11 April 2012

The Battle of Inkermann by William Topaz McGonagall

‘Twas in the year of 1854, and on the 5th November,
Which Britain will no doubt long remember,
When the Russians plotted to drive the British army into the sea,
But at the bayonet charge the British soon made them flee.
With fourteen hundred British, fifteen thousand Russians were driven back,
At half-past seven o’clock in the morning they made the attack,
But the Grenadiers and Scottish Fusilier Guards, seven hundred strong,
Moved rapidly and fearlessly all along.
And their rifles were levelled ready for a volley,
But the damp had silenced their fire which made the men feel melancholy,
But the Russians were hurled down the ravine in a disordered mass
At the charge of the bayonet– an inspiring sight!– nothing could it surpass.
General Cathcart thought he could strike a blow at an unbroken Russian line;
Oh! the scene was really very sublime,
Because hand to hand they fought with a free will,
And with one magnificent charge they hurled the Russians down the hill.
But while General Cathcart without any dread
Was collecting his scattered forces, he fell dead,
Pierced to the heart with a Russian ball,
And his men lamented sorely his downfall.
While the Duke of Cambridge with the colours of two Regiments of Guards
Presses forward, and no obstacle his courage retards,
And with him about one hundred men,
And to keep up their courage he was singing a hymn to them.
Then hand to hand they fought the Russians heroically,
Which was a most inspiring sight to see;
Captain Burnaby with thirteen Guardsmen fighting manfully,
And they drove the Russians down the hillside right speedily.
The French and Zouaves aided the British in the fight,
And they shot down and killed the Russians left and right,
And the Chasseurs also joined in the fight,
And the Russians fell back in great afright.
Then the Russians tried again and again
To drive the British from the slopes of Inkermann, but all in vain,
For the French and British beat them back without dismay,
Until at last the Russians had to give way.
And the French and British fought side by side
Until the Russians no longer the bayonet charge could abide,
And the Russians were literally scorched by the musketry fire,
And in a short time the Russians were forced to retire.
Then the British and the French pursued them into the depths of the ravine,
Oh! it was a grand sight– the scene was really sublime–
And at half-past one o’clock the Russians were defeated,
And from the field of Inkermann they sullenly retreated.
Then the Battle of Inkermann was won,
And from the field the Russians were forced to run,
But the loss of the British was terrible to behold;
The dead lay in heaps stiff and cold,
While thousands of Russians were dying with no one to aid them,
Alas! Pitiful to relate, thousands of innocent men.

I will be puttig up a McGonagall poem each day, taken from the Gems of the days sent to my inbox by McGonagall online. I have a plan which wil become cler very soon. In the meantime read and enjoy and drink in the inspiration!


Claude said...

How could 15,000 Russians win, when confronted by 1,400 British?

Alas! "The dead lay in heaps stiff and cold." Sublime! I'm shivering just reading this.

jams o donnell said...

Actually it was a lot more Riussians - over 40,000 v oer 7,000 British. MacG forgets that there were slightly more French than British soldiers. Still they were outnumbered nearly 3 to 1

SnoopyTheGoon said...

"But the damp had silenced their fire which made the men feel melancholy"

So sweet and with that so military ;-)

jams o donnell said...

Haha Snoopy!