Sunday, 18 March 2012

Commandant Henri-Victor-Alpin Adrien

 Letter from Comamandant Henri-Victor-Alpin Adrien 6e Infanterie de Ligne, to Captain E. Joppé


Field of the Battle of the Alma

20 September

The Alma is a small river whose meridional slope is high and deeply ravine. The heights command the road to Sebastopol. The Enemy play the wind Nouse. This is to seize it. The movement consists of turning the Russian left, near the sea, the lar 2nd Division and the division of Turkey, and at the same time, their right by the English army, while the 1st and 3rd divisions french attack head on. The 4th division and division English Evans will form the reserve. The divisions should work round the flanks of the enemy will turn on at daybreak. The rest of the army left its bivouac at eleven o'clock. Towards half-past twelve the battle began on the right. The 1st Brigade of the 2nd Division has a serious struggle has support on the heights. A very lively cannonade is heard. The fue strength of our frigates Russian cavalry has Abandoner the plain. The turning movement is completed, and the left wing of the Russians is forced to fall back. During this movement, the 1st and the 3rd Division attacked the enemy's centre.
  Musketry ceded it’s main role to the artillery. The English flanking columns began their movement.The Russian artillery are engaged by a fire more deadly. The English retire and form again and fearlessly mount the assault of the battery.  Three guns remain in their power as well as a Russian General. On all sides, the Russians are forced to retreat. Covered by their artillery, they retreat by echelons. They cannot be pursued  for lack of cavalry. This is a succinct analysis of this battle, or our soldiers were admirable in elan and courage. Their fearlessness had them climb the heights over the scarps, the protection which the Russians relied heavily upon, not just contibuted to disconcert them but their precipitate retreat.
  A very sharp struggle of four hours had been necessary to come to the end. They were only about 30.000 but admirably protected by the field. Allied  army had about 50,000 men. There were 3, 410 men killed and wounded, including 1,340 French, including 70 officers, and 2,070 English. Three standard-bearers were killed, including those of the 7th and 20th Line. The four brave men who succeeded each othe carry the standard of th the 7e Line all were killed our wounded. The Finnish Riflemen, have a Tige-rifle like our do, and  have demonstrated their marksmanship too.
   To all probability, the Russians have made considerable losses more than ours, because they hurt us a lot of abandonment, a General of Division, and three of their 30-pounder guns have fallen into the hands of English. A secretary of Menchikoff was taken prisoner. The army bivouacked on the field of battle among the dead and wounded of the enemy. Bellies as they are ours, and I myself aided the transportation of a few. The regiment gathered up  over a hundred muskets abandoned by the Russians. Examination of clothing, and their equipement  and weapons of wounded proves that their army is well organized. Their clothing was coarse, but solid. Their muskets and ours are similar, yet their cartridges are protected by and contained in a strong cardboard box, which is placed in the pouch; their knapsack straps are made from buffalo leather and are four fingers wide.

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