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  • Writer's pictureGeorge Castrioti

October 25th, 1854 - The Battle of Balaclava

Conflict: Crimean War

Combatants: British, French, Turks vs. Russians

Location: Russia

Outcome: Inconclusive

In an attempt to break the siege of the port of Sevastopol by British, French, and Turkish soldiers, Russian Commander Prince Alexander Menshikov launched a surprise attack on the allied base at Balaclava (or Balaklava). The battle is most remembered for the infamous "Charge of the Light Brigade"; a useless and tactically-suicidal attack, ordered by General Lord Lucan (George Bingham) through communication errors and misunderstandings, of British cavalry up a narrow, mile-long valley in full view of Russian guns. Of the 673 officers and men in the brigade, 247 were killed along with nearly 500 horses. The allies, however, retained the base at Balaclava.

Charge of the Light Brigade by Richard Caton Woodville, Jr.

Points of Interest:

  • A French general witnessing the Charge of the Light Brigade is said to have called it "magnificent but it is not war."

  • A peace treaty would be signed two years later diminishing Russia's ability to invest or dominate Turkish territory.

Prince Aleksandr Sergeyevich Menshikov (1787-1869) by an unknown artist

George Bingham, 3e comte de Lucan Engraving from a photograph by John Watkins

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