Jack Archer eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 352 pages of information about Jack Archer.

In the mean time the British army had been also engaged.  Long before they came in sight of the point which they were to attack they heard the roar of cannon on their right, and knew that Bosquet’s division were engaged.  As the troops marched over the crest of the rounded slopes they caught glimpses of the distant fight.  They could see masses of Russian infantry threatening the French, gathered on the height, watch the puffs of smoke as the guns on either side sent their messengers of death, and the white smoke which hung over the fleet as the vessels of war threw their shells far over the heads of the French into the Russian masses.  Soon they heard the louder roar which proclaimed that the main body of the French army were in action, and burning with impatience to begin, the men strode along to take their share in the fight.  Until within a few hundred yards of the river the troops could see nothing of it, nor the village on its banks, for the ground dipped sharply.  Before they reached the brow twelve Russian guns, placed on rising ground some 300 yards beyond the river, opened upon them.

“People may say what they like,” Harry Archer said to his captain, “but a cannon-ball makes a horribly unpleasant row.  It wouldn’t be half as bad if they would but come silently.”

As he spoke a round shot struck down two men a few files to his right.  They were the first who fell in the 33d.

“Steady, lads, steady,” shouted the officers, and as regularly as if on field-day, the English troops advanced.  The Rifles, under Major Northcote, were ahead, and, dashing through the vineyards under a rain of fire, crossed the river, scaled the bank, and pushed forward to the top of the next slope.  It was on the plateau beyond that the Russian main body were posted, and for a time the Rifles had hard work to maintain themselves.  In the meantime, the Light Division were advancing in open order, sometimes lying down, sometimes advancing, until they gained the vineyards.  Here the regular order which they had so far maintained was lost, as the ground was broken up by hedges, stone walls, vines and trees.  The 19th, 7th, 23d and 33d were then led, at a run, right to the river by General Codrington, their course being marked by killed and wounded, and crossing they sheltered themselves under the high bank.  Such was the state of confusion in which they arrived there that a momentary pause was necessary to enable the men of the various regiments to gather together, and the enemy, taking advantage of this, brought down three battalions of infantry, who advanced close to the bank, and, as the four regiments dashed up it, met them with a tremendous fire.  As hotly it was answered, and the Russians retired while their batteries again opened fire.

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Jack Archer from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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