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Thread: Correspondence

  1. #61
    Field Marshal phargle's Avatar
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    Gordon comes across as a man out of his league. He begins the conversation unconvinced and ends it swayed, and all it took was a little bit of urging by a diplomat and a duke. It's hard to even say that the prime minister is acting in good faith, as one might say in that other AAR with Halifax in it; instead, Gordon seems to recklessly swing from one choice to the other. It is not good to be carried by events, and I think the British are in for a surprise or two at Crimea with this man at the helm.

    One sincerely doubts that the Russians are creating policy out of late-night bull sessions.

    I am anticipating the Russian onslaught with glee. It will be interesting to see where the chips fall when France and Britain get their comeuppance.

  2. #62
    Cisár všetkých Slovákov demokratickid's Avatar
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    HA!The war begins! I'm excited already!
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  3. #63
    Human Enewald's Avatar
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    Uh yeah, war.
    Maybe you should 'buy' Silistra from the turks to ensure their safety?

  4. #64
    Very good story rob. It has my vote and I wait with baited breath to see what comes next.
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  5. #65
    Roman LibrAARian comagoosie's Avatar
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    That's him

    Anyways, it seems that those Russians are serious and it is wise not to mess with the PM or the PM will mess with you.
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  6. #66
    Hijo de Santiago robou's Avatar
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    To All: Can't promise a date on the next update of this, perhaps during the week or next weekend. Won't be soon, though.

    canonized: Punch never seems to fail to make brilliant cartoons and this one fitted into my storyline so perfectly. It was a Punch cartoon of Gordon, beginning him to stop being so inactive about the war.

    stnylan: Do not forget, my friend, that both the soldiers and sailors and reporters are more than eager to go to war. They however, don't know where they will eventually end up, but then they might not be so enthusiastic.

    coz1: It wasn't conclusive evidence, lets put it that way, but at that time of night with a nation blurting out at him, what choice does he have?

    phargle: I feel you are slightly mean on Lord Aberdeen there. He was a very talented politician, but he is old and he does not want to see men die in a war that does not need to be fought. You must also consider the pressure on him. He has one of the most interesting, intelligent and jingoistic cabinets possible. For example, Palmerstone is Home Secretary and demanded that war be declared at every possible moment, and Lord Russell as Foreign minister was also keen on the voice of war. Both very talented men who were very hard to control. He has delayed his swing for over a year to this point and could no longer keep his view and his reputation. One had to be sacrificed over the other.

    Also, you'd be surprised by the Russians. They will be pretty gobsmacked when they hear of the decleration of war. It was Russia's belief that France and Britain would never enter the war on the side of a Muslim country. And I also think you will be surprised by the British and French armies too.

    demokratickid: Unfortunately they don't get to go into action quite yet, and we still have a fair few chapters to go before they reach the designation we all want them to.

    Enewald: Britain and France buy silistra and fight a battle that the Turks are already fighting for them. I think not. They will avoid battle if at all possible. To keep their nice peacetime experienced armies is a goal as well as beating the Russians.

    Sematary: Honoured to have you along, as always, dear friend. You vote is warmly accepted!

    comagoosie: Why so surprised. The beard is for the winter cold though. And how exactly a 70 year old man is meant to 'mess with someone' I don't know.


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  7. #67
    Heartbreaker canonized's Avatar
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    Somehow cartoons in Vicky seem to go so well . I guess it's because it's the hayday of the political commentary in newspapers so to speak XD
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  8. #68
    Hijo de Santiago robou's Avatar
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    Chapter VI: To War With Fools


    Valetta Harbour, April 1st, 1854

    The harbour master at Valetta had had a busy time since the declaration of war. Even if only a day and night had passed since St. Petersburg had been informed that Russia was now contending with the British and French as well as the Turks, the fleet had been busy moving troops towards Constantinople. Already the entirety of the 1st Division as well as elements of the 2nd and 3rd Divisions had been moved off from Malta for the three day voyage from the island fortress to where ever the Sublime Porte had in mind for the large Expeditionary force being sent to their aid, still disclosed to those on the island.

    Now the British troops, those still to be embarked, waited impatiently for the next squadron of steamers to come in and pick them up. They stood in gaggles; much division order had been lost in the long waits, talking to each other, bantering about the up-and-coming fight or some, the wiser ones, dreaming of going back home. For men and officers, it made no difference. The small peacetime army knew itself well, and even if the regiments were still quite independent and separate formations, rather than a terribly coherent army like the French, the cadre of officers generally knew each other from peace time life and the gazette.

    Colonel Ainslie stood, like all the others, gazing out onto Valetta harbour, waiting to be shipped out. His longing eyes saw not the ancient fortresses of the Knights of St. John that lined the harbour walls, but they looked onto towering Mosques, busy streets and bazaars and the dreaded foe in green. Even with his mental distractions, the boardwalk could deceive his ear and failed to cover the evident sound of heavy boots thudding on planked wood. Ainslie refused to turn around, the sights in his head to amazing, awe-inspiring, unimaginable, but a female’s giggle that he knew so well cut Constantinople, like cleaver on meat, from his mind. He pivoted on his left foot and swung round, his arms open to greet who he knew was behind him.

    “My dear, lovely, truly beautiful wife!” he shouted out as he took her in his arms, attracting the attention of a few nearby soldiers. Standing with her was Major Grant. The two had been friends at university; both had attended at Durham studying history, and although Grant had been stationed in India for a long time, the two had taken the chance on Malta to catch up on old times. “Thomas!” he exclaimed, as if they had only just met, whilst patting the Major on the shoulder. “So what was all this giggling about Mary?” he inquired, trying, suddenly, to sound as serious as possible.

    Mary looked at Grant, and Grant looked back at her, both wearing a smile on their face. Ainslie lifted an eyebrow, for not only was he confused about what was going on, but also that Thomas Grant was actually smiling. “Well?” he asked again.

    “I-” Grant began before pausing for a quick laugh, “- I think Mary has been holding something back from you Stuart.” Both eyebrows were raised now, the eyes facing straight at Mary. She hesitated for a moment, not knowing how string the words she wished to say. She straightened her straw hat a little and then took a pace forward and put Ainslie’s right arm around her waist line.

    “I’m-” Ainslie noticed that Thomas was trying to prevent himself breaking into joyous laughter as Mary began speaking, “going to have your baby, Stuart!” Grant began to chuckle as Ainslie’s jaw dropped and slowly a tear of joy began to run down his cheek.

    “Congratulations, old friend!” Grant stepped up and gave Ainslie a gleeful hug. “Mary” he stated more formally as he bowed to the lady and kissed the hand she offered him. He stepped away and walked back along the pier towards the rest of the men that were standing there watching the small group. Ainslie stood still cuddling his wife, speechless to the unforeseen situation.



    It seems the Colonel now has good reasons to keep himself alive when the combat comes. Lucky him...



    “You’ve chosen a good time to get pregnant, my dear” he wept out, trying to be sarcastic but his tears forbad him so. He took a moment to wipe a drip from his chin, looked at his wife straight in the eyes like never before and then turned his face as stern as possible in the situation. “You are not to accompany the army any further. I will not allow it; you must stay in Malta and rest.”

    Mary looked at him with such deep affection that he felt a huge lump form in his throat. “For your sake” she began, slowly, softly and with such meaning, “rather than mine, I will stay.” She leant forward and gave him a long kiss. There was something that was new to his feelings in that kiss, something so special, indescribable. Everything that had once been in his youth when they were just married, it was back; in stronger force than ever.

    Hooves, several sets, interrupted the couples embrace. “Colonel Ainslie!” a rough, soldier’s voice called out. He gave one last look into the eyes of his wife and removed his lips from hers. She looked a little distraught at him having done so. He turned around to face the new onlookers. “I hate to interrupt the well-wishing” the voice came from one of the mounted men, who Ainslie had the unfortunate duty of calling his superior officer, Sir George Cathcart. One of the more abrasive officers in the King’s service, Sir George had worked his way up, with a large amount of money, from being a Cornet in the cavalry to now having a General’s commission of the 4th Division. “I have my Division to move, colonel, and I would be most obliged if you could stop suffocating the poor woman and get your regiment in line, sir!” He was now shouting rather loudly so most likely all of Valetta could hear. “I want the 21st split up from the other soldiers here!” He turned his horse round to face Grant. “Major, get your wing of the 49th out of my area and get back to the 2nd Division’s embarkation area!” Grant saluted and rounded his men up and walked off. It was not a good idea to wrestle with the idea of standing up to any superior officer’s orders, let alone Cathcart’s orders. “Get this bloody shambles of a unit into a line so it is ready for boarding.” With that, as briskly as he had showed up and interrupted such joy, the General rode off to bully more of his men into line, even though the steamers were no where to be seen. Mary placed her head on Stuart’s shoulder as they watched the men disperse into a line.

    To war with fools; it was a curse he would have to endure, as an officer, if not as a man and a mind. Best hope was that the Russians would relieve him of it sooner or later, but there were many a foolish shepherd leading many voiceless sheep in this army.






  9. #69
    Cisár všetkých Slovákov demokratickid's Avatar
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    My, this adds a completely different dimension to the tale! Excellent work, sir!
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  10. #70
    Compulsive CommentatAAR stnylan's Avatar
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    Suddenly everything has gotten far more serious.

    You know, it's not unknown for those who suffer fools to take fairly direct action to relieve themselves of said fools if the opportunity presents itself.
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  11. #71
    GunslingAAR coz1's Avatar
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    Great that he has something to come home to but he'll have that on his mind constantly. Should provide some interesting moments very soon.
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  12. #72
    Heartbreaker canonized's Avatar
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    Well done in filling out the human drama ! Very good work
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  13. #73
    Roman LibrAARian comagoosie's Avatar
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    Fastest pregnancy every!!

    Kidding. It seems that this war has just gained many a pound, metaphorically. Let's just hope that the weight won't be its undoing
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  14. #74
    Pantomacatalasecesionanis ta

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    I imagine the Russians waiting at Crimea...

    "Where are the Brits?"

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  15. #75
    Human Enewald's Avatar
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    Haha, really fast pregnancy.
    Poor man, has a quite good reason to die actually on Crimea...

  16. #76
    Field Marshal phargle's Avatar
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    The announcement had a very, uh, is tony the word? feeling to it. "Jolly good show, sir, what with the pregnancy and all, what." "Darling, that's just capital!" "Oh, Thomas!" . . . all loads of fun. One thinks that one could find better times to announce that one is with child than when one is surrounded by soldiers. It's like chum in the water, chums, chum in the water.

    I'm pleased by the progress of the British, and wonder why the units are being divided.

  17. #77
    Plus ultra! Capibara's Avatar
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    Finally caught up! You've written an excellent tale so far, Rob. You give the Crimean War a whole new dimension and deepness, not only focusing in the world itself but also in all the personal situations of the characters and the political atmosphere. Very well done!
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  18. #78
    Hijo de Santiago robou's Avatar
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    To All: Apologies all for the very long delays in the next update, have been busy getting in the last of my coursework, but fear not! The snow has come and has made school shut down therefore I have today, and perhaps tomorrow too, totally devoted to writing you a fantasmagorical update that will finally move us on from the little Island Fortress i'm sure you are all bored of!

    demokratickid, comagoosie, coz1: Indeed, thank you, Ainslie will have more worries than he would like, and we have yet to see if he will show loyalty to his wife and child or to his country. Will he shy the fire fights to survive to get back to Malta.

    stnylan: Yes, but this is to be no Sharpe ect. and Ainslie, and the whole army, will just have to endure the leadership they are under. We'll meet the man in charge and his immediate subortinates soon enough, and see just what they have in mind. Part of my objective in this writing is to work out just who's fault it was that Britain lost so many of its sons almost needlessly.

    canonized: Very unlike me I am trying my hand at new things, so never expect it to be shiny and brilliant like some other writers on this forum, but you learn by experience, so I must try!

    Kurt_Steiner: Haha, I would always suspect Yeltsin. In Russia it isn't 'who ate all the pies?' it has to be 'who drunk all the booze?'! And because you put 'you know' at the end of two sentances those men were read in my head with a Welsh accent... don't ask!

    Enewald: Hah, quite harsh. Caroline Carver (the picture taken from Sharpe's Peril) was my perfect Mary Ainslie, the straw hat, the summmer garbs, the light complexsion, a Welsh look (she was of course playing Mrs. Tredinnick here and the Cornish and Welsh are surprisingly similar in culture) and A BABY. So the picture is looking a little in the future, but I could find no pictures of here just pregnant instead of with the baby in her arms... I'm sorry!

    phargle: Well it was now or never, to be honest. Wouldn't it look a lot worse if Ainslie came back after two years to find his Wife with a child that for all he knows might be someone elses. Anyway, I've hinted that Mary knows more about the regiment and the men in it than she often lets on, and like any good men, they remember her well...
    I can't say I know what you mean by the units being divided though?

    Capibara: Glad to see you have taken the time to catch up, amigo. I try my best to illustrate the period. We'll see more dimensions hopefully when the fighting arrives. I intend to spend great lengths during the battles. Balaklava for example last only 3 hours, but I shall spend at least 5 updates on it.


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  19. #79
    Hijo de Santiago robou's Avatar
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    Varna


    Chapter VII: The Silent Killer


    Varna, Bulgaria, June 26th, 1854

    Russell was fed up. He must have been walking around for the best part of an hour and could not yet see the slightest glimpse of what he was looking for. He decided to stop off at one of the Turkish corner cafés. True enough they were dirty affairs, for the most part. The coffee was mostly awful stuff, far too strong, and always full of men smoking their pots of strange liquid that somehow turned into tobacco. As such, he would attempt to keep the visit to a minimum, get a small mouthful of something and let his legs recover. He could survive long enough for that, he reasoned to himself; he had seen many a more dingy place elsewhere, and in somewhere like London or Dublin, nor Turkey. He ordered piece of odd, sweet bread, tasting somewhat like that Jewish bread he had had to taste while reporting in London. It was bearable, and would probably give him the power enough to find the correct location. As he sat down, he sprawled his limbs out for a moment, before recoiling back upright at the thought that he might look un-gentlemanly.

    His mind veered from the murmurs of the Turks and Bulgars who sat watching him. He thought about what he had experienced so far in this expedition; the places he had seen, the people he had met. After leaving Malta, which though being a lovely island was failing to interest him anymore, they moved to the first place the Turks had in mind for the Allied armies; Gallipoli. That small town was a strategically logical place to put the force of around eighty-thousand Allied troops. It was situated on the European side of the Dardanelles, the channel through which all ships wanting to go between the Black and Mediterranean seas would have to pass, which was the intention, as far as could be seen, of the Russians. True, Constantinople did the same job, but at Gallipoli, the already thin strip of sea that was the Dardanelles turned west and then north again, creating a strait no more than half a mile wide. From their position, the British and French artillery could close the straits off to the Russians and make Constantinople a useless asset. And if the Russians attempted to attack the Allies, the thinness of the Gallipoli peninsular would render Russian numerical superiority another ineffectual advantage. However, strategy did not prove to be the main concern of the Allied staff. Gallipoli was far too small to support such a large force, and supplies began to run short as the Merchant Marine could not deliver enough necessaries on the pathetic wharf. It was here that the Allies met their first, and to be longest running enemy; Cholera. For the French, things were not so bad. They had quickly taken over the whole town and left the British to camp outside it and suffer from bad water supplies. To stop the strain on the already small British numbers, and the serious disagreements Raglan and St. Arnaud were having about the French being in the town, the Turks agreed to find a new hosting place.

    Constantinople itself was tried, but other problems were faced, along with the continuation of the Cholera outbreak. The Scutari Barracks, on the Asiatic side of the Bosphorus, proved too small to house the troops, and the bustle of the city lead many soldiers to misuse their time to visit the city’s more unsuitable parts. Added to that, there was a large British and French naval presence in the city; there was simply not enough space to go around.

    What was needed was a place that allowed for easy logistics, so a ready made port, enough space to camp a large army, and somewhere that would deter the Russians from moving on Constantinople was what they were looking for. That was the place Russell now found himself in; Varna. This large fishing port on the Bulgarian coast had seen a lot of change in the short time the Allied armies had been there. It had been a tiresome period, though. Over a month had passed. The French had spent their stay very well, though. They had, like at Gallipoli, quickly taken over the town and made it their own, leaving the British to, once again, take to the fields around the town, mainly near the small Bulgar village of Devno. Field marshal Raglan was, of course, located in the town, but the French held dominion over the suspiciously quiet Bulgarians. For the British, this once more meant that Cholera had crept into the camps, and there had been over one-hundred cases several of which had been fatal. It could, he was sure, only get worse over time.


    The three attempts at housing the Allied armies. 1) Gallipoli. 2) Scutari. 3) Varna. All were plaugued by Cholera outbreaks.


    As he looked out from the Café, he was only reminded of both the French organisational superiority, and the task at hand. He took a bite of his bread before leaping up from his seat and striding confidently out into the street. As soon as he came to the road, however, he stopped. It was a disgrace. The French had put up well named road signs everywhere. If a Frenchman caught Cholera, which was rampant among the fleet, they could find the hospital very easily by going to the street named ‘Rue de l’Hopital’ and when post was needed sending, a sign saying ‘Rue des Postes Français’ would eagerly point the way. If you needed to find Marshal St. Arnaud, every Soldat would know the way; some would even guide you to the exact location. But look for the British Quarter-master General and he is no where to be seen. It was this problem that Russell was suffering now. He could not find, for the life of him, Field Marshal Raglan. It was not often that Russell would want to find him, but when he did, he couldn’t!

    It was a bad showing for the future, he thought. Not only did the French have more troops to administer, but they were doing it better. Of course, some British officers proved themselves up to the organisational task. The Royal Engineers, for example, had done marvellous work improving the Wharves in Varna, though it seemed to be benefitting the French more than the British. All Russell could do was hope that the British commanders would take some advice from the French. He looked at the street signs one more time, noting he was on the intersection between the ‘Rue de l’Hopital’ and the ‘Rue Yussuf’, sighed heavily, and walked off down the ‘Rue Yussuf’ , not knowing if it would lead to Raglan’s headquarters. He would have to keep trying…


    Last edited by robou; 02-02-2009 at 18:15.

  20. #80
    Honourable Saxon Thegn AlexanderPrimus's Avatar
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    Interesting stuff, buddy.

    Kinda sad though - we're getting attached to your characters just in time for a bunch of them to get killed.

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