Roger Fenton (English, 1819-1869)
"The Railway Yard, Balaklava" in the Crimea, 1855
Salt print from a collodion negative
20.4 x 25.1 cm mounted on 48.0 x 64.4 cm paper
Title "The Railway Yard, Balaklava" printed on mount with "Deposé / No 253 / Photographed by Roger Fenton. Manchester. Published by T. Agnew & Sons, Novr 19th 1855. London, P. & D. Colnaghi & Co. Paris, Moulin 23 Rue Richer. New York, Williams & Co."
The Crimean War was among the first conflicts to utilize the railway as a tactical component. The construction of the line which Fenton captures in this particular print was a privately undertaken enterprise begun in February 1855 by the engineer James Beatty and funded by Sir Samuel Morton Petro, who in Fenton's own account of his expedition, had funded his passage from Britain to the Crimea. The line was built rapidly and was in use only a few weeks after work commenced. The railway played a vital role in the success of the British army during the siege of Sevastopol by enabling the uninterrupted transport of supplies, including ammunition, between Balaklava and troops stationed at the front lines. In 1856 after the end of the war, the railway was dismantled.