with it, and before 4 o’clock in the afternoon he was dead. He belonged to “The Queen”. His wife’s maiden name was White. Our doctor put him out in the dead-house an hour before he was really dead. When the sailmaker went to sew him up to be buried, the poor fellow was groaning and twisting about. The sailmaker ran up directly and told the lieutenant about it. He (Lieut Urmston) came down to him immediately, and ordered the doctor to get some hot water to rub him with; but he was too far gone. We buried him in the evening – myself and three more belonging to Hastings, carrying him to the grave, where he now lies alongside of many of his brave comrades who have left their bones in the Crimea. All the rest of the Hastings chaps are quite well. Yesterday, William Britt came up from Balaklava to see us. He is in a merchant ship there. He sends his love to his friends, and expects to be home in three months time. I was at the battery yesterday, and the order came to prepare all the mortars to open fire on the town after dark. Shell and carcases were fired into the town all night, but I don’t know what damage has been done. The battery I am now in is No. 2 Sailors’ Battery, Green Hill, and it is a very good one. I have got a 68-pounder ship’s gun to fight with, and Fred. Smith is also at my gun. They have now 17 heavy guns in advance of Gordon’s battery, and about 38 in advance of Green Hill, besides heavy mortars. It will be a heavy siege this time, and who ever lives to come out of it will be a lucky man. Everybody is anxious to get it over. George Mantell is quite well and desires to be remembered to you, and to his father, mother, brothers and sisters. Good bye, and may God bless you all! I go again to the trenches tonight.”
[A subscription was got up in Hastings for the widow of Thomas Phillips, who died of cholera in the Crimea]
JUNE 2, 1855
SHALL RUSSIA DICTATE PEACE?
A period of more than twelve months has elapsed since the breaking out of hostilities in the East— it has been a long and anxious time if we may judge of it by the feverish state of public expectation which so great and important a struggle was calculated to produce—but, it must be admitted, if we bear in mind the great resources and capabilites(sic) of the power of the enemy, that the operations of one year could scarcely have produced results of greater consequence—especially if we remember the obstinacy of the foe, on the one hand, and on the other, the difficulties which arise to us from the distance of the chief point of attack.
It is true that our army and our fleet have lain for eight months before Sebastopol without effecting that capture, the difficulties of which were at first so much underrated—it is true that the Armada which we despatched to the North, returned without demolishing the Sebastopol of the Baltic—but that we have had the advantage over our enemy, and maintained it in every phase of the war, is palpably clear to every one who is disposed dispassionately to reflect on the subject. We have invaded Russia on her own territory—have struck at the very root of her strength, and the key of her defeat is within our grasp—we have established ourselves in the most fertile portion of her vast empire so firmly that her most desperate efforts fail to dislodge us—and the Black Sea is as much in our hands as if guaranteed by a score of treaties—and the boasted naval supremacy of Russia in those waters has vanished before the war-ships of the allies. Everywhere her ports are blockaded, her commerce interrupted, and her flag has disappeared from the seas. All these facts are evident, and one besides —that we have beaten.the Russians in every encounter which they have dared to risk—and yet it has been urged that we should except conditions offered by the Czar for the conclusion of peace, or in other words, retire from the contest, and leave Russia to stretch her dominions, and to impose her despotic rule, in any way she may desire !
It has served the purposes of party to dwell with great stress on the prolongation of the siege of Sebastopol, and to represent that nothing but ultimate failure could result from the expedition. Perhaps it was thought probable that if a great military critic got up in the Lords, and stated that the Crimean campaign was wrongly conceived, and injudiciously carried out, it might have some weight on the public mind, in leading them to demand not only a re-arrangement of ministers, but an administration of entirely opposite political principles, and thus gratify the longings of the party for office: but though it cannot be denied that too great a feeling of discontent has been excited respecting the Crimean operations, the great mass of the people have been disposed to judge of this matter for themselves, from the facts furnished. Antcipation(sic) has, it is true, kept in advance of the results realized, but, in that war which Mr. D’Israeli was pleased to term “disastrous,” there was much that was satisfactory to our reputation and our honor—and, if there were disasters connected with it, it was felt to be owing to that incapacity and blundering at home, of which, any amelioration was certainly not to be expected from the present opposition.
Notwithstanding, then, that there has been no lack of oratory in order to throw a gloom over the prospects of the war in the Crimea, public opinion as been pretty unanimous in insisting that the siege should be continued, and that no peace should be made which did not secure tangible guarantees against future aggressions. And at length, a bright gleam of hope is associated with the Crimean war—Kertch, an important position in the straits of the sea of Azoff, is taken; the Russians, as usual, flying before our advance, and burning their own ships after the manner of true Scythians.
In three days, the Allies have driven the Russians from the works they occupied near the centre fort; have occupied both banks of the Tchernaya, and driven the enemy into the mountains; have taken possession of Kertch and Yenekale, and secured to our flag the undisputed possession of the mysterious Sea of Azoff; while near 6,000 Russians have fallen in the latest combats, under the very walls of Sebastopol. We have now the game in our own hands, and no terms of peace ought to be listened to from Russia until the French and English flags have waved upon the shattered granite of the devoted city.