The Crimean War was a conflict between the Russian Empire and an alliance of the French Empire, British Emppire, Ottoman Empire and the Kingdom of Sardinia. The war was part of a long-running contest between the major European powers for influence over territories of the declining Ottoman Empire. Most of the conflict took place on the Crimean Peninsula, but there were smaller campaigns in western Anatolia, the Caucasus, the Baltic Sea, the Pacific Ocean and the White Sea. The Crimean War is known for the logistical and tactical errors during the land campaign on both sides (the naval side saw a successful Allied campaign which eliminated most of the ships of the Russian Navy in the Black Sea). Nonetheless, it is sometimes considered to be one of the first "modern" wars as it introduced technical changes which affected the future course of warfare, including the first tactical use of railways and the electric telegraph. It is also famous for the work of Florence Nightingale and Mary Seacole, who pioneered modern nursing practices while caring for wounded British soldiers.
The war also led to the establishment of the Victoria Cross in 1856 (backdated to 1854), the British Army's first universal award for valour. The Crimean War was one of the first wars to be documented extensively in written reports and photographs. News correspondence reaching Britain from the Crimea was the first time the public were kept informed of the day-to-day realities of war. This unique collection of original accounts will prove to be an invaluable resource for historians, students and all those interested in what was one of the most significant periods in British military history.