolan was forwarded to him.  Lord Lucan must have read the first order with very little attention for he now states that the cavalry was formed to support the infantry, whereas he was told by Brigadier General Airey, “that the cavalry was to advance and take advantage of any opportunity to recover the heights, and that they would be supported by infantry.”  Not that they were to support the infantry; and so little had he sought to do as he had been directed, that he had no men in advance of his main body, made no attempt to regain the heights, and was so little informed of the position of the enemy, that he ask Captain Nolan, “where and what he was to attack, as neither enemy nor guns were in sight?”

This, Your Grace will observe, is the Lieutenant General’s own admission.  The result of his inattention to the first order was, that it never occurred to him that the second was connected with, and a repetition of the first.  He viewed it only as a positive order to attack at all hazards (the word “attack” be it observed was not made use of in General Airy’s note).  An unseen enemy, whose position, numbers and composition he was wholly unacquainted with, and whom, in consequence of a previous order, he had taken no steps whatever to watch.

p. 18I undoubtedly had no intention that he should make such an attack—there was nothing in the instructions to require it; and therefore I conceive I was fully justified in stating to Your Grace what was the exact truth, that the charge arose from the misconception of the order for the advance which Lord Lucan considered obliged him to attack at all hazards.

I wish I could say with his lordship that, having decided against his conviction to make the movement, he did all he could to render it as little perilous as possible.  This, indeed, is far from being the case in my judgment.  He was told that the Horse Artillery might accompany the cavalry.  He did not bring it up.  He was informed that the French cavalry was on the left.  He did not invite their co-operation.  He had the whole of the heavy cavalry at his disposal.  He mentions having brought up only two regiments in support, and he omits all other precautions, either from want of due consideration, or from the supposition that the unseen enemy was not in such great force as he apprehended, notwithstanding that he was warned of it by Lord Cardigan, after the latter had received the order to attack.  I am much concerned, My Lord Duke, to have to submit these observations to Your Grace.  I entertain no wish to disparage the Earl of Lucan in your opinion, or to cast a slur upon professional reputation; but having been accused by his lordship of having stated of him what was unmentioned in my dispatch, I have felt obliged to enter into the subject, and trouble Your Grace at more length than I could have wished, in vindication of a report of Your Grace in which I had strictly confined myself to that which I knew to be true and had indulged in no observations whatever, or in any expression which could be viewed either as harsh or in any way grating to the feelings of his lordship.

I have etc.

(Signed) RAGLAN.


The Gun that Lieutenant Jarvis and myself captured



To Lord Wolseley, Commander-in-Chief.

909, Steuben Street, N.W.,
Washington, D.C., U.S.A.,
November 12th, 1896.

My Lord,

I beg leave to renew my application for the Victoria Cross, basing my claim upon gallantry of conduct during the Charge of the Light Brigade, 25th October, 1854, and the Battle of Inkerman, and will give proofs that corroborate my own statements.

My previous applications for the Cross have been brief.  With your Lordship’s permission I will now give a more detailed statement.

First as to the Charge of the 600:—

My squadron was nearly annihilated before we reached the Russian battery, every officer being either killed or wounded.  Myself and horse had been knocked down p. 20once and my lance shot away.  After our passing through and silencing the guns my first thought was to look for directions from an officer, and I rode to Lieut. E. L. Jarvis, still living I believe a retired Major, of the 13th Light Dragoons, as his uniform was so nearly like that of the 17th Lancers, that I first thought he belonged to my regiment.  Lieut. Jarvis pointed to a cannon that was being taken off at a gallop towards our right rear, and said, “Let’s capture that gun.”  We immediately charged upon it.  Jarvis shot one of the horses in the head, bringing it to a stop.  I cut down the gunners with my sword.  We both dismounted and took out the dead horse, when more stragglers of the Brigade came to our assistance.  Private John Smith, C Troop, 17th Lancers, now living in London, mounted one of the horses to the gun carriage and we started off the field with it when a large body of Cossacks charged upon us completely surrounding us.  I fought my way through and was pursued down the valley by seven of them into a body of Russian Hussars re-forming.  I had no alternative but to charge through their line, which I did, an officer striking my head with the sword, my lance hat saving my head except for a bad bruise.  A brigade of Russian Hussars were retreating down the valley pursued by about forty of our men.  I rode from the right flank to the left flank of the rear rank calling to the men to fall back.  Private Clifford of my troop rode into the column and was cut to pieces before my eyes.  The Hussars came about and we were then between two large bodies of cavalry, one marching up the valley, the other down, so that the few of our Brigade who were farthest beyond the Russian guns were now completely hemmed in by a great body of Russians.  At this critical moment, when there was no officer to command us and we were apparently lost, I beg leave to introduce the words of a comrade still living describing my conduct.

The Only Squad Rallied Through The Guns

J. W. Wightman, late 17th Lancers, in Nineteenth Century, May, 1892.—“We heard the familiar voice of Corporal Morley, of our regiment, a great, rough, bellowing man from Nottingham.  He had lost his lance hat, and his long hair was flying out in the wind as he roared, ‘Coom ’ere! coom ’ere!  Fall in, lads, fall in!’  Well, with shouts and oaths he had collected some twenty troopers of various regiments.  We fell in with the handful this man of the hour had rallied to him, and there joined us also under his leadership Sergeant-Major Ranson and Private John Penn, of the 17th.  Penn, a tough old warrior who had served with the 3rd Light in the Sikh war, had killed a Russian officer, dismounted, and with great deliberation accoutred himself with the belt and sword of the defunct, in which he made a great show.  A body of Russians blocked our way.  Morley, roaring Nottingham oaths by way of encouragement, led us straight at them, and we went through and out at the other side as if they had been made of tinsel paper.  As we rode up the valley, pursued by some Hussars and Cossacks, my horse was wounded by a bullet in the shoulder, and I had hard work to push the poor beast along.  Presently we were abreast of the Infantry who had blazed into our right as we went down; and we had to take their fire again, this time on our left.  Their firing was very impartial; their own Hussars and Cossacks following close on us suffering from it as well as we.  Not many of Corporal Morley’s party got back.”

After Wightman fell I kept a group together through the battery, again in position and then ordered them to separate for safety.  Private James Cope died in India, and James McGregor, 4th Light Dragoons, since dead, reported to our regiment with me.  We were the last to get back to the regiment.

The names of Cope and McGregor are appended to my first application, 17th October, 1856.

Second as to the battle of Inkerman:—

At the battle of Inkerman, November 5th, Cornet Cleveland was mortally wounded.  He fell from his horse in front of me just as the regiment was ordered to retire.  After we had retired some distance I rode to the commanding officer of the regiment and asked to be allowed to fall out to go back for Cornet Cleveland.  He told me to go to the Sergeant-major and tell him to send two men to assist me.  He told his brother James O’Hara and went himself.  In the act of carrying Cornet Cleveland off the field, both James O’Hara and myself had our dress hats shot off our heads by a cannon ball.  I annex p. 21a letter from Lord Tredegar, commanding officer, in support of this statement:—

Terdegar Park, Newport, England,
April 6th, 1889


I remember quite well that on the field of Inkerman you asked permission to fall out to go and try and bring in Cornet Cleveland, who had been seriously wounded a short time previously.  I gave you permission and you went with two other men, and brought Cornet Cleveland into camp.  I also know that you displayed great gallantry in the Light Cavalry charge at Balaclava.

Yours sincerely,
Late Captain 17th Lancers.

Bringing out of the thickest of the fire, Cornet Cleveland, mortally wounded

Bringing out of the thickest of the fire, Cornet Cleveland, mortally wounded.


Third as to the Baida Valley:—

In my first application I made a statement as to the occurrence in the Baida Valley, viz.—“Whilst my regiment was stationed in Balaclava I was one of the detachment ordered on duty in the Baida Valley.  I was engaged on one particular occasion in the reconnoitreing party in advance of the party that took possession of Prince Chatteloff’s house near the Woronzoff road.  Two of the Land Transport Corps were wounded and it was with great difficulty and caution that I was enabled to bring the videttes into the main body upon which we had to retire.”  This statement was dismissed by Colonel Benson, who wrote to H.R.H. Duke of Cambridge that he was not aware of any such occurrence taking place.  With your Lordship’s permission I will make this occurrence more clear and show that there is ample proof of the truth of the statement.

Major Peel, 11th Hussars, was in charge of the command, consisting of three squadrons viz., 8th Hussars, 11th Hussars, and 17th Lancers.  Now General Sir Drury C. Lowe, K.C.B., commanded the 17th Lancers.  I was sergeant of the rear guard.  The main body were near the house dismounted.  The Land Transport Corps were at the gate the only entrance leading into the house.  The rear of the 17th Lancers were within 40 yards of the gate just around a bend of the road.  The Russian Infantry fired a volley into the Transport Corps I saw them running from their wagons, some of them wounded.  I formed a line across the road and charged p. 22down to the Russians who had not time to reload.  When they saw us they jumped over a stone wall on the left of the gate into the steep woods.  We might have captured some of them but their fire had killed a mule in one of the transport wagons, blocking up the gate.  The remainder of the wagons were in the road leading to the Woronzoff road which the main body had to retire upon.  I at once placed videttes upon the all the roads.  Sir Drury Lowe rode up to me and asked “where are the Russians?” as I was watching the place where they had jumped over the wall.  I told him and he said “Come further back, they will shoot you.  You have done perfectly right.”  There can be no exaggeration in this statement as Sir Drury Low is still living.  Sergeant-Major J. Nunnerly, late 17th Lancers, was a sergeant with the squadron and aware of the occurrence, as must be every survivor, in spite of Colonel Benson’s discrediting my statement by saying he knew of no such occurrence.

I wish to repeat the statement in my former application that “I embarked at the commencement of the war.  I served under Lord Cardigan at Devna and Yenebazaar at the time when disease prevailed to a great extent.  During the time I had the honour to be selected as Corporal of a letter party stationed at Varna.  The whole of the dispatches of the army were at times conveyed by this party, and I was compelled in consequence of the sickness of the men to ride day and night without any rest to set a good example to the men under my charge and keep out of their minds that too much fatigue would kill them.”

Allow me to add that this was Lord Raglan’s letter party and that I continually reported at his headquarters to receive the dispatches.  The party consisted of myself, and Privates Wm. Purvis, P. Murphy, Burkemore, and H. Gallimore.  All these went into hospital with cholera and Gallimore died.  Wm. Purvis is still living at 105, Rutter Street, Walsall.

In conclusion allow me to say that I served twenty-two years in the 17th Lancers and Yeomanry.  I have only one son old enough for army service and he is Sergeant-Instructor in the British Army.

I beg that my claim may be impartially looked into on its merits at this time.  When action was taken on it before the claim was thrown out on the statements of Col. Benson, who through carelessness or indifference reported adversely on circumstances of which he had no knowledge.  The testimony of Lieut. Wightman and Lord Tredegar, still living, ought to be sufficient as to the Charge of the 600 and the Battle of Inkerman.  The occurrence in the Baida Valley is not so important, but is mentioned to show that I was always quick in action and forgetful of any personal danger.  If there is any doubt as to the correctness of my account I have no doubt that Sir Drury Lowe will add his statement to mine.

I have my Lord, the honor to be,

Your obedient servant,

Late Sergeant 17th Lancers,

Washington, D.C.,
      United States.


Subscribed and sworn to before me, Nov. 12th, 1896.

John R. Young,

Clerk Supreme Court, D.C.


S. J. Merrys,
Junior Assistant Clerk.

[Blocks not in Sworn Statement.]


TIMES, APRIL 24th, 1857.

Sir,—I am a sergeant of nearly three years, lately retired from the 17th Lancers, at the early age of 25 years, solely in consequence of being passed over most unjustly in the rewards and honours that have been bestowed.  I am now made drill sergeant in the Sherwood Rangers, Mansfield, by its noble colonel, His Grace the Duke of Newcastle, and, wishing my fellowmen to know how unjustly I have been treated, I beg of you to allow me a place in your columns, so generously open to private as well as public grievances, to state my service as briefly as possible.

p. 23After being at Alma, I was present with my regiment in every engagement that took place.  I charged at Balaklava with my squadron until it was nearly annihilated, my own lance being shot away.  Drawing my sword I galloped on to the Russian guns, and assisted in cutting down the gunners.  On the right of our forming line I observed one particular gun going away as fast as the horses could take it.  I went after it with Captain Jervis, of the 13th Light Dragoons, who shot one of the horses and delayed its progress.  On this I engaged two of the gunners, who both fell.  It now became a struggle for our lives, a large body of Cossacks surrounded us.  I succeeded in working my way through them, and galloped in the direction of what I judged to be our own Hussars.  I found they were Russians reforming.  I forced my way on full speed through them, unhurt.  A regiment of Polish Lancers, 800 strong, had formed across the valley.  I halted a moment to look around.  Perceiving several of our cavalry in the same dilemma, I called to them, and being then a corporal, I used what authority I had to form them as well as I could.  We gathered 12, and charged their centre; most of us got through.  I believe three fell.  These men were 4th and 13th Light Dragoons, and 17th Lancers; one was of the 8th Hussars.  I received the point of a lance in the right hand; the wound was slight.  The Russian infantry now opened a heavy fire upon us and after galloping through the guns of the enemy in advance of us, each one separated, trusting to fate.  Private James Cope and Private James Wightman, now corporals of the 17th Lancers, were of the number.  Wightman was severely wounded, and taken prisoner for twelve months.

On the 5th of November, 1854, I was at the battle of Inkerman, and under fire.  Cornet Cleveland was shot; and when our regiment was ordered to retire, I asked Captain Morgan to allow me to fall out of the ranks to assist in carrying Mr. Cleveland off the field.  Troop Sergeant-Major O’Hara and Private James O’Hara of the same regiment, also fell out for that purpose.  In performing that act, James O’Hara and myself had both our dress caps shot off our heads by a cannon ball.  We still pursued our duty till out of range, when the cornet wished to be laid down till a stretcher could be procured.  This officer died.  While stationed at Balaclava I was one of the detachment ordered for the Baider Valley.  On one occasion I was engaged in the reconnoitering party in advance of the party that took possession of General Chateloof’s house, near the Woronzoff Road.  Two of the Land Transport Corps and several mules were wounded and one killed, when the corps deserted the wagons, and I was the sergeant who led a detachment of my regiment to the spot when the Russians, on our approach, fled into the wood, and I placed my men on vidette, which the main body had to retire upon.  I may further add that I embarked with the regiment at the first commencement of the war.  I served under Lord Cardigan at Devno Yeni-Bazar at the time when disease greatly prevailed.  At this time I had the honour to be selected as corporal of a letter party stationed at Varna.  The whole of the army despatches were conveyed by our party, and I was often compelled in consequence of the sickness of the men, to ride day and night without rest.

I was present in every skirmish in which my regiment was engaged, and I returned home when the campaign ended.  When in Ireland with my regiment I inquired of my troop officer why I did not get a medal for distinguished conduct.  He told me he was very sorry I did not, but it lay to the commanding officer’s discretion.  So it appears they are not “distinguished conduct medals” but “discretion medals!”  There are several men in the 17th Lancers who wear medals for distinguished conduct on the field of battle who never crossed swords with a Russian.

This is my simple and truthful statement; and I think I have reason to complain that I am not decorated with a cross of valour—not to wear as a matter of vanity, but alone prizable to me as a mark that, though a young, I have not been an unworthy soldier.

I have the honour to be,

Yours truly,


To the Editor of the Nottinghamshire Advertiser.

Sir,—Having perused in your last week’s impression, a letter under the above heading, from the pen of a participator in the perils of the late war, complaining of the neglect he had suffered at the hands of those who must, or ought to be, well acquainted with the incidents he relates.  I am inclined to think with him, that the strictly “discretoniary decorations” will, after all, form a too striking constituent in our modern system of distributing military rewards, for, presuming Mr. Morley to have one of the ordinary Crimean medals, it scarcely, in his case, seems an adequate recognition of services rendered under very trying circumstances, and by so young a man.  Indeed, it appears an exceedingly questionable policy to pass over, comparatively unheeded, one who could, at a conjuncture—such as is stated to have occurred at Balaclava—rally a dozen men, mere fugitives racing for their lives, and inspire them with confidence sufficient to bear down upon, and literally rend assunder an entire regiment of the enemy.  This, when regard is had to the fact, that they were just emerging from a most fearful storm of shot, poured upon them by the Russian artillery, was a display of no ordinary intrepidity and daring in men, who, previously to that campaign, had never crossed swords with an enemy, and well worthy, I think, of some special mark of approbation,—the more so, when we reflect that he was thereby instrumental in saving eight or nine lives of the flower of the army, who would, in all probability, have been shot down, or lanced piecemeal, had they not at that critical moment acted in perfect concert.

The fact of our Lord Lieutenant having given Sergeant Morley an appointment in the Sherwood Rangers, is a sufficient guarantee for the truth of his statements, and many, doubtless, who have read his very interesting letter, will join me in congratulating him upon obtaining the favour of such a man.

I am, Sir, respectfully yours,


Nottingham, April 29, 1857.


I have proved by living officers, generals, and noblemen that my statement is the living truth to-day, although 43 years have passed.  Yet this Colonel Benson was allowed to turn Her Majesty’s and Prince Consort’s Noble Order and the Royal Warrant into mockery and the Victoria Cross into a sham.  He was the cause of me receiving an official letter, dated 8th October, 1857, stating that all claims for the Victoria Cross must be founded upon facts.  This Colonel Benson wrote the most cruel false statements to the Commander-in-Chief, and was the cause of me purchasing my discharge out of the 17th Lancers, and then losing promotion in the Yeomanry.  He made false statements respecting my being promoted to sergeant.  I can prove I was promoted in November, 1854, and he did not arrive in the Crimea till 22nd February, 1855.  I have received all kinds of official letters telling me they see no reason to open my case.  I received an official letter dated 22nd February, 1892, stating that the case cannot now be opened.  If a brave British soldier cannot be heard by the authorities, what can he do but appeal to his countrymen?  Truth never dies.

The royal warrant states, that for the Victoria Cross there shall be no preference of age or rank, and the youngest soldier shall be rewarded for valour.

My next article will be to prove that all claims for the Victoria Cross are not founded upon facts.  Yet they wear it just the same.  I will also prove by their own official letters I never had an investigation.

For myself I have the proud consciousness of having done my duty to Queen and country.

p. 25Fought Under Two Flags,

Death or glory flags, skull etc.

No British soldier that I ever read about did more distinguished proved valour.  I received a letter from Major Jervis, late 13th Light Dragoons, dated December 5th, 1876.  He says amongst other things “that he well remembers a young corporal of the 17th Lancers helping him to take the gun,” and from the fact named in my letter, it could be none other than myself.

I received a letter from Lord Tredegar, dated December 9th, 1876.  In which he says, “that he well remembers, after the regiment had retired a short distance, I asked permission to go back and bring in Cornet Cleveland who lay in the thickest of the fire, mortally wounded.”  See his other letter, in my sworn claim for the Victoria Cross, General Sir Drury Lowe, K.C.B., in answering a letter to me said “if he could do me any service he would be happy to do it,” several officers wrote me at the same time to the same effect.  I was holding the position of Regimental Sergeant-Major in the Yeomanry, and in charge of head quarters and stores.  I explained this to them and thanked them, telling them I was well off.  I am Sir Drury Lowe’s oldest Non-Commissioned Officer, I served under him all the time he was in the Crimea and in Ireland, and when he commanded a detachment in Clonmel.  In the Baida Valley he came to my assistance several times, once at Prince Challertoff’s residence, when I charged the Russians and took back the waggons of the Land Transport.  I was on picquet duty with Lieutenant Barbour, some Greeks came into the picquets on little ponies, and explained to us the Russians were stealing.  Lieutenant Barbour took all the picquet and left me in charge of the Videtts; being absent longer than I liked, I sent a man who was very sick into camp, explaining the matter to now Sir Drury Lowe, who commanded the 17th, telling him I had p. 26no men to patrole with, he did not send any reinforcements, but came himself with the regiment.  He lost no time in getting to me and remained in command till Lieutenant Barbour returned with two Russian Greek spies, who tried to decoy his command into a village in which the Russian Cavalry were hiding.  Sir Drury Lowe was loved by all men and I never heard or knew an enlisted man to say any thing but kindness respecting him.  I was in Aldershot when he commanded the regiment, and I was in the Sergeants Mess.  I heard Sergeant-Major Davis repeat that he would sooner soldier under Colonel Lowe without pay than any other officer with pay and the rest shouted “hear hear.”

There is an old proverb that “Comparisons are odious” and it cannot be better proved than by Colonel Drury Lowe and Colonel Benson, both commanded the 17th Lancers.  The latter was never under fire in the Crimea.  He was the only officer that flogged the soldiers.  I saw him flog three at once at Ismid, who rode in the charge of the “600,” one of them had 17 wounds upon his back, all bleeding, through the lashes of the Cat o’ Nine Tails.  I saw tears running down the officers cheeks.  This Colonel Benson is the only officer that drummed out any men of the 17th Lancers, some of whom had ridden in the charge of the “600.”

Sir Drury Lowe, when Colonel, had a Regimental Sergeant-Major in the name of Brown, every soldier in the 17th Lancers had the greatest respect for him and officers too.

Colonel Benson had a Regimental Sergeant-Major Wooden, a foreigner, that could not speak the English language when he joined the regiment, went by the name of Tish-me.  Colonel Benson went by the name of Dosey, he always looked as if he was asleep.  But when he played at cards with young officers they found he was not dreaming.  Colonel Benson and this Wooden, their teeth fit in their jaws like Hyenas.  Every officer and soldier feared them.

Sergeant-Major Wooden was allowed to insult officers, one leaving the regiment through the bad language he used to him.  I can name three sergeants out of one troop that left the 17th Lancers through him, and they all rode in the “Charge of the 600.”  Colonel Benson procured him quarter-master of the 5th Lancers, and the commanding officer soon had him retired on the smallest allowance, 3/6 per day.  It was Colonel Benson who secured his promotion as quarter-master of some infantry, but he soon got into debt and shot himself.  It was the same officer who procured him the Victoria Cross and the French Order, although he never crossed swords with a Russian, and all those who knew anything concerning him, and who were in the “Charge of the 600,” say he threw himself off his horse.  It is a well-known fact that he never went to the Battle of Inkerman, but drew our grog and got dead drunk with it.

Sir Drury Lowe, purchased Regimental Sergeant-Major J. Brown a commission, and appointed him adjutant of the regiment.  I will undertake to prove all I have said, and more, by officers and soldiers now living.

Colonel Benson was the means of me losing promotion by writing lies to the Duke of Cambridge.  The Duke of Newcastle, my commanding officer, read Benson’s letter and told me he should believe Colonel Benson’s statement before mine.  He promised afterwards that if I would not write any more letters something would be done for me.  That promise was never fulfilled, for he promoted a sergeant over my head in the name of Smith.

Through General Charles Frederick Havelock, who became Inspector of Cavalry at Washington, D.C., I left the regiment and went to America.  I went with him to inspect the 12th Pennsylvanian Cavalry at the time the regiment had just been mustered into the United States Service, and was appointed Drill Instructor to the regiment.

At the battle of Bull Run I saved the regiment from being captured, my horse being killed and myself taken prisoner.  When I returned to the regiment I received a commission and all back pay and allowances which amounted to some hundreds of pounds.  They also paid me for horse and equipments.  I was in all the stirring engagements.  I was second in command in Dismounted Camp in Pleasant Valley, Maryland, to equip all p. 27cavalry without horses, and was afterwards Assistant Commissariat in Pleasant Valley.  I was then appointed Assistant Inspector of Cavalry, with Major Gordon, for the department of Western Virginia.  I was in Libby prison for twelve months, and while I was there 109 made their escape by making a tunnel.  I was in when powder was laid down to blow us all up.

During the time I was prisoner of war, General Cesnola saw me compelled to be vaccinated.  The matter turned out bad, my left side and arm swelled to such a degree that I was compelled to lay on the floor for months, my brother officers believing I should die.

During the war I received a bullet in my head, and it remained in for eight years.

One of the worst running fights I ever was in was when General Max Weber sent me from Harper’s Ferry, Va., to Charlestown to capture fifteen of the enemys cavalry.  I was allowed to pick thirty horses and men.  After we had advanced about five miles we saw them and pursued, we found two thousand with two guns.  Two squadrons charged us and we had a fight with revolvers for four miles, till close to the forts.  I lost twenty-one out of the thirty men.  This was on the 29th June, 1864.  The United States paid me for two horses killed in battle.

I am the only officer that knew the plans which General Grant used to capture Richmond in nine days.  I also assisted General L. P. Di Cesnola to make out these plans and forward them to President Lincoln.  I saved General Cesnola’s life.  My horse was killed in a charge in the night, and it lay on me till the sun rose.  Through being a freemason I was bandaged up.  I heard that General Cesnola was wounded and I went to his assistance.  He had a sword cut in the head, was shot in the thick part of the arm, the point of a sword through the palm of the hand, and horse killed whilst leading his brigade in a charge.  I attended to him and dressed his wounds.  I stayed with him, and managed to hire horses and conveyances to travel a distance of 150 miles to Stanton Va.  He is now, and has been for years, Managing Director of the Metropolitan Museum of Art and Central Park, New York.  He often writes thanking me for saving his life.  I was introduced to him when he was Colonel of the 4th New York Cavalry, by Major-General C. F. Havelock, at Washington, who knew him when he was on Field Marshal Marmouer’s Commander-in-Chief’s Staff of the Italian Army, in the Crimea.  I received second and first lieutenant’s and captain’s commissions on the field of battle, and have them now.

I resigned after the war and returned home and joined the Ayrshire Yeomanry as drill troop sergeant-major, 1st of January, 1868.  In June 1871 I was promoted regimental sergeant-major in charge of headquarters and stores.  I remained with them till June, 1877.  I was so well liked in Ayr that they gave me, an Englishman, the birth place of Robert Burns on lease, in preference to hundreds of Scotchmen.  In a few years the place was sold to the gentleman of the county for thousands of pounds more than they asked me for it.  I was the last lessee of the place.  Only three persons were born in this house, these being the poet himself and two of my children, one of whom is still living in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  I took another business, but it did not do well, the rent being too high—£600 a year.

I then went to America, and in a few years I thought I should be better off under the government.  In April 1884 I called upon Senator Morrell, the father of the house of the Senate, and went with him to interview the Hon. Robert Lincoln, the Secretary for War, who informed me that he could not give me the first place as he had promised it.  In a few days I got an appointment and received pay on it till the end of 1893.  Mr. Lincoln afterwards became Ambassador to England.  On the 9th of May, 1863, I was employed in the government building, in which President Lincoln was assassinated, when part of the building fell, killing 25 and injuring nearly 200.  I was one of the latter, and being unable to perform my duties was discharged.  I applied to the Patriotic Fund in London for aid out of the money the people of England subscribed—five children depending upon me at the time.  I received a reply telling me I was not entitled to anything.  This is the first and only time in my life I ever asked for assistance.

p. 28Some time after I ceased to receive pay.  I then took the official letter of the Patriotic Fund, dated October 18th, 1894, to Senator J. Hawley.  He said, “Why did you not come to me before, I would have put you back.”  I told him I was not able to do anything.  “Then what can I do for you?” he said.  I replied that I wanted a place for my wife in the Treasury.  He said, “I am sorry for your sake, I do not belong to that administration, but I will get her a place.”  Three days after she was employed in the Treasury till we came to England.  I have never been able since the Ford Theatre disaster to do any employment.  I lived in Leek, Staffordshire, for sixteen months, and the chief of police and several of the magistrates, doctors and chemists of the town, know that I was sick in bed nearly all the time, and have been sick in Nottingham this last five months, but the climate seems to agree with me better, being my own native place.

I shall ever be grateful to America.  It is a Heaven for a soldier.  They never want, if a good record.  If they cannot work they have Soldiers Homes to retire in; better looking than any Hotel in Nottingham.  If they die their relatives receive ten pound to carry them to the finest Cemetery in the world; with marble head-stone, and their graves strewn with flowers every 30th of May.  Any soldier with a record can get relief and forwarded to his destination.  The Americans are the finest comrades in the world, and they are the only nation that can fight side by side with the British, they would understand one another and be proper chums, while other nations do not understand one another.  You would require an interpreter to understand their names; much more work together in battle.

I have attended many fires and assisted to put them out, about 1860 I went to a fire at Mr. Hollins’ mills, near Pleasley, Derbyshire, no finer mills in England.  After the fire engines were on some time, I told Mr. Hollins they were on the wrong side, and he had them removed to the other side.  I told him the fire was on the top story and they put up ladders to reach it.  No one man seemed to be able to carry the hose and leather pipes up.  I told him it would be dangerous for many to be up so high when the water was put on, it would make it too heavy for the ladder.  After several tried I took it up myself, broke in the window with a hammer, put in the hose and in half an hour or less I got inside, put out the fire and went down the stairs.  I then walked to Mr. Hollins’ House, their dinner was on the table, and the room full of ladies and gentlemen; no one seemed to be dining.  After I told Mr. Hollins I had put out the fire, I sat down and dined.  He wanted to reward me, but I would not receive anything, and he placed me on his game list.  I should not speak of this, only there are plenty of ladies and gentlemen living who can bear out this statement.

About 1874, I was walking up High Street, in Ayr, N.B., I saw a great blaze in the second story of Mr. Semple’s the largest Ironmonger in the town, and in the centre of the market space.  I procured a bag of salt and went up stairs with it, the oil had caught fire in a large tank; in less than ten minutes I had it out, only Robert Reed was in the room.  Mr. Semple sent me a handsome present.

If I was to give my life in full it would make a book.  If my health gets better I will write fuller.

Decorative graphic

p. 29Cause of the “Charge of the 600”


Never before been published.

Death or glory flags, skull etc.

To be obtained of all Booksellers in the United Kingdom and
United States of America.




Post Free in the United Kingdom, 7d.  United States, 14 cent. stamps.


THOS. MORLEY, 39, Dame Agnes Street, Nottingham, England.


Printed by Arthur Johnson, Maypole Yard, Nottingham, England.


[24]  In the printed booklet “1875” is printed just above the heading “THE CROSS OF VALOUR.”  However, it’s been crossed through, and doesn’t agree with the date of the letter.  Perhaps it was meant for 1857?—DP.