The Return From Inkerman by Lady Butler


The Return From Inkerman


Lady Butler

Ref GM3441
Type Fine Art Print
Image Size 48" x 30" (122 x 76 cm)
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The Battle of Inkerman, fought during the Crimean War on 5th November 1854, was one of the greatest British military triumphs of the Nineteenth Century. British troops occupying the Inkerman Ridge outside Sebastopol during their siege of the town were attacked on 25th October 1854 by a Russian force, which was driven off without difficulty. However, a more serious attack was launched on 5th November and, under the cover of fog, the Russians were able to reach the British lines without being seen. The Russians outnumbered the British at their selected point of attack and were able to seize the hilltop and to bring up artillery. However, they were prevented from opening effective fire by mist and a rapid counter-attack by the British 2nd Division recaptured the hilltop and drove off the Russians. The Russians then launched a second attack at a fresh objective, the 'Sandbag Battery', but were again driven off by British reinforcements and by their French allies. The fighting around the Battery lasted about seven hours, during which time the British lost 2,400 troops, the French about 1,000 and the Russians an estimated 11,000. Lady Butler's painting depicts a column of tired and injured men from the 20th East Devonshire and the Coldstream Guards returning from the ridge after the victory. Due to the fog, most of the action during the Battle of Inkerman was undertaken by small formations, out of sight and out of command of the senior officers. Inkerman is thus often named 'The Soldiers' Battle', and participants were awarded the Crimean War Medal with Inkerman clasp (left) and a remarkable 15 Victoria Crosses, the highest military award of all, were also granted to combatants in the battle for valour under fire.