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Letters To / From USA

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“Syracuse Herald Journal,” Syracuse, New York, USA

24 Oct 1954

Light Brigade Vet Lived in Sangerfield

By George W. Walter

ONEIDA – Monday will mark the 100th anniversary of the Charge of the Light Brigade in the Crimean War, immortalized in the famous poem by Alfred Lord Tennyson. In Oneida and Madison Counties onlt a few people now remember that Daniel Dowling, formerly of Sangerfield, was the last surviving Crimean War veteran of the immortal Charge. Dowling died in Rome, July 15, 1913, at the age of 81.

A niece, Miss Lucy Dowling, resides at 1131 Summit pl., in Utica, and a nephew was the late Supreme Court Justice William Dowling, also of Utica.

DAN DOWLING was born in County Carlow, Ireland, in 1832, a member of a large family. He grew up in Ireland, a handsome, red-headed, wiry man. He enlisted in the British Army when the war fever swept through the British Isles in January, 1854, just a few weeks before England joined with France and Turkey to sweep Russia from the Baltic and Crimea. Dowling became one of the cavalrymen in the Light Brigade.

On Oct. 25, 1854, he was with the 700 members of the Brigade under Lord Cardigan, stationed at the western end of the valley under the heights of Chersonese, awaiting orders to plunge into the battle of Balacava. The English Heavy Brigade had already attacked.

In a desperate effort to recapture Turkish guns lost in the morning fighting, Lord Raglan gave the order for the Light Brigade to try and prevent the Russians from removing the guns. The orders became hopelessly jumbled in their transmission and the Light Brigade rode directly into the Russian guns… into the Valley of Death. The Brigade would have been annihilated if it had not been for the brilliant charge of the French 4th Chasseurs d’Afrique against the Fedoukine Hills. Only 200 of the Light Brigade survived. One of them was Dan Dowling.

He fought bravely through the war.  In the battle of Inkerman he was struck by a shell fragment in the head and badly wounded. He was taken to one of the crude hospitals that was in charge of a brave English nurse named Florence Nightingale.

After his wound healed he returned to duty. After the treaty of peace he saw service at other British outposts at Malta, in Egypt, India, Australia and South America.

Letters from home related that two of his brothers, William and John Dowling had migrated to the United States. Dan Dowling resigned from the army when he had only one year more to serve to obtain a life pension.

A younger sister, Margaret Dowling, married young and with her husband, moved to Australia. She was never heard from again, although Dan Dowling traveled twice around the world searching for her.


Source: Sue Clement

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