Extract of a letter written from The Crimea
to his sister by Private John Edden
with a commentary by the newspaper which published it
Preston Guardian, Saturday 8 September 1855
Letter from Balaklava
A long and spirited letter, dated `Balaklava, August 24th,' has been received in this town, by his sister, from John Edden, a private in the 4th Light Dragoons. We have been permitted to make the following extracts: -
I dare say you would be very glad to see me come home, but now I am here I must put up with all the inconveniences I can. I am out here with the intention of fighting for my country, and that is all I think of at present; as we are here we must do it, and for the future it will be a lesson to our enemies. I could not be altogether satisfied when I was well off, but now I forget all that. You have talked to me about a sweetheart: - when I was at home I had plenty, but there are none here. I do not know who would refuse to come out to protect such pretty girls as yourself; some might think it hard, but I do not - I am as happy as a prince, I let nothing trouble me, and I find it the best way. As for being shot, it might be my fate to-morrow, but I do not think of that; if every one was to do so, we never should get on at all. After experiencing all I have gone through, one might be sure he would escape; but the Lord knows best. After that charge of the Light Cavalry at Balaklava I think that we do deserve a name. I have been over the ground since several times, and there may yet be seen the remains of the horses that were killed, and the places where the men were buried. There was another attack by the Russians at the same place on the 18th of August, which was the first time that the Sardinians were engaged, and they proved themselves good soldiers. I was present on that occasion, but had not the pleasure of doing anything, though I expect I shall before many days have passed over. There will be another hard fight... If I have the pleasure of coming home I dare say I shall be able to come and see you; but if I do come I don't know whether you will be able to know me, for I am 6 feet 5 inches high now. I was very small when we left home; but no matter; we are all here now; and when the war is over it will be `See, the conquering hero comes!' A soldier is a little thought of now; but at one time it used to be `We have to keep you;' - that was often thrown in our faces... I should send you many more letters than I do, but don't like to send them without stamps, and we cannot get them here... The town of Sevastopol is knocked all to pieces, but there are three towers that will give us a great deal to do before we can take them; it is my opinion that the place will fall before long, which will ease the minds of a great many in England... There has been a good deal of talk of another attack upon Sebastopol, but it is not known when it will be made; when it is made we are sure to have it. Many would think that what we see here would bring the tears to our eyes; but it would not do for a British soldier to let that get over him. I was at a place called Baidar three weeks, and after we returned the Russians made a grand attack upon us, but they have got what they did not bargain for... I dare say you have got what I sent in the letter, and the few hairs out of my horse's tail - take care of them for he is the one that can carry me to battle...
4th Light Dragoons Index: