“The Charge of the Light Brigade” By Alfred, Lord Tennyson
“The Charge of the Light Brigade” By Alfred, Lord Tennyson

“The Charge of the Light Brigade” By Alfred, Lord Tennyson

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  • Pages: 2 (789 words)
  • Published: October 28, 2017
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The war took place after Russia invaded Turkey to expand their empire. Turkey had an alliance with England and France, so we threatened Russia and she withdrew, but we attacked anyway, in 1854.

The charge of the Light Brigade was in a Y-shaped valley. The British forces were at the top, the Russian Army was down the right arm and there were some unattended guns up the left arm.Lord Raglan was the overall commander of the British Expeditionary Force, Lord Lucan was in charge of the two Brigades in the valley and Lord Cardigan was in charge of the Light Brigade. Lord Lucan and Lord Cardigan were stepbrothers and hated each other.

The Light Brigade were the finest and most heavily trained unit in England, their real name was the 17th Lancers.Lord Raglan was sitting on top of a hill, well away from the coming battle, where he could see down both forks of the valley. In the left fork he could see some unattended cannon that might turn the battle in their favour. He ordered Lucan by way of Captain Nolan to advance into the valley and capture the cannon.Lucan, Cardigan and the Light Brigade were in the bottom of the valley and could not see up the left arm but could see the Russian cannon up the right arm, but unfortunately, couldn’t see the Russian Army behind the Russian cannon. Lucan and Cardigan mistook the order and thought it meant attack the Russian guns.

Cardigan did so and the few cavalry that made it past the cannon were cut to pieces by the Cossacks.J.W.Wightman was a soldier in the 17th Lanc

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ers at the Charge of the Light Brigade and was captured by the Russians. When he was released, he wrote his account of the charge which was a lot more graphic than the Times report.

He describes everything vividly including things like the deaths of his friends and their horses, his own feelings and the atmosphere. He tells of his friend who was “smashed by a shell” and fell out of his saddle while his horse carried on, “treading on and tearing out her entrails” until she “dropped with a strange shriek”.He also writes about Sergeant Talbot who gets decapitated by a shell, whilst his “headless body kept the saddle, with the lance at the charge still firmly gripped”.He describes the atmosphere of the charge by telling us of “the crash of the shells and the whistle of bullets, the cheers and the dying cries of comrades.”He also writes about the injuries to himself and his horse and of “local colour.”I think that his account is more detailed and truthful than the Times report but probably wouldn’t have been published because of the goryness.

He does not write about Lord Cardigan, Captain Nolan, Lord Lucan or Lord Raglan.The Times report is propaganda, it glosses over the facts and makes the charge sound glorious and well planned, “they swept proudly past, glittering in the morning sun in all the pride and splendour of war.”The report sounds almost like a poem itself using metaphors like “the whole line of the enemy belched

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forth, from thirty iron mouths” and “a halo of steel above their heads.”The report does give some specific times and distances such as the times of the beginning and the end of the charge and the distance the cavalry were from the cannon when they opened fire.

The importance of theTimes report is in keeping up the spirits of the British, the people back home, and not letting them know the reality of the horrific carnage on the battle field.If the true horrors were widely known, support for the war would wain and awkard questions may be asked of the governments reasons for sending men to their slaughter.War is always Glorified by the media, who write only of Pride and Splendour and the fearlessness of ourbrave men, not of the fact that young men were led by bungling Lords and sent to their bloody deaths.On the other hand, if the truth of the war was reported,as in the words ofWightman, then perhaps things may have been thought out and plans made to ensure Victory without needless loss of life. The Lords may have had to work a plan of war instead of trying to win a war on the strengths of their own self glorification and vanity,and of course it would not do for the public to know the armys tactics,ie, the men as cannon fodder and the Lords watching from a safe hilltop, from whence one cannot see the blood and gore, only the Local Colour !!

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