Date: 2 June 1855
Recipient: Grace Fenton
Book: Annie Grace Fenton letter-book, Royal Photographic Society Collection, National Media Museum, Bradford

Head Quarters
June 2d 1855

Dear Grace

I wrote you a long letter in continuation of the first from Yenikalé. It was put with the letters of the officers of the Colomba so that I dont feel quite certain of yr getting it & write a line to tell you I have got back quite safe

Last night I dined with Lord Raglan [.] I did not get the invite till 8 o’clock, the hour named for dinner as I had been a long ride to the plain of Baidar & the new country wh is now open to us by the advance of the army to the Tchernaya. I never beheld anything more beautiful than the plain of Baidar, covered with rich vegetation fringed with dark woods & closed all round with rugged mountains

There were 2 villages in the plain but both were in ruins & we cd not see a single soul in the whole valley. We returned across the Sardinian camp to the Tchernaya abt 8 miles fm Sebastopol at a point where it comes out fm the hills [ – ] we bathed there at a point wher finding a spot where the water was 14ft deep[.] After bathing we were crossing the river at a ford when I being in advance missed the line & popped horse & all into a deep hole, we soon scrambled out, got well laughed at, & had to ride home damp

On our way we went exactly in the line taken by our cavalry at Balaclava, except that we met met [sic] instead of following their line of advance[.] We came upon many skeletons half buried, one was lying as if he had raised himself upon his elbow the bare skull sticking out with still enough flesh left on the muscles to prevent its falling fm the shoulders. Another man’s feet & hands were out of the ground the shoes on his feet & the flesh gone.

When I got to Head Quarters I found Lord Raglan’s invitation to dinner, changed my things as quickly as possible & then had to wait with all the other guests till &quarter; past 10 when we sat down to dinner. Lord Raglan placed me on his left hand & made me give an account of the expedition to Kertch. While sitting at dinner a dispatch came fm Sir E Lyons stating that the fleet had up to that time taken & destroyed 240 Russian vessels on the sea of Azoph, that they had landed at Genitechi at the end of that long slip of land that runs North fm the Crimea to the main land & had destroyed 6 million rations provided for the Russian army with the loss of only one man. I went the day before yesterday to the 88th the Col. had gone to Balaclava to meet Edmund who was sd to have come. I went down too, but cd not find him, nor learn anything of him, so I took a boat outside the harbour, but when there found that there were at least 20 large steamers out side, most of wh were waiting to take fresh troops off to Kertch, so I gave up the search, & instead had a plunge into the Black sea. I have made enquiry since, & am told that the 88th drafts are not sent to Kertch so that most likely Edmund is here but I cant find out in time for this post.

The bombardment begins again in a few days & every one believes that this time the South side will be taken. This Kertch affair is a terrible blow to them

I have sold 2 of my horses & am winding up. I have taken the portraits of 3 of our generals this morning & hope to get Lord R’s & General Airey’s on Monday when I shall consider that I have done.

R. F.