"the Light Armed Brigade had advanced into the Russian guns in error as they thought to repulse an attack on Balaclava"
Charge of the Light Brigade
Public DomainCharge of the Light Brigade - Credit: Richard Caton Woodville (1825-1855)

The Charge of the Light Brigade took place at Balaklava, on October 25, 1854, during the Crimean War. It was a resounding British defeat, resulting from miscommunication among the British military commanders.  Blame for the blunder has never been satisfactorily assigned. 

The Light Brigade of the British cavalry, led by Lord Cardigan, charged through a valley, and were mown down by the Russian forces clustered on the hilltops above.  The brigade consisted of up to 670 cavalry officers.  Of these, 118 were killed, 127 wounded and about 60 taken prisoner. Fewer than 200 returned to their lines with their horses.

This military folly was immortalised in Alfred, Lord Tennyson’s poem, The Charge of the Light Brigade, published in 1854.  Tennyson wrote the poem within minutes of reading an account of the battle in The Times. It was distributed among the troops in Crimea in pamphlet form. 

 

Charge of the Light Brigade: Our fighting services
Public DomainCharge of the Light Brigade: Our fighting services - Credit: Evelyn Wood