There Is No Other Word for It

STUPEFYING.

Self is on p. 176 of The Reason Why. She sincerely hopes battle will be joined soon, because so far the book’s been about a bunch of squabbling lords.

Anyhoo, four squadrons of British cavalry form “line with beautiful precision” in “the little valley of the Bulganek.” Above them, on the slopes, “a body of Russian cavalry about two thousand strong.”

On the ridge opposite, Lord Raglan and General Airey see what no British commanders “in the valley below could see, that the four squadrons were confronted with a far more formidable force than two thousand cavalry: on the plateau above was waiting an overwhelming body of troops, afterwards learned to consist of sixty-thousand infantry, two batteries of artillery, a brigade of cavalry, and nine troops of Cossacks.”

The 2000-strong squadrons of British cavalry are about TO CHARGE AN ENEMY FORCE OF SIXTY-THOUSAND.

HOLY HELL.

To be fair, Lord Raglan was not completely stupid. He was trying to extricate his cavalry, while providing them with the means for an orderly retreat. Providing rearguard support were “two divisions of infantry, two regiments of cavalry, and two batteries of artillery; and, inexplicably, the Russians allowed these supports to come into place. They were, it seemed, confused by the extraordinary steadiness, the ceremoniously exact formation, of the small force confronting them.”

To be continued.

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