Bomarsund, Sweden, and Sweaborg

  • Andrew C. Rath


The Russo-Finnish victory at Gamla Carleby undeniably resulted from Captain Glasse’s tactical error, which was acknowledged by Plumridge, Napier, and even Parseval-Deschênes. Yet the French vice admiral raised several analytical points in his initial meeting with Napier on June 18, 1854. Parseval-Deschênes wondered why the British were occupying themselves with “petites affaires rather than using their forces to strike grands coups,” or great blows, against targets such as Cronstadt.1 The French commander attributed Napier’s persistence in his opinion to the “well-known” English tradition of destroying commerce and mentioned that it would be advantageous to spare the Finnish people’s interests so that they would make common cause with the Allied fleets.2 Napier was also dissatisfied with Plumridge’s actions because they distracted from “the principal part” of the Plumridge’s mission, which involved providing “concrete information on the navigation and defences of Åland and Åbo.”3 This particular mandate, in fact, allowed Parseval-Deschênes to realize that Napier had more important concerns than coastal raids on small towns.


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© Andrew C. Rath 2015

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