Friday, July 4, 2008

In the Crimea, 1854


On April 25 our battery had a fortunate escape, for the Russians managed to drop a 13 inch mortar shell right through the roof of a magazine. It broke the magazine man's neck, but did not explode. Although the regular bombardment had ceased, there was at this time always sufficient fire of some sort to prevent perfect repose, and the following day Captain Peel had a narrow escape. I was following close behind him through the covered way to the advance trenches when a bullet passed between his legs and out a groove in my left gaiter, but such incidents were so common that I should not have recorded it had I not been so anxious for his safety.

Toward the end of the month there was renewed activity in advance of the right attack trenches, in which many officers won distinction, but there were also many unrecorded acts of heroism, one of which is remarkable also for the hero's contempt of praise. During a struggle for a rifle pit an Irishman collared two Russians, and having slung his rifle over his shoulder led them back into our advanced trench, one in each hand. Said he, "Sit down wid ye," and having relit his short pipe he was enjoying it while contemplating his prisoners, when several soldiers of all ranks came round and warmly congratulated him on his prizes. He was sitting with his back to the enemy and listened for some time in silence till without removing the dhudeen from his mouth, but pointing significantly over his shoulder, he observed, " 'Deed but there's many more for the bringing." — Sir Evelyn Wood in Fortnightly Review.

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