Barrack Hospital, Scutari
16 March 1856
She is about to embark for the Crimea with 14 females to serve 2 new Land Transport Corps Hospitals; refers to Fitzgerald; she has had a private letter from Sir Benjamin Hawes asking her to 'say nothing about it,'; she could make a considerable disturbance by replying to Fitzgerald's slanders, but will be generous; she will take with her everything her hospitals may want; she never saw Fitzgerald's Report so would be very glad to know with what part of her answer Sir B. Hawes 'is not quite satisfied, as not meeting the exact points' ; Fitzgerald's lies about the nurses are seen and believed by many in the Crimea; the dismissal of Bakewell 'a wretched little acting assistant surgeon,2 for publishing a statement in the Times; Cardigan3 has obtained his court of Appeal against Sir John MeNei114; want of moral and intellectual perception in Sir John Hall; it is a matter of the utmost indifference to her whether Fitzgerald speaks ill or speaks well of her; 'he is a kind of SqueerT, only lower and with a more sneaking flattery, and without the energetic barbarity of that celebrated master of Dotheboys Hall. But Sir John Hall is a more formidable enemy as he could entirely paralyze my usefulness and frustrate the object of our being here,' She ends 'believe me, dear Uncle Sam, in too great haste to be short.'
sp B.M. Add.MSS.45792.f.20
1. Refers to Fitzgerald's Confidential Report to the War Office indicting the nursing in the Crimea. According to Cook (vol 1, 288) a friend showed the Report to F.N.
2. See 92 n.2
3. James Thomas Brudenell, 7th Earl of Cardigan (1797-1868) commanded the Light Cavalry Brigade and led the famous Charge in which 409 out of 607 men were lost. He was also held to be to a large extent personally responsible for the sufferings of the cavalry during the winter of 1855-1856 in the Report of McNeill and Tulloch. For events surrounding Cardigan's career and quarrels with Lucan in the Crimea, see Cecil Woodham-Smith, The Reason Why, London, Constable, 1953.
4. The Debate on the Report of the Commission of Inquiry into supplies of the British Army in the Crimea, with evidence annexed, opened in the House of Commons on 29 February 1856.
Five officers were held to be responsible in a large measure for the sufferings of the troops attendant upon the non distribution of supplies; they were the Earl of Lucan, the Earl of Cardigan, Major General Sir Richard Airey, Col.
Alexander Gordon and Commissary General Gordon. Cardigan and Lucan complained of the 'animadversions' against themselves in the Report and succeeded in forcing Panmure to set up a Board of General Officers to inquire into the statements contained in it. The Board (referred to in the letters as the Chelsea Board) completely exonerated all the officers concerned from personal responsibility. (See Alexander Tulloch, Crimean Commission and the Chelsea Board, London, 1857, for details of the various documents laid before Parliament in the course of the affair, see Appendix II)
5. Wackford Squeers, the villainous headmaster of Dotheboys Hall in Nicholas Nicklaby by Charles Dickens.
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