On 20 September 1854 the combined British and French armies confronted the Russians at the river Alma in the critical opening encounter of the Crimean War. This was the first major battle the British had fought on European soil since Waterloo almost 40 years before. In this compelling and meticulously researched study, Ian Fletcher and Natalia Ishchenko reconstruct the battle in vivid detail, using many rare and unpublished eyewitness accounts from all sides - English, French and Russian. Their groundbreaking work promises to be the definitive history of this extraordinary clash of arms for many years to come. It also gives a fascinating insight into military thinking and organization in the 1850s, midway between the end of the Napoleonic era and the outbreak of the Great War.