Charge of the Light Brigade




Charge of the Light Brigade

Originally uploaded by Thomas Roche

Today is the 154th anniversary of the Battle of Balaclava, at which occurred the disastrous Charge of the Light Brigade.

In the Crimean War, France, the UK and the Ottoman Empire opposed the Russian Empire. The battle was fought in Kadikoi, in the Crimea, a penninsula that is now part of Ukraine.

The disastrous charge was later immortalized in Tennyson’s poem “Charge of the Light Brigade,” which you can hear him read in a sound file from an 1890 wax Edison cylinder. “Light Brigade” had a profound effect on me when I was a kid and not yet a hippie. I had grown up on World War II movies, believing in the glory, or at least the adventure, of warfare. The vividness of the poem’s imagery made me think about what it would really like to die in war. I decided it would suck.

I don’t think that was Tennyson’s intention, but then, the anthology I had read it in paired “Light Brigade” with Wilfred Owen’s “Dulce Et Decorum Est,” so maybe they were stacking the deck.

Image: “Charge of the Light Brigade” by Richard Caton Woodville (1825-1855), from Wikipedia.

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