October 25 - 1854 - The Battle of Balaclava
The Crimean War was not the most popular war Britain ever fought in, largely because aligning with the French and the Ottomans to curb Russian influence in the Black Sea wasn't a top priority for most Britons in 1854. Yet the Crimean War also featured some problematic moments by British commanders, perhaps best represented by the Battle of Balaclava. The British and French came to the port of Balaclava to attack the Russian Naval stronghold of Sevastopol. Despite that, the Russians came toward Balaclava for battle first, and in the early morning hours of October 25, the Russians began the battle by attacking the allied positions. This action was curbed when a Russian cavalry force was met by "The Thin Red Line," a Highland Regiment that held off the attack. The most famous moment of the Battle was still to come, however, as at the end the overall commander Lord Raglan gave an order for a cavalry charge. His head of cavalry was the Earl of Lucan, and the head of light cavalry was the Earl of Cardigan, brothers-in-law who despised each other. The result was Cardigan leading "The Charge of the Light Brigade," a futile and confusing attack that would be well remembered by Alfred Tennyson's poem.