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The War Museum

An Armistice. - dateline March 1855

During the siege of Sebastopol (the Crimean War) a short armistice was arranged. This is described in a letter of the time ... On Saturday, during the armistice, I came out upon the advanced French trench, within a few hundred yards of the Mamelon. The sight was strange beyond description. French, English and Russian officers were walking about saluting each other courteously, as they passed, and occasionally entering into conversation, and a constant interchange of little civilities, such as offering and receiving cigar lights, was going on in each little group. Some of the Russian officers were evidently men of high rank and breeding. Their polished manners contrasted remarkably with their plain and rather coarse clothing. They wore, with few exceptions, the invariably grey coat over their uniforms. The French officers were all in full uniform, and offered to many of our own officers, who were dressed Balaklava fashion, and wore uncouth head-dresses, catskin coats and nondescript paletots.

Many of the Russians looked remarkably like English gentlemen in style of face and bearing. One tall fine-looking old man, with a long grey beard and strangely shaped cap, was pointed out to us as Hetman of the Cossaks in the Crimea, but it did not appear as if there were many men of very high military rank present. The Russians were rather grave and reserved but they seemed to fraternise with the French better than with ourselves, and the men certainly got on better with our allies than with the few privates of our own regiments who were drawn towards the front.

While all this civility was going on, we were walking among the dead, over blood-stained ground, covered with eveidence of recent fight. Broken muskets, bayonets, cartrige-boxes, caps, fragments of clothing, straps and belts, pieces of shell, little pools of clotted blood, shot-round and grape-shattered gabions and sandbags, were visible around us on every side and through the midst of the crowd stalked a solemn procession of soldiers bearing their departed comrades to their long home.

I counted 77 litters borne past me in 15 minutes, each filled with a dead enemy. the contortions of the slain were horrible, and recalled the memories of the fields of Alma and Inkerman. Some few French were lying far in advance towards the Mamelon and the Round Tower, among the gabions belonging to the French advanced trenches, which the Russians had broken down. They had evidently been slain in pursuit of the enemy. The Russians appeared to treat their dead with great respect. The soldiers I saw were white-faced and seemed ill-fed, though many of them had powerful frames, square shoulders and broad chests. All their dead who fell within or near our lines were stripped of boots and stockings. The cleanliness of their feet and in most cases, of their coarse linen shirts, was remarkable. Several sailors of the "equipages" of the fleet of Sebastopol were killed in the attack. Theey were generally muscular, fine stout fellows, with rough soldierly faces.

A Hiding to Nothing... - dateline March 10th 1974

A Japanese soldier was today found in hiding on Lubang Island in the Philippines. He still believed World War II was still being fought and was waiting to be relieved by his own forces. Told the good news, he is now awaiting a potentially massive payoff from his war pension.

Remember the Alamo. - dateline March 6th1836

The heroic stand by a small band of Texan rebels at The Old Alamo Mission was today chrushed. The 187 besieged Texans have been slaughtered after a continuous 12 day artillery bombardment by 6000 Mexican troops. General Santa Anna stormed the crumbling Mission and massacred the defenders. Santa Anna had the bodies burned as a warning to Texas never again to challenge Mexican rule. One of the few survivors, Susanna Dickinson, a blacksmith's wife, was set free with a message from Santa Anna to Texan General Sam Houston that further fighting would end the same way. Among dead was the famous frontiersman Davy Crockett, who had only just returned to Texas after two terms in Washington as a US Congressman.

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