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mand - Lord Raglan visits the hospitals — Cholera -Commissariat difficulties - Lord Raglan's carriage Loss of cavalry horses - Polish deserters Sorties from the town

- Russian steamers come out of the harbour of Sevastopol - Colonel Simmons - Effective strength of the army - Lord Raglan is made a field-marshal - More sorties - · General Airey Constant rain - Desertions Snow Sir John Burgoyne and French engineers - Attack upon our trenches Railway-Christmas weather-Continued sickness - Foreign Legion — Flag of truce.

Head-quarters before Sevastopol,
December 3rd, 1854.

NOTHING of interest connected with the siege has
occurred since I last wrote, except that yesterday
morning (2nd) the Russians made another sortie,
with a view of retaking the "Ovens.”"
It was
shortly after 5 A.M. that the enemy advanced in con-
siderable numbers, drove in our sentries and sharp-
shooters from the "Ovens," entered our musketry
trench, and succeeded in turning out the men who
occupied it, consisting of a party of the 50th regi-
ment. Our troops could make but little resistance,
as they were quite benumbed with the wet and cold



of the previous night. Fortunately, just then, the relief belonging to the Rifle brigade came down, and met the men of the 50th retiring before the Russians. Our Rifles immediately advanced and retook the trench and "Ovens," driving the enemy out with some loss. In this affair we had two men killed and five wounded; the Russians left seven killed inside our works, but carried off whatever wounded they may have had.

Our engineers continue to try and drain the trenches as much as practicable, but I cannot say with much success, as after each day there appear to be new places that require it. I had to go all through the trenches yesterday; it was raining the greater part of the time, and I never saw anything like the mud which one had to wade through. The men looked for the most part miserable and cold; everything they had on was wet through and through, and even when they returned to their tents they would have no dry clothes to put on. The works, however, appear in very good repair, and in no way damaged by the enemy's fire.

A considerable quantity of warm clothing has been received from home and from Constantinople, but it is with the greatest difficulty that it can be brought up to the front for the use of the troops, as the land-transport of the army is now reduced to a

suffered the same

mere fraction even of what it was, and it has never been sufficiently numerous. The consequence is, that one day during the past week some of the troops were on half-rations; but every effort was made the following day to make up the deficiency due to them, and, I believe, with success. It would appear that our allies, the French, have inconvenience from the wretched state of the roads, as only to-day I was told by several of their soldiers that for the last week but few things have been able to be brought up from Kamiesch Bay, and that for several days past the only meat issued to the troops has been salt pork, to which it seems they are not over and above partial; and of this they have not had their usual ration. However, many endeavour to make up for the deficiency by eating horse-flesh, of which there is plenty fresh to be found, from the unfortunate animals which daily die from over-work and exposure to the weather. Some of them declare that, when well cooked, horse-flesh is not half bad eating; and a few go so far as to say that they prefer it to their ordinary ration beef, which, bythe-by, is generally very coarse meat.

On the 1st of the month there was a long Council of War held at the English head-quarters, between the allied generals, which lasted nearly five hours. I understand it was chiefly to come to some arrangement as to furthering the operations of the siege,

or rather for keeping our works and batteries in an efficient state. General Canrobert promised us assistance to bring some of our material up to the front.

The French have begun to construct a road from Kamiesch to their head-quarters, and it is afterwards to be continued on to General Bosquet's division, along the rear of our position, until it meets the Woronzoff road. For this purpose the French have no less than 6000 men daily employed; but even with that large number they say it will be some weeks before it is completed. We have also set about 1000 Turks to work to improve the road from Balaklava up to the Plateau, or, more properly speaking, to clear away the mud at the worst places; and, where the ground will admit, digging a trench on either side, so as in a manner to drain it. However, in spite of this, I fear that little good will be done, as the soil appears to be of such a clammy nature, that the water neither sinks nor evaporates, but is retained near the surface. Moreover, the Turks are the very worst workmen in the world, especially in wet weather, at least as far as our experience goes with them here. It is said that a great number of them desert over to the enemy, chiefly at night, from the portion of the lines they defend, which extends from the Col of Balaklava to the height on which General Vinoy's brigade is camped.

Lord Cardigan has sent in his resignation to Lord Raglan on the score of illness, and consequently a medical board was ordered to assemble and report upon his case; and it has decided that he is totally unfit to continue in command of the light cavalry. He therefore returns to England immediately, until his health is completely re-established. I may as well mention to you that on the 1st Lord Lucan reported officially to Lord Raglan that the division of cavalry was not capable of further active service. Lord Raglan therefore informed General Canrobert of this unfortunate fact, and ordered the brigade of light cavalry to move down to the valley of Kadakoi, to which place they marched yesterday (2nd). They have the advantage of being sheltered from the cold winds of the Chersonese, and have a better chance of being provided with forage, which, since the hurricane of the 14th, has been issued in but scanty quantity.

Lord Raglan rode down to Balaklava yesterday, and visited the hospitals: they were not in the most comfortable state, but great excuses are to be made : the constant change of inmates—the want of medical officers the wretchedness of the weather, which precludes the possibility of keeping the floors cleanthe difficulty of getting the bedding cleansed ;-all these, together with the dreadful disorder from which most of the patients are suffering, namely, cholera

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