Half a league, half a league, Half a league onward, All in the valley of Death Rode the six hundred. 'Forward, the Light Brigade! Charge for the guns!' he said: Into the valley of Death Rode the six hundred. 'Forward, the Light Brigade!' Was there a man dismay'd ? Not tho' the soldier knew Some one had blunder'd: Their's not to make reply, Their's not to reason why, Their's but to do and die: Into the valley of Death Rode the six hundred. Cannon to right of them, Cannon to left of them, Cannon in front of them Volley'd and thunder'd; Storm'd at with shot and shell, Boldly they rode and well, Into the jaws of Death, Into the mouth of Hell Rode the six hundred. Flash'd all their sabres bare, Flash'd as they turn'd in air Sabring the gunners there, Charging an army, while All the world wonder'd: Plunged in the battery-smoke Right thro' the line they broke; Cossack and Russian Reel'd from the sabre-stroke Shatter'd and sunder'd. Then they rode back, but not Not the six hundred. Cannon to right of them, Cannon to left of them, Cannon behind them Volley'd and thunder'd; Storm'd at with shot and shell, While horse and hero fell, They that had fought so well Came thro' the jaws of Death, Back from the mouth of Hell, All that was left of them, Left of six hundred. When can their glory fade ? O the wild charge they made! All the world wonder'd. Honour the charge they made! Honour the Light Brigade, Noble six hundred!
Some historical footnotes:
The brigade was not entirely destroyed; 118 men were killed, 127 wounded, and approximately 60 taken prisoner. Only 195 soldiers were still with horses when the light brigade regrouped.
As indicated by its name, a light brigade is suited to flanking and other maneuvers where speed is important. The unit was not designed to undertake a frontal assault on a heavily armed position -- nor should they have been making it. The original order was to prevent the Russian's from removing Turkish cannons from the field. But there was a miscommunication, and the brigade was somehow directed to make a frontal assault. The details of the miscommunication will remain lost to history, the officer that delivered the communication was himself killed in the first moments of the charge.______________________