Philip Warner - Letters From The Crimea (Ebook)
Among the British troops bound for the Black Sea in May 1854 was a young officer in the 5th Dragoon Guards, Richard Temple Godman, who sent home throughout the entire Crimea campaign many detailed letters to his family at Park Hatch in Surrey. Temple Godman went out at the start of the war, took part in the successful Charge of the Heavy Brigade at Balaklava and in other engagements. He did not return to England until June 1856, after peace had been declared. He took three very individual horses and despite all his adventures brought them back unscathed. Fresh and easy to read, his letters provide an unrivalled picture of what it was really like to be in the Crimea. His dispatches from the fields of war reveal his wide interests and varied experiences – they range from the pleasures of riding in a foreign landscape, smoking Turkish tobacco, and overcoming boredom by donning comic dress and hunting wild dogs, to the pain of seeing many friends and horses die from battle, disease, deprivation and lack of medicines. He writes scathingly of the generals in charge (‘a good many muffs among the chiefs’), inaccurate and ‘highly coloured’ newspaper reports and, while critical of medical inefficiency regards women in hospitals as a ‘sort of fanaticism’ – so much for Florence Nightingale. Yet at other times he will employ the pen of an artist in describing a scene, or wax with eloquence on the idiosyncrasies of horses.