Cadogan’s Crimea

Illustrated by Colonel the Hon. George Cadogan, written by Lt. Col. Somerset J. Gough Calthorpe

The Brigade of Guards in battle. Cadogan’s Crimea, General the Hon. Sir George Cadogan, Lt. Col. Somerset J. Gough Calthorpe.

If all conflicts of arms were to be regarded as pointless bloodletting, then the war in the Crimea might be the most likely event to head a long list.

Colonel the Hon. George Cadogan saw the war as a participant, and recorded his observations in pictures while on the battlefield. His superb watercolors, carefully arranged in a large album which has been kept and treasured by his family, present the Crimean War from a soldier’s point of view, sometimes horrifying, sometimes whimsical, sometimes sentimental, but at all times true to the prevailing atmosphere and events of the period

The text is an abridged version of Letters from Headquarters by Lt. Col. S. J. G. Calthorpe, an officer on the Headquarters Staff, which was first published in two volumes in 1856 by John Murray and had two further editions in 1857 and 1858. Cadogan’s fellow officer had published his impressions of the war primarily in defense of the one man for whom he declared a boundless admiration, the much-maligned leader of the Expeditionary Force, Lord Raglan. The writer’s powers of observation combine the horror and dignity of war with charm and humor, witness the story of the spy who was to be “comfortably” hanged in the morning, or the occasion when Lord Raglan ordered up a troop of horse artillery and battery to fire on the Russians. The author records: “If one had not seen the cannon-balls coming along at the rate of a thousand miles an hour, and bounding like cricket-balls, one would have thought it only a little cavalry review”.

Nostalgia provides an element of dash and daring which, to the many students of wars and military history, is perhaps part of the appeal of their chosen subject. During the Crimean War, for example, dress uniforms were used in battle and occasionally an officer, a lady on his arm, strolled across the heights above a battlefield and pointed out to her where he would be attacking in the morning. All this is shown in the illustrations. These brilliant yet delicate watercolors superimposed upon a vivid narrative allow the modern reader a unique view of the Crimean War as experienced by two serving officers. This is art and military history combined to extraordinary effect.


  • Title: Cadogan’s Crimea
  • Period: Crimean War
  • Type: War Report
  • Author: Lt. Col. Somerset J. Gough Calthorpe
  • Illustrator: Colonel the Hon. George Cadogan
  • Format: 288-page book
  • Language: English
  • Publisher: Atheneum, New York
  • ISBN: 0-68911-022-7
  • Published: 1980



  1. Start of the Expedition
  2. Battle of Alma
  3. Surrender of Balaklava
  4. Defences of Sevastopol
  5. Captain Nolan and Lord Lucan
  6. Battle of Inkerman
  7. Russian deserters
  8. Onset of winter
  9. No progress either side
  10. Attack on Eupatoria
  11. Councils of war
  12. Capture of ambuscades
  13. General Canrobert resigns
  14. Assaults on enemy positions
  15. Death of Lord Raglan
  16. The fall of Sevastopol Appendix A: Weekly State of Army, March 126th, 1855
    Appendix B: Weekly State of Army, June 3rd 1855
    Appendix C: Divisional After-Order, September 7th, 1855
    Appendix D: Table of English Batteries and Expenditure of Ammunition at Sevastopol
    Appendix E: Extracts from Medical Times and Gazette, June 14th, 1856

The Artist

General the Hon. Sir George Cadogan, K.C.B. was the second son of George, third Earl Cadogan. He was born in 1814 and was educated at Eton. He entered the army in 1833 as a lieutenant in the Grenadier Guards, became captain in 1838, was promoted to lieutenant-colonel in 1847, and obtained a colonelcy in 1854.

He served in the Eastern campaign in 1854, was present at the battles of Alma, Balaklava and Inkerman and at the siege of Sevastopol, and he was employed as the Queen’s Commissioner to the Sardinian army in the Crimean from April 1855 until its withdrawal in May of the following year.

For his services in the Crimea he obtained a medal and four clasps, was nominated a Companion of the Order of the Bath, a Commander 2nd Class of the Order of St. Maurice and St. Lazarus of Italy, to the 3rd Class of the Order of the Medjidie, and also obtained the Turkish medal. He was appointed Military Attaché at the British embassy in Florence which, at that time, was the capital of Italy. He became major-general in 1871, and general in 1877.

He was made a Knight of the Legion of Honour in 1857, and was appointed a Knight Commander of the Order of the Bath in 1875.

He died in 1879 at the age of sixty-five.

Miniatures of the Crimean War

Military History Books