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Crimean war






For centuries, one central goal of Russian foreign policy was to obtain a warm water port in the south--namely, at the Bosporus Straits and the Strait of the Dardanelles, the small waterways connecting the Black Sea to the Aegean and Mediterranean Seas. In 1854, the decaying Ottoman Empire controlled that essential waterway and Russia sought increased power in this region.

In 1853, St. Petersburg demanded that the Ottoman Empire recognize Russia's right to protect Eastern Orthodox believers in Turkey. When Turkey refused, Russia sent troops into Ottoman territory. Fearing increased Russian power and an upset to the balance of power on the Continent, Great Britain and France declared war on Russia on March 28, 1854. Russia fared well against its weaker neighbor to the south, destroying the Turkish fleet off the coast of Sinope, a port city in north-central Asia Minor. However, in September 1854, the British and French laid siege to Sevastopol, Russia's heavily fortified chief naval base in the Black Sea, lying on the Crimean peninsula. After just under one year of constant battle, the Russian abandoned the fortress, blowing up their fortifications and sinking their own ships. Meanwhile, at nearby Balaklava, British troops charged down a narrow valley that was flanked by Russian guns on both sides. Nearly every British soldier fell dead in what came to be called the Valley of Death. The name of the British group was the Light Brigade, giving rise to the famous Alfred, Lord Tennyson poem, "The Charge of the Light Brigade."

Russia's new tsar, Alexander II, sued for peace in 1856. In the resulting Peace of Paris, Russia relinquished its claim as Christian protector in Turkey, the Black Sea was neutralized, and the balance of power was maintained.

The Crimean War had the highest casualty rate of any conflict in Europe between 1815 and 1914, the century-long peace maintained by the balance of power. Disease killed many, but poor leadership killed thousands more. It was the final war in which the Ottoman Empire had any victorious role, though even in the Crimea, Russia fared quite well against the Turks. The greater importance of the Crimean War is embodied in one international and one national element.

In terms of European international relations, the Crimean War marked the end of the veritable charade of Russian military dominance on the Continent. Granted, the Russian army was the largest force due to its sheer numbers; however, it was soundly defeated by smaller British and French forces, and its navy proved utterly useless and backward by the middle of the nineteenth century. It was Russia who guaranteed to maintain order and balance after the defeat of the Napoleon--it did so with Austria, Prussia, and France since then. Now, that power was effectively eliminated; therefore, the demise of the balance of power could not be far behind.

On the national scale, the Crimean War, some historians have argued, marked the beginning of the road to the Russian Revolution of 1917.

The following have been identified as participants:

  • Col. John Douglas, 11th Hussars
  • Archibald Douglas
  • Sir Robert Andrews Mackenzie-Douglas
  • Brevet-Lieutenant-Colonel Kenneth Douglas Mackenzie, 92nd. regiment.--Served the Eastern Campaign of 1854-5. Served at the battles of the Alma and Inkermann, as a Brigade-Major attached to the light division. Afterwards as an Assistant Quartermaster-General at Balaklava.
  • Gunner and Driver Jons Douglas.—In the trenches during the October bombardment, and with the exception of one month, when employed as a servant, he regularly served in the trenches till the fall of the city, taking part in every bombardment.
  • Lt Allen George Douglas, 9th Regiment, killed. See below
  • Lieut. Douglas served at the siege of Sebastopol from Nov. 1864 until the 18th June 1855, when he received a wound at the assault on the batteries (Medal and Clasp).
  • Majors Douglas, Trevor, and Hammersley, served in the trenches at the siege and fall of Sebastopol, and assault of the 18th June (Medal and Clasp and Brevet Major).
  • Lieut. A. A. Douglas was at the bombardment of Odessa, 22nd April 1854. Served in the breaching batteries before Sebastopol in all the bombardments from 1854, until its fall, and was wounded 21st April (Medal and Clasps, and Knight of the Legion of Honor).
  • Lieuts. Walton and R. J. H. Douglas served with the R. M. Brigade at the siege of Sebastopol in 1854-55 (Medal and Clasp).
  • Lt Cols Douglas and Clephane served in the expedition to Kertch.
  • Lt.Colonel Wm. Douglas served with the 14th Regt. in the Crimea from 10th Jan. 1855, including the siege and fall of Sebastopol, and assault of the 18th June (Medal with Clasp, Brevet of Major, 5th Class of the Medjidie, and Turkish Medal). Served iu the field during the New Zealand war of 1800-61.
  • Francis Wemyss-Charteris-Douglas, , 8th Earl of Wemyss and 6th Earl of March
  • Lieutenant William Henry Douglas
  • General Sir John Douglas, G.C.B.
  • Captain Alexander Douglas, in Battle of Alma and 'The Thin Red Line', and later in India

    The following were casualties:
  • Allen George Douglas Lieutenant 9th Foot (East Norfolk) Slight Wound 1st Attack on the Redan 18 June 1855
  • Charles Douglas Lance Corporal 3806 30th Foot (Cambridgeshire) Killed in Action Minor actions at Sebastopol 03 February 1855
  • David Douglas Private 2347 42nd Foot (The Royal Highland) Severe Wound Minor actions at Sebastopol 27 June 1855
  • James Douglas Corporal 1995 Royal Sappers & Miners Slight Wound Minor actions at Sebastopol 25 June 1855
  • John Douglas Private 3419 55th Foot (Westmoreland) Slight Wound Second Battle of Inkermann 05 November 1854
  • W Douglas Private 3089 33rd Foot (Duke of Wellington's) Slight Wound Final Attack on the Redan 08 September 1855
  • William Douglas Private 1st Battalion Scots Fusilier Guards Wounded Battle at the River Alma 20 September 1854
  • William Douglas Private 3437 79th Foot (Cameron Highlanders) Severe Wound Minor actions at Sebastopol 10 August 1855
  • W.K. (W.H.?) Douglas RN Lieutenant H.M.S. Queen Killed in Action Naval Brigade Ashore 12 April 1855 Also listed as 11 April 1855.
  • W Douglass Private 2373 47th Foot (Lancashire) Danger Wound Final Attack on the Redan 08 September 1855
  • William Douglass Colour Sergeant 2777 21st

  • See also:
    Chelsea Pensioners

    1. Prior to 1920 each regiment issued their own service numbers which were unique only within that regiment, so the same number could be issued many times in different regiments. When a serviceman moved, he would be given a new service number by his new regiment.




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