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Collections - Letters

Letters of Captain Jasper Hall, 4th Foot, Crimean War

The full transcript of these letters can be seen in the museum publication: Letters from the Crimea - Letters written by Captain Jasper Hall to his father and sister whilst serving in the Crimea.  They reveal many of the manners and social attitudes of the time.  Price including UK postage £2.50

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bulletKO1157/01 Letter of Captain Jasper Hall, 4th Foot, Crimean War 18 Nov 1854
Refers to casualties on Inkerman heights and the base hospital; the arrival of nurses and nuns from England and a Miss Nightingale. The Duke of Cambridge is also mentioned. Of personal matters, he describes a scarf which he has sent to ‘Carry’ (Miss Begbie) and hopes his sister will write to her and try to like her! (a daguerreotype, it seems, has been unfavourably received).
bulletKO1157/02 Letter of Captain Jasper Hall, 4th Foot, Crimean War 19 Jul 1855
Contains a great deal of description and information, and also complains of his having been ‘turned off’ the Staff. Describes his visit to the place of the Balaclava charge, where there was ‘plenty of round shot lying about and the bones of horses’.
bulletKO1157/03a Letter of Captain Jasper Hall, 4th Foot, Crimean War 23 Sep 1855
A Very long letter (twelve pages) containing a great deal of information about the fighting and the taking of Sevastopol, the Redan and the Malakoff. It lists some of the ‘trophies’ he has collected to send home including a flag, ‘ must keep it for me, I intend it some day to cover my wife’s piano and keep the dust from it”. This is another reference to ‘Carry’ Begbie, whose musical abilities he much extolled.
bulletKO1157/03b Letter of Captain Jasper Hall, 4th Foot, Crimean War
bulletKO1157/03c Letter of Captain Jasper Hall, 4th Foot, Crimean War
bulletKO1157/04a Letter of Captain Jasper Hall, 4th Foot, Crimean War 21 Jul 1856
The Captain is now on the staff as aide de camp to General Codrington. He describes the blowing up of the docks in Sebastopol and relates a touching story of the reunion of an old man, Colonel Mautho, a Russian prisoner in his charge, with his son, a Russian naval officer who came under a flag of truce. He has had a letter from Carry, who is now taking singing lessons. There were contradictory rumours circulating - that Russia had accepted peace terms or that Austria had joined the war - a mail was expected that might bring important news. A postscript mentions that Carry had sent him the paper and envelopes.
bulletKO1157/04b Letter of Captain Jasper Hall, 4th Foot, Crimean War
bulletKO1157/05a Letter of Captain Jasper Hall, 4th Foot, Crimean War 26 Feb 1856
The fighting is now nearly over, small skirmishes and burst of gunfire seem to be the only activity. The letter is very busy and cheerful in tone, describing a grant review and the mild, spring like weather, with flowers showing in the sheltered places while snow still lingers. He refers to trouble and delays in the mail and decides to send this letter through the post office and one to his father through the Secretary at War’s letter bag, to see which arrives first! He mentions having his picture taken by a young Milanese painter who had been staying at the Sardinian head quarters.
bulletKO1157/05b Letter of Captain Jasper Hall, 4th Foot, Crimean War

A further letter has been acquired by the museum in 2015.

Letter from Captain Jasper Hall to his sister Jane Hall, dated 19th September 1853, Edinburgh.
Accession Number: KO3034/01a

Letter from Captain Jasper Hall to his sister Jane Hall, dated 19th September 1853, Edinburgh.
Accession Number: KO3034/01b

Letter from Captain Jasper Hall to his sister Jane Hall, dated 19th September 1853, Edinburgh.
Accession Number: KO3034/01c

Letter from Captain Jasper Hall to his sister Jane Hall, dated 19th September 1853, Edinburgh.
Accession Number: KO3034/01d

Edinburgh 19th Sept. 1853

My dearest Jane

Many thanks for your letter to me. I am very sorry to hear that poor Catherine has been so ill, you must read this letter to her and it will do for both of you. I hoe that by this time Catherine will be up and about as usual and able to read it herself. Until your letter I had not heard from home for a long time. Edward Maiston told me most of the news – Sarah has not yet written to me from Dresden, I did hear that she had gone on a visit to the Langs but had no idea she would stay so long away. I am glad that aunt Mary is at the Spa, the change will do her much good more that the waters --- ----. I have returned from temporary exile at Greenlaw Prison, it is rather a dull place though not so far away from everything as Dartmoor was, for it is in a beautiful country and plenty of gentlemen’s houses about but I was there so short a time that I made the acquaintance of no one hardly except a Sir Charles Ochterlony whom I saw a good deal of. I could get no shooting there as the corn is now only just beginning to be cut and we must wait till that is off the ground. I shot however a couple of wild ducks on the River Esk which was under the prison walls and that is all I did in the shooting way. I meant to stay a couple of days with Major Kennedy who was in our Regiment, he has a place called Romano about 9 miles from ----. It is very pretty and in a park with beautiful timber. He has given me the shooting of his land as he is not himself fond of it. So I am going next week and hope to have some sport. There is about 1600 acres of his won and some little that he has the power of shooting over besides, so I will have to or three good days. There are some plover on the borders of his property so we may chance to get some of them.

I suppose you have seen that the gallant 4th have been in another row I enclose The Times account of it for father, as he may not have seen it. There is a chance of our being sent away on account of it but on the whole I think that they will let us remain. The Police here are notoriously bad and every regiment has had a row with them excepting the Highlanders. Some of the Scotch local papers comment very fairly on it and say that the police were entirely to blame when they took Lieutenant Robert off, for he told them who he was and gave his card, which ought to have been guarantee enough for such a trifling offence. The police handled him very roughly – the father of the boy is quite satisfied with Roberts apology and explanation and does not wish that part of the affair to go further; but unfortunately by Scottish law the crown prosecutor and the person assaulted as in England. A few days ago we had a man flogged by sentence of General Court Martial and two other men were transported for 5-7 years for striking a superior officer in execution of duty. The man flogged was for refusing to do any punishment at all – he was a very bad man and had been flogged before in India. It is the first case of flogging that has been in this regiment since I have been with it; so it is not as common as some of the radicals try to make it out.

The war with Turkey and Russia appears on the even of breaking out, indeed there are rumours afloat of hostilities having commenced – I hope for the honour of old England that having gone thus far and backed up Turkey, we will not desert her and let the Czar take possession. The Turks are most enthusiastic and will, they say, depose the Sultan if he accepts any terms with Russia degrading to their country. The Turks have this advantage that every day they have been increasing their army and preparing for war in every way. Where as the Russians have been dying by hundreds from some disease that has spread among them. I should think that a few days more will tell us definitely if it is to be peace or war.

Princess Helen ---- sorry I should think to leave ---- where she has been happy all her youth to go to a strange place. I suppose Princess Sophie will get married in Russia, if she passes the winter there. I liked her better than any German girl I have seen she seems so amiable, I think she would be a good speculation for me! One of our officers, by the by, fell in love with Princess Mary of Cambridge, when she lunched with us the other day, notwithstanding her weighing about 20 stone, that is pretty well for a young lady I think.

Tell father that Mr Macuatell is now our paymaster instead of Esquire Bond who is again a Lieutenant. Do you still receive the Illustrated London News? The Naval and Military for father I rather think that the man has left off feuding as I have not paid him for some time, nor can I till I find out who the man is, for he has supplied me for a long time and I never thought about his name or address except that he is in London and when he left off I could not write to him as I had not his address at all for all the old covers were torn up.

Best love to all at home and to ---- and ----- ----.

Kind remembrances to David Blout
Congratulate ---- on his approaching marriage from me.

Your affectionate brother, Jasper

Envelope addressed to Miss Jane Hall, Biebrich, sur le Rhin, Germany via Ostende.
Accession Number: KO3034/02a

Rear of envelope addressed to Miss Jane Hall, Biebrich, sur le Rhin, Germany via Ostende.
Accession Number: KO3034/02b

Article from The Times newspaper, circa Sep 1853 “Affray between the Military and Police in Edinburgh” with reference to Lieutenant Theoblad Pepper Roberts of the King’s Own Royal Regiment.
Accession Number: KO3034/03

Affray between the Military and the Police in Edinburgh
(From the Scotsman)

The annual gymnastic games came off on Thursday in Belville Park, Holyrood and, the day being favourable a large number of spectators amounting, probably, to 10,000 or 12,000 assembled to witness the various sports. The different prizes were well contested, and the whole proceedings would have passed off in a very orderly and creditable manner but for a rather serious affray, quite accidental in its origin, which took place between the police and a part of the 4th Regiment, now in the Castle. About 4 o’clock a steeple race was to be run, the distance being from Belville Park up to the hill behind St. Anthony’s Chapel, and back again. The spectators, who had previously crowded round a chain, which was drawn around the park, so as to form a large circle in which the various games proceeded, now drew off in lines to watch this race, and, at its conclusion, a great press took place in the direction of the point at which the competitors arrived. In running along to get to this point a little boy named Sinclair, son of Mr. Sinclair, South Bridge, happened to jostle a gentleman who was standing on the outskirts of the crowd, and who afterwards turned out to be an officer of the 4th Regiment in the dress of a civilian. In the heat of the moment, the officer, Lieutenant Roberts, turned round and struck the boy with a cane; but the blow, probably falling with greater force than had been intended, produced a cut on the head, from which the blood flowed. Seeing this, the bystanders insisted that the police should take the gentleman into custody. A sergeant and two policeman accordingly apprehended him, and were conveying him off the ground, when some of the soldiers of the 4th Regiment, who were present among the spectators, recognising their officer, rushed to rescue him. The police maintained their hold, and a severe struggle ensued. Several of the sergeants of the 4th endeavoured to persuade the men to desist from their attempt, and the officer himself, we understand, did the same, but their efforts were fruitless, and, many other soldiers joining their comrades, a regular fight took place with the police. It is difficult to say how many were engaged in it as the combatants were divided into groups in some of which one or two policemen had to encounter eight or ten soldiers. The latter were, fortunately, without their side-arms, but they used their heavy leather belts and sticks which were supplied by their comrades, and also by some of the lowest characters in the crowd; none, however, except soldiers, took part in the fight. Superintendent Linton, Lieutenant M’Lellan, and others, were on the ground, but it was some time before they ascertained what was going on, in consequence of the immense crowd. Colonel Trevor, also, the commanding officer of the regiment, fortunately happened to be present; and but for this circumstance the disturbance would, in all likelihood, have ended far more seriously than it did. He ordered the bugles to sound as a call to the men, and in a short time all of them obeyed the summons, and were marched off to the Castle. The band and about 25 men with side-arms, who were assisting the police to preserve order at the games, but who took no part in the fight, were also withdrawn. The whole affair did not last much more than five minutes. None of the soldiers, so far as is known, are injured, and this may be accounted for by the fact that they used belts and sticks, while the police had only their short batons. The police have not been so fortunate; six of them have been wounded, two or three rather seriously, their heads having been dreadfully cut. We are glad, however, to state that dangerous results are not anticipated in any of the cases.

Five soldiers were apprehended on Thursday – three privates and two lance corporals. Two of these were taken into custody in the park; the others were afterwards found in the High Street, and, being recognised as engaged in the affray, they were at once captured. These men – John Withey and Charles Whitbread, lance corporals, and Charles Walsh, William Butler, and James Connot, privates – were brought before Sheriff Arkley yesterday at the police court, charged with assault on officers in the execution of their duty by striking them with belts, sticks and other weapons and knocking them down and kicking them – all to the effusion of blood; also with attempting to rescue a prisoner whom the police had in custody. They were at once remitted to the Sheriff Court.

Yesterday afternoon the police officers visited the Castle, and identified 10 other privates as having been engaged in the disturbances. They were accordingly removed to the police-office; but on investigation it was found that the evidence affected only three of them, whereupon the other seven were liberated.

Two of three of those who are suspected to be the ring-leaders in the affray are believed to have escaped over the hill, and they have not yet made their appearance at the Castle.

Some apprehension was entertained lest the disturbance should have been renewed last evening, but we are glad to say that everything passed off quietly.

The officer who was unintentionally the cause of the whole affair gave himself into custody at the police office on Thursday, but he was released on parole. Yesterday the charge against him – that of striking the boy – was also remitted to the Sheriff.

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