How far do the sources suggest Captain Nolan was to blame for the disastrous charge by the Light Brigade at Balaclava?
Sources 1 and 2 suggest that Nolan was not to blame, however, only on the surface. When analysed further, they show signs that blame was only ‘hastily attached’ to Nolan and that his ‘eager spirit’ could have caused this. Source 3 however, suggests that Nolan, Lucan and Cardigan were all to blame for the Light Brigades destruction.
Source 1, an obituary for Captain Nolan, does not blame Nolan for the disaster. It suggests that ‘blame was hastily attached’ to Nolan so that the army could give the public an explanation for the massacre. However, as this was Nolan’s obituary, it does not want to give Nolan the full burden of blame. The source explains that Nolan’s ‘reputation has been subsequently rescued’ so as to keep his honor. It suggests that there was no possibility that Nolan could have suggested the mission to mistakenly attempt to attack the heavily armed Russian guns, as a tactic like that ‘was so opposed to his own published theories.’ Although the obituary agrees that Nolan was not to blame on the surface, it also subtly suggests that certain traits of Nolan’s such as an ‘excess of enthusiasm’ could have led to him ‘going beyond the terms of an order’ thus being to blame for the disaster. However, this view was only applied to Nolan as a means for the Commanding Officers to place blame on him, instead of themselves.
The reliability of the source has to be questioned. It is an extract from Captain Nolan’s obituary in ‘The Illustrated London News, 25 November 1854. Because of the nature of the source, it is biased as its aims are not to uncover the truth of the event and who really was to blame, rather as a sign of remembrance and to maintain his honor. Therefore, any negative or blameful comments were not included. Also, because it was written close to the time of the event, feelings and emotions would have been high, adding...
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