“Grand Conversation on Sebastopol Arose (II)”


The British and French join Omar Pasha "to seize upon Sebastopol and set poor Turkey free." They defeat the Russians at Alma when Lord Raglan leads the battle with "legions of France by the side of old Britain" and Colin Campbell leads the Highlanders.


Except for the line and rhyme structure and the use of the title in the last line of each verse this ballad seems unrelated to the earlier "Grand Conversation" broadsides. - BS

The Crimean War was hardly fought to "set Turkey free." The Ottoman Empire was a despotism, and remained one -- but it was considered a useful one by the Western powers, since it kept Russia from controlling Constantinople and the straights. Hence the Crimean War.

Omar Pasha (or Omer Pasha; that being the spelling used in Lord Kinross's _The Ottoman Centuries_, p. 493) is described by Kinross as an "impatient general"; he was certainly quite a character. Born in 1806 in Croatia, with the name Michael Lattas, he had been an Austrian army cadet, but then deserted to the Ottomans (see Alan Palmer, _The Crimean War_, p. 55). In October 1853, he had opened the fighting against Russia (see Trevor Royle, _Crimea_, p. 81). In early 1854, though, he hesitated, leaving Silistria (the first major object of the Russian invasion) to its fate. It was the Russians who finally gave up their siege. According to Kinross, p. 498, he had only limited involvement in the siege of Sebastopol, fighting instead in the defence of Eupatoria. This may be in part because the British and French had so little use for the Turks.

He ended up being disgraced for his conduct at Kars in 1855, was rehabilitated in 1861, and died in 1870.

Lord Raglan, a veteran of the Napoleonic Wars, was the original Allied commander in the Crimea; for his story, see the notes to "The Heights of Alma" [Laws J10].

Sir Colin Campbell (1792-1863) was a far better general, but socially inferior; he too fought in the Napoleonic Wars, as a junior officer of brilliant talent, but it took him more than twenty years to gain command of a regiment. The commander of the Highland Brigade, he and it gained fame together in the Crimea. He ended his career by suppressing the Indian Mutiny. For more about him, see "The Kilties in the Crimea." - RBW

Historical references

  • Sept 20, 1854 - Battle of Alma

Cross references


  • Bodleian, Harding B 26(224), "Grand Conversation on Sebastopol Arose" ("As the Western powers of Europe, united all together"), unknown, no date


Author: unknown
Earliest date: 1966 (Zimmermann)
Keywords: war battle patriotic