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us, so he said, "Here comes the boat from the Vladimir' steamer." "Ah!" I replied, "I know the Vladimir;' I have been on board her before now at Nicholaieff.” This astonished him not a little, and he said that it seemed I had been everywhere. I then told him I had travelled through Russia, and had always received the greatest civility and kindness from his countrymen, and should entertain the most pleasant remembrances of my sojourn amongst them. This seemed to please him greatly, and he said, "The Russians like the English much; we ought never to have gone to war with you, but it was the will of God." The boat soon arrived; from its size it was evidently a barge, and the crew of 14 men were very smartly dressed in blue jerseys with red edgings. The Russian colonel came across to me, and I gave him the letters, &c., and after shaking hands we parted with mutual expressions of hope that we should meet again before long. I then returned to the camp. I have given you this long account of my interview, as it was the first time I have ever been with a flag of truce, and I hope it may not be the last. Pray accept all the compliments of the season, although by-the-bye, you will receive them rather after time.
Strength of the English army, January 1st, 1855 reconnaissance Sufferings of troops from cold - Arrival of Omer Pasha Bashi-Bazouks "Rows " in Sevastopol Russian convicts - Lord Raglan visits the camps-Mortality in 63rd regiment - English and Russian sentries fraternize Huts Article in the Times' of December 23rd " of the garrison on the lines of the Allies - Russian deserters Suicide of an English soldier - Flag of truce · Submarine
telegraph Grumbling of the Guards False statement of the Times' — Change of weather - Rather a droll story Lord Raglan's kindness - Sufferings of Russian troops Sortie The lasso - The French relieve the English on the
The daily labour of the commanderin-chief- The English and French staffs - Captain Derriman's tea-shed at Balaklava — Arrival of first detachment of navvies - Lady nurses - Lord Raglan inspects the trenches.
Head-quarters before Sevastopol,
FOR some unknown reason the mail goes from here a day earlier than usual. These frequent changes are a great bore, and also the uncertainty with which the letters arrive. Doubtless now the inclemency of the weather has much to do with it. There is also at times some difficulty about the delivery of the English mails in the Crimea; they, generally speaking, arrive by the French steamers, and, from an extraordinary piece of parsimony on the part of the
Government, the bags from Constantinople to the Crimea are left to take care of themselves, instead of being sent in charge of a special messenger; so it has not unfrequently happened that all or a portion of the bags have been detained at Kamiesch for a day or more, until the French authorities chose to give us notice of their arrival. It may interest you to have an idea of the strength of the British army on the 1st of the new year. The following is a general summary, which I made from the parade state this morning :
Infantry.. 76 190 407 197 2372 19,948 3330 8128 1684
Total... 90 261 512 239 3043 23,634 3951 8906 1787
Besides these there are the soldier-servants of the officers and the clerks in the different military offices, amounting to 1331 men, which gives a grand total of 43,754 men of the English army in the East.
Nothing of importance has occurred since my letter of the 30th ultimo; but on the morning of that day the French made a reconnaissance in force.
It was composed of a division of infantry, two regiments of the Chasseurs d'Afrique, and two batteries of artillery. A regiment of Highlanders and a wing of the 2nd battalion Rifle brigade were ordered by Sir Colin Campbell to march from the Marine Heights, on the east of Balaklava harbour, to the hills overlooking the village of Kamara and the entrance to the valley of Baidar. They remained there in support the greater portion of the day, without taking any active part in the reconnaissance. By 7 A.M. the French troops passed the village of Kamara, but, that being completely deserted, they pushed on with rapidity to the village of Tchorgoum. They met with no resistance until within a short distance of this place, the Cossack videttes retiring before the skirmishers of the French infantry. However, on nearing Tchorgoum, a largish body of Russian light cavalry presented themselves; one of the regiments of Chasseurs d'Afrique advanced and charged them. The Russians stood their ground until ridden in upon by the French, who broke them, and then chased them back towards the village. As the French cavalry got close to it they were received by a heavy fire from the Russian artillery on the heights above. Our allies, therefore, had to withdraw until their guns were brought up, when the enemy retired, leaving Tchorgoum to the French, who immediately occupied it. But little worth
taking was found in the place, so they set it on fire, and in the course of a couple of hours nothing remained of the snug little hamlet but a few blackened walls. The French returned late in the afternoon, having accomplished their object of ascertaining the force of the enemy, which apparently consisted of about 3000 infantry, 5 or 6 squadrons of cavalry, and 2 batteries of artillery. The French had 2 officers wounded (one mortally) and 14 men. The Russians left 5 dead on the field, and lost 6 men, who were made prisoners by the French. The following night there was a heavy fall of snow, so that on the morning of the 31st the ground was covered to a depth of four or five inches, but, during the day a drizzling rain coming on, it all melted, and by the evening nothing remained of it but a deep slush, which, I need hardly remark, added not a little to the discomfort of every one in camp. To-day (1st) is gloomy and raw, and looks as if it was going to snow again.
Head-quarters before Sevastopol,
It is bitterly cold, the thermometer down at 21° Fahrenheit; the snow upwards of a foot deep, and drifting with a high wind in a manner that nearly blinds one. The troops suffer dreadfully from it;