River Alma battle map showing the advance of the Allied Armies. Guaranteed original antique print from the Illustrated London News dated 20th. January 1855.
The Battle of the Alma was fought between an allied expeditionary force (made up of French, British, and Turkish forces) and Russian forces defending the Crimean Peninsula on 20 September 1854. The allies had made a surprise landing in Crimea on 14 September. The allied commanders marched their forces toward the strategically important port city of Sebastapol 28 miles away. Russian commander Prince Menshikov rushed his available forces to the last natural defensive position before the city, the Alma Heights, south of the Alma River. The allies made a series of disjointed attacks. The French turned the Russian left flank with an attack up cliffs that the Russians had considered unscalable. The British initially waited to see the outcome of the French attack, then twice unsuccessfully assaulted the Russians’ main position on their right. Eventually, superior British rifle fire forced the Russians to retreat. With both flanks turned, the Russian position collapsed and they fled. This allied victory opened the way to the Sebastopol, as shown in this map. The battle cost the French roughly 1,600 casualties, the British 2,000, and the Russians some 5,000. When news reached London victory guns were fired at the Tower of London.
The first issue of The Illustrated London News appeared on Saturday, 14 May 1842, timed to report on the young Queen Victoria‘s first masquerade ball. Its 16 pages and 32 wood engravings covered topics such as the war in Afghanistan, a train crash in France, a survey of the candidates for the US presidential election, extensive crime reports, theatre and book reviews, and a list of births, marriages and deaths. By 1863 The Illustrated London News was selling more than 300,000 copies every week, enormous figures in comparison to other British newspapers of the time. The ILN (as it was affectionately known) appeared weekly until 1971, then less frequently thereafter. Publication ceased in 2003.