25th October 1854

 

“On the 25th at daylight the enemy were observed in great force, 20,000 to 25,000 strong with a large force of artillery and several thousand cavalry. Then the Russians commenced shelling…” E A Stotherd.

“The firing became more rapid, under cover of this, masses of Russian infantry advanced in the direction of the redoubts…” Surgeon W Munro.

“The Turkish troops persisted as long as they could and then retired having suffered considerable loss. When the enemy had possession of the redoubts their guns ranged to the 93rd, I made them retire behind the crest of the hill…” Sir Colin Campbell.

“Two men in the centre company were wounded, one of them had his foot and ankle shattered by a round shot, the other was wounded in the knee by a fragment of shell. A great mass of Russian cavalry came into view and rode towards the plain and a body detached itself and advanced in our direction. Sir Colin ordered the 93rd and Turks to reform on the crest of the hill. Two companies of the Regiment which had been detached arrived and took up position in the line…” Surgeon W Munro.

“We got orders to join the main body and take our store of ammunition with us and joined the Regiment on the plains of Kadikoi which was in line with some convalesced men from different Regiments, Turks and a battery of artillery on our left. No word of forming a square to receive them but in a line two deep as we were…” D Cameron.

After a pause the Russian cavalry descended the slope at the gallop. They seemed in splendid order, their sabres and spears glittering in the sun and formed a sea of wavering lights…” T McCombie.

“Sweeping towards us they made the ground quiver under their proud and agile feet, their appearance as they approached our line was imposing in the extreme…” R Sinclair.

“The ground flies beneath the horses feet, gathering speed at every stride they dash on towards that thin red streak topped with a line of steel…” William Russell (Times War Correspondent)

French Staff Officers from the General Vimoy’s Division were most excited spectators of the scene and when they saw the Russian cavalry bearing down upon the line they exclaimed, Ah these poor Highlanders they will be massacred, Balaclava is lost!. Sir Colin decided not to form a square of four deep as laid down in drill regulations but present a wide and firm front as he could to cover the gorge of Balaclava…” F W Traill-Burroughs.

“Our company was in the centre of the line, we were thoroughly prepared for the Russians and in order to be in readiness each man had placed cartridges between the buttons of his coat…” C Gray

 

 

 

 

 

 

“Thus we stood for a few seconds while the cavalry was rapidly nearing us. It was a noble sight that line of Highlanders standing shoulder to shoulder. When Sir Colin thought our Minie rifles might reach the enemy he ordered the line to fire…” Surgeon W Munro.

“I myself stood just behind the colours. Aim, steady, ready, present arms, Fire! Immediately we cast about to load…” W Forbes Mitchell.

“Being in the front rank and giving a look along the line it seemed like a wall of fire in front of the muzzles of our rifles…” D Cameron.

“But when the smoke from this had blown aside we saw the cavalry still advancing. A second volley rang forth, there was a little confusion in the enemy’s ranks and they swerved to our right. The grenadiers were ordered to change front and fire a volley. This caught the cavalry, it shook them visibly and caused them to bend away until they wheeled and rode back to their own army followed by a wild cheering from the ranks of the 93rd…” Surgeon W Munro.

 

Account by Russian Cavalry officer who took part in the charge reflects the devastating effect the 93rd’s fire had on their charge on Balaclava. “On advancing your Regiment rose out of the ground and fired a volley at us, we were unable to rein up or swerve before we received your second volley. When we were inclining to our left a wing of your Regiment changed front and fired a volley into our flank. Almost every man and horse were wounded. I myself had one bullet through the arm and one breaking my thigh. The volleys and the appearance of the Regiment quite checked us…”

 

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