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VISIT TO THE CRIMEA.
HAVING accomplished all that required immediate attention in connexion with the Bible cause at Constantinople, Mr. Righter determined upon making a visit to the camp of the allied armies at Sebastopol, to ascertain by personal inspection what opening there might be for the circulation of the Holy Scriptures among the troops. Accordingly he called upon Admiral Boxer to obtain an order or permit to visit the Crimea, which was cheerfully given as soon as the object of the visit was made known. Mr. Righter hastily packed up about a hundred Bibles and Testaments for his own personal distribution, and in company with his friend, Mr. McCormick, on the 21st of December, went on board the transport steamer Medway, bound for the Crimea.
An account of his visit is given in his own words, taken from a letter to the editors of the "New York Observer." It is a graphic description of the horrors of war, and of the desolation which it leaves in its track.
"CAMP BEFORE SEBASTOPOL, December 24, 1854. "MESSRS. EDITORS: It was thought desirable that I should visit the Crimea for the purpose of making arrangements to supply the English and French troops with the Bible. We are in camp before Sebastopol, on the field of Inkerman, within the roar of the enemy's cannon, and in the midst of shot and shell flying and bursting on either side. The officer who entertains me was engaged in the battle, and he walks with me a few steps upon the hill and points out the field. 'This,' said he, 'where we are now standing is the famous sandbag battery which was taken and re-taken three times in the engagement, and here the Russians and English lay in heaps together. There the Cossacks came up the valley at half-past six in the morning 60,000 strong to surprise our little band of only 8,000 men, and we fought them, hand to hand, with sword, pistol, and bayonet, for four hours, when we began to feel that we must soon be overpowered by numbers and entirely cut off to a man; but the timely relief of the French, under General Bosquet, revived our drooping courage-we charged down the hill-soon put them to flight and drove them from the field, and the French closely pursued them even within the walls of Sebastopol. But what a terrible sight it was the afternoon and evening after the battle, to see the dead and dying strewn over the field,
HORRORS OF WAR.
mangled and cut to pieces! and then to hear the moan of the wounded and suffering as it sounded in our ears. Our tents, too, were all riddled and torn by balls and shot from their cannon and musketry, and our poor fellows were groaning for assistance. And we scarcely dare walk among the wounded, for the savage Russians, just able to crawl, would bayonet and shoot our men, as they were giving a cup of cold water to their suffering comrades. They even fired upon us from their batteries when we were burying their own dead upon the field. The next day we buried a thousand Russians in one grave, and when we came to one Englishman, our men said, “He must not go in with the Cossacks." I said, "Yes, they will now surely sleep quietly side by side," and we put him in too, and one grave closed over them all. I never saw a battle before, and never wish to see another. It was awful beyond conception.'
"Such is the description given me by one who was eye-witness and took part in this terrible conflict. I then proposed to walk across a little ravine to an adjoining height, where I could have a good view of Sebastopol.
"Yes,' said he, 'I think it can be done now with safety, there is less firing than usual this afternoon, I would go with you, but I am on double duty and cannot leave the camp. Be careful and not get beyond our entrenchments. Lord
VIEW OF SEBASTOPOL.
• Dunkellin was taken prisoner by a party of Russians just below this.'
"After a refreshing cup of tea, I retired for the night. There had been cheering along the lines in the evening, and we thought it might be a signal for the assault which was daily expected, and as you might well imagine, my dreams were filled with sounds of cheers, and charge, and all the excitement of battle. Nor was it all a dream, for the Russians made a sortie upon the trenches, and there was a heavier cannonading than usual that night, which shook the ground and tent around me. In the morning I was aroused early by the notes of the bugle, and beating of the morning drum to order and to arms for their daily drill. The music sounds beautifully through the encampment. The whole camp is soon astir, and formed in line, and as we ride along four miles in front, it presents a brilliant scene, with all the pomp and circumstance of war. We have now reached the extreme left of the English defence, and another officer wishes to accompany us for the purpose of giving us 'the best possible view of Sebastopol and the entrenchments.' We walk a few steps to a height above the camp, and thence, with a good glass, can look directly into the town, the fortifications and batteries in front of the walls, and it indeed seems as if the Allies had not made the least impression upon it. As our
VALLEY OF DEATH.
friends themselves assured us, 'it is stronger now than when they first began the siege, for the Russians have speedily repaired every damage, and have even erected mud batteries outside the walls to fire upon our lines.'
"Now,' said they, 'if you will walk half a mile farther in front we will give you a still nearer view.' So we descended into a deep ravine called 'The Valley of Death,' and here the shot and shell, thirteen inch, and twenty-four and fifty-six pounders, lay like hailstones covering the ground, most of which, we were told, had been thrown from the Russian batteries during the first day of the bombardment, but now occasionally one is added to the number, not a very comfortable announcement. We then ascended the height, and here we could not only see the streets and buildings of the town, and the whole line of fortifications and entrenchments, but also the flash of the evening guns, and could hear the shells whizzing through the air and bursting around us. The English were firing from their battery a few rods below, and the French had just opened a new battery a short distance to the left; and the Russians were answering their fire from the town. I asked, 'Is it not rather dangerous here?' 'Yes,' said they, 'a chance shot might strike us, or it would not be surprising if the Russians should direct a shell toward us, seeing a little company together