OREALD.COM - An Old Electronic Library
eng: a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z

Chapter XXI, of Cassells Illustrated History of England, Volume 8 page 2

Pages: 1 <2>

The French battery opened fire on Fort Tzee on the 13th; and while the shot from the heavy guns and the shells from the mortars tore down the walls, the riflemen lying among the rocks, threw into the embrasures a fire so searching, that the enemy's gunners found it difficult to load their pieces. In the afternoon the Russians hung out a white flag. It is said they asked an hour to bury their dead, and that the boon being granted, they used the time to replenish their store of ammunition. The fire was renewed, and later another flag of truce was displayed. This time General Baraguay d'Hilliers refused to parley, because of the abuse of the previous suspension of the cannonade. The next morning the guns of the fort being silent, the French riflemen dashed in, and captured the work with fifty prisoners. The British battery had been constructed under a heavy fire. It was finished on the 14th, but not being wanted, its guns were turned upon Fort Nottich on the 15th; and at six in the evening, one side of the tower being demolished, the garrison surrendered. On that same day Captain Pelham put ashore a ten-inch gun, placed it in the shore battery taken from the enemy, and did them much mischief. He was in an exposed position, but the ships supported him, and his earthwork was so well built that not a man was injured. On the morning of the 16th the main fort and the Presto tower alone held out. They had been under the fire of the ships for some days, and now the great fort was entirely commanded from the rear by the shore batteries. General Bodisco, having no hope of succour, was without warrant for a bloody defence. So at noon he hung out a white flag and surrendered. Admirals Napier and Parseval-Deschenes landed, and General Baraguay d'Hilliers came down from the hills; and the garrison, 2,235 men, piled arms, and were marched off under escort, embarked, and sent to England. "We took 122 guns. The surrender included the tower of Presto, and thus the whole of the stronghold was torn away from Russia. The British loss was two killed and seven wounded. Lieutenant "Wrottesley, of the Engineers, was one of the two who were killed. The force applied was very great; but the smallness of the loss, and the rapidity and vastness of the result, show the economy of employing irresistible means.

But when the allies conquered the Aland Islands, they did not know what to do with them. They were held out as a bribe to Sweden, but the Court of Stockholm is wise in its generation. Although these islands threatened her capital, Sweden feared to accept what she thought it beyond her power to keep. Nor were the affairs f the allies in a state so promising at that time as to justify the Swedes in throwing their sword into the scale against Russia. Austria was cautious, Prussia hostile to the Western Powers. Even Sir Charles Napier was of opinion that Sweden could not finish the immense works in progress at Bomarsund, nor maintain a garrison; and if, he said bluntly, "she obtained possession of it, she would lose it again." It was therefore resolved to blow up all the works - a resolution carried out very completely by the beginning of September.

With this exploit the showy work of the naval campaign in the Baltic ended. The blockade was maintained, until the ice interposed an utterly impassable barrier; Sweaborg was reconnoitred, and very antagonistic schemes were propounded for its capture; some misunderstandings arose between Admiral Napier and the First Lord of the Admiralty, Sir James Graham; but in the end the ice and the fierce tempests came, and arrested the cruising of ships, although they could not stop the squabbling of men. The English fleet was the first to enter and the last to leave the Baltic, and the frigates did not reach home until November.

Other points of the vast dominions of Russia were visited by British ships. Two screw steamers and a sailing frigate blockaded Archangel, and destroyed a good deal of property at points accessible to their guns and marines. They were repulsed in one attack, but they burnt Novitska and Kola. There were two Russian frigates in the Pacific, and an allied squadron went to seek them in the fortified harbour of Petropaulovski, the chief port of Kamschatka. When they arrived off the place Admiral Price, the British commander, shot himself in his cabin. Sir F. Nicholson, who succeeded him, carried on the operations. These consisted in a determined attack by the ships on the defences of the place, and an attempt to take the town by landing 700 seamen and marines. But on the whole, although two batteries were silenced, and some guns were spiked, the operations failed. The ships were forced to draw off, and the land attack was repelled with the loss of nearly 300 men killed and wounded.

<<< Previous page <<<
Pages: 1 <2>

Pictures for Chapter XXI, of Cassells Illustrated History of England, Volume 8 page 2

Home | Privacy Policy | Copyright | About