Date: 10 September 1855
Recipient: From Edmund Maynard to his mother
Book: Joseph Fenton letter-book, Gernsheim Collection, Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center, Austin

Copy of a letter from Edmund Maynard
Camp before Sebastopol 10 Sepr 1855

My dearest Mother

Long before this reaches you, you will have heard of our success & of the fall of Sebastipol that is of the whole of the South side the place at present is in flames & has been since Saturday night the fleet is destroyed & some ships burnet & others sunk, & thousands of Russians in full retreat, marching upon Scimpheropol it is supposed Our poor Brigade (the 2nd of the light Division has suffered fearfully, We have lost in the 88th of Officers 1 killed & 10 wounded, & of men about 150 killed & wounded out of 390 It has pleased God Almighty to preserve me & it was him alone who shielded me in the hour of danger The Attack was made on the 8th commencing at noon, The 2nd Brigade of the light Division & the 2nd of the nd were the two selected for the work & soon of 7 in the morning we were marked down to the Trenches The French commenced by attacking the Malekoff which they took in style taking the enemy by surprise & entering it without much opposition The Russians had concentrated the greater part of their force in & near the Redan fully expecting that that would be the only place of attack but the French were not left long before an obstinate resistance was opposed to them attack after attack was made upon them till nightfall still they held their ground manfully without being disloged dislodged in spite of their numerous losses. As soon as they made an entrance into the place our storming party consisting of the 90h & 97th Regts of our Brigade & the 62d & 23rd of the 2d Division got orders to move on against the Redan followed by the 19h 88th & [?] 30h & 31st in support of the latter The scaling ladders were soon fixed & the Parapet of the Fort mounted by the advanced Regts when we were brought up at the Double having an open space of 5 or 600 yds from our Trenches to the Ditch of the Redan to run across, but before we could accomplish this many of our fellows were swept down by the raking fire which was poured in amongst us It was in this advance poor Capt Grogan fell mortally wounded that they were obliged to retire. Those of the 88h who were remaining went straight at the Ditch but here were unavoidably mixed up with other regts when we came to mount the different ladders As for myself the first I came at I went at waving my sword & shouting I believe like a madman, to urge my company to follow which they did but some of the poor fellows were knocked over before they reached the parapet many were obstructed by the crowds of men on the back side I was scarcely mounted on the top of the parapet myself, before my face was covered with blood & brains spurting from a poor fellow of another regt who was shot close to me such a sight as I must have been for the 2 1/2 hours we remained up there men falling in every direction at at [sic] turns almost knocking one over as they fell, then the moans of the poor fellows as they lay at one’s feet dying & crying for assistance but no aid could be given one object was in vein if possible to drive the Russians away from behind their parapet & in endeavouring to accomplish this dead & dying were alike forgotten & trampled under foot still the enemy could not be driven in, they assailed us with all sorts of missiles & showered us with big stones, bayonets, & every now & then their muskets would come flying in amongst us we could not bring our men to face it & make a charge over the parapet & jump in amongst the enemy at one time I endeavoured to get volunteers determined to lead the way in myself if they would only follow but this proved a failure no more than 6 or 8 would enlist for the work if only 50 or 60 men could have been mustered to follow it might have been of service & the means of bringing the whole of them on but to have got in with so few as 6 or 8 would have been sacrificing ourselves to no effect Officers did their utmost to get the men on but without effect. At last in spite of every endeavour the men became panic struck & made a rush to retire & it was most fearful to see the way in which they upset & tumbled upon each other in the ditch I kept my hold on the ladder as long as I could cheering & trying to keep them up till at last I was sent headlong foremost my left foot catching in one of the bars for sometime I could not extricate myself & was in dread of my left leg being broken how I managed to get a footing again I cant say afterwards I found that the whole of the heel part of my boot had been torn away & my body covered with bruises from which I am at present very sore my old wound also came in for its share of blows which made it puff up but a few days I hope will see me all to rights again I received a slight flesh wound on the back of my left hand & should have been returned slightly wounded but I thought it better not as it would only alarm you unnecessarily seeing it in the newspapers so long before you could hear from me After all it seemed a providential thing that I did not effect an entrance into the Redan as we have since learnt that the Russians intended to have blown up all up if we had. That same night after they had evacuated it themselves they blew it mostly to pieces We got back to camp at night the Highland Brigade relieving us in the Trenches & glad I was & thankful to get a stretch & my face washed my left eye was completely [illegible] up & my eye brow singed I think some sparks must have done it my jacket was also burnt in many places it would have puzzled you dear Mother to have recognized me coming in in such a state I fear I have written you an unintelligible letter but the late hour of the night & After being hard employed most of the day much plead my excuse &c &c

Edmund Maynard