Factual Friday



Happy Saturday! My sincerest apologies for missing last week and yesterday – between traveling and my back, it’s been an interesting two weeks.

Being stuck in so many airports and booked on a variety of flights allowed me to make great progress with “The Crimean War” by Orlando Figes. I’m almost finished (another week or so should do it) and I found out some very interesting tidbits so far. I know I mentioned Leo Tolstoy being involved in this war, but there are three other people who were involved that caught me by surprise.


Florence Nightingale

Nightingale is considered the epitome of nurses. Before the outbreak of the Crimean War, she was working as an unsalaried superintendent of the Hospital for Invalid Gentlewomen in England. She volunteered to recruit a team of nurses upon hearing about the horrible conditions the wounded were being patched up in during battle. She came into the Crimean War after the Battle of Inkerman. For reasons I don’t yet understand, she overshadowed all in the medical battlefield even though death rates were marginally improved after her arrival.


Nikolai Pirogov

Pirogov also was in the medical field around the same time as Nightingale and his results were far better. Pirogov is the father to the triage plan: separating soldiers into categories from wounded but not critical, critical and having a chance to be saved, and critical with no chance of saving. He developed this method upon his arrival to Russian field hospitals and seeing their deplorable conditions. Unlike Nightingale, he was able to increase the survival rate of wounded soldiers significantly.


Lord Alfred Tennyson

While not involved directly in the Crimean War, his poem “The Charge of the Light Brigade” (see below) was about the mad charge of the British Calvary during the Battle of Inkerman. Not realizing how overwhelmed they were by the Russians, the Calvary charged (113 were killed, 134 wounded, and 45 taken prisoner. However, Tennyson’s poem says 600 which is based on the inaccurate reporting of the newspapers at that time) and scared off the Russians. This was possible by the heavy fog and the Russians thought there were far more of them while the Calvary thought there were less Russians.

I’ll be back next Friday with some facts about the Crimean War as I get closer to wrapping up the book. Have a great weekend!

The Charge of the Light Brigade by Lord Alfred Tennyson

Half a league, half a league

Half a league onward,

All in the valley of Death

Rode the six hundred.

“Forward, the Light Brigade!

Charge for the guns!” he said:

Into the valley of Death

Rode the six hundred


“Forward, the Light Brigade!”

Was there a man dismayed?

Not though the soldier knew

Some one had blundered:

Their’s not to make reply,

Their’s not to reason why,

Their’s but to do and die:

Into the valley of Death

Rode the six hundred.


Cannon to the right of them,

Cannon to the left of them,

Cannon in front of them

Volleyed and thundered;

Stormed at with shot and shell,

Boldly they rode and well,

Into the jaws of Death,

Into the mouth of Hell

Rode the six hundred


Flashed all their sabres bare,

Flashed as they turned in air

Sabring the gunners there,

Charging an army, while

All the world wondered:

Plunged in the battery-smoke

Right through the line they broke;

Cossack and Russian

Reeled from the sabre-stroke

Shattered and sundered.

Then they rode back, but not

Not the six hundred


Cannon to the right of them,

Cannon to the left of them,

Cannon behind them

Volleyed and thundered;

Stormed at with shot and shell,

While horse and hero fell,

They that had fought so well

Came through the jaws of Death,

Back from the mouth of Hell,

All that was left of them,

Left of six hundred.


When can their glory fade?

O the wild charge they made!

All the world wondered.

Honour the charge they made!

Honour the Light Brigade,

Noble six hundred!



About jenvolk5

Bank auditor by day, trivia and knowledge hound all other times.
This entry was posted in Factual Fridays and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Factual Friday

  1. Jay says:

    The Charge of the Light Brigade was one of a handful of poems that my dad had memorized and occasionally recited. I think his favorite line was “their’s is not to reason why, their’s is but to do or die.” I can remember hearing this at a very young age.

    It was Only much later when i learned that “the charge” was really a waste of troops and slaughter that the British were on the losing side of.

    Thanks for bringing back to mind this memory. 🙂

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