LORD RAGLAN autograph Letter Signed
James Henry Somerset Fitzroy, 1st Baron Raglan. British (English) soldier. Commander of the British troops during the Crimean War.
ALS. 1p. Before Sebastopol. April 9th, 1855. To [Captain] F. Hughes.
"I am sorry to have to send you a letter I have this evening had from Admiral Edmund Lions to your address expressing his inability to provide a vessel for your conveyance to Kurchan. Yours faithfully, Raglan".
8vo. Approx 7 x 4.5 inches. Lacking integral blank leaf. Mounting residue to verso. All else fine.
Raglan had been laying siege to Sebastopol for some months but, at the end of March 1855, the engineer, Thomas Brassey, had completed his Crimean Central Railway that enabled supplies to be brought up from Balaclava to the siege lines. Following the delivery of 500 field guns, Raglan began his bombardment of Sebastopol on Easter Sunday, 8th April 1855 (the day before this letter). Admiral Lions had been promoted to command the Mediterranean Fleet in December 1854 and was heavily engaged in aiding the bombardment, hence he had no vessel to spare for the transportation of Captain Hughes. The addressee of the letter is almost certainly the Captain T. Hughes, the military intelligence special agent, who had been employed on a secret mission in Circassia (he brought the important intelligence to the allies at Kertch on the fall of Anapa). There are two photographs of Captain Hughes in Roger Fenton's Crimean photographs and a letter from Hughes to Raglan in the National Archives Raglan Papers. The handling by Raglan of the Crimean campaign was, and continues to be, much criticised and he was blamed for the debacle at Balaclava, immortalised as 'the charge of the light brigade'. The attack on Sebastopol was ultimately a failure and Raglan, increasingly troubled with acute anxiety, died of dysentery and clinical depression in June 1855, less than 12 weeks after the date of this letter.