Extract of a letter written from The Crimea
to his wife by Private Edward Edmonds
with a commentary by the newspaper which published it

Hampshire Telegraph and Sussex Chronicle, Saturday, 6 January 1855
Extracts of a letter dated Scutaria Hospital, from Edw. Edmonds, private 4th Light Dragoons, No. 1008, to his wife, at Littlehampton:-

`I left the regimental hospital, under the walls of Sebastopol, or rather the tent appropriated for the sick, on the 28th last month, and went on board ship at Balaklava, where we left on the __th December, and arrived here on the 13th. We had on board 250 - I was going to say men - I do not know what to call them, unless I call them the wrecks of good men - but our number was sadly reduced on our arrival at Scutaria. Oh! what a tale might be told - it would defy my poor simple abilities to give the least idea of such a scene. Scarcely a morning came but two or three bodies were sewn up in a blanket and carried on shore while we were in harbour, or thrown overboard at sea. I must now tell you something of our reception at Scutaria Hospital. On our arrival we were put into a clean, warm room, stripped of our - I mean worldly - rags; our poor bodies washed of their filth; we were put into clean beds, with plenty of clean good clothing, and supplied with arrow-root and wine by the charitable Miss Nightingale and her Christian band. No one could sufficiently describe the kindness and attention of that lady to the unfortunate. Every man can get a flannel shirt, a pair of drawers and socks from her, by requisition signed by the Surgeon of the ward, and there is no stint in anything on her part to make the sick and weak comfortable. Oh! what a pattern she is to our ladies in England. I fear you will think this a strange letter; but I have been called away very often, for as I am convalescent, it is my duty to render that assistance to the helpless which I have received from others. What would I not give to see you and my dear boy now. Oh! what a change in two years; but I have another longing - it is for the blessing of health that I may again return to my duty, for after the Alma and Inkermann, with all the hardships I have endured, I should not like to lose the honour of being present at the fall of Sebastopol.'

Edward Edmonds


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