صور الصفحة
PDF
النشر الإلكتروني

70

LOSING THE WAY.

6

going right towards, or right from, our point of destination, and we were beyond the line of tents, and saw camp-fires far in the distance. rode on, however, we saw an object just before us that appeared like a sentinel at his post. We knew not whether he was Cossack or friend, yet we ventured to hail him with the watch words, Who

goes there ?' (“Qui vive') and no answer was returned; but as we advanced still nearer, we found he was a stray horse, and could, therefore, give us no direction in the road. We rode on another half hour, and then saw a company of men on the hill above us, yet were in doubt whether they were friends or Cossacks; we slowly drew near and listened to their voices, and could not distinguish whether they were speaking Turkish or Russian. But we had lost our way, and must summon up courage to hail them. Happily they proved to be French, on their road to the camp, and, with the politeness of Frenchmen, directed us in the right path. We had not proceeded a half hour, however, before we found ourselves again in the brushwood, quite out of the path ; but fortunately, we once more heard voices in the ravine below, and this was a little company of Irish soldiers, who had also lost their way, and were pitching their tent for the night. Said I, 'Can you direct me the way to Balaklava ?' One of them at once accompanied me

[blocks in formation]

up

the hill, and said, 'This is the road, sir.' 'Are you quite sure?' I asked. “An' faith, I am certain, sir, for I have just come it myself.' Thus encouraged, we rode on with lightsome hearts ; presently the moon shone out in clear sky to cheer us on our way, and then we saw the Highland camp in the valley below to guide us forward, and in one hour more we reached Balaklava and our good ship in safety, with much rejoicing and gratitude of heart.

“It is impossible to describe the state of the roads and country trodden and trampled down in every direction. The work of war. The landmarks are removed, the trees cut down, the houses torn down, and the furniture, even chairs, pianos, and sofas, everything consumable has been used for fuel by the army. It was indeed a beautiful country when the Allies first landed, abounding in vineyards, cultivated fields, and lovely country residences; now it is a waste of perfect desolation. The heavy rains and dragging of artillery, have made the mud half knee deep, and the horses, by being overworked, are dying by hundreds in the fields, and even the men are sinking down by the roadside, and dying under their heavy burdens, for as the horses have failed, they are obliged to transport their provisions, and even their heavy fifty-six pound shot and shell, to the camp on the backs of men. There is great suffering too in the

72

SOLDIERS DYING.

front camp,

for want of stores and warm clothing. They are dying there at the rate of sixty per day, and coming down sick to the Hospital at Balaklava more than a hundred a day. And with the Turks it is still worse. It even amounts to a plague among them. They are dying by fifties, emaciated and loathsome in the extreme; you see them lying dead and borne on litters in every direction for burial; cast in pits, and loose dirt or stones thrown upon them. It is dreadful to behold.

“The French, on the contrary, are better furnished with clothing, provisions, and medical attendance; they have fresh bread every other day in their camp, warm tents and fires, yet such is the severity of the season here, and so great is the exposure in the trenches at night and from rain and snow, that the mortality among them is also very great.

“Thus the Czar has likewise two powerful allies, winter and disease, which are making fearful ravages among the allied troops. Reinforcements are rapidly arriving from France and England, but the new troops are dying faster than the old ones, who have been longer here, and are hardened to the

exposure. The Allies occupy fifteen miles of defence, constantly exposed to attack from the Russians, who are near their lines on all sides, and have free communication with the fleet and fortress of Sebastopol, as well as their provinces by the

TREATMENT OF TURKS.

73

way of Perekop on the north. The Allies have 100,000 men and 650 heavy guns, while the Russian army has 150,000 men, and 700 guns of larger size than the Allies, as well as the advantage of strong fortifications, and ammunition for two years. I also notice that the Czar has just issued a ukase for a new levy of one man to every thousand in his empire, which will increase his army more than a million. So that there must be terrible fighting yet, and there is every prospect that Sebastopol will not be taken at least before next Spring

“ The most perfect good feeling exists between the French and English on the part of soldiers and officers; they salute each other with the common term, "buono Inglese,' 'buono Francese, good English, good French, and both equally detest and despise the Turks, kicking and beating them like Turkish dogs, as they themselves formerly treated the Christians. I myself saw a Turkish officer, with his face all cut and bleeding from the sword of an English soldier, who escaped with a slight reprimand, whereas if the offence had been committed against an English or French officer, by a Turkish soldier, he would have been immediately shot.

“I would also add that my esteemed friend, Mr. Richard C. McCormick, Jr., Secretary of the Young Men's Christian Association of New York,

[blocks in formation]

who has been my travelling companion from Paris to the East, likewise acompanied me to the Crimea, and has been of essential service to me in my efforts in behalf of the soldiers. His health still continues good. “Most sincerely your friend,

"C. N. RIGHTER."

« السابقةمتابعة »