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Burgoyne has held from the very first, viz. that the Malakoff is the key of Sevastopol. The consequence of this is, that at last the French will adopt the first plan proposed to General Canrobert by Lord Raglan at the suggestion of Sir John Burgoyne. It is now much to be lamented that our allies did not in the first instance give way to Sir John's arguments, as there can be no doubt, humanly speaking, of the capture of the town, if his propositions had been carried
I have just seen Sir George Brown, on his return from visiting the Light Division, he having landed this morning at Kazatch Bay. He is looking remarkably well, and he told me himself that he had quite recovered his health, except that his arm is still rather stiff from the wound he received at Inkermann. One of his aides-de-camp said that his reception by the men of the Light Division was most enthusiastic. He is the best reinforcement the army has received for the last three months.
As usual I will conclude my letter with extracts from my journal.
February 7th.-It rained the greater part of today, so that there is but very little snow left, and that only under sheltered spots. Lord Raglan went to the French Head-quarters, and had a long conference with General Canrobert. I understand he told Lord Raglan that it was in contemplation to form the
French troops in the Crimea into two corps d'armée: the 1st to consist of those troops which have already been named the Corps de Siège, and which is to be placed under the command of General Pélissier, who is shortly expected from Oran in Africa; the 2nd to consist of the troops now on the rear of the Plateau and in the works before Inkermann, besides those to be employed in the new attack against the town ; this corps is to be under the command of General Bosquet.
Two deserters came in to-day; one from the town (a Pole), who said that a new division had just arrived there to relieve one which was to go to the north side of the harbour; the other belonged to the Russian troops near the Tchernaya: he says that the Russian force there consists of three regiments of infantry, two batteries of artillery, and some squadrons of Cossacks. He also says the infantry are much reduced by sickness, and the whole force there do not muster more than 6500 effective men; one battalion marches daily to Batchi-Serai and returns the following day with bread and other provisions for the remainder.
February 8th. The new attack against the town between the Malakoff Tower and the harbour was commenced last night by the French, who broke ground on the right of the second parallel of our right attack. Two heavy batteries, one of 8, and
the other of 15 guns, are to be constructed. At present it is proposed that they should be armed with English ordnance and manned from the Royal Artillery, but the trenches are to be guarded by French infantry. This arrangement will probably be changed. Lord Raglan received a telegraphic message from London this afternoon announcing that Her Majesty's Ministers had resigned in consequence of a motion having been brought forward in the House of Commons by Mr. Roebuck of "want of confidence in the Government by the Houses of Parliament." For the Government, 146; against, 305. Majority against, 159. The message went on to say that the Queen had sent to Lord Derby to form an administration. Lord Raglan and the Staff rode round the divisions at the front this afternoon; it rained hard the greater part of the time, so we were drenched to the skin.
February 9th.-I had to go down on duty to the cavalry camp and afterwards on to Balaklava; the navvies are getting on very well with the railroad, and have already laid down three or four hundred yards of rails, so that they have got out of the town. The line is laid down from the principal wharf close to the governor's old house, and runs along the chief street of Balaklava; it is intended that upon leaving the town it shall continue along the road by the side of the harbour, after which it is to leave the road,
and then is to take the centre of the valley up to the village of Kadakoi. It is then to turn round the base of the hill on which is stationed General Vinoy's brigade of French infantry, and from there be carried up a considerable ascent, at the top of which is to be the first stationary engine; then taking a winding course it will gradually ascend until it reaches the plateau near the Col. From there it can be carried in any direction that may be thought proper. The distance from Balaklava up to the Col, taking its winding course into consideration, will be nearly four miles. General Jones, R.E., arrived up at Head-quarters this afternoon, and takes up his residence here in a hut that has been prepared for him. It rained at intervals during the day with occasional snow.
February 10th.-A good deal of rain and snow fell during the night; the ground again is in a shocking state. Lord Raglan rode down with the Staff to Balaklava: just as he reached General Vinoy's camp above Kadakoi, a gun was fired from one of our redoubts, and a shell burst at the foot of Canrobert's hill, which was immediately followed by a second in the same direction. I was sent down to ascertain the cause, and, on arriving at the battery, was informed that they had fired at a deserter or spy from our lines; they supposed him to be a sailor, as he was dressed in a loose blue jacket, but he was
too far off for them to be sure; he escaped unhurt and was seen fraternizing shortly after with a picket of Cossacks. Lord Raglan afterwards went round the whole of the lines in the neighbourhood of Balaklava, and complimented Sir Colin Campbell on the highly efficient state of the works under his command. General Jones, who accompanied Lord Raglan, also expressed his perfect satisfaction at the manner in which the batteries were constructed and their general placement.
February 11th.-It rained all last night, and up to 4 P.M. this day, when it turned into snow, which fell in considerable quantities for some hours, and in the evening it froze hard. I was told to-day by a French Staff-officer that a single round shot from the enemy killed 8 men in their trenches, who were marching in file to relieve sentries.
During last night the Russians made a sortie upon the French trenches, and came out in considerable force with a great beating of drums and blowing of trumpets, and under cover of a tremendous cannonade kept up from all their batteries; but, finding our allies fully prepared for them, they retired without attacking. An officer who was in the trenches at the time said it was one of the heaviest cannonades he had ever witnessed, and that at one and the same moment a salvo of large shells was discharged to the number of 27: but strange to say, with all this, the