Iron mouths lined the ridge of the Causeway Heights. Lieutenant General Cardigan’s eyes wandered across the strath surveying the Light Brigade’s indefinite fate with no end to the Crimean War in sight, morale was low. In the base camp. despondent uniform-clad men trudged through the thick mud, dragged down by the weight of their sorrows. He swivelled in his combat boots and surveyed the grounds silence rang throughout his ears. In the camp, men laid supine on their rickety bunks, occasionally disrupting the melancholic silence with the occasional gulp of ethanol fuelled happiness.
It had been days since the Russians had seized their arsenal from overrun Turkish positions. It was a threat one that he was all too compliant to try and subside in the name of Nationalism. Cardigan stood at the precipice of evil, wincing at the harsh wind. Suddenly, Raglan, the company’s messenger appeared out of nowhere.
“Your orders are to compose a sizeable cavalry assault on the enemy barricade immediately!” he exclaimed, exhausted.
“Are you sure?” Cardigan replied, a cloud of confusion overtaking him. Even though the messenger was apprehensive, he buckled and nodded, his submissive temperament taking over. Is this a mistake? Surely this can’t be right… he thought to himself. Nevertheless, he was not one to shy away from orders cardigan wandered the grounds. weaving between the ordered tents as he shouted commands to his inferiors. “Saddle up men! Together we will reclaim our weapons and show the enemy the power of our great nation! ” The Lieutenant General was revered as the Commander of the six hundred strong Brigade.
Renowned for his exploits in his early military life, the cavalry scrambled around him like a swarm of bees, desperate for direction.
Frantically, soldiers laced their boots, preparing for the condemning ride ahead. On the frontline, the Lieutenant General joined his consociates in patriotism in an organized assault barrage. “Half a league forward men. Drown out the festering thoughts of death and the pervasive fear that beckons at your conﬁdence.” Cardigan exclaimed. impending death clawed at the doorstep, waiting for the Light Brigade to enter the mouth of hell. He drew a prolonged breath and readied himself. Bang! Innocuous gunshots rang throughout the air, signalling the inception of the oncoming onslaught. Cardigan urged forward. Beating hooves trampled the earth, levelling any inconstancies. His eyes darted left, and then right, weary of rogue shells travelling towards him. “Keep it up men! Only 2500 yards le-“Raglan dropped to the ground, a sea of red gushing from his torso. Metallic shells ﬂew overhead, dealing out retribution to any soldier that questioned their power.
Although he remained steadfast to the charge, Cardigan squirmed at the blood-streaked pastures. His mind raced around in circles. We’re outnumbered… Not to reason why. just to go and die… Next to him. lifeless bodies fell from their posts. riddled with slugs. The atmosphere resounded with groans of agony. The enemy line approached rapidly. Cardigan thundered. “Onward men! Unsheathe your scimitars and show no mercy!” The Lieutenant General. followed by his remaining men. ﬂashed his sabre. his hand encompassed by the ornate cross-guard. British soldiers crashed with full force into the jaws of death. Slash! Slash! Cardigan‘s sabre pierced the spleen of a Russian ofﬁcer, disembowelling him with one swift motion. He dismounted his charger and prised his blade from the combatant. Cossack voices bellowed. Cardigan jerked violently forward as his legs crumbled under the force of a Cossack soldier’s foot.
Excruciating pain burgeoned in his lower half. He twisted on the gravel. consequently, leaving this right arm with a gash as deep as a ravine. Lunging forward. Cardigan ploughed the hilt of his blade into the foe’s head. causing his small frame to thud to the ground. Exasperate and exhausted, the Lieutenant General tried to regain his balance however he was disoriented, lost in a sea battery smoke. He stumbled around. Cardigan Re-emerged from the smoke. sunlight slapping him across the face. The bodies of his comrades were sprawled across the ﬁeld. He went numb. Speechless his mind was devoid of thought. lost somewhere in an empty chasm. Snap out of it! “Retreat! Turn away and save yourselves!” He screamed in anguish. Sluggishly bloodied men turned and mounted their chargers. Cardigan sprang into action in a desperate attempt to stay alive. The mouth of hell once again began to spew fire and shrapnel towards the allies. He ducked desperately as the iron mouths volleyed in the distance.
In the valley horses upturned constantly because of the craters left behind by the enemy‘s arsenal Cardigan was terriﬁed of the treacherous terrain. Soldiers clawed at the dirt from under their chargers trying to escape. Just keep going a wave of emotion overcame the Lieutenant General there was nothing he could do. His upright and righteous morality was always a deﬁning character trait that he adhered to but now. What was he? A coward. The ally’s operation outpost was in sight just a little further. The sky overlooking the retreat was an ominous mixture of black and grey perfectly reﬂecting the atrocities and tragedies of the charge. Finally, the war-torn men made it to safety. a small fraction of them remaining Cardigan slowly lowered himself from his blood-soaked horse and dropped to his knees. His glazed-over dark brown eyes gleamed like marbles. He slumped down the distant yelling of field medics was hazily drowned out by the ringing in his ears.