In the China and Japan seas, at the beginning of the war, the Russian Rear-Admiral Poutiatin had under his orders the Pallas, 60, Aurora, 44, and Dwina, 12. The British force on the station was under Rear-Admiral David Price, and consisted of the President, 50 (flag), Captain Richard Burridge, Pique, 40, Captain Sir Frederick William Erskine Nicolson, Bart., Amphitrite, 24, Captain Charles Frederick, Trincomalee, 24, Captain Wallace Houstoun, and Virago, 6, paddle, Commander Edward Marshall. The French Rear-Admiral Febvrier-Despointes had at his disposal the Forte, 60 (flag), Eurydice, 30, Artémise, 30, and Obligado, 18. Poutiatin was, of course, helpless at sea against such a force; and therefore he sent the Pallas far up the river Amur, and utilised her people in reinforcing the weak garrisons on the littoral. The Aurora and Dwina took refuge in Petropaulovski, on the peninsula of Kamtchatka, a post against which it was foreseen that the allies would probably attempt operations.
Price and Febvrier-Despointes, after having detached the Amphitrite, Artémise, and Trincomalee to cruise for the protection of trade off the coasts of California, went in search of the Russians, and, on August 28th, sighted the shores of Kamtchatka. On the following day they entered Avalska Bay, at the head of which lies Petropaulovski. The Russians had worked very energetically at the defences of the roadstead. They had supplemented the pre-existing fort with numerous well-placed works, and had stationed the Aurora behind a sand spit, where she could not be reached so long as the batteries remained unreduced (on the spit was an 11-gun battery). Yet, although the position was immensely and obviously formidable, the allied commanders underrated its strength. Their appearance was received with shots from the defences; and they returned the fire, but from too great a distance for it to be effective. On August 30th, they drew nearer in, and were beginning action, when Price, an officer too old, perhaps, for his work, but with a distinguished record, lost his head in the most unaccountable way, and, retiring to his cabin, shot himself. The direction of the British contingent devolved upon Nicolson; but the shocking event naturally led to the suspension of operations until the following morning, when the attack was resumed. On the 31st, at 8 A.M. the President, Pique, and Forte took up positions and opened fire on the nearest of the defences - three batteries mounting respectively three, five, and eleven guns. With the assistance of a landing-party from the Virago, the 3-gun battery, on the right, was silenced, its pieces were spiked, and the gun-carriages and platforms were destroyed; but, upon the Aurora disembarking 200 men to retake the battery, the Virago's party was withdrawn to the sloop. Later in the day the five-gun and the eleven-gun battery were silenced; but, in the night, the works were all repaired.
On September 2nd the body of Rear-Admiral Price was taken in the Virago to Tarinski Bay for burial. During her absence, the sloop picked up three American seamen, deserters from whalers. These men volunteered certain information - whether deliberately treacherous or merely mistaken will never be known - and, in consequence of this, it was decided at a council of war to attempt a landing with the object of seizing the town and taking the batteries in reverse. Accordingly, at about 8 A.M. on September 4th, a body of 700 seamen and Marines, under Captains Burridge and de La Grandiere (Eurydice), was disembarked on a low part of the peninsula, after two protecting batteries, one of five and the other of seven guns, had been silenced by the fire of the President, Forte, and Virago (while the President was thus engaged, a Russian shot killed or wounded the entire crew of one of her main-deck guns). Above the landing-place rose a wooded hill. The Russians who held it were driven back; one of the two batteries, which had been abandoned, was rendered useless; and the hill was carried, though with difficulty. But, on endeavouring to advance along the summit, which was covered with brushwood and brambles, the expeditionary force, under the guidance of one of the American deserters, became a target for Russian sharpshooters who were almost invisible, and whose fire was very deadly. There were many casualties. In heading a charge against the concealed foe, Captain Charles Allan Parker, R.M., fell dead. It was presently seen that to persist was to compromise the safety of the column; and a retreat to the shore was ordered. It was carried on in much confusion. In the course of it there were further losses, many of which were occasioned by the very rough nature of the ground over which the withdrawal had to be carried out. Ere their ships could be regained, 107 British and 101 French had been killed or wounded, among the killed being Captain Parker, R.M., and among the wounded Lieutenants Alleyne Bland, Edward Henry Howard, George Palmer, and William George Hepburn Morgan; Lieutenants (R.M.) Edward Gough M'Callum and William Henry Clements; Mate George Robinson, and Midshipman Louis Chichester. The survivors returned on board at 10.45 A.M., and the ships at once hauled out of range to attend to the wounded and to repair damages.
The unfortunate issue of this attack seems to have resulted as much from the thoughtless rashness of the gallant leaders as from their unwise confidence in the word of men who were confessedly deserters. The spot chosen for a landing was one of the worst that could have been selected, seeing that it was commanded by a hill, and that, upon occupying the hill, the landing party ceased to be covered by the fire of the ships. Nor, in all probability, would any landing have been attempted, had the allied commanders had proper information concerning the strength and dispositions of the enemy. It must, however, be added that, in spite of the difficulties in their way, both British and French behaved with great bravery.
The combined squadrons, while in the neighbourhood, captured and burnt a Russian transport, the Sitka, 10, and took a small schooner, the Avatska, laden with stores. They quitted the coast on September 7th.
Обратите внимание на выделенный отрывок.
"2 сентября тело контр-адмирала Прайса было передано на шлюп "Вираго", который должен был его похоронить в водах Татарского (у Клоуза почему-то Таринского) залива. Во время этого перемещения шлюп захватил несколько американских рыбаков, дезертиров с китобоев. Эти люди добровольно поделились информацией - неизвестно только, намереное ли это было коварство, или просто рассказали какие-то слухи - и именно их рассказ и побудил военный совет произвести высадку в оконечности Никольской сопки, то есть с задворок города к бухте, где стояли "Аврора" и "Двина." (вольный пересказ, а не точный перевод).
Непонятно, за что американских китобоев так осуждает Клоуз. Вообще после провала предыдущего прорыва в бухту, удар через слабозащищенную Никольскую сопку просто напрашивался.
Вообще англо-французы, не сумевшие с задворок развить наступление и прорваться в город и к бухте - сами себе злобные буратины. При том преимуществе, которое они имели - они были ОБЯЗАНЫ это делать.