Campaigns in the White Sea, 1854

  • Andrew C. Rath
Chapter

Abstract

Sixty years after the Crimean War’s first naval campaigns, an unusual token of goodwill arrived in northern Russia. This icon of St. Michael the Archangel was Britain’s to return after its seizure during the 1854 Anglo-French effort against Russia’s northern coasts.1 Contemporary participants and subsequent authors alike noted the considerable distance separating the White Sea and Murman Coast from the Crimean conflict’s ostensible focal point around the Black Sea, albeit for markedly different reasons. A special issue of the Journal de St. Petersbourg for example, featured Nicholas I’s emphasis on the Allied decision to direct “their blows on such points as were more or less accessible to them” in the Baltic, White Sea, and the “far distant coasts of the Pacific Ocean.”2 The Czar astutely perceived that these campaigns demonstrated that Britain and France were not simply fighting to protect the Ottoman Empire, but this point was lost on some subsequent historians who incorrectly argued that such efforts were not “what Britain and France had gone to war for.3 The primary Allied motive for dispatching warships to the White Sea was the same one that had initially attracted English merchant vessels during the sixteenth century—controlling trade.

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Notes

  1. 1.
    Brian Perrett and Anthony Lord, The Czar’s British Squadron (London, UK: Kimber Publishing, 1981), 45.Google Scholar
  2. 3.
    Richard Humble, Before the Dreadnaught: The Royal Navy from Nelson to Fisher (London, UK: MacDonald and Jane’s, 1976), 85.Google Scholar
  3. 11.
    Ibid., and Thomas Milner, The Baltic: Its Gates, Shores, and Cities (London, UK: Longman, Brown, Green, and Longmans, 1854), 379.Google Scholar
  4. 14.
    Andrew Lambert, “The Royal Navy’s White Sea Campaign of 1854,” in Bruce Elleman and S. C. M. Paine, eds., Naval Power and Expeditionary Wars: Peripheral Campaigns and New Theatres of Naval Warfare (New York: Routledge, 2011), 29.Google Scholar
  5. 15.
    Alexandre Studeny, “La Marine Fran ç aise en Mer Blanche durant la Guerre de Crimé e,” Master’s thesis, Université Paul Val éry Montpellier III, 2011, 40.Google Scholar
  6. 20.
    Frederick Metcalfe, The Oxonian in Norway; or, Notes of Excursions in that Country in 1854–1855 (London, UK: Hurst and Blackett, 1856), 174–175.Google Scholar
  7. 21.
    LBK/14 25 [August 7, 1854] (NMM) and Ruslan A. Davydov and Gennadii Pavlovich Popov [Russian language], Defense of the Russian North during the Crimean War (Ekaterinburg, Russia: UrO RAN, 2005), 107Google Scholar
  8. 25.
    Georgii Zakharovich Kunzevich [Russian language], “About the Defense of Kola Town from the Enemy in 1854,” Publication of the Imperial Society of History and Ancient Russian Studies under the Moscow University (1906), 4.Google Scholar
  9. 33.
    Additional manuscript 41340, Folio 150 [May 5, 1870 ] (BL). See also Alexander A. Boddy, With Russian Pilgrims: Being an Account of a Sojourn in the White Sea Monastery and a Journey by the Old Trade Route from the Arctic Sea to Moscow (London, UK: Wells, Gardner, Darton, 1893), 103.Google Scholar
  10. 72.
    Ruslan A. Davydov [Russian language], “The Capture of Russian Schooners Volga and Dvina by the Anglo-French Navies in the White Sea in 1854,” Ushakovsky Readings: The Collection of Scientific Articles (MGPU: Murmansk, Russia, 2006), 160–172 and L’Invalide Russe (July 15, 1854), 687.Google Scholar

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© Andrew C. Rath 2015

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