Mr. Thompson, Commissariat - Roger Fenton's Crimean War Photographs
Mr. Thompson, full-length portrait, facing left, wearing uniform, seated on a horse; horse's reins are held by a servant; a conical tent in background.
Title transcribed from verso.
Purchase; Frances M. Fenton; 1944.
Forms part of: Roger Fenton Crimean War photograph collection.
Crimean War October 1853 - March 1856. Russian Empire lost to an alliance of France, Britain, the Ottoman Empire, and Sardinia. Nicholas I of Russia issued an ultimatum that the Orthodox subjects of the Ottoman Empire be placed under his protection. Britain attempted to mediate and arranged a compromise that Nicholas agreed to. When the Ottomans demanded changes, Nicholas refused and prepared for war. Having obtained promises of support from France and Britain, the Ottomans declared war on Russia in October 1853. The war started in the Balkans, when Russian troops occupied the Danubian Principalities, until then under Ottoman suzerainty and now part of modern Romania, and began to cross the Danube. Fearing an Ottoman collapse, France and Britain rushed into the war without much success. Frustrated by the wasted effort, and with demands for action from their citizens, the allied force decided to attack the center of Russian strength in the Black Sea at Sevastopol on the Crimean peninsula. After extended preparations, the forces landed on the peninsula in September 1854 and fought their way to a point south of Sevastopol. The Russians counterattacked on 25 October in what became the Battle of Balaclava and were repulsed, but at the cost of seriously depleting the British Army forces. A second counterattack, ordered personally by Nicholas, was defeated by Omar Pasha. Sevastopol fell after eleven months, and neutral countries began to join the Allied cause. Isolated and facing a bleak prospect of invasion from the west if the war continued, Russia sued for peace in March 1856. This was welcomed by France and Britain, as their subjects were beginning to turn against their governments as the war dragged on. The war was ended by the Treaty of Paris, signed on 30 March 1856. Russia was forbidden from hosting warships in the Black Sea. The Crimean War was one of the first conflicts to use modern technologies such as explosive naval shells, railways, and telegraphs.