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Archive for June, 2012

War in the East – 29 Jun 1855

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This the final installment of our series of posts from “The War” by William Howard Russell – War Correspondent to The Times Newspaper which gives a daily account of events during the Crimean War (157 years ago).

The book and our excerpts cover from the landing at Gallipoli to the death of Lord Raglan.

Catch-up with earlier posts in this series here.

War in the East – 29 Jun 1855

The Crimean War (October 1853 – February 1856) was a conflict between the Russian Empire and an alliance of the French Empire, the British Empire, the Ottoman Empire and the Kingdom of Sardinia – most of the conflict took place on the Crimean Peninsula.

 

Friday 29th June 1855

Among the general Orders promulgated yesterday afternoon was the following:-

“The Field-Marshal has the satisfaction of Publishing to the army the following extract from a telegraphic despatch from Lord Panmure, dated the 22nd of June.

” ‘I have Her Majesty’s commands to express her grief that so much bravery should not have been rewarded with merited success, and to assure her brave troops that Her Magesty’s confidence in them is entire.’ “

Within a very few hours after this order had appeared, the electric telegraph brought the melancholy and startling intelligence from head-quarters to the various divisions that the Field Marshal was dead. The cause of his death is stated to have been diarrhoea terminating in cholera. It would appear that he has lately – no doubt from the constant strain on his mental and bodily energies – been far from well, and the death of General Estcourt, to whom he was much attached, the unsatisfactory result of the attack on the 18th inst., and the unhealthy weather since, broke down a constitution already enfeebled by age and long service. The following tells its own melancholy story:

” MORNING GENERAL ORDERS”.

“Head-quarters before Sebastopol, June 29th.

“No. 1. It becomes my most painful duty to announce to the army the death of its beloved Commander, Field-Marshal Lord Raglan, G.C.B., which melancholy event took place last night about nine o’clock.

“No. 2. In the absence of Lieutenant-General Sir George Brown, the command of the troops devolves on me, as the next senior officer present, until further orders are received from England.

“No. 3. Generals of Divisions and heads of departments will be pleased to conduct their respective duties as heretofore.

“J. SIMPSON, Lieutenant-General.”

There is great feeling of regret evinced throughout the camp at the loss of Lord Raglan. His death appears to have at once stilled every other feeling but that of respect for his memory and remembrance of the many long years he faithfully and untiringly served his country.

Excerpt from The War 1855 by W H Russell – Correspondent to The Times.

This volume contains the letters of The Times Correspondent from the seat of war in the East – The Crimean War – the first war with war correspondents.

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Further Reading and External Links

Maps, Plans and Pictures of the Crimean War

William Howard Russell on Wikipedia

William Howard Russell on BikWil

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James ‘Rajah’ Brooke – 1848 – Labuan

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James Brooke became the first White Rajah of Sarawak in 1841 after inheriting £30,000 and investing it in the schooner ‘The Royalist’ and sailing for Borneo. 

We are publishing a blog series that covers his adventures – taken from one of the books in our library called Rajah Brooke by Sir Spenser St John published in 1899.

Catch-up with earlier posts in the James Rajah Brooke series here.

James ‘Rajah’ Brooke – 1848 – Labuan

In the first days of October we embarked on board the Meander and sailed for Labuan, where we arrived on the 7th. Labuan lies, as I have stated, off a large bay, into which flow the Brunei, the Limbang, the Trusan, and many other rivers, and seemed well adapted for a commercial and naval station. It has a fine harbour and plenty of coal, and as we arrived on a bright day, the place looked very attractive. A broad grassy plain, which skirted the harbour, was about three quarters of a mile deep, then it met the low hills and thick jungle. Our houses had all been constructed near the sea, with the plain behind us, and their neat appearance, although only of native materials, quite delighted us. Keppel soon sailed to tow down to Singapore H.M.S. Royalist which had been dismasted by a sudden squall, and we were left to the care of a few marines and blue-jackets.

The south-west monsoon was now blowing fiercely, and brought up with it heavy clouds and drenching rain, and our plain speedily became a fetid swamp, which laid many low with fever and ague. In an interval of fine weather we proceeded to Brunei in the Jolly Bachelor, a vessel belonging to the Rajah, but manned by blue-jackets, the steam tender Ranee and some other boats, to ratify our treaty with the Sultan, and found prepared for us a long, low shed of a house, in which we all took up our quarters. Brunei was in truth a Venice of hovels, or rather huts, perched on posts driven into the mud banks found in the broad river. Everything looked as though it were falling to decay the palace, the mosque, the houses of the pangerans, in fact, the whole city of perhaps 20,000 inhabitants. The wretched Sultan was even then suffering from a disease cancer on the lip which carried him off a few years subsequently. He was a mean-looking creature, and his previous atrocities had earned for him the description, ‘the head of an idiot and the heart of a pirate.’ After finishing our business we returned to Labuan.

Excerpt from Rajah Brooke, published in 1899 by Sir Spenser St John

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Further Reading and External Links

James Rajah Brooke on Wikipedia

The Royalist Schooner

War in the East – 26 Jun 1855

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We’re coming to the close of this series of posts from “The War” by William Howard Russell – War Correspondent to The Times Newspaper.

The book and our excerpts cover from the landing at Gallipoli to the death of Lord Raglan.

Catch-up with earlier posts in this series here.

 

War in the East – 26 Jun 1855

The Crimean War (October 1853 – February 1856) was a conflict between the Russian Empire and an alliance of the French Empire, the British Empire, the Ottoman Empire and the Kingdom of Sardinia – most of the conflict took place on the Crimean Peninsula.

– In the days before news of the death of Lord Raglan breaks, our correspondent writes:

Tuesday 26th June 1855

The losses in the Land Transport Corps by death would be extraordinary did we not find a parallel to them in the Sardinian army of Tchorgoun, which has lost in three weeks nearly 1000 men by cholera, dysentery, and diarrhoea. The Turks and French encamped in the valley suffer somewhat from the same diseases, but it is observable that the men who die are recruits and old men who are mostly unacclimatized.

At Yenikale the detachment of Land Transport Corps lost in a fortnight fifty men, of whom twenty-five were English and twenty-five native drivers. In its present state it cannot supply all the wants of our army. We could not advance any body of troops without running risks of starvation, and even the 10th Hussars are said to have been unable to keep their horses so far from Balaklava, owing to the want of forage, and their retreat from their advanced position is attributed to that cause rather than to the field-pieces which the Russians brought to bear upon them from an adjoining height.

To understand the difficulties in the way of what is called at home “taking the field” one must come out and stay out here. It would be much easier to take Sebastopol than to take the field. There are only three accessible passes, up the precipitous wall of rock which rises on the north side of the Tchernaya, to the plateau on which the Russians are encamped, and the precipice runs round to the Belbek. These passes are so steep that an army would have some difficulty in ascending them at its leisure, without resistance from any enemy. But they are occupied wherever engineering eyes detect the smallest weakness they are commanded by batteries, intersected by positions threatened by overhanging cliffs all ready for the lever. March round and turn them! Where, and how? We have no transport even if we could march, and we cannot march, because Napoleon himself would never lead an army into such defiles as guard the Russian position. Whether we are not strong enough to detach a great corps of 40,000 or 50,000 men to operate against the Russians north of Sebastopol is not for me to say; but it is certain that the base of operation for any such corps must be the sea, till ample transport is provided.

The Crimea is to all intents and purports a desert – a Sahara, waterless and foodless before an invading army. There is no news of importance to-day.

The mail is closing.  There is no firing or anything of any consequence in the front.

Excerpt from The War 1855 by W H Russell – Correspondent to The Times.

This volume contains the letters of The Times Correspondent from the seat of war in the East – The Crimean War – the first war with war correspondents.

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Further Reading and External Links

Maps, Plans and Pictures of the Crimean War

William Howard Russell on Wikipedia

William Howard Russell on BikWil

War in the East – 25 Jun 1855

We’re coming to the close of this series of posts from “The War” by William Howard Russell – War Correspondent to The Times Newspaper -giving a daily account of events during the Crimean War (157 years ago).

The book and our excerpts cover from the landing at Gallipoli to the death of Lord Raglan.

Catch-up with earlier posts in this series here or search our library here.

War in the East – 25 Jun 1855

The Crimean War (October 1853 – February 1856) was a conflict between the Russian Empire and an alliance of the French Empire, the British Empire, the Ottoman Empire and the Kingdom of Sardinia – most of the conflict took place on the Crimean Peninsula.

 

Monday 25th June 1855

The storm which burst over the south-eastern portion of the Chersonese on Saturday night has done more damage than we could have anticipated. Men were drowncd in ravines converted by the tornado into angry watercourses, were carried off roads by mountain torrents, and dashed against hill sides; beasts were swept away into the harbour and borne to sea; huts were broken up and floated out into the ocean; the burial-grounds near Balaklava were swept bare, and disclosed their grim army of the dead in ghastly resurrection, washed into strange shapes from out their shallow graves; and, greatest calamity of all, the railway was in various places decomposed, ripped up and broken down so as to be unserviceable at our greatest need. Orders have been sent down to urge on the necessary repairs, for the demands of the batteries for shot and shell are pressing, and the electric telegraph has been repeatedly in use to-day to force on the attention of the authorities at Balaklava the necessity there is for their promptest exertions, and to order them to send up supplies of materiel for our fifth bombardment as speedily as possible.

The French say they are quite ready, and they have received from us [1500] 32-pound shot for their guns to-day. The railway fails at a critical period, but even if it were in its usual state we could not hope to be in a condition to begin a heavy fire for some time to come, and I believe it will be fully a fortnight or three weeks before the necessary supplies will be brought up to the front. The repairs to the railway will be effected in ten days. Mr. Beatty and Mr. Campbell are away at Heraclea surveying the coal district, but their representatives are men of energy, and the only obstructions to be dreaded will arise from the “navvies,” some of whom have been behaving very badly lately. They nearly all “struck work” a short time back, on the plea that they were not properly rationed or paid, or that, in other words, they were starved and cheated; but the Provost-Marshal brought some of them to a sense of their situation, and, indeed, the office of that active and worthy person and of his myrmidon sergeants has been by no means a sinecure between “navvies,” Greeks, and scoundrels of all sorts. The Croat insurrection is suppressed, but the Croat idleness has not been by any means stimulated into usefulness. How England is squandering her money broadcast all over this part of the world! The Eupatorians with their 2s. 6d. and 3s. 6d. a-aay, and the Croat with the same stipend, are indeed “beggars set on horseback,” and they fulfil the rest of the proverb.

The poor Turkish soldiers, who get scant pay, say that it would be mach better for them to be those dogs of Croats, who receive as much as their own bimbashis, or majors, than to march in the armies of the Sultan; but Lord Stratford’s hard bargain for us must be accomplished; and it was he who was the benevolent genius who deluged Croatian and Tartar hordes with this flood of wealth. No wonder Colonel M’Murdo finds it difficult to get men for the Land Transport Corps, although even he is obliged to pay 2s. 6d. and 3s. a-day to native suridjees, so completely have we ruined the market.

Excerpt from The War 1855 by W H Russell – Correspondent to The Times.

This volume contains the letters of The Times Correspondent from the seat of war in the East – The Crimean War – the first war with war correspondents.

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Further Reading and External Links

Maps, Plans and Pictures of the Crimean War

William Howard Russell on Wikipedia

William Howard Russell on BikWil

War in the East – 24 Jun 1855

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The book and our excerpts cover from the landing at Gallipoli to the death of Lord Raglan.

Catch-up with earlier posts in this series here.

War in the East – 24 Jun 1855

The Crimean War (October 1853 – February 1856) was a conflict between the Russian Empire and an alliance of the French Empire, the British Empire, the Ottoman Empire and the Kingdom of Sardinia – most of the conflict took place on the Crimean Peninsula.

 

Sunday 24th June 1855

General Estcourt, Adjutant-General of the Army, died this morning at half-past nine o’clock, after three days’ illness. His death has produced a profound impression of regret on all who knew him, for a kinder or more amiable man did not exist. He was unremitting in the discharge of his duties, and no officer ever applied himself to the labours of the desk, which constitute so large a portion of the business of the department over which he presided, with more assiduity and devotion. General Estcourt was taken ill with diarrhoea six days before he died, and at the end of the third day was attacked with cholera, which his strength of constitution and powerful frame enabled him to resist for three days more; but on Saturday night a crisis came on, a dangerous change supervened, and he expired in the morning, soothed by the presence of his wife and of a near female relative. Every care and attention were paid to him.

Excerpt from The War 1855 by W H Russell – Correspondent to The Times.

This volume contains the letters of The Times Correspondent from the seat of war in the East – The Crimean War – the first war with war correspondents.

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Further Reading and External Links

Maps, Plans and Pictures of the Crimean War

William Howard Russell on Wikipedia

William Howard Russell on BikWil

War in the East – 23 Jun 1855






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We’re coming to the close of this series of posts from “The War” by William Howard Russell – War Correspondent to The Times Newspaper -giving a daily account of events during the Crimean War (157 years ago).

The book and our excerpts cover from the landing at Gallipoli to the death of Lord Raglan.

Catch-up with earlier posts in this series here or search our library here.

War in the East – 23 Jun 1855

The Crimean War (October 1853 – February 1856) was a conflict between the Russian Empire and an alliance of the French Empire, the British Empire, the Ottoman Empire and the Kingdom of Sardinia – most of the conflict took place on the Crimean Peninsula.

 

Saturday June 23rd 1855

There is no symptom of any activity on our part or on that of the enemy. They can, however, work without our seeing them. At eight o’clock this evening a thunderstorm, advancing from the mountain ranges over Balaklava and Mackenzie’s farm, burst on the valley of the Tchernaya and on the southern portion of the camp. I never beheld such incessant lightning. For two hours the sky was a blaze of fire. The rain fell like a great wall of water behind us. Not a drop descended over the camp in front, but we could see it in a steep glistening cascade, illuminated by the lightning, falling all across the camp from sea to land, just in front of Lord Raglan’s, and nearly in a straight line, as if marked out by a ruler. The rain is a great relief to our parched reservoirs.

Excerpt from The War 1855 by W H Russell – Correspondent to The Times.

This volume contains the letters of The Times Correspondent from the seat of war in the East – The Crimean War – the first war with war correspondents.

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Further Reading and External Links

Maps, Plans and Pictures of the Crimean War

William Howard Russell on Wikipedia

William Howard Russell on BikWil

James ‘Rajah’ Brooke – Sarawak Flag

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James Brooke became the first White Rajah of Sarawak in 1841 after inheriting £30,000 and investing it in the schooner ‘The Royalist’ and sailing for Borneo. 

We are publishing a blog series that covers his adventures – taken from one of the books in our library called Rajah Brooke by Sir Spenser St John published in 1899.

Catch-up with earlier posts in the James Rajah Brooke series here.

James ‘Rajah’ Brooke – 1848 – Sarawak Flag

About three weeks after our arrival, the surveyor, the late Mr Scott, afterwards Sir John Scott, and Captain Hoskins, harbour-master, were sent ahead to prepare the necessary buildings for the officers that were to follow. This was our first mistake. Neither of these gentlemen knew anything about tropical countries, nor even the language of Borneo, and fixed the site of the settlement on a grassy plain, that turned into a swamp as soon as the rainy season commenced. Had the Lieutenant-Governor, Mr Napier, been sent ahead, or had Mr Low (now Sir Hugh Low), the Colonial Secretary, accompanied the advance party, their special knowledge of the Tropics would have saved us the consequences of this disastrous error. After a long and apparently unnecessary delay of three months and a half at Singapore, we sailed in the Meander for Sarawak. Before our departure, however, news arrived that Her Majesty had been pleased to name Mr Brooke a K.C.B., and he was duly installed before we left that British settlement.

On September 4, [1848], the Meander anchored off the Muaratabas entrance of the Sarawak river, and the reception accorded to their Rajah by the native inhabitants made a deep impression, not only on me, but on all who witnessed it. The whole population turned out to meet him, and the river, as far as the eye could reach, was thronged with boats. Everything that could float was put into requisition the trading vessels, the war boats carrying their crews of a hundred, a few unwieldy Chinese junks, and every canoe in the capital. All were gaily dressed, and the chiefs crowded on board the frigate. At 1 p.m. we left under a royal salute, with yards manned and hearty cheers from the crew, and started for a six hours’ pull to the capital. We arrived after sunset and found every house brilliantly illuminated. The Rajah’s reception at Government House, where all the English were assembled, was naturally very hearty, and soon the whole place was crowded with natives.

Finding that during his absence the piratical tribes had recommenced their raids on the neighbouring towns, the Rajah thought of forming a league of the well-disposed districts, and therefore introduced a flag, which was not only a Sarawak flag, but might be used by any member of the league. This flag was hoisted, with great ceremony, on the staff in front of the Government House, and it is now used along the whole coast as far as, and in a place or two beyond, the Sultan’s capital.

About this time a mission, under the auspices of the Church of England, was established in Sarawak, and great hopes were entertained of its success. I may as well mention who were the members of the Rajah’s staff. While we were at Kuching, his nephew, Captain Brooke of the 88th, joined him as A.D.C., but as he was to be the Rajah’s heir in Sarawak it was thought he would soon retire from the army; then Arthur Crookshank, who had hitherto represented him in Borneo; Charles Grant, his private secretary; Brereton, at that moment unattached; and myself, secretary to the Commissioner.

Excerpt from Rajah Brooke, published in 1899 by Sir Spenser St John

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Further Reading and External Links

James Rajah Brooke on Wikipedia

The Royalist Schooner