Source: Memoria sobre el viaje militar a la Crimea presentado por los oficiales del cuerpo de injenieros nombrados en 1855 para seguir u estudiar los operaciones de la Guerra entre Rusia y la potencias occidentales, Francia e Inglaterra, auxiliado a la Turquia. Tomo Tercero. By Tomas O’Ryan y Vazquez. Madrid, 1861. (Chapter 2, pages 21 et seq.)


Reconnaissances by the troops in Eupatoria.


The Turkish-Egyptian garrison of Eupatoria, reduced to one division by the departure in spring of Omer Pasha to the allies’ camp in front of Sevastopol, was successively reinforced during the course of the summer months so that at the beginning of September it was composed of 24 battalions (of which 12 were Egyptian), some squadrons of irregular cavalry, 3 regiments of regular cavalry, and 5 field batteries, totaling 20,000 men under the overall command of Achmet Pasha. The commander of the Egyptian division was Soliman Pasha.


A short time after the capture of Sevastopol, Marshal Pélissier had General d’Allonville’s cavalry division leave the Baidar valley. He ordered it to embark for Eupatoria to force the Russian troops established in front of that place to withdraw so that they would not be able to directly threaten its garrison. As soon as this was accomplished, the cavalry division was to deploy so as to fall on the road to Perekop. The troops sent to Eupatoria consisted of the 4th Hussar Regiment and all of General Champeron’s dragoon brigade (6th and 7th Regiments), to which cavalry force were added a horse-artillery battery and six Turkish battalions which had been in Balaklava under the command of Sefer Pasha.


All of the allied forces in Eupatoria were placed under General d’Allonville who disembarked there on 19 September [1855] and reviewed the Turkish troops on the 20th. On 24 September he made a reconnaissance towards Sak, convincing himself that there was no fear of an attack from that direction, and on the 29th he successfully began his operations in the area northwest of the town. This was an advance in three columns. The one on the right, commanded by Soliman Pasha and consisting of six battalions, some irregular cavalry, and one battery. Its marching orders were to go toward Sak in order to contain any attack attempted by the Russians from this side. The center column was under the command of General d’Allonville and was made up of three French cavalry regiments, 200 mounted Turks, a horse-artillery battery, and six Egyptian battalions. This column took advantage of a stony ford to cross an arm of Lake Sassik and marched to Djoltchak via Chibar. Meanwhile, a left column made up of twelve battalions, three cavalry regiments, and two batteries, all commanded by Achmet Pasha, followed the road to Oraz, Altchin, and Tejech and was to meet up again with General d’Allonville’s column in Djoltchak. The column which advanced toward Sak only encountered before this place some squadrons which it easily contained with the help of two gunboats that could bombard the areas next to the lake.


The Russian observation force positioned in front of Eupatoria, commanded by General Korf and composed of a lancer division, had orders, as the most advanced regiments, to retire toward the Simferopol-Perekop road as soon as the allies made an appearance with superior forces. Simferopol was considered the observation forces’ central base in which General Shabelskii, overall commander of the forces, had established his headquarters and Montresor’s dragoon division as an immediate reserve. The closest infantry which could come up to support them was the 5th Division of the 2nd Corps, located on the Alma, and the 12th Division of the 4th Corps which was on the Kacha River. The grenadier division stationed in Perekop had at this time detached a vanguard to the village of Arbary on the Perekop-Simferopol road where it branched off to Eupatoria.


On 29 September, General Terpelevskii with Archduke Leopold’s Lancer Regiment was in Tejech, a place 15 kilometers to the left of the road from Eupatoria to Aibary. General Korf with Grand Duchess Catherine’s Lancer Regiment and a light horse battery was in Tip-Mamai, to the left of this same road, 7.5 kilometers from Eupatoria. Bos-Oglu was designated the immediate point to withdraw to for the first of these generals, and Karagurt for the second.


General d’Allonville began his march at three o’clock in the morning with the greatest precautions, and sometime after five o’clock came in sight of the Russian advance posts for the above-mentioned places. The advance posts of General Terpelevskii slowly retired toward Tejech and those of General Korf toward Orta-Mamai. As soon as the latter noticed the enemy’s appearance, he ordered his squadrons to mount up and he marched to take up a position behind a ravine at Djoltchak which cut the road from Eupatoria to Aibary and then continued toward the south, reaching Lake Sassik. The Russian cavalry halted between Keneges and Kangil after losing sight of the enemy troops. Their general allowed them to rest there, and the lancers dismounted and gave fodder to the horses. The artillery unlimbered, leaving the guns in battery, and on the other side of the ravine and along the road cossacks set out pickets.


General d’Allonville had lost sight of Korf’s column and then followed the forward posts of Terpelevskii, who upon being notified of the appearance of superior forces began withdrawing toward Bos-Oglu. It was around 9 o’clock in the morning when d’Allonville came up to Djoltchak, which he found abandoned. He decided to take a short rest to await the arrival of Achmet-Pasha, who appeared a short time later after having destroyed all the provisions he came across and without having seen any Russians in Tejech. Almost at this exact moment French advance posts reported that Russian lancers and cossacks had appeared in his rear between Keneges and Chiban. These were only the patrols sent by General Korf to cover the road, but d’Allonville believed he had discovered from these movements the enemy’s intention to come around his right flank. He formed his cavalry into three lines, putting the 4th Hussar Regiment in the first line under the command of General de Brigade Walsir-Esterhazy, the 6th Dragoon Regiment in the second line, and the 7th Dragoons in the third. In this formation he set off at a trot toward the Keneges heights, where he soon discovered the Russian battery in position but without being harnessed, and the lancers in their camp. D’Allonville threw part of the hussars at the artillery and another part at the lancers, which caused the greatest confusion in the enemy camp. The cossacks and lancers mounted their horses, and some squadrons managed to form up and deploy for combat before the arrival of the French hussars. Two pieces from the battery also succeeded in getting harnessed to move away while the other six prepared to open fire, but before they were able to do so the French hussars arrived and took advantage of the opportunity. The other two lines formed from the dragoon regiments moved to the left of the hussars and headed in the direction of Bachmak, threatening to cut off the enemy’s retreat. The Russian squadrons which had not finished forming up took to flight, and after the others were swept away by the French after a short fight, they were thrown into the crowd of troops which was moving along the road from Karagurt. They were harried for about two hours up to the ravine at Bachmak. Achmet Pasha, who had formed the French reserve with two cavalry regiment and six Egyptian battalions, did not engage in the fighting, and was limited to covering the cavalry’s rearguard. With the enemy not offering resistance at any point, General d’Allonville halted his squadrons and before retiring to Eupatoria he collected all the booty left on the battlefield. In this combat, so brilliant for the French cavalry that was meeting the Russians for the first time, the allies took 6 pieces of artillery, 12 ammunition wagons, 1 field forge, 160 prisoners (including Colonel Andreovitskii  [sic, Andruzskii - M.C.] among 18 seriously wounded lancers), and 250 horses. The Russians left 150 dead on the field while the French had 6 dead and 29 wounded, including an aide-de-camp and an orderly [officer d’ordonnance] of General Esterhazy.


General Korf lost the command of his division because of the combat, and was court-martialed for not having given the order to retire to Karagurt in time as he had been ordered to do. In his place was assigned Prince Radziwill.


Marshal Pelissier foresaw that as a consequence of this success the Russians would reinforce their observation force in front of Eupatoria. In order not to lose the least advantage, as well as to provide the most security in all operations, he invited the English commander-in-chief, Simpson, to send one of his cavalry brigades. This turned out to be the Light Brigade (Paget), some 1300 strong, with a battery of horse artillery. These troops embarked in the middle of October. At the same time, the marshal sent the 4th Division of the 2nd Army Corps, under General de Failly, so that d’Allonville could support his operations with some French infantry.


Before the disembarkation of these reinforcements in Eupatoria, on 3 October d’Allonville made a small reconnaissance around Tip-Mamai. Additionally, on 8 October he took all the French and Turkish cavalry, supported by a division of infantry, and extended his forays all the way to Kurula. The Russians had already reinforced their observation force’s positions. Not only was Radziwill’s lancer division watching the area from Sak to the Eupatoria-Aibary road, but in addition, to their northwest was the Combined Hussar Brigade of the 1st Reserve Cavalry Corps, and the Grenadier Corps had pushed their vanguard forward from Aibary to Kaban. The cavalry pickets had withdrawn from the immediate environs of Eupatoria a little more than before. The Russia hussar regiment located at Kurulu retired in good order as soon as General d’Allonville appeared, taking refuge behind the grenadiers’ vanguard. The allied cavalry continued to Kontugan, leaving the infantry in Kurulu. From these two places as well as the neighboring villages, they seized a large amount of forage, provisions, and coal, which was carried off to Eupatoria.


De Failly’s division and Paget’s brigade completed their disembarkation at Eupatoria on 19 October, and General d’Allonville immediately arranged for a large-scale reconnaissance along the Simferopol road. The recently arrived troops were given orders to carry water with them, and provided with some winches and ropes to be used at the deep wells sometimes encountered, since the Russians carried off the wells’ ropes so that they could not be used. With the help of such measures, it was believed that a force could remain for several days in a country in which drinking water was so scarce.


At this time there was still much doubt about the Russians withdrawing from the Crimea. If the allies sallied forth from Eupatoria in strength, and the Russian corps of observation retired eastwards in the direction of the Perekop road, it could be supposed with some reason that Gorchakov was inclined to evacuate the peninsula and was making Perekop and Chongar his bases for further operations. If, to the contrary, his retreat was to the south, it could be deduced with no less reason that, in spite of the attack on Kinburn, Gorchakov was preparing for a battle, concentrating his force at Simferopol and Bakchi-Sarai.


On the morning of 22 October the allies left Eupatoria in two big columns. The column on the right, under Achmet Pasha, consisted of a regular Turkish regiment, one of Bashi-Buzuks, and the greater part of the Turkish infantry, and marched along the tongue of land toward Sak, where it took up a position to await further orders from General d’Allonville. The Russian lancers and cossacks withdrew along the Simferopol road to behind the ravine at the village of Chobotar, while at the same time sending word to General Shabelskii regarding what was happening. That same afternoon, Shabelskii had three dragoon regiments march toward Chobotar. These had been along the road from Simferopol to Eupatoria, and it was after dark when they arrived at their destination, to which place Shabelskii himself also went. The left column under General d’Allonville, composed of all the French and English cavalry, two regiments of Turkish cavalry, and de Failly’s infantry division, followed the north shore of Lake Sassik toward Tip-Mamai and Kangil, in the direction of Karagurt. The French cavalry went in the vanguard, the Turks covered the left flank, and the English along with the French infantry formed the reserve.


Prince Radziwill with three regiments of lancers was observing the country extending from north of the lake between that body of water and the road from Eupatoria to Aibary, and had his advance guards in Kangil. At the news of General d’Allonville’s advance he retired on Karagurt so quickly that the allies did not espy him until they were in front of the place. Upon arriving at Jukary, which was almost at the end of the Chobotar ravine, Radziwill halted and positioned his rearguard in Temish to the northwest of Jukary.


General d’Allonville arrived at Karagurt at four o’clock in the afternoon, and the French hussars continued on ahead until coming in sight of the Russian rearguard, in front of which they remained as an advance post along with a detachment of Turks. Under the protection of this force, the rest set up their camp in the area between Karagurt, Arap, and Buyuk-Aktatchi. On the following day, the 23rd, d’Allonville again set off on the march, with the English acting as the vanguard, the Turks covering the left flank, and the French cavalry and infantry follwing behind. In this manner they advanced past Akhoa toward Temish, and the Russian rearguard retired beyond the ravine. Simultaneously with d’Allonville, Achmet Pasha set off at eight o’clock in the morning from his camp at Sak, moving forward along the Simferopol road which for some distance went along the base of a slope north of the ravine at Chobotar. At ten o’clock he arrived in sight of the enemy, deployed his force, and opened artillery fire.


At the same time, General Shabelskii had done the same thing with his own troop on the sourthern slope of the ravine, positioning a regiment of lancers, two cossack sotnias, and a cossack battery on the left flank on each side of the road to Simferopol, these being under the command of General Rzewuski. The battery advanced along the road and contested the firing of the Turks. In the right flank between Achoa and Jukary was General Radziwill with three lancer regiments, one cossack sotnia, and a horse-artillery battery. The reserve, located behind Chobotar, consisted of three dragoon regiments and two horse-artillery batteries. The total strength of the Russians, including cossacks, was 72 squadrons. Having supposed the allies desired to attack them, they had occupied an excellent position which would force the enemy to cross the ravine under artillery fire and necessarily cause units to become separated, enabling the Russian cavalry to charge them in detail.


General d’Allonville moved forward on his right to make contact with Achmet-Pasha, and he did not consider it appropriate to attack before this was made sure. Although in total his forces were superior to the Russians, he could see that his cavalry was much less, and presumed at the same time that behind and out of sight in the ravine was a corresponding force of infantry. Considering also that his column had suffered much that day due to lack of water, so that men as well as horses were exhausted, d’Allonville could not ignore the fact that he had been charge repeatedly not to allow the Russians to acquire any advantage without he himself having first proceeded with the greatest caution.


In the afternoon General Shabelskii decided to take the offensive, directing Prince Radziwill to advance with three lancer regiments against the French left wing, and the cossack regiment to move toward Temish to threaten to fall upon the enemy rearguard. With this, d’Allonville began to hastily retreat toward Sak, from where he returned to Eupatoria on the 24th.


The object of the expedition had been attained to some extent, since it became known that the Russians were concentrating in the rough terrain of the region between the mountains and the plain and not in the direction of the route of retreat to Perekop. But on the other hand, nothing had been discovered regarding the disposition of the enemy force, or their purpose.


On 27 October, General d’Allonville repeated a sally on the Simferopol road with the intention of confirming that the enemy was concentrating his forces toward the south and perhaps with the goal of ascertaining their dispositions in regard to their attempting an attack on the Baidar and Chernaya valleys, in which case they were suspected to be in the fields of the Chersonese tableland. If this suspicion was confirmed, it was important that General d’Allonville be forewarned, for if the French came out victorious he would have to help gather the fruits of victory by pursuing the vanquished over the badlands. It was no less important to obtain the victory by distracting the Russians with threats of attack and drawing off at least a part of the forces intended for an attack on the mentioned valleys.


This time General d’Allonville advanced along a single road, choosing the one along the tongue of land. The allied forces set into motion consisted of 24 French and Turkish battalions, 38 English, Turkish, and French squadrons, and 56 pieces of artillery. By marching on a single road, as stated, and with the Russian regiments in Kangil being ignorant of the enemy operation, it was probable that part of Shabelskii’s troops would be encountered only on the Simferopol road. The grate number of allied artillery pieces would permit them to attempt at least to force the Chobotar position, if an opportune occasion for that arose.


D’Allonville arrived in front of Sak at two o’clock in the afternoon, and leaving the French and Turkish infantry in echelon with their right resting on Lake Tuzla, he advanced with all his cavalry toward Chobotar. Cossack outposts, supported by a few squadrons, were forced to retire. When the allied cavalry were about 1500 meters from the positions that had been prepared for the defense of the point where the road to Simferopol crossed the ravine, the Russians were seen with a battery of 30 guns of 32 weight, whose shells falling among the enemy ranks killed 4 men and wounded 18. As it was impossible for General d’Allenville to attack the position with just cavalry, and also since it was rather late in the day, he decided to return to where he had left his infantry. He established camp with its front covered by Sak and its wings by the two lakes. Some English and French boats near the shores were ready to employ their guns in support of the forces on land if the need should arise, but the enemy did not attempt to attack.


General Radziwill was informed of the allied movements early on, and was in Achoa in the afternoon. Shabelskii took up the same position as on the 23rd, reinforced the troops at Chobotar, and blocked the road from Simferopol to Tulat with an entrenchment. The 5th and 12th Infantry Divisions were at Dhabash and Dchabnak, serving as a reserve.


At nine in the morning on the 28th, d’Allonville advanced toward the ravine at Chobotar with the cavalry followed by de Failly’s division, leaving in Sak only the Turkish infantry. The French commander presumed that consequent to the threatened attack of the day before, the Russian general had united his forces in Chobotar, and wanted to make sure of this while at the same time—if the occasion arose— turning the Russians’ right flank. On nearing the ravine he discovered considerable enemy forces, and with the cavalry he moved to the left toward Achoa. Here too were seen cavalry troops on the other side of the ravine, as well as entrenchments and infantry further on in Tulat and Aich. Shabelskii moved two regiments of dragoons from Jukary towards Temish, along Radziwill’s right. At this, the French general quit his attempt and retired under the cover of de Failly’s infantry, and upon uniting with them he returned to the camp at Sak. On the 29th he returned to Eupatoria after becoming convinced that in a radius of 28 to 32 kilometers the enemy had evacuated the entire population, and that the Russian army was not maintaining any encampments. During the retreat of the allied troops to Sak on the 28th they suffered much from lack of water, finding almost all the wells dried up after having watered only half their horses.


As of this date large-scale reconnaissances out of Eupatoria ceased. In the middle of November all the English cavalry embarked to retire to their winter quarters set up on the shores of the Bosphorus. At the same time, steps were taken to transfer the Turkish troops to Asia Minor, so that in Eupatoria only the French would remain. Before the English left a coup de main was successfully carried out on Eltok, 32 kilometers north of Eupatoria, as information had been obtained that the Russian army had some herds there. In the event, on the morning of the 3rd the Ottoman General-of-Cavalry Ali-Pasha went there with some Turkish squadrons—two French and two English. At the same time General d’Allonville left with the remaining forces to support this operation, placing the English cavalry brigade in Djoltchak, the French in Tumen, and the infantry between Orta-Mamai and Chiban to form a reserve. Ali-Pasha advanced toward Eltok, encountering only some cossacks who fled in spite of their being supported by some squadrons.


At five in the afternoon, the Ottoman general announced the expedition to have obtained good results, and at nine at night he entered Eupatoria with 270 cattle, 3450 sheep, 50 horses, 10 camels, and 20 wagons.


In addition to the reconnaissances mentioned, in the last days of the year the French carried out one more of little importance, advancing toward Chobotar along the tongue of land at Sak.


It is clear that the operations mounted out of Eupatoria did not cause the least trouble to the Russians’ communications with Perekop and the Chongar peninsula since the most easterly points reached by the allies were Kontugan, Karagurt, and Achoa, which were still 18 to 22 kilometers from the road between Simferopol and Perekop, and it was more than twice as far to the lines of communication between the first of these and the Chongar Peninsula. If the allied forces had advanced effectively towards the roads the Russians would no doubt have been alarmed. They very possibly would have moved forces from the south, perhaps offering a favorable occasion for the French to come up the passes of the Baidar valley with little risk and solidly establish themselves in the Belbek valley. In that case it would not have been impossible to reach the mentioned roads from Eupatoria, or at least the first one. However, there was a possibility that the grenadiers stationed at Perekop could advance southwards at the same time as the troops concentrated in the southern part of the Crimea could move north, and the allied troops would run the risk of seeing their line of retreat invaded. It was this danger, which General d’Allonville could not ignore, as well as the instructions which he had been given, that explains to a satisfactory degree the reason such little success was achieved. The establishment of the allies in Eupatoria can only be considered to have served as a base for a force poised to enter into activity as soon as the Russians would begin their withdrawal, but not to actually cause them to do so. There is no doubt that General d’Allonville’s forces would have succeeded in contributing to the Russians’ withdrawal if they had not bee faced with the condition that they had to be on guard against offering these opponents any occasion to gain an advantage. Above all, one must not lose sight of the real difficulty caused by the scarcity of water, which made it impossible to remove the troops from the point serving as their base, which they had to do if they were to arrive at a place where they could cause apprehension for the defender by directly menacing his lines of communication.


End of translation, Mark Conrad 2000.