Sunday, April 8, 2012

Brigadier McPherson ("an old nonentity")

Brigadier General McPherson and officers of the 4th Division. Photo by Roger Fenton, Crimea, 1855. 

Casualties among general officers were so heavy at the Battle of Inkerman that a man like Philip McPherson, who - through seniority alone - had risen to the command of a battalion at an advanced age, was given leadership of a brigade. 

The verdict on McPherson's capabilities delivered by his Brigade Major, Maxwell Earle, pictured here reading a dispatch (McPherson is the white-bearded figure in the middle), was damning: 

'Had I but a Goldie for a Brigadier instead of an old nonentity who, were I to put his own death warrant on his desk, he would sign it!'

next episode: Alexandra Nikolaevna


  1. Sounds pretty desperate. Perhaps he didn't want to be there either, but pride prevented him from admitting it.

  2. After the Crimean War the British finally started appointing officers based on merit, instead of solely relying on wealthy people and nobles.


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