Fun Facts Friday: The Charge of the Light Brigade

December 9, 2011

Today is the anniversary of Alfred, Lord Tennyson publishing his poem The Charge of the Light Brigade (read poem). The poem commemorates are the actions of British soldiers during the Battle of Balaklava, in the Crimea.

Officers and men of the 13th Light Dragoons, British Army, CrimeaWikipedia

1 ) Six weeks before publishing the poem, Tennyson has been named poet laureate by Queen Victoria.

2 ) The charge was made by the Light Brigade of the British cavalry, consisting of the 4th and 13th Light Dragoons, 17th Lancers, and the 8th and 11th Hussars, under the command of Major General the Earl of Cardigan.

3 ) The order for the battle was “Lord Raglan wishes the Cavalry to advance rapidly to the front, follow the enemy, and try to prevent the enemy carrying away the guns. Troop Horse Artillery may accompany. French Cavalry is on your left. Immediate.

4 ) The “Valley of Death” referenced in the poem was a valley between the Fedyukhin Heights and the Causeway Heights.

5 ) After the battle the brigade lost 118 men killed, 127 wounded and about 60 taken prisoner.

6 ) After reading about the battle in The Times, Tennyson wrote the poem in a few minutes according to his grandson Sir Charles Tennyson.

7 ) The poem was published today, 9 December 1854 in The Examiner.

8 ) The poem became immensely popular and was distributed to the troops in Crimea in pamphlet form.

9 ) While Tennyson meant to support his country, he also wrote about the horrors of war.

10) Rudyard Kipling wrote a postscript poem “The Last of the Light Brigade” in which he intended to shame the English public into taking better care of the veterans.


The Charge Of The Light Brigade

by Alfred, Lord Tennyson
Memorializing Events in the Battle of Balaclava, October 25, 1854
Written 1854

Half a league half a league,
Half a league onward,
All in the valley of Death
Rode the six hundred:
‘Forward, the Light Brigade!
Charge for the guns’ he said:
Into the valley of Death
Rode the six hundred.

‘Forward, the Light Brigade!’
Was there a man dismay’d ?
Not tho’ the soldier knew
Some one had blunder’d:
Theirs not to make reply,
Theirs not to reason why,
Theirs but to do & die,
Into the valley of Death
Rode the six hundred.

Cannon to right of them,
Cannon to left of them,
Cannon in front of them
Volley’d & thunder’d;
Storm’d at with shot and shell,
Boldly they rode and well,
Into the jaws of Death,
Into the mouth of Hell
Rode the six hundred.

Flash’d all their sabres bare,
Flash’d as they turn’d in air
Sabring the gunners there,
Charging an army while
All the world wonder’d:
Plunged in the battery-smoke
Right thro’ the line they broke;
Cossack & Russian
Reel’d from the sabre-stroke,
Shatter’d & sunder’d.
Then they rode back, but not
Not the six hundred.

Cannon to right of them,
Cannon to left of them,
Cannon behind them
Volley’d and thunder’d;
Storm’d at with shot and shell,
While horse & hero fell,
They that had fought so well
Came thro’ the jaws of Death,
Back from the mouth of Hell,
All that was left of them,
Left of six hundred.

When can their glory fade?
O the wild charge they made!
All the world wonder’d.
Honour the charge they made!
Honour the Light Brigade,
Noble six hundred!

Zohar – Man of la Book

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One Comment

  • JP Media September 28, 2015 at 5:35 am

    OMG this helped loads thx

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