Journal Kept during the Russian War
Frances Isabella Duberly (1829–1902) accompanied her officer husband to the Crimea as the only woman on the front line. Her letters home to her sister, highlighting the incompetence and negligence of the generals, and describing the appalling conditions in which the men were fighting, appeared anonymously in the press and, along with W. H. Russell's reports, helped stir public opinion against the prosecution of the war. This reaction persuaded Duberly to ask her brother-in-law to edit her diary, and it provoked a sensation when published in 1855. Although she occasionally conveys some of the elation of victory, the journal is more often a stark and disturbing document: following the battle of Balaclava she writes that 'even my closed eyelids were filled with the ruddy glare of blood'. No history of this brutal campaign can ignore this journal, and it stands comparison with any account of the horrors of war.