War with Russia - Alliance of England, France and Turkey

At 1:50 a line of skirmishers got within range of the battery on the hill, and immediately the Russians opened fire at 1200 yards, with effect, the shot ploughing through open lines of the riflemen, and falling into the advancing columns behind. Shortly ere this time, dense volumes of smoke rose from the river, and drifted along to the eastward, interfering with the view of the enemy on the left. The Russians had set the village on fire. It was a fair exercise of military skill - was well executed - took place at the right time, and succeeded in occasioning a good deal of annoyance. It is said the Russians had taken the range of all the principal points in their front, and placed twigs and sticks to mark them. In this they were assisted by the post sign-boards on the road. The Russians opened a furious fire on the whole English line. The round shot whizzed in every direction, dashing up the dirt and sand into the faces of the staff of Lord Raglan. Still he waited patiently for the development of the French attack. At length, an Aid-de-Camp came to him and reported the French had crossed the Alma, but they had not established themselves sufficiently to justify an attack. The infantry were, therefore, ordered to lie down, and the army for a short time was quite passive, only that the artillery poured forth an unceasing fire of shell, rockets, and round shot, which plowed through the Russians, and caused them great loss. They did not waver, however, and replied to the artillery manfully, their shot falling among the men as they lay, and carrying off legs and arms at every round.

Lord Raglan at last became weary of this inactivity, and gave orders for the whole line to advance. Up rose these serried masses, and - passing through a fearful shower of round, case-shot and shell - they dashed into the Alma and floundered' through its waters, which were literally torn into foam by the deadly hail. At the other side of the river were a number of vineyards, occupied by Russian riflemen. Three of the staff were here shot down; but, led by Lord Raglan in person, they advanced, cheering on the men. And now came the turning point of the battle, in which Lord Raglan, by his sagacity, probably secured the victory at a smaller sacrifice than would have been otherwise the case. He dashed over the bridge, followed by his staff. From the road over it, under the Russian guns, he saw the state of the action. The British line, which he had ordered to advance, was struggling through the river and up the heights in masses, firm indeed, but mowed down by the murderous fire of the batteries; and by grape, round shot, shell, canister, case-shot, and musketry, from some of the guns in the central battery, and from an immense and compact mass of Russian infantry.

Then commenced one of the most bloody and determined struggles in the annals of war. The 2d Division, led by Sir de Lacy Evans, crossed the stream on the right. Brigadier Pennefather (who was in the thickest of the fight, cheering on his men), again and again was checked, but never drew back in his onward progress, which was marked by a fierce roll of Minié musketry; and Brigadier Adams bravely charged up the hill, and aided him in the battle. Sir George Brown, conspicuous on a gray horse, rode in front of his Light Division, urging them with voice and gesture. Meantime the Guards on the right of the Light Division, and the brigade of Highlanders, were storming the heights on the left. Suddenly a tornado of round and grape rushed through from the terrible battery, and a roar of musketry from behind it thinned their front ranks by dozens. It was evident that the troops were just able to contend against the Russians, favored as they were by a great position. At this very time an immense mass of Russian infantry were seen moving down towards the battery. They halted. It was the crisis of the day. Sharp, angular, and solid, they looked as if they were cut out of the solid rock. Lord Raglan saw the difficulties of the situation. He asked if it would be possible to get a couple of guns to bear on these masses. The reply was Yes and an artillery officer brought up two guns to fire on the Russian squares. The first shot missed, but the next, and the next, and the next, cut through the the ranks so cleanly, and so keenly, that a clear lane could be seen for a moment through the square. After a few rounds the columns of the square became broken, wavered to and fro, broke, and fled over the brow of the hill, leaving behind them six or seven distinct lines of dead, lying as close as possible to each other, marking the passage of the , fatal messengers. This act relieved the infantry of a deadly incubus, and they continued their magnificent and fearless progress up the hill. 'Highland ers,' said Sir C. Campbell, 'ere they came to the charge, don't pull a trigger till you're within a yard of the Russians!' They charged, and well they obeyed their chieftain's wish; Sir Colin had his horse shot under him; but he was up immediately, and at the head of his men. But the Guards pressed on abreast, and claimed, with the 33d, the honor of capturing a cannon. The Second and Light Division crowned the heights. The French turned the guns on the hill against the flying masses, which the cavalry in vain tried to cover. A few faint struggles from the scattered infantry, a few rounds of cannon and musketry, and the enemy fled to the south-east, leaving three Generals, three guns, 700 prisoners, and 4000 killed and wounded, behind them.

The loss on the part of the British was 2000 killed, wounded, and missing; that of the French, about 1400.

On the night after the battle the allied army bivouacked on the summit of the heights which they had so gloriously won; the French Marshal pitching his tent on the very spot occupied by that of Prince Menschikoff the morning before.