Crimean War British Infantry antique print. “Troops for the War – British Infantry – Guards.” Woodblock engraving showing Grenadier Guards marching order, Coldstream Guards sentry and colour sergeant, and Scots Fusiliers drummer and barracks guard.
On 28th. March 1854 Britain and France declared war on Russia.
The Crimean War had become a European War.
A military conflict lasting from October 1853 to February 1856, it had begun when the Ottomans declared war on the Russian Empire.
The initial disagreement being who should be responsible for the protection of Christians in the Holy Land (part of the Ottoman Empire.)
The French supported the Roman Catholics in Palestine whereas the Russians supported the cause of the Orthodox Church.
The churches having reached an agreement among themselves, the Russians insisted on the right of Russia to protect the interest of Orthodox Christians in the Holy Land.
This aspect of Russian foreign policy was concerning to France and Great Britain because an attack by the Russians, on a weak government in Turkey, would allow the possibility of a Czarist fleet in the Mediterranean and beyond and alter the balance of power in Europe.
Hostilities had begun before the formal declaration of war with Russian gains in the Balkans, an area part of the Ottoman sphere of influence.
With the likely victory of Russia, and even the possibility of the collapse of the Ottoman Empire, Britain France and the Kingdom of Sardinia declared war on Russia and rushed troops to the Crimea in defence of the Turks.
A British Baltic Fleet also blockaded the Russian navy’s access to open waters and therefore its ability to enter the Mediterranian via the Atlantic Ocean.
The war would end with the Treaty of Paris. International boundaries would remain largely intact. However, the Ottoman and Russian Empires were forbidden a naval presence in the Black Sea.
The principal geo-political aims of the Anglo-Franco alliance had been achieved.
This hand-coloured image of “Troops for the War – British Infantry – Guards” was published in the Illustrated London News on March 4th. 1854, weeks BEFORE war had been declared!