This material graciously had been shared with the Victorian Web by the Green Howards. Thanks are due to the Green Howards Regimental Museum, Richmond, North Yorkshire and to Mr. Kenneth Usherwood, the living relative of Charles Usherwood. Marjie Bloy, Ph.D., Senior Research Fellow, National University of Singapore.
11 May, Thursday Landed at Scutari which is on the Asia side of the Bhosphorus. Here was the British encampment near to the Barracks and a graveyard. The town is hilly and irregular, streets ill formed. Houses of a different architecture to European.
The Barracks have a fine appearance outside the gates, but inwardly they are filthy and full of fleas of no ordinary size. Accommodation there is none, those of the men who had to take up their abode in these quarters were compelled to lie down upon the bare floors. Dogs go about in packs, and frequent the graveyards where there are often evident signs of their handywork trying to haul out the dead so as to feast upon them.
The scenery about Scutari is very good; water plentiful but the roads are a reproach. The Turks, are a lazy set of people, extremely filthy in their persons and move about in a sluggard manner. They seemed entirely unconcerned on our arrival apparently shewing an utter ignorance of the object of our coming. A more decided lazy, sluggardly and ignorant filthy nation there is not to be found in the whole of Europe and questionable in any part of the world. Of Greeks, there are abundance contrasting wonderfully to their neighbours. The Turkish women hide their unhandsome faces with a sheet brought over their heads leaving two holes for them to peep through. They wear thick soled boots turned at the toe and generally yellow. The Turks in general seem extremely fond of colours but they are certainly a lousy people, as they think nothing of sitting in the public way louseing each other.
The streets in Constantinople are narrow - full of holes and the receptacle for every unmentionable filth, dead dogs here and there rotting in the very holes which the Turks seem not to consider should be filled in. A more filthy city of abominations there cannot be elsewhere, tho' at a distance there cannot be a more picturesque habitation of human beings.
On our first appearance at Scutari, English gold sold well, a sovereign fetching as much an equivalent value to 24 or 25 shillings in Turkish currency - tho' curious to say that when in Bulgaria gold could not be passed but at a loss.
16 May 1854 A Division order was issued as follows:
To prevent confusion and misapprehension of orders in Field Evolutions the Lieut. General desires that all Regiments in the Light Division be told off in 8 Companies, Grenadiers becoming No 1 and the Light Company No. 8.
After our landing the Army was told off as follows:
Composition of the Army
1st Division of Infantry under the command of H. R. H. Duke of Cambridge
— 1st Brigade — Br. Genl. Bentick: 3rd Battalion. Grenadier Guards; 1st Bt. Scotch
Fusiliers Guards; 1st Battalion. Coldstream Guards.
— 2nd Brigade - - Br. Genl. Sir Colon Campbell: 42nd; 79th; 93rd Highlanders.
2nd Division of Infantry under the command of Lt. Genl. Sir Lacy-de-Evans
— 1st Brigade — 30th, 55th, 95th Regiments under Br. Genl. Pennefather
— 2nd Brigade — under Br. Genl. H. W. Adams: 41st, 47th, 49th Regiments
3rd Division of Infantry under command of Lt. Genl. Sir R. England KCB
-- 1st Brigade — under Sir John Campbell Bart: 1st, 4th, 38th Regiments
— 2nd Brigade — under Br. Genl. Eyre CB: 28th, 44th, 50th Regiments
Light Division under Lt. Genl. Sir Ge. Brown— 1st Brigade — under Br. Genl. Airey: 7th, 23rd, 33rd Regiments
-- 2nd Brigade — under Br. Genl. Buller: 19th, 77th, 88th Regiments; 2nd Battalion Rifle Brigade.
Foot Artillery attached to each Division of Infantry beside Royal Engineers
in all 25 Regiments
Cavalry Division under command of Lt. Genl. Earl of Lucan
Troops of Horse Artillery
While the Army was remaining at Scutari a heavy thunderstorm passed over the camp.
28 May l854 The Light Division embarked on various transports for Varna, the 19th Foot on board the Medway Steamer which certainly was an old vessel as she took in water on to the decks that ought to have been free from it, to the no small disagreeableness of the Troops who had nowhere to sleep but on the bare decks.
30 May l854 The Division with its Artillery disembarked at Varna, and took up its encamping ground outside the town at a distance from it of about 2 miles. Whilst the various vessels containing the Division were endeavouring to anchor within the harbour, the Victoria steamship the one which took out the 19th Regiment from England and which had on board at this time the 33 Foot ran foul of a Turkish vessel causing the same to sink within a few minutes tho' luckily without the loss of life.
The town of Varna has a better appearance than many towns or cities in the same country, the streets are more regular and wide, and the houses are placed together it seems with a view to public convenience, the place itself being encircled with earthworks which of course means fortifications. Near to the town is a lake of a good width where millions upon millions of frogs assemble and rend the air full with their melodious notes, if such can be so termed. From this lake arises heavy fogs especially in the early part of the mornings.
On the 1st June 1854, a Memo was issued discontinuing Stocks in hot weather, but were to be kept in the knapsacks and shewn at kit inspections. This Memo certainly came not too soon for glad we were to abolish the dog collar. From Varna on the 5th June 1854 the Light Division marched at 5 a.m. for Aledyn and encamped at about a mile from the village. The march was very tedious tho' the distance was scarcely more than 7 miles owing to the badness of the roads (whose name should be indifferently made ruts). Arriving at Aledyn in the afternoon and when the tents had been pitched the men went down to bathe when unfortunately an Artilleryman was drowned. Scarcely had we been any time at Aledyn when complaints arose between the villagers and the soldiery, the former it appears not being willing to sell the common articles of food at a reasonable price and in fact unwilling to part with them at all.
For the first time, outlying picquets were sent out and the men exercised in throwing up entrenchments. A great deal of the land about here seemed to have been never cultivated; the scenery is beautiful.
On the 8th June 1854, Marshal St Arnaud, Commander in Chief, of the French Forces came and inspected the Divisions. 17 Lancers encamped at Devna Mills. Today the 10 June 1854 orders were issued to march in the interior. Every thing was packed up and the Division actually on the move when orders came countermanding the move tho' it was again renewed on the 17 June and again countermanded, the other Divisions at this time being encamped as follows:
1st and 2nd at or near Varna
3rd on its way from Constantinople
On the 30 June we again moved our ground some 10 miles nearer Shumla the Head Quarter town of the Turkish Army, and after a fatiguing march through sand and knee deep in dust arrived at a village called Devna, where the Russian Army in 1829 lost many of their men by cholera. We chose our ground on an elevation on the West side of the rivulet which flows through the valley below where to a great extent the land is marshy, the Cavalry being further away and toward the high road. On the 5th July 1854 no less a personage than the chubby and portly Turk, Omar Pasha, Commander in Chief of the Ottoman Troops, payed us a visit, and of course inspected the Division. Omar having heard of the British Cavalry wished to see a charge by the same, and placing himself in front of the leading line, galloped ahead as fast as his charger could carry his personage. Whether owing to the superiority of British horse flesh or Omar's inability to get out of the way his Pashaship happened to be left behind not only the first but the second time when he drew up and praised the troops exceedingly; the consequence was (but whether it was a bet on Omar's part or not we did not find out) an extra ration of grog was issued free to the whole of the Troops on the occasion and which we got on the 7th July, my birthday,
Today the 7th July a Depot was formed at Varna to which the 19th Foot detached No 5 Company under Capt. Chippendale. The 3rd Division at this time being encamped between Devna and Aledyn.
Last modified 21 May 2002