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[THE French and English histories of this important war have been before the world for a considerable time, and so essentially differing in many particulars as to call for an umpire to reconcile conHlicting authorities. General Todleben's masterly work, therefore-a clear and able review of which we here present to our readers-will be welcomed by all students of history who wish to arrive at sion quite often differs from Mr. Kinglake's history, and sides with the French view.-ED. ECLECTIC.]
the truth. It will be seen that the Russian ver
Ir is an old maxim, that occasions make men, yet it is an indisputable fact that the Crimean War produced only one man of genius, founded only one high and durable reputation, and added only one invention or discovery of magnitude to our preexisting knowledge of the art of
Défense de Sebastopol. Ouvrage Rédigé sous la Direction du Lieutenant-Général Todleben, Aide de-Camp Général de S. M. l'Empereur. Tome I.,
Première Partie. Tome II., Seconde Partie.
Quarto, pp. 720. Saint Pétersbourg: Imprime
rie N. Phieblin et Cie. 1863.
NEW SERIES-VOL. I., No. 1.
war. Many soldiers and sailors of all ranks did their devoir bravely; many individual act of heroism might be singled out for unqualified praise. There was no lack of zeal, courage, or devotedness in either of the armies engaged, nor in their chiefs; but (blunders apart) they proceeded regularly and systematically, without one original conception, without one flash of light; whilst Todleben, with his combinations of earthworks, changed the entire face of things at the very crisis of the enterprise. And this he did, after a calm survey and careful calculation of the respective means and resources of the assailants and the assailed. It is both fitting and fortunate, therefore, that he should be selected by the Russians to write or edit their version of the events which the cultivated world have hitherto been obliged to learn almost exclusively from French and English histories; histories differing so essen
tially, that a mediator of authority will be gladly welcomed by readers of all countries who are not utterly indifferent about the truth.*
point of view; a course of proceeding which we are led to adopt, as well by the preexisting lack of information from Russian sources, as by the form and character of the book under review. The promised English version seems to be indefinitely postponed; and the circulation of the French edition now before us
Questions of conflicting evidence exercise a kind of fascination on the mind, inspiring a lively interest quite independently of their inherent importance; and as the controversies raised by M. Bazan-(price, when completed, from fourteen to court and Mr. Kinglake largely affect sixteen guineas) will certainly be confined both national rivalries and personal char to a small and select class. * acter, it would be passing strange if either Frenchmen and Englishmen, so recently engaged in animated competition, had suddenly become cold to the resulting glory or shame. Was the battle of the Alma decided by the British advance against the Russian right and centre, or by the turning movement of the French? Was it the British or the French commander who shrank from carrying out the expedition as a coup de main? Which of them hesitated to attack the Northern Forts on the land side? Who suggested or urged the flank march? Who declined the proposal for an assault when the formidable Malakoff was an easily accessible and half-fortified tower? Who bore the brunt of those terrible morning hours at Inkermann? And who, all things considered, contributed most to the final triumph of the Allies? We are not going to reopen or reärgue any of these questions, although we may inadvertently throw light upon them as we proceed. We propose to place ourselves as nearly as we can in the position of the Russians, and describe the main features of the siege from their
*“Francis Todleben, whose name was to be made illustrious by the siege of Sebastopol, was at the commencement of his military career when the Eastern war broke out. It is to this war, and the inexhaustible genius he displayed in his obstinate defence of Sebastopol, that he owes the elevated rank he now holds.
"Son of a merchant of Mittau, Todleben was born on the 25th May, 1818. After having completed his studies in the schools of Riga, he was admitted into the College of Engineers at St. Petersburg. At the beginning of the war, he was only second captain of engineers: he distinguished himself under the orders of General Childers, and was then sent to the Crimea. In less than a year he passed successively through the grades of captain, commandant, lieutenantcolonel, adjutant-colonel, marshal de camp, and adjutant-general, and received from his sovereign the highest marks of esteem and consideration." -Bazancourt, vol. ii. p. 8. He is uniformly named Lieutenant-Colonel in his book.
It will be remembered that all public documents bearing on the subject have been placed at the disposal of the editor; that he has been allowed to select his assistants from the army list; and that the whole expenses of the work are defrayed from the imperial treasury. It is therefore, to all intents and purposes, an official publication, as was M. de Bazancourt's; and this we conceive to be a most material deduction from its authority. Giving General Todleben full credit for independence of spirit, love of truth, and the best intentions, he is still the organ of an autocrat; he is writing (so to speak) in the fetters of authority; he is safe from domestic criticism; and unless his narrative had been approved by his imperial employer, it would have been suppressed. There have arisen obvious causes whilst the work was in progress for giving it a tone not disagreeable to the French; and national vanity might cooperate with policy to confirm the claims to superior prowess put forth by or on behalf of our allies. If at Alma or Inkermann they took an equal share with the British in the fight, so much the more glory would accrue to the vanquished, whom (it would thus be made to appear) nothing less than a series of combined efforts by the opposing armies could bear back. We never yet met with a French account of Waterloo in which the Prussians did not figure as the real victors; and if we are to put faith in M. Thiers, the Spaniards in the
*The maps and plans (eighteen in number) are on the largest and most expensive scale, but they are neither so manageable nor so clear as those prepared by the Topographical Depot to accompany the English Journal of Engineers' Operations before Sebastopol. There is a corresponding French work, entitled Journal des Opirations du Génie, publié avec l'Autorisation du Ministre de la Guerre. Par Le Général Niel. Avec un altas in folio de 15 planches. Paris: Libraire Militaire, 1858.
Peninsular War very far exceeded, instead of lamentably falling short of, the effective cooperation vowed and promised by their successive commanders in their name.
voice of the "Great Eltchee" was raised on the side of the French. The extraordinary mission of Prince Menschikow was a well-intentioned move in a conciliatory direction: he demanded nothing These few words of warning will not more than the strict observance of treaty be found superfluous when we come to rights; and his abrupt departure, as the disputed battles or events; and even well as his peremptory demeanor, have the preliminary chapters setting forth been most unfairly represented as derogthe designs, resources, and preparations atory to the independence and dignity of Russia, should be perused with cau- of the Porte. The crossing of the tion; although there is little fear of her Pruth, and the occupation of the Prinsucceeding in passing herself off as the cipalities, were equitable and moderate most inoffensive and least grasping of steps towards a reasonable object; and the great powers. General Todleben, if Austria and Prussia had not played however, insists that she played the part false, that object would have been atof lamb to our wolf throughout, and tained without further complication. says distinctly that "not to agree at the Energetic measures on their part would present time on this fact-that the two have prevented the war; but, fatally antagonistic powers, France and Eng-carried along by the current of public land, ardently desired war-would be to opinion, they held aloof, and at the last defy evidence." What has been mis-moment Austria passed from neutrality taken for ambition in Russia, is simply to threats. a double impulse arising from her geo- Such, in substance, is General Todgraphical situation. "With boundaries leben's explanation of the immediate touching Europe on one side and Asia causes of the war. His sketch of the on the other, she finds herself the natu- military and naval events which precedral intermediary between the east and ed the invasion of the Crimea, is not less the west. Thence for her the necessity opposed to the popular impression of of the double end towards which her England and France. Thus, he says policy must be directed. She must pur- that it is altogether a mistake to supsue the development of her interest in pose that the Turks single-handed gained the East by means of European civiliza- any advantages over the Russians in any tion, and seek to consolidate the founda- quarter; and as for Silistria, that the tions of the political importance that she siege was raise surely because Marsnar has acquired in the great family of Eu-Prince Paskievitch's lines of communiropean states." As head of the Greek cation were commanded by the AusChristians, the czar could not help inter- trians, whose intentions were unknown. fering to protect his co-religionists, and He says: thus afforded a pretext for the quarrel, for which Napoleon the Third was eager listria in special compilations; and in these "A great deal has been written about Sily on the look-out; whilst the ever-wake-recitals there is frequent mention of the rare ful jealousy of England was aroused by finding the constantly extending frontier of Russia, though still a few thousand niles off, and separated by a kingdom or two, roaching negter and nearer the heart of her oriental empire.
Her lurking hoselity was first exhibit-- by what is described as the first manifestation of the progress of English influence in Turkey-the formal refusal of the Ottoman Porte to deliver up to Austria and Russia the Hungarian and Polish insurgents who had taken refuge in the states of the Sultan. Then followed the quarrel of the Greek and Latin churches, in which the dictatorial
energy of the defence, of assaults repulsed, of
He goes on to deny in detail the alleged mining and counter-mining; to describe the Arab Tabia as a formidable fort; to scout the notion of a regular siege; to represent the sorties of the garrison (which he limits to two) as unsuccessful, although he admits that one cost the Russians seven hundred men ;
and to assert that the besiegers never sustained a repulse, although they lost twenty-five hundred men before the place. "The Marshal quitted the army on the 12th June (old style). By the order of Prince Gortschakow, measures were taken for the assault of the advanced forts. They were in such a situation as to make it impossible for them to oppose a powerful resistance. But in the night of the 20th to the 21st June, and when the troops, already at their posts, waited but the signal-gun to rush to the assault, there arrived unexpectedly a courier from the Marshal, bearing the order to raise the siege,
and retire to the left bank of the Danube.'
So that, if we accept this Russian version, the memorable exploit of Mr. Kinglake's three "English lads," Nasmyth, Butler, and Ballard (although confirmed by the printed journals of two of them in the Times) must henceforth be considered little better than a myth.
We know few more striking examples of the extent to which human credulity may be stretched than the theories with which Mr. Urquhart managed to inoculate his disciples touching the irresistible strength of Russia, her project of universal empire, and the complicity of British statesmen in her views. There are persons who believe still that Lord Palmerston was amongst her emissaries, and that he brought about the Crimean War in the hope of aiding her in some inscrutabhe wax. Calm, calculating politicians were not wanting to contend that the only real danger to the balance of power was to be apprehended from the giant of the north; and these derived small comfort from the reflection that the first aggressive movement on a large scale would dispel the delusion that the feet of the giant were of clay. It is curious, therefore, to learn, on official authority, what was the actual available strength of the Muscovite empire in 1854, and whether its condition indicated either the capacity or the wish to overrun or overawe Western Europe.
The proposition laid down and partially established in the first chapter of this work is, that at the very time when the Emperor Nicholas was accused of extending his hand to grasp, by anticipation, the inheritance of the "sick man," he had made no preparations on his frontiers either for attack or defence; and these frontiers, vast but vulnerable,
were each, it is contended, of such a nature as to require a separate army for its protection. The coasts of the Baltic, the Polish and Gallician borders, and the Russian possessions on the Black Sea, might be simultaneously assailed; and the want of good means of communication made it impossible to rely on the rapid transfer of forces to a threatened spot in an emergency. "This," says the General, was our weak side. But, by way of compensation, we had an inThis superiority consisted in the possi contestable superiority over our enemies. bility of recruiting and maintaining an army such as it was not given to any other European power to possess. The entire independence of the government, and the cheap maintenance of the soldier, compared with his cost in other countries, made it possible for Russia to oppose to her enemies an army numerous enough to struggle with success against their united forces." Her military forces are divided into active troops, regular and irregular; troops of reserve; troops destined to the interior service of the empire. The active regulars are computed at 678,201; the active irregulars at 242,203; the troops destined to the interior service, composing the Garde Intérieure, at 144,937; the active troops of reserve and depot, 212,433; grand total in January, 1853, 1,365,786. The active regulars consisted of 544,927 infantry, 81,723 cavalry, 41,551 artillery, horse and foot. Twenty-four men in each battalion were armed with rifles, making rather less than five per cent. of the infantry.
With regard to the disposition of this force, in the summer of 1854, the number of fighting men which could be employed to carry on the war against the Turks, and defend the frontiers of the empire, was 01,824. The Russian nay, at the same period, consisted, of 12 vessels, carrying 7195 gms; including 31 ships-of-the-line, 1 sailing frigates, 10 steam frigates, and 2 corvettes. Of these, 295 vessels, with 4105 guns, composed the Baltic fleet; and 145, with 2855 guns, that of the Black Sea. The only screw men-of-war in the Russian navy, three ships-of-the-line and two frigates, were in the Baltic. The Turkish land forces are estimated at 230,000; those which England could spare for the
service at 35,000; and the French contingent at 63,000; making in all 328,000 to encounter Russia in the East. The naval superiority of the maritime powers was confessedly such as to render exact computation and comparison useless.
We made known in August, 1856, a fact which has since become notorious, namely, that the land defences on the north of Sebastopol were so weak that the Russians had given up all hope of defending them, when the French commander refused to cooperate with Lord Raglan in the attempt to carry them by assault. Besides the fullest confirmation of this statement regarding the north, we find in the work before us accumulated proofs that the town was equally open to a coup-de-main on the south:
"It must be confessed that all the fortifications on the south side of Sebastopol were very weak, and that each of them had its particular imperfections; but since, at the time of their construction, no further use of them was contemplated than to repulse the attack of a weak invading force, the works might then, up to a certain point, appear sufficient. These fortifications were armed with 134 guns; and the total of the guns for the defence of Sebastopol on the land side, amounted to 145. This artillery was spread
over all the circuit of the line of defence, on an extent of six and a half versts,* and could not concentrate on almost any point of the space in front of the fortifications the fire of more than three or four of its pieces; there were even spaces not covered by it on the approaches of the land batteries."
The Russian troops in the Crimea on the 13th of September, the day of the disembarkation, did not exceed 51,500 men; and these being dispersed over the peninsula, Prince Menschikow could not concentrate more than 30,000 in and about the place. To these must be added the crews of the vessels of war in the harbor, computed at 18,500. These were about the numbers at which the British government had estimated the defensive forces. But we seem to have very greatly over-estimated (or the General has greatly under - estimated) the resources in munitions of war, magazines of provisions, hospital stores, and other necessaries. It was remarked, during the siege, that a disabled piece was
* Rather more than four English miles.
| readily replaced, and that the sustained discharge at all hours of the day and night along the whole line of the fortifications argued an inexhaustible stock of powder and ball. The number of cannon captured with the place was enormous. But we now learn that a large proportion of the guns laid up in the parks of artillery were old and unserviceable; that the very metal was useless for want of foundries; and that the whole of the powder in Sebastopol, at eight pounds a charge, amounted to 325,000 charges. Very few tools for the engineers and pioneers were to be found in the government stores; not more than enough for 200 men; so that it became necessary to collect all the tools in the town and vicinity for the execution of the works. This is the remembered how much was effected by most remarkable want of all, when it is the spade and pickaxe for the defence. Building utensils (matériaux de construction) also fell short, with the excep tion of the wood, iron, cordage, and sail - cloth in the naval arsenal. The bread provided for the land forces was sufficient for four months and a half's consumption; that for the fleet, seven months. There were military hospitals for 1125 patients, and infirmaries capable of receiving 1200. The naval hospital was put upon a footing to receive 18,000. The hospital chests were only provided with medicines, lint, and other necessaries for the proper treatment of 1500 sick, and the dressing of 6000 wounded. This explains the frightful condition in which they were found by the Allies at the conclusion of the siege.
The difficulties to be encountered by an invading army were so vividly impressed on the mind of Prince Menschikow that he remained incredulous touching the meditated expedition till it took place. Little had, consequently, been done to strengthen the defences, and the appearance of the armament off the coast of the Crimea was a most disagreeable surprise.
"On the 13th of September, 1854, about ten in the morning, two ships of war were discovered in the horizon from Sebastopol, and behind them a white cloud of smoke raised by a large number of steamers. Soon afterwards arrived the news that seventy vessels of the enemy had doubled the Cape of