The charge of the Light Brigade, one of the most magnificent assaults known in Military annals, and one of the greatest blunders known to military tactics, has never yet been properly described. This may be accounted for by the party bias which has colored all accounts of the battle according to the views entertained by the various writers. Having seen so many of these accounts for the last forty four years in various newspapers and Magazines, and having been interviewed myself many times I have felt impelled to write what I know about the action, and to give a plain unvarnished account of the same without indulging in any fine language or in technicalities, but using only soldiers’ phrases and giving the details “with malice toward none” and the truth about all.
The British Cavalry in the Crimea consisted of five heavy regiments, called the Heavy Brigade, commanded by General Scarlett, and five light regiments called the Light Brigade, commanded by Lord Cardigan. Attached to the cavalry was one troop of the Royal Horse Artillery comprising six guns, commanded by Captain Maude. This Cavalry Division was commanded by the Earl of Lucan who had his headquarters at Balaclava Harbour, his command being in camp about two miles nearer to Sebastopol. Their duty was to defend Balaclava, which was the depot of supplies for the British Army engaged in the siege of Sebastopol.
In addition to the Cavalry Division Sir Colin Campbell commanded about eight hundred Highlanders (Scotch Infantry), and in camp near Balaclava we had also some sailors and marines stationed on the heights near the harbour and a British frigate was moored so that her broadside could protect it. There were in addition about twelve hundred irregular Turkish Infantry commanded by Rustem Pasha, stationed in three redoubts, armed with seven old British ship guns, a little more than a mile from the supplies. There were also three other redoubts thrown up to form a chain on the ridge of the Causeway Heights leading to Sebastopol. The last three were not mounted with guns. All these precautions were taken by Lord Raglan in case the Russians should make a descent on Balaclava in force, which they did before daybreak on the 25th of October, 1854.