Auction Date: 2/09/2014 at 01pm
A famous letter – horses for the Charge of the Light Brigade – Crimean War – Captain Nolan historically important autograph letter signed by the Duke of Newcastle, at that time Secretary of War, marked ‘Private’ and dated Downing Street March 13th 1854, addressed to Lord Stratford, the British Ambassador in Turkey and introducing Captain Louis Nolan, who is to buy horses : ‘...we have just learnt from one of your despatches that we can buy goods horses in Turkey & I therefore send out tonight Capt Nolan & a Military Vetn Surgeon to purchase at once 1000 horses & probably more eventually. Permit me to commend Capt Nolan to your good offices and valuable aid in the performance of this duty. Not time for another word...’ The name of Captain Nolan is legendary in the history of the Crimean War. He was the first man killed in the infamous Charge of the Light Brigade, and his actions and subsequent death on that fateful day have themselves become the subject of considerable controversy to this day. It was Nolan who delivered the fateful order for the advance which we now know as the Charge of the Light Brigade. At the time he was blamed for delivering the order, either by mistake or maliciously- given that more than 40% of the ‘600’ were casualties in the pointless charge on the Russian cannons. In more recent times the blame has either been apportioned of firmly placed on Lords Raglan and Lucan. The horses which Nolan obtained via this letter would doubtless have been used in the Charge. This is regarded as one of the most famous of all the letters of the Crimean War, and for a number of years images of it were displayed on the Crimean War Research Society. A copy of it is held in Nottingham University, but this was damaged by fire and water in 1879. The letter comes with a further letter written in 1906 from a collector from Dunganstown Castle, Wicklow, to his daughter, sending this, with some other choice autograph letters (not present), in order to start her collection.