|Our Operations in the Crimea
At a time when the utmost efforts at negotiations for peace had been acknowledged as fruitless—when the moderate terms submitted by the allies at the Conferences of Vienna were known to have been arrogantly refused by Russia—it was certainly refreshing and peculiarly gratifying to learn that our negotiators at the seat of war had succeeded in striking some of those decisive blows at the enemy, which tend more to the realization of peace than a hundred protocols and discussions. The French, in a fierce and bloody contest, had taken the Mamelon Vert, while the English, in a bloodless but no less glorious advance, had captured and occupied Yenikale, Kertch, and Genitchi, fortified towns on the Sea of Azoff, in whose waters our war-ships floated as much at their ease as if they had been in Portsmouth harbour. Everywhere the Russian ”warriors” fled at our approach—vast stores and provisions fell into our hands, and, tacitly confessing that they were incapable of defending their country against a small force of British, they fired a few magazines, made a blaze of several of their own ships, and retreated in true Cossack fashion!
Even the subtle sophistry of Gortschakoff, so fluent at Vienna, could put no other construction on these occurrences than to confess that they were calamities, the disastrous nature of which could not be disguised. At St. Petersburg the news of these defeats told their own gloomy tale. The attack on the Mamelon Vert showed the Russians that their most desperate efforts could net much longer avail them in holding their cherished fortress against the allies—the long list of killed, and the small number of those wounded, in the defence of that tower, proved to the Muscovites that the besiegers had grown weary of cutting and maiming, and that henceforth their blows and thrusts must be mortal—striking to the heart of the besieged.
On the other hand, in the Sea of Azoff, though there were no slain to lament over, (if we may attribute lamentation to Russia on such a subject) there was the still greater vexation of losses without effort—of the surrender ef towns in a ‘manner which exhibited the real weakness and incapacity of that empire which had vaunted so arrogantly of its military power and resources. A garrison of ten thousand had given over Kertch to the enemy without firing a gun—our men-of-war swept an inland sea of Russia, the coasts of which comprised her finest provinces; nothing, in short, but misfortune and dishonour had followed the refusal of the Czar to make peace; and, judging from what had taken place, nothing remained to him but to witness the fall of his forts and the surrender of his territories to the superior prowess of the allies.
We need not enter into any detailed account of the.terrible conflict by which the French gained possession of the Mamelon, or of the operations which the allies adopted in securing possession of Kertch and Yenikale. These particulars have been fully related in the various newspapers of the day, and the repetition is rendered still less essential by the illustrations we have given, which convey at one view the scenes presented both in the Sea of Azoff and at Sebastopol, on the two glorious occasions to which we have alluded. Like the Alma, Inkerman, and Balaklava—Kertch, Yenikale, and the Fight at the Mamelon, will be proud titles which will henceforward be borne on the national standards of the besiegers.
The conquest of the Mamelon Tower, and the captures effected in the Sea of Azoff, form advantages to the allies which can scarcely be over-estimated, and such as they will not readily abandon. Not only that they tend to the immediate success of the war are the positions surrendered of importance —they offer a “material guarantee" against Russian aggrandisement in the south, enabling us to present an insuperable barrier to the barbarian hordes of the Czar-
“Th' oppressive, sturdy, man-destroying villains,
The provinces on the coast of the Sea of Azoff are among the last spoliations which Russia secured from Turkey, and they are among the first of which she has been deprived. Still, the Muscovites have held undisturbed possession of these territories for nearly thirty years, during which time they have not neglected the usual means of preparing for any attack —and it may appear somewhat surprising that they should have so readily abandoned these possessions. It has been suspected for some time that the immense forces which Russia was enabled to exhibit at Sebastopol, were concentrated by greatly weakening other points of her frontier, and she is now so menaced on every side, that her utmost efforts, and her most secret policy, cannot disguise the shifts to which she is put—her very extent enfeebles her. Already from this cause, the Circassians occupy Anapa—a city which it cost Russia years of bloodshed to secure; and, taking a general view of the war, we may now, more reasonably than ever, look forward to the final humbling of that overgrown empire, confining it within its natural limits, and putting an end to its aggressions.