On the 5th November 1854 a smaller British and (yes) French army beat off an assault by the Russians at Inkerman in the Crimea. It was known as “The Soldier’s Battle” as men fought small engagements due to poor visibility in dense fog.
The Russians had massed 32000 men on the Allied flank and headed for the 2700 man 2nd Division, commanded today by the aggressive Pennefather. Instead of falling back in the face of superior numbers, he advanced. The British had their rifles to thank this day as they took a terrible toll on the musket armed Russian Infantry, who were hemmed in by the valley’s bottle neck shape. The British 2nd Division pushed the Russians back onto their reinforcements and should have been routed by the Russians’ numbers, but the fog and the British Light Division saved them. Three successive Russian commanders were killed in this engagement.
The Russians other 15000 men approached and assailed the Sandbag Battery, but they were routed by 300 British defenders vaulting the wall, blunting the lead Battalions, who were then attacked in the flank. More Russian attacks ensured the Battery exchanged hands several times.
The British 4th Division was not as lucky. Arriving on the field, its flanking move was itself flanked and its commander, Cathcart, killed. This enabled the Russians to advance, but not for long. They were soon driven off by French units arriving from their camps and made no more headway.
The battle was lost and they had to withdraw.
This was the last time the Russians tried to defeat the Allied troops in the field. Despite this reverse, however, the Russian attack had seriously stalled the Allies from capturing Sevastopol. They had to instead, spend one harsh winter on the heights overlooking the city, before it fell in September of 1855.
The British suffered 2573 casualties, the French 1800 and the Russians 11959.
Today in 117AD Hadrian, the adopted son of Trajan, became the new Roman Emperor. Trajan had ruled for nearly twenty years and had enlarged the Empire greatly. Hadrian in his twenty one year rule would be just as good for Rome. He left behind four great building works, which remain today.
The first was to rebuild Agrippa’s Pantheon, adding the 141ft diameter Dome. It has massive bronze doors and now a church, has buried two of Italy’s kings and the artist Raphael amongst others.
On the river Tiber is the Castel San Angelo, another stone dome building, this one built as his own tomb. It has been used as a fortress by more than one Pope when Rome has been threatened. It housed Pope Clement VII when the forces of the (Spanish)Holy Roman Empire sacked the city in 1527. It is well worth a visit if you ever go to Rome. A coffee from the battlements’ cafe’ is a good end to a walk around the military museum it is now.
The third monument is the beautiful Villa at Tivoli.
Lastly is the wall he had constructed in the North of England to keep out those pesky Picts(Scots). It was 15ft high and stretched 73 miles from coast tocoast and there was a fort every five miles.
Hadrian had been unwell for some time and despite seeking death and requesting it of his adopted son Pius, who refused to aid him, he died aged 62 in his villa at Baie on the Bay of Naples.