Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Quote of the Day: “Theirs Not to Reason Why, Theirs But to Do and Die”

 

Some things never change.

On 25th October 1854, during the Battle of Balaclava, 670 British soldiers under the command of Lord Cardigan, launched an ill-fated attack upon a well-defended Russian artillery battery and sustained 40 percent casualties in the form of approximately 120 killed, and at least 160 wounded. Fifty were taken prisoner. Also killed were 375 horses. The carnage must have been unimaginable. For most of us, anyway.

The circumstances surrounding the “blunder” which caused the troops to engage, not in a series of quick forays to deter the Russians from making off with Ottoman guns, but in a full-on frontal assault on a well dug-in position, are still unclear, and revolve around personal antipathies among the commanders (Lord Cardigan, Lord Lucan and Lord Raglan), vague and unverified orders, and misunderstandings (and perhaps some ill-feeling) among the aides-de-camps communicating them. The ADC who took the initial order from Lord Raglan (whatever that order was) was killed in the first few minutes of fighting, and was therefore unavailable to help sort out the mess afterwards. Not that there was much sorting outdone, no-one being eager to accept responsibility for the SNAFU.

In 2016, however, a researcher at the British Museum discovered a letter written by Frederick Maxse, a Lieutenant on Lord Raglan’s staff. Maxse’s letter said that Lord Raglan’s initial order had simply been to “follow the enemy and try to prevent the enemy from carrying away the guns.” A Captain Nolan, who carried the order to Lord Lucan and the cavalry, changed it, making it much more arbitrary, saying to Lucan, “There, my lord is your enemy! There are your guns!” and ordering the troops to “Attack!” His version of the order was further changed in the field as Lord Lucan approached Lord Cardigan (with whom he was barely on speaking terms) and ordered him to attack. Infantry and cavalry joined together, and the stage was set for disaster as the Light Brigade began it’s slightly more than one-mile charge, under Russian fire from three sides. Nolan was killed in the first minute or two of the Charge.

Lieutenant Maxse said in his letter that Nolan was unimpressed with the performance of the Light Brigade, and that he was angry with Lord Lucan, who he felt had not used the cavalry to best advantage during the entire Crimean War. Corroboration of Maxse’s story came from another of Raglan’s staff officers, along with the belief that, had Nolan survived the battle, he would have been court-martialed and suffered the severest penalties.

The valor of the soldiers, and the ferocity with which they fought, quickly caught the public’s imagination, a fascination that continues to this day. The Charge was memorialized on film in 1912, 1936 (starring Errol Flynn and Melanie Wilkes Olivia de Havilland), and most accurately, but rather affectedly, in Tony Richardson’s 1968 effort. Television programs and series, and books about the deadly encounter, number in the dozens.

The most famous retelling of the battle, though, is much briefer and more poignant than any of these. Alfred, Lord Tennyson’s poem, published the following year, evokes the chaos and confusion of the battlefield, and hymns the bravery of the soldiers who, knowing full well that “someone had blunder’d” marched bravely into their valley of Death, sabres flashing, fighting heroically in their already lost cause.

In 1890, Thomas Edison, who’d been testing and practicing with a new technology for a couple of decades, sent several of his employees round to Tennyson’s home to record the then 81-year-old poet laureate’s reading of his own poem onto a series of wax cylinders. The recording survives.

Here it is. A voice from the century before last, reading one of the great poems of the Victorian era, eleven years before the death of the Queen ended it. Just extraordinary.

As is this recording, also made in 1890, of Trumpeter Landfried, a bugler of the Light Brigade, who, using a bugle from the Battle of Waterloo, sounds the “Charge” just as he did at Balaclava in 1854.

We live at a time in which the entire world of our parents, grandparents, and even our great-grandparents, is spread out before us and available to us–to horrify, to entertain, and to teach. You’d think, with that in our wheelhouse, by now we’d get everything right, every time. But just as the lessons of the Charge of the Light Brigade, which have been studied for over a century-and-a-half, sometimes seem not to have been learned at all, we all-too-often seem to repeat the mistakes of the past, even when we are faced with incontrovertible evidence of their existence and of their inevitable and disastrous consequences.

Some things never change.

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  1. Arahant Member

    Amazing Lanfried still had the lips at that age.

    • #1
    • June 29, 2018, at 4:01 AM PDT
    • 5 likes
  2. Arahant Member

    She: Some things never change.

    Human nature. That is what we are dealing with. Individual humans may change through their lifetimes, learning from their mistakes and overcoming who they started out as, but it starts anew with each generation. We can not hand the young all that we know. They can read it, but it is not knowing it.

    • #2
    • June 29, 2018, at 4:05 AM PDT
    • 6 likes
  3. She Reagan
    She Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Arahant (View Comment):

    She: Some things never change.

    Human nature. That is what we are dealing with. Individual humans may change through their lifetimes, learning from their mistakes and overcoming who they started out as, but it starts anew with each generation. We can not hand the young all that we know. They can read it, but it is not knowing it.

    Very true. But dispiriting.

    On a lighter note (I couldn’t find a way to weave this idea seamlessly (pun intended, I am a knitter, after all) into the somewhat downbeat nature of this post), I’ve always thought that a battle memorializing a woolly hat, with senior commanders named after two different types of sweaters, was tailor-made (ouch) for Monty Python. No wonder it was such a mess.

    The 3rd Lord Lucan (the other British commander) also bears a familiar name in the UK, although his has nothing to do with regular articles of clothing, but with the actions of one of his descendants. George Bingham, the 7th Lord Lucan, disappeared in 1974, has never been found, and was named a murderer in the death of his childrens’ nanny. Lady Lucan died late last year, reviving the scandal in the minds of the Great British public, and the fascination continues.

    • #3
    • June 29, 2018, at 4:26 AM PDT
    • 8 likes
  4. Vectorman Thatcher

    Arahant (View Comment):

    Amazing Lanfried still had the lips at that age.

    And tongue control, which is why I ended up as a tuba player. I never could do double and triple tongues. Even though the recording is rough, it sounds like he still had it.


    We have many openings in the July Quote of the Day Schedule, along with tips for finding great quotes. It’s the easiest way to start a Ricochet conversation, so why not sign up today?

    • #4
    • June 29, 2018, at 4:31 AM PDT
    • 5 likes
  5. Hang On Member
    Hang On Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    The best account of the Crimean War I’ve read is Orlando Figes’, but then all of his writings are superb. I don’t know if he meant it that way, but Palmerston comes off as a vainglorious war monger.

    Things that stick in my mind from his book are 1) the medical advances with the Russians coming up with the triage system, the French having initially the better medical system but the British having the best by the end of the war; 2) feeding of the British and French troops was inadequate at best, but the French (who for the most part were peasants) were great foragers and pooled their food into a common mess; 3) Palmerston tried to make it so that Russia was out of the Balkans and the Black Sea, but instead it increased the instability for the next half century leading with lots of twists and turns to World War I.

    • #5
    • June 29, 2018, at 4:41 AM PDT
    • 5 likes
  6. Hang On Member
    Hang On Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    She (View Comment):

    The 3rd Lord Lucan (the other British commander) also bears a familiar name in the UK, although his has nothing to do with regular articles of clothing, but with the actions of one of his descendants. George Bingham, the 7th Lord Lucan, disappeared in 1974, has never been found, and was named a murderer in the death of his childrens’ nanny. Lady Lucan died late last year, reviving the scandal in the minds of the Great British public, and the fascination continues.

    Of course. I never made that connection and thanks for pointing it out. I remember reading about the case and thinking it was really bizarre.

    • #6
    • June 29, 2018, at 5:24 AM PDT
    • 1 like
  7. Vectorman Thatcher

    Hang On (View Comment):
    Things that stick in my mind from his book are 1) the medical advances with the Russians coming up with the triage system, the French having initially the better medical system but the British having the best by the end of the war;

    My first thought was Florence Nightingale, but within the Wiki article:

    After Nightingale sent a plea to The Times for a government solution to the poor condition of the facilities, the British Government commissioned Isambard Kingdom Brunel to design a prefabricated hospital that could be built in England and shipped to the Dardanelles.

    Was there anything Brunel didn’t do in Victorian England?

    • #7
    • June 29, 2018, at 5:32 AM PDT
    • 6 likes
  8. David Foster Member
    David Foster Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    See also Kipling: The Last of the Light Brigade

    • #8
    • June 29, 2018, at 5:33 AM PDT
    • 3 likes
  9. She Reagan
    She Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Hang On (View Comment):

    The best account of the Crimean War I’ve read is Orlando Figes’, but then all of his writings are superb. I don’t know if he meant it that way, but Palmerston comes off as a vainglorious war monger.

    Things that stick in my mind from his book are 1) the medical advances with the Russians coming up with the triage system, the French having initially the better medical system but the British having the best by the end of the war; 2) feeding of the British and French troops was inadequate at best, but the French (who for the most part were peasants) were great foragers and pooled their food into a common mess; 3) Palmerston tried to make it so that Russia was out of the Balkans and the Black Sea, but instead it increased the instability for the next half century leading with lots of twists and turns to World War I.

    Great stuff, thanks. I love history that “sticks in your mind” that way. What sticks in my mind about Frederick II, Holy Roman Emperor is that he once had a prisoner immured in a barrel to see if his soul could be observed escaping after the man died, and to see if the barrel weight changed after it had done so. Only after I’ve had that thought, do I start to consider anything else about him.

    Or the one about the Vikings rowing up the Severn River in 1000 or so, breaking into the cathedral and attempting to steal one of the bells. The monks caught one of the miscreants, flayed him alive, and nailed his skin to the cathedral door as a warning to future invaders (the very impressive Worcester Cathedral Library, which I have visited, has a piece of human skin that’s been dated to the right period, and which supports the story). Somewhere I have a recording of my Dad telling this story in his usual bombastic and exclamatory fashion, Next time I find it, there may be a post.

    I love history. Of course, from a female-person perspective, one of the touchstones of the Crimean War is Florence Nightingale.

    Apparently, the “Lady With The Lamp,” was difficult, and a bit of a crank. But a great letter writer. In her retirement, she used to complain bitterly about the mysterious stains and leakage that appeared on , and regularly dripped from, the ceilings in her home, but she refused to entertain any of her friends’ admonitions and suggestions that they might have something to do with the dozens of stray cats that she took in and cared for late in her life.

    I’m not sure that history is still taught this way. Strike that. I know it isn’t. And I can’t help thinking that, as a result of the determination to avert our eyes from the warts, foibles, and imperfections of our forebears–some of them amusing, some of them delightful, some of them absolutely appalling–and to simply write them out of history, we’re stamping out some of our own humanity along the way.

    • #9
    • June 29, 2018, at 5:51 AM PDT
    • 6 likes
  10. She Reagan
    She Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    David Foster (View Comment):

    See also Kipling: The Last of the Light Brigade

    Speaking of “some things never change.”

    Always a good idea to “see also Kipling.” Thanks.

    • #10
    • June 29, 2018, at 5:52 AM PDT
    • 7 likes
  11. Seawriter Member

    One of the best books about the charge remain Cecil Woodham-Smith’s The Reason Why. First published in 1953, it remains one of the best analysis of why the charge happened.

    • #11
    • June 29, 2018, at 6:53 AM PDT
    • 4 likes
  12. Steve C. Member

    We often say, “Victory has a thousand fathers, failure is an orphan.” But it seems the public is fascinated with military disaster or defeat. Is a lost cause more romantic than a battle won?

    The same day as the Light Brigade disaster, was the decisive success of a charge by the Heavy Brigade (of British cavalry) and the eponymous stand of “The Thin Red Line” (Campbell’s 93d Highland Regiment).

     

    • #12
    • June 29, 2018, at 7:30 AM PDT
    • 4 likes
  13. OmegaPaladin Moderator

    For some people, their exposure to the story of the Light Brigade came from an unexpected source – heavy metal. Iron Maiden’s The Trooper  is a soldier’s level view of the battle. It’s one of many songs done by Iron Maiden that talk about historical events or classical literature.

    • #13
    • June 29, 2018, at 8:27 AM PDT
    • 4 likes
  14. She Reagan
    She Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Steve C. (View Comment):

    Is a lost cause more romantic than a battle won?

    Hm. I think, yes.

    I was all set to write a post on another Tennyson quote, until I came across his recording of COTLB, which I found so charming I went in a different direction.

    But my first pick was:

    “I hold it true, whate’er befall

    I feel it when I sorrow most;

    ’Tis better to have loved and lost,

    Than never to have loved at all.”

    Question for the wisdom of the Ricochetti:

    Is it?

     

     

    • #14
    • June 29, 2018, at 8:40 AM PDT
    • 3 likes
  15. Nanda Panjandrum Inactive

    She (View Comment):

    Steve C. (View Comment):

    Is a lost cause more romantic than a battle won?

    Hm. I think, yes.

    I was all set to write a post on another Tennyson quote, until I came across his recording of COTLB, which I found so charming I went in a different direction.

    But my first pick was:

    “I hold it true, whate’er befall

    I feel it when I sorrow most;

    ’Tis better to have loved and lost,

    Than never to have loved at all.”

    Question for the wisdom of the Ricochetti:

    Is it?

    From repeated experience, a resounding: “Yes!” :-) 

     

     

    • #15
    • June 29, 2018, at 8:53 AM PDT
    • 1 like
  16. Nanda Panjandrum Inactive

    This resonates with SMJR Dan Daley’s battle cry at Belleau Wood: “For Christ’s sake, come on, men! Don’t you want to live forever?!”, doesn’t it? Doomed glory… 

    • #16
    • June 29, 2018, at 9:03 AM PDT
    • 2 likes
  17. Steve C. Member

    Arthur Wellesley, from a letter written in the immediate aftermath of his triumph at Waterloo, “Believe me, nothing except a battle lost can be half so melancholy as a battle won: the bravery of my troops hitherto saved me from the greater evil; but to win such a battle as this of Waterloo, at the expens of so many gallant friends, could only be termed a heavy misfortune but for the result to the public.”

    I appreciate the importance of heroic defeats as public propaganda: “Remember the Maine”, “Remember Pearl Harbor”, the “Battered Bastards of Bataan” and the controversial Wake Island communique that concluded with the phrase “Send more Japs”. But we also romanticize gross military stupidity.

    Stand in the shade of the trees a mile across the Emmitsburg Road from Missionary Ridge and it is easy to see the negligence inherent in Pickett’s Charge. Custer and the glorious Seventh are a case study in how not to conduct a military operation. As one armored cavalry officer opined during a professional development beer call, “Name a principle of war Custer DIDN’T violate.”

    We have lots of heroic and historic military actions to celebrate. It’s puzzling to me why we mythologize losses.

    • #17
    • June 29, 2018, at 9:51 AM PDT
    • 5 likes
  18. James Gawron Thatcher
    James Gawron Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    She: We live at a time in which the entire world of our parents, grandparents, and even our great grandparents, is spread out before us and available to us–to horrify, to entertain, and to teach. You’d think, with that in our wheelhouse, by now we’d get everything right, every time. But just as the lessons of the Charge of the Light Brigade, which have been studied for over a century-and-a-half, sometimes seem not to have been learned at all, we all-too-often seem to repeat the mistakes of the past, even when we are faced with incontrovertible evidence of their existence and of their inevitable and disastrous consequences.

    She,

    First, I agree that with so much more material so easily at our disposal we ought to be doing a better job. However, we forget how big a role motivation plays. If you aren’t curious and insistent about finding the truth, then the truth can be right under your nose and you’ll miss it entirely. Second, one of the problems that moderns now have is actually the ease with which information may be attained. This provides an illusion that information itself is the point and not the ability to analyze and make use thereof. We have some very lame intellects now who can quote you an interesting source on almost any topic. Unfortunately, they don’t seem to be able to think their way out of a paper bag. The emphasis on identity politics v. merit hasn’t helped.

    When assessing any war history one must consider the concept “the fog of war”. This refers to the fact that only in retrospect do we appear to have perfect knowledge. At the time, in the moment, only very incomplete knowledge is available. Command decisions must be made that will have irretrievable consequences. Thus an honest evaluation of any battle situation involves mistakes in judgment.

    We can fixate on these mistakes in judgment and become avowed pacifists very easily. For instance, we could dismiss Winton Churchill as an adventurous fool by his support for the the Gallipoli campaign in WWI. Left-wing Britain during 1930s did exactly this. Only the far greater foolishness of Chamberlain with Hitler allowed Churchill to prove himself to be the greatest leader Britain ever had. Too often we have seen this pattern. Those pompously sure that failures in judgment by stock scapegoats will never be their downfall, end up the worst failures of all. 

    Trump has served as the stock scapegoat for the last two years. Those pompously sure that he will fall have been dealt defeat after defeat. I’m don’t claim to know the future but just remember.

    Never, never, never, never surrender!

    Regards,

    Jim

    • #18
    • June 29, 2018, at 9:58 AM PDT
    • 5 likes
  19. She Reagan
    She Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    James Gawron (View Comment):
    Second, one of the problems that moderns now have is actually the ease with which information may be attained. This provides an illusion that information itself is the point and not the ability to analyze and make use thereof. We have some very lame intellects now who can quote you an interesting source on almost any topic. Unfortunately, they don’t seem to be able to think their way out of a paper bag. The emphasis on identity politics v. merit hasn’t helped.

    “Like” your entire comment, but especially this part. Reminds me a bit of Carly Fiorina dismissing HRC (known in this house as Her Royal Carcase), in the run up to the last election, when Hillary was touting “one million miles travelled as Secretary of State,” as a great achievement.

    Carly: “That’s not an achievement. That’s an activity.”

    I recognize those as the words of a woman who’s sat through too many Total Quality Management programs to count, and who’s written untold numbers of performance reviews. Yes. Confusing quantity with quality, mistaking a roundup of miscellaneous and petty details with actual knowledge, and confounding activities with achievements and accomplishments will often get a person in a lot of trouble when the reckoning comes due. Which is almost always does, at some point.

    • #19
    • June 29, 2018, at 10:07 AM PDT
    • 4 likes
  20. Nanda Panjandrum Inactive

    Steve C. (View Comment):
    It’s puzzling to me why we mythologize losses.

    Sort of ‘out there’, maybe, but Christ’s kenosis [self-emptying] (Philippians 2:5-11) might have a bit to do with it? Winning-by-losing, so to speak?

    • #20
    • June 29, 2018, at 10:21 AM PDT
    • 1 like
  21. iWe Reagan
    iWe Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Thank you for this amazing post. Tennyson’s recording gave me chills.

    • #21
    • June 29, 2018, at 12:10 PM PDT
    • 3 likes
  22. Steve C. Member

    James Gawron (View Comment):
    This provides an illusion that information itself is the point and not the ability to analyze and make use thereof. We have some very lame intellects now who can quote you an interesting source on almost any topic. Unfortunately, they don’t seem to be able to think their way out of a paper bag.

    Modern Bourbons, they know everything and understand nothing.

    • #22
    • June 29, 2018, at 12:13 PM PDT
    • 2 likes
  23. She Reagan
    She Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    iWe (View Comment):

    Thank you for this amazing post. Tennyson’s recording gave me chills.

    It’s pretty cool, isn’t it? The first thing I noticed was how very much he sounded as though he meant it, even allowing for the Victorian propensity for overdramatic readings and performance in general. (Anyone who’d ever heard my great-granny sing Believe Me If All These Endearing Young Charms, would know exactly what I mean–she was thirty-two when Queen Victoria died.) What struck me, among all those dactyls (a stressed syllable followed by two unstressed syllables: “Half a league, half a league, half a league . . . ” was the repetition of the word “cannon,” the two syllables of each of the six repetitions of the word to which Tennyson gave about equal stress, and which you could almost hear “volleying and thundering” every time he did.

    I also thought this galley proof of the poem, containing notes in Tennyson’s hand, was fascinating. The poem was published only two months after the battle, and here it is, already typeset and ready to go, and Tennyson was still making radical changes to its content (this version calls out Captain Nolan by name).

    I particularly like his change from “All in the valley of Death/Rode the six hundred,” to “Into the valley of Death/Rode the six hundred.”

    That change is accompanied by an arrowed line that’s drawn up and points to the words “The Charge” in the poem’s title.

    I can’t help wondering if Tennyson looked at what he’d written and said to himself, “for heaven’s sake, Alfred. They weren’t just swanning around in the valley of Death, they were charging into it. Into! Into!”  He got that right later in the poem, but he missed it the first time, in the earlier draft.

    • #23
    • June 29, 2018, at 1:27 PM PDT
    • 5 likes
  24. Percival Thatcher
    Percival Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Steve C. (View Comment):

    We often say, “Victory has a thousand fathers, failure is an orphan.” But it seems the public is fascinated with military disaster or defeat. Is a lost cause more romantic than a battle won?

    The same day as the Light Brigade disaster, was the decisive success of a charge by the Heavy Brigade (of British cavalry) and the eponymous stand of “The Thin Red Line” (Campbell’s 93d Highland Regiment).

    As the 93rd was standing its ground, General James Yorke Scarlett was positioning his Heavy Brigade as Russian cavalry was coming over the ridge to his front. The force was larger than his, much larger than the 300 men within range of his command. I’ve seen estimates of anywhere from 2,000 to 3,000 Russians. The Russians slowed, then stopped* before him. So Scarlett did what one does when facing an overwhelming force. He dressed his lines, adjusted his tunic, drew his sword, and told the bugler to sound “charge.” Uphill.

    The rest of the Heavy Brigade, witnessing the start of the charge, joined in without orders. Scarlett was enormously popular with his men — the kind of officer whose men really would follow him through hell. The tiny knot of men disappeared into the far larger Russian formation. The other Heavies arrived … and the Russians broke. They turned and retreated back the way they had come and didn’t stop until they were behind the guns that Cardigan was going to be charging later that day.

    It has been said that this was not in keeping with the current British military doctrine: attacking a superior force, uphill and from a standing start at short range. This is slightly misleading. The attack was not in keeping with anybody’s military doctrine anywhere at any time — but it worked.

    It’s not as if this was ignored. There was even a poem, by Tennyson if you please.

    The charge of the gallant three hundred, the Heavy Brigade!
    Down the hill, down the hill, thousands of Russians,
    Thousands of horsemen, drew to the valley–and stay’d;
    For Scarlett and Scarlett’s three hundred were riding by
    When the points of the Russian lances arose in the sky;
    And he call’d, ‘Left wheel into line!’ and they wheel’d and obey’d.
    Then he look’d at the host that had halted he knew not why,
    And he turn’d half round, and he bade his trumpeter sound
    To the charge, and he rode on ahead, as he waved his blade
    To the gallant three hundred whose glory will never die–
    ‘Follow,’ and up the hill, up the hill, up the hill,
    Follow’d the Heavy Brigade.


    *One theory is that the Russians had become hung up on a vineyard. If you have ever tried to ride a horse through a vineyard, you’ll understand. Vineyards are full of trellises and mudholes and ditches and the like. 

    • #24
    • June 29, 2018, at 4:23 PM PDT
    • 2 likes
  25. David Foster Member
    David Foster Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    One thing the Light Brigade debacle points out is the danger of allowing *anger* and *contempt* to dominate one’s thought processes. Cardigan and Lucan couldn’t stand each other. Nolan was contemptuous of both of them.

    • #25
    • June 29, 2018, at 4:23 PM PDT
    • 4 likes
  26. Percival Thatcher
    Percival Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Many brave men lived before Agamemnon; but all are overwhelmed in eternal night, unwept, unknown, because they lack a sacred poet.

    — Horace, Odes

    That wasn’t Scarlett’s problem. He had a sacred poet, just not a sacred poem.

    • #26
    • June 29, 2018, at 4:26 PM PDT
    • 2 likes
  27. She Reagan
    She Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    David Foster (View Comment):

    One thing the Light Brigade debacle points out is the danger of allowing *anger* and *contempt* to dominate one’s thought processes. Cardigan and Lucan couldn’t stand each other. Nolan was contemptuous of both of them.

    Nolan wasn’t the only one. Captain Portal of the 4th Light Dragoons wrote:

    “We are commanded by one of the greatest old women in the British Army, called the Earl of Cardigan. He has as much brains as my boot. He is only equalled in want of intellect by his relation the Earl of Lucan. Without mincing matters, two such fools could not be picked out of the British Army to take command. But they are Earls!”

    I’m not sure if anyone captures this sort of milieu in the modern idiom better that Bernard Cornwell, in his “Sharpe” books. It’s well presented in the TV series as well. Blithering upper-class idiots in the officer corps abound, only to have their bacon saved, time after time, by a man for whom they feel the utmost contempt, the baseborn, upstart, Lieutenant and later Major, who’s come up from the ranks.

    • #27
    • June 29, 2018, at 5:21 PM PDT
    • 4 likes
  28. aardo vozz Member

    Steve C. (View Comment

    …Stand in the shade of the trees a mile across the Emmitsburg Road from Missionary Ridge and it is easy to see the negligence inherent in Pickett’s Charge. 

    Just a point of information: If you are at Gettysburg and standing near the clump of trees (on Cemetery Ridge)and looking across the Emmitsburg Road , you are looking at Seminary Ridge. Missionary Ridge is in Tennessee and was part of the Confederate lines during the Battle of Chattanooga. 🙂

    • #28
    • June 29, 2018, at 6:23 PM PDT
    • 5 likes
  29. Steve C. Member

    aardo vozz (View Comment):

    Steve C. (View Comment

    …Stand in the shade of the trees a mile across the Emmitsburg Road from Missionary Ridge and it is easy to see the negligence inherent in Pickett’s Charge.

    Just a point of information: If you are at Gettysburg and standing near the clump of trees (on Cemetery Ridge)and looking across the Emmitsburg Road , you are looking at Seminary Ridge. Missionary Ridge is in Tennessee and was part of the Confederate lines during the Battle of Chattanooga. 🙂

    Yes, I meant cemetery and typed missionary. Then didn’t proof read.😩

    • #29
    • June 29, 2018, at 8:22 PM PDT
    • 5 likes
  30. David Foster Member
    David Foster Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    There is a vivid description, and the events leading up to it & following it, in George MacDonald Fraser’s picaresque novel ‘Flashman at the Charge’

     

    • #30
    • June 30, 2018, at 7:27 AM PDT
    • 2 likes

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