Austria, France, and Great Britain issue their Four Points for peace with Russia, in Vienna. Russia must give up its claim of protection over Christians in Ottoman lands, a revision of the Straits Settlement, free passage of the mouth of the Danube, and guaranteed integrity of Moldavia, Wallachia, and Serbia.
January 4, 1854: British Captain William McDonald discovers the islands that bear his name in the south Indian Ocean to the east of Heard Island.
January 8, 1854: British and French warships enter the Black Sea, charged with ensuring that Russian warships return to port.
January 12, 1854: Great Britain and France inform Russia that their navies are operating on the Black Sea.
January 13, 1854: Incidental music to Romulus, a comédie by Dumas, Feuillet, and Bocage, by Jacques Offenbach (34) is performed for the first time, at the Comédie-Française.
January 18, 1854: Robert (43) and Clara (34) Schumann leave Düsseldorf for Hannover to give concerts and visit Johannes Brahms (20) and Joseph Joachim. It is their last trip together.
January 18, 1854: Having received minimal interference from Mexican authorities, William Walker expands his domains from Baja California to Sonora, although he has never been there.
January 21, 1854: Two days out of Liverpool, making for Australia on her maiden voyage, RMS Tayleur strikes ground on Lambay Island, northeast of Dublin. Of the 650 aboard, less than 300 survive.
January 22, 1854: Russia demands that Britain withdraw its ships from the Black Sea and threatens a break in relations.
January 31, 1854: Novellen op.146, a waltz by Johann Strauss (28), is performed for the first time, in the Sophiensaal, Vienna.
February 3, 1854: Their ultimatum of 22 January unmet, Russia breaks relations with Great Britain.
February 4, 1854: Russians begin to strengthen Fort Verny in the foothills of the Zailiysky Alatau mountains (present Almaty, Kazakhstan).
February 6, 1854: Russia breaks diplomatic relations with France.
February 7, 1854: Marianne Marschner, third wife of Heinrich August Marschner (58), dies in Berlin, probably of pneumonia. She is 50 years old.
February 7, 1854: Schallwellen op.148, a waltz by Johann Strauss (28), is performed for the first time, in the Sophiensaal, Vienna.
February 8, 1854: The British cabinet decides to send 10,000 troops to Malta as an expeditionary force.
February 9, 1854: Because of tensions between France and Russia, Giacomo Meyerbeer (62) and Eugène Scribe are forced to make minor changes in the text of their upcoming opera, L’étoile du nord.
February 14, 1854: Bürger-Ball-Polka op.145 and Musen-Polka op.147 by Johann Strauss (28) are performed for the first time, in the Redoutensaal, Vienna.
February 15, 1854: Robert Schumann (43) tells Clara (34) that if the music he has been hearing for four days does not stop he will go mad. She summons a doctor.
February 16, 1854: L’étoile du nord, an opéra comique by Giacomo Meyerbeer (62) to words of Scribe, is performed for the first time, at the Théâtre Favart, Paris, in the presence of the imperial family. It is a fantastic success and the opera will receive 100 performances in its first year at the Opéra-Comique.
February 16, 1854: On the birthday of the Dowager Grand Duchess, Franz Liszt’s (42) symphonic poem Orpheus is performed for the first time, in Weimar, conducted by the composer, as an introduction to a production of Gluck’s (†66) Orfeo ed Euridice.
February 17, 1854: Robert Schumann (43) composes a melody which, he tells his wife, has been sung to him by angels.
February 18, 1854: The angels heard by Robert Schumann (43) yesterday have been transformed into demons come to carry him off to hell. It takes two doctors to hold him down.
February 18, 1854: Stanislaw Moniuszko’s (34) opera Halka to words of Wolski after Wojcicki, is staged for the first time, in Vilnius. See 1 November 1848.
February 20, 1854: Robert Schumann (43) has recovered enough to finish proofs of his Cello Concerto.
February 21, 1854: Carnevals-Specktakel-Quadrille op.152 by Johann Strauss (28) is performed for the first time, in Schwender’s Colosseum, Vienna.
February 22, 1854: Track is laid to Rock Island, Illinois, thus making the Chicago and Rock Island Railroad the first rail link between the Mississippi River and the Great Lakes.
February 23, 1854: By the Convention of Bloemfontein, Great Britain agrees to vacate territory north of the Orange River, thus allowing for the creation of the Orange Free State.
February 23, 1854: Les Préludes, a symphonic poem by Franz Liszt (42), is performed for the first time, in Weimar, directed by the composer.
February 23, 1854: La Viennoise op.144, a polka-mazurka by Johann Strauss (28), is performed for the first time, in the Sperl Ballroom, Vienna.
February 26, 1854: Fearful that he might be a threat to his wife, Robert Schumann (43) asks to be taken to a lunatic asylum but is persuaded by Clara (34) and a doctor to go to bed.
February 27, 1854: While making a copy of some variations on a theme in E flat, Robert Schumann (43) runs out of his Düsseldorf home to the Rhine bridge and throws himself headfirst into the river. He is pulled from the water by fishermen who manage to bring him home, despite his attempts to jump out of the boat. Doctors do not allow Clara (34) to see him. Unable to live in the same house under those conditions, she moves to a friend’s house.
February 27, 1854: Great Britain and France send an ultimatum to Russia demanding that it evacuate the Romanian principalities. “Refusal or silence” will be a “declaration of war.” (Royle, 115)
February 27, 1854: Ballg’schichten op.150, a waltz by Johann Strauss (28), is performed for the first time, in the Sperl Ballroom, Vienna.
February 28, 1854: The Republican Party of the United States is founded in Ripon, Wisconsin to oppose the Kansas-Nebraska Act.
February 28, 1854: Spanish authorities seize the US steamship Black Warrior in Havana claiming it has violated port regulations. After appeals and demands by US authorities as high as President Pierce, the ship will be returned.
March 1, 1854: The SS City of Glasgow departs Liverpool for New York carrying about 480 passengers and crew. It is never heard from again.
March 3, 1854: The first telegraph line in Australia goes into operation between Melbourne and Williamstown.
March 3, 1854: British and French warships enter the Black Sea to protect Turkey from Russia.
March 3, 1854: Harriet Smithson dies at Montmartre attended only by her nurses. Since her first stroke in 1848, she suffered from progressive paralysis, irregular breathing, skin disease and her mobility and speech were limited. Her husband, Hector Berlioz (50), visits the apartment in Montmartre and kisses the body before it is taken away for burial, then fetches a protestant pastor for the interment in the cimitière St.-Vincent. Some important literary figures attend the burial but Berlioz is too distraught to go. He spends the time in her apartment even though they were estranged since the early 1840s.
March 4, 1854: Robert Schumann (43) is brought to Dr. Richarz’ asylum at Endenich, near Bonn. Clara (34) is prevented from seeing him off. She will not see him again until shortly before his death.
March 5, 1854: Sir George Hamilton Seymour, the British ambassador to Russia, departs St. Petersburg.
March 12, 1854: France and Great Britain conclude an alliance with the Ottoman Empire against Russia.
March 14, 1854: Anton Rubinstein (24) conducts the premiere of his Symphony in B flat in Lichtenthal Hall, St. Petersburg. The first movement of this will become his Concert Overture op.60 while the second and third will be appended to the Symphony no.2.
March 19, 1854: Tsar Nikolay I rules that all public concerts in St. Petersburg must be approved by the director of the Imperial Theatre, thereby restricting all public concerts to Lent when the Imperial Theatre is closed.
March 20, 1854: The Boston Public Library opens to the public.
March 21, 1854: Franz Liszt writes to a friend, “the learned critics have declared…that approving of my works, or even of listening to them without condemning them in advance is a crime, that of l’ese-art. In all probability this war against me will last several years.” (Quinn, 148)
March 26, 1854: Duke Carlo III of Parma is stabbed and mortally wounded as he walks towards his palace accompanied only by an orderly. The assassin presumably disagrees with the Duke’s support of a war against Russia.
March 27, 1854: Duke Carlo III of Parma dies of wounds suffered yesterday at the hands of an assassin, and is succeeded by his son Roberto.
March 27, 1854: Crimean War: Russia declares war on France.
March 28, 1854: Hector Berlioz (50) conducts in Hannover again, less successfully than last year. But he is a hit with King Georg and Queen Marie.
March 28, 1854: Crimean War: Great Britain and France declare war on Russia. Russia declares war on Great Britain.
March 28, 1854: After the Requiem mass for the funeral of Michael Arneth, prior of St. Florian and friend of Anton Bruckner (29), Bruckner’s Vor Arneths Grab for chorus and three trombones and Libera me, Domine (II) for chorus, three trombones, cello, double bass and organ are heard for the first time.
March 29, 1854: The Republic of the Orange Free State is created independent of Great Britain.
March 31, 1854: The Treaty of Kanagawa is signed between Japan and the United States. The treaty opens the ports of Hakodate and Shimoda to American ships.
April 4, 1854: A week after declaration of war, Mikhail Ivanovich Glinka (49) leaves Paris for Russia.
April 8, 1854: Arthur Sullivan (11), accompanied by Mr. Plees, his schoolmaster, meets Sir George Smart in London, in an attempt to enter the Chapel Royal. Smart encourages the boy and sends him to see Thomas Helmore.
April 9, 1854: Austria, France, Great Britain, and Prussia sign a protocol in Vienna pledging to preserve the integrity of the Ottoman Empire.
April 12, 1854: The legislature of the Province of Buenos Aires approves a constitution for a state independent of Argentina.
April 16, 1854: An earthquake flattens the city of San Salvador, El Salvador, causing an unknown number of deaths.
April 16, 1854: After striking ground off Beach Haven, New Jersey, the Powhatan, with hundreds of German immigrants aboard, goes down with the loss of all aboard. Reports put the number of the dead between 200 and 400.
April 16, 1854: Mazeppa, a symphonic poem by Franz Liszt (42), is performed for the first time, in Weimar, directed by the composer.
April 19, 1854: In a concert in Weimar, the phrase “symphonic poem” is used for the first time, to describe Tasso by Franz Liszt (42).
April 20, 1854: Austria and Prussia sign a defensive alliance in Berlin and remain neutral in the Crimean War.
April 22, 1854: Le Figaro is produced for the first time as a weekly publication.
April 22, 1854: Crimean War: British and French warships bombard Odessa.
April 22, 1854: Hector Berlioz (50) gives the first of four highly successful concerts in Dresden, conducting La damnation de Faust.
April 22, 1854: Anton Bruckner’s (29) Laßt Jubeltöne laut erklingen for male chorus and brass to words of Weiss is performed for the first time, for the reception of the future Empress Elizabeth, in Linz.
April 26, 1854: Crimean War: Russian forces begin the siege of Silistria.
April 27, 1854: Myrthen-Kränze op.154, a waltz by Johann Strauss (28), is performed for the first time, in the Hofburg, Vienna for the wedding of Emperor Franz Joseph II to Princess Elisabeth of Bavaria, directed by the composer.
April 28, 1854: The United States informs the British minister in Washington of its neutrality in the Crimean War.
April 29, 1854: The legislature of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania grants a charter to Ashmun Institute in Oxford, Chester County, the first college for African-Americans.
April 30, 1854: The first railway in Brazil begins service between Rio de Janeiro and Petropolis.
May 2, 1854: Luc et Lucette, an opéra-comique by Jacques Offenbach (34) to words of de Forges and Roche, is performed for the first time, at the Salle Herz, Paris.
May 6, 1854: Over a year after its disasterous premiere, La Traviata by Giuseppe Verdi (40) is produced once again in Venice, this time at Teatro San Benedetto. With different singers and a different theatre it is a complete success.
May 7, 1854: Elisen-Polka française op.151 by Johann Strauss (28) is performed for the first time, in the Sperl Ballroom, Vienna.
May 8, 1854: Six months after beginning his expedition to take over northern Mexico, William Walker and 33 followers cross into California and surrender to the US military.
May 15, 1854: The United States Inebriate Asylum is founded in Binghamton, New York. It is the first hospital organized for the treatment of alcoholism.
May 20, 1854: Crimean War: The British Navy bombards Hangö, Finland.
May 25, 1854: A copy of the Sonata in b minor for piano by Franz Liszt (42), dedicated to Robert Schumann (43) (now in an insane asylum), arrives in Düsseldorf at the home of Clara Schumann (34). She calls it “merely a blind noise--no healthy ideas anymore, everything confused, one cannot find a single, clear harmonic progression...It really is too awful.”
May 26, 1854: Pièce pour Grand Orgue in A by César Franck (31) is performed for the first time, in the Church of Saint-Eustache, Paris by the composer, at the inauguration of a new Ducroquet organ.
May 26, 1854: Crimean War: Great Britain and France occupy Piraeus after declaring a blockade of Greece for attempting to attack Turkey. Greece quickly agrees to neutrality.
May 28, 1854: Alexandros Nikolaou Mavrokordatos replaces Antonios Georgiou Kriezis as Prime Minister of Greece.
May 28, 1854: Seven weeks after leaving Paris, Mikhail Ivanovich Glinka (49) reaches Tsarskoye Selo where he plans to spend the summer.
May 28, 1854: Erzherzog Wilhelm Genesungs-Marsch op.149 by Johann Strauss (28) is performed for the first time, in Ungers Casino, Vienna.
May 28, 1854: Crimean War: After a siege of a month, a major Russian assault on the Turkish defenders of Silistria, just over the Danube 100 km southeast of Bucharest, is repelled with heavy cost.
May 30, 1854: Kibrisli Mehmed Pasha replaces Mustafa Naili Pasha as Grand Vizier of the Ottoman Empire.
May 30, 1854: The Kansas-Nebraska Act is passed by the United States Congress. It leaves the question of slavery in these territories open to popular vote. Those opposed to slavery see this as a dangerous incursion of slavery into the north.
May 31, 1854: A very ill David Livingstone reaches St. Paul de Loanda (Luanda) having traveled 1,300 km from Linyanti.
June 2, 1854: The Austrian government demands that Russian troops be withdrawn from Moldavia and Wallachia.
June 2, 1854: After a three-day trial in Boston, runaway slave Anthony Burns is ordered returned to slavery. It takes several battalions of federal troops to escort Burns through an angry crowd to the waterfront to be placed on a ship south.
June 3, 1854: A new organ is inaugurated in Winchester Cathedral by its organist, Samuel Sebastian Wesley (43) before a large crowd. His virtuosic display is followed by a service consisting of his music, including the first performance of an anthem written for the occasion, By the word of the Lord were the heavens made.
June 4, 1854: 20,000 nativists invade the Irish districts of Brooklyn, injuring scores before troops arrive.
June 10, 1854: The new Crystal Palace opens in Sydenham, London, having been moved from its 1851 Hyde Park location and enlarged. It now contains 150,000 sq. meters of glass. The gardens cover over 80 hectares. Queen Victoria oversees the ceremonies.
June 11, 1854: When two Irishmen throw rocks at a nativist speaker in Brooklyn, a mob of 10,000 riots in the city. Troops are deployed.
June 12, 1854: Incidental music to Plouvier’s comédie Le Songe d’une nuit d’hiver by Jacques Offenbach (34) is performed for the first time, at the Comédie-Française, Paris.
June 13, 1854: Anthony Foss of Philadelphia receives a US patent for an accordion.
June 14, 1854: By a convention between Turkey and Austria, Wallachia will be occupied by the troops of the two countries, Moldavia by the Austrians alone.
June 19, 1854: Crimean War: Russians explode 8,600 kg of explosives beneath the Turkish defenses at Silistria. They follow it up with an artillery bombardment.
June 21, 1854: Henry R. Bishop (67) is awarded the degree of Mus. Doc. Oxon. by Magdelen College, Oxford.
June 21, 1854: Crimean War: Three Royal Navy ships bombard the Russian fortress of Bomarsund in the Åland Islands (now Finnish territory). The Russians return fire. For his heroism during the engagement, Mate Charles Lucas will become the first recipient of the Victoria Cross.
June 22, 1854: Crimean War: Russian forces raise the siege of Silistria and retreat north across the Danube.
June 24, 1854: Alfonso und Estrella D.732, an opera by Franz Schubert (†25) to words of Schober, is performed for the first time, in Weimar conducted by Franz Liszt (42) on the birthday of Grand Duke Carl Alexander. Also premiered by Liszt is the Solemn Overture for chorus, organ, and orchestra by Anton Rubinstein (24). The composer received the commission six days ago.
June 28, 1854: Generals Domingo Dulce and Leopoldo O’Donnell pronounce a right-wing revolt against the Spanish crown and the liberal ministry.
June 30, 1854: Spanish government troops engage conservative rebels at Vicálvaro without strategic result.
June 30, 1854: Emperor Napoléon III decrees that the Paris Opéra be placed under the Minister of State.
July 3, 1854: Leos Janácek is born in the schoolhouse in Hukvaldy, Margraviate of Moravia, Austrian Empire, the tenth of 14 children born to Jirí Janácek, a schoolteacher, organist, and pianist, and Amálie Grulichová, daughter of a tavern owner. Five of the 14 will not survive more than their first year. The child is christened Leo Eugen.
July 6, 1854: In the Manzanares Proclamation, an obvious appeal for leftist support, General O’Donnell promises to restore the militia once he gains control of the Spanish government.
July 8, 1854: The first railroad line in Portugal opens between Sacavém and Vila Franca de Xira.
July 11, 1854: US Commodore Matthew Perry signs an agreement with the “King of the Lew Chew (Ryukyu) Islands.” It recognizes the islands as independent of Japan and China and opens them to western trade.
July 11, 1854: An armed nativist mob attacks the Irish district of Lawrence, Massachusetts.
July 13, 1854: Having been sent by President Franklin Pierce to demand reparations from the town of San Juan del Norte, Nicaragua for an alleged slight of the US Minister to that country, the USS Cyane begins bombarding the town. Over the course of seven hours they fire over 200 rounds into San Juan, which consists of about 50-60 thatched huts. At the end of the bombardment, Marines are sent ashore. They loot what they can find, including a large cache of liquor, and burn the rest. Merchants of six countries demand $2,000,000 compensation for their destroyed goods, which will never be paid.
July 13, 1854: Mexican forces defeat the French filibuster Gaston de Raousset-Boulbon at Guaymas.
July 13, 1854: Abbas I, Turkish Viceroy of Egypt, is murdered by two of his slaves. He is succeeded by Mohammed Said.
July 14, 1854: Sultan Said ibn Sultan of Muscat cedes the Kuria Muria Islands to Great Britain.
July 15, 1854: Crimean War: Russian forces defeat the Turks on the Cholok River and force them back to Batum (Batumi).
July 17, 1854: As Madrid rises in revolt, Queen Isabella dismisses the liberal prime minister Luis José Sartorius Tapia, conde de San Luis and appoints Fernando Fernández de Córdoba y Valcárcel. By this date, Barcelona, Valencia, San Sebastián, and Valladolid have declared against the government.
July 17, 1854: A rail line is opened from Vienna to Trieste through the Semmering Pass in the Alps.
July 18, 1854: Ángel de Saavedra y Ramírez de Baquedano, duque de Rivas replaces Fernando Fernández de Córdoba y Valcárcel as Prime Minister of Spain.
July 19, 1854: Joaquín Baldomero Fernández Espartero, duque de la Victoria replaces Ángel de Saavedra y Ramírez de Baquedano, duque de Rivas as Prime Minister of Spain.
July 19, 1854: Charles Wood, President of the Board of Control for the East India Company, sends a dispatch to Governor General Lord Dalhousie outlining improvements which will essentially found the English-language education system in India.
July 30, 1854: Nordstern-Quadrille op.153 by Johann Strauss (28) is performed for the first time, in Ungers Casino, Vienna.
July 31, 1854: Crimean War: Russian troops capture Bayazit (Beyazit) from the Turks.
August 2, 1854: Under threat of Austrian troops on his border, Russian Tsar Nikolay I withdraws his forces the Romanian prinicpalities.
August 6, 1854: Today begins two days of anti-Catholic rioting by nativists in Louisville, Kentucky. They use small arms and cannon to attack the Irish district.
August 7, 1854: The Barony of Knyphausen is annexed by Oldenburg.
August 7, 1854: Today begins two days of anti-Catholic rioting in St. Louis, Missouri, which leaves ten people dead and 30 injured.
August 7, 1854: Crimean War: Russian forces devastate the main Turkish army of the Caucasus at Kurekdere and force them to retreat to Kars. The battle leaves 11,000 total casualties.
August 8, 1854: Crimean War: British and French forces land in the Åland Islands north and south of the fortress of Bomarsund.
August 9, 1854: King Friedrich August II of Saxony dies in the Tirol and is succeeded by his brother, Johann.
August 9, 1854: Walden, or Life in the Woods by Henry David Thoreau is published in Boston at the author’s expense.
August 12, 1854: Crimean War: British and French artillery begin a bombardment of the Russian fortress of Bomarsund.
August 13, 1854: French filibuster Gaston de Raousset-Boulbon is executed by firing squad by Mexican authorities in La Mole Square in Guaymas.
August 16, 1854: Crimean War: French and British forces accept the surrender of the Russian garrison at Bomarsund (Sund) in the Åland (Ahvenanmaa) Islands. Among the French fleet is the young volontaire aspirant Louis Berlioz, son of the composer (50).
August 17, 1854: Haute-volée-Polka op.155 by Johann Strauss (28) is performed for the first time, in the Volksgarten, Vienna.
August 22, 1854: Austria occupies the Danubian principalities following the withdrawal of Russian troops.
August 23, 1854: Crimean War: British ships destroy Kola on the Russian Arctic coast.
August 26, 1854: The open chair at the Institute is granted to Antoine Clapisson, over Hector Berlioz (50).
August 28, 1854: Nachtfalter op.157, a waltz by Johann Strauss (28), is performed for the first time, in Ungers Casino, Vienna.
September 1, 1854: Engelbert Humperdinck is born in a house on the Marktplatz (presently Markt 46, the city museum) in Siegburg in the Kingdom of Prussia.
September 1, 1854: Crimean War: British and French troops assault the Russian defenders of Petropavlovsk on Kamchatka Island.
September 1, 1854: The first railway in Norway opens between Christiania (Oslo) and Eidsvoll.
September 8, 1854: In the midst of a cholera epidemic in London, local officials remove the handle of a water pump on Broad Street. They have been convinced to do so by Dr. John Snow, whose epidemiological study concluded this was the source of the disease. Snow has been an advocate of the “bad water” theory as opposed to the prevailing “bad air” theory for the cause of cholera. The outbreak subsides.
September 8, 1854: Crimean War: After an assault lasting a week, Russian defenders of Petropavlovsk on Kamchatka repulse a combined Anglo-French attack.
September 14, 1854: Missa solemnis in b flat minor for soloists, chorus, orchestra, and organ by Anton Bruckner (30) is performed for the first time, for the installation of Friedrich Theophil Mayr as new prior at St. Florian.
September 14, 1854: Crimean War: An army of 80,000 British, French, and Turkish troops land near Eupatoria (Yevpatoriya) in the Crimea, 60 km northwest of Simferopol.
September 17, 1854: The Manifesto of the Liberal Union, a group of moderate liberals led by Leopoldo O’Donnell, is issued in Spain.
September 20, 1854: After recuperating for three months, David Livingstone begins the return journey from St. Paul de Loanda (Luanda) to Linyanti, some 1,300 km to the southeast.
September 20, 1854: Crimean War: In the first engagement in the Crimea, British and French forces drive the Russians from their positions on the Alma River leaving 9,000 total casualties.
September 27, 1854: Giacomo Meyerbeer (62) conducts a gala performance of his opera Der Nordstern (L’Etoile du nord) before the court of Württemberg in Stuttgart.
September 27, 1854: The American SS Arctic goes down off Newfoundland after a collision in fog with the French SS Vesta. Of the over 500 passengers and crew, some 350-400 are lost. The fact that none of the women or children passengers survives will spark public outrage and indignation towards the surviving crew.
September 30, 1854: Giacomo Meyerbeer (63) is invested with the Order of the Württemberg Crown in Stuttgart, which allows him nobility. He will not take advantage of this.
October 1, 1854: Robert Schumann's (44) contract with the Düsseldorf Allgemeiner Musikverein is cancelled. He presently resides in an insane asylum.
October 2, 1854: The Academy of Music in New York opens at 14th Street and Irving Place with a season of opera.
October 6, 1854: After a huge explosion in a warehouse, a great fire engulfs Gateshead and Newcastle. 53 people are killed and up to 500 injured. Damage is estimated at £500,000.
October 9, 1854: Anton Bruckner (30) passes an organ examination in Vienna at which he improvises a double fugue.
October 12, 1854: The upper house (Herrenhaus) of the Prussian Parliament is reorganized to give more power to large landowners and create a permanently conservative majority.
October 12, 1854: Napoleon-Marsch op.156 by Johann Strauss (28) is performed for the first time, in Schwender’s Collosseum, Vienna.
October 12, 1854: Crimean War: The first reports of the appalling conditions in British military hospitals at Scutari (Üsküdar, Turkey) are published in The Times.
October 14, 1854: Japan concludes a friendship treaty with Great Britain in Nagasaki.
October 17, 1854: Crimean War: British and French troops begin a two-day bombardment of Sevastopol.
October 18, 1854: Hector Berlioz (50) writes Chapter 59 of his Mémoires which includes a description of Harriet Smithson’s death and funeral.
October 18, 1854: La nonne sanglante, an opéra by Charles Gounod (36) to words of Scribe and Delavigne after Lewis, is performed for the first time, at the Paris Opéra. It will ultimately fail.
October 18, 1854: After a week of meetings in Belgium, the American ambassadors to Great Britain, France, and Spain issue the Ostend Manifesto urging their government to annex Cuba if Spain will not cede it.
October 19, 1854: The Revue et gazette musicale publishes a letter from Olympe Pélissier denying persistent rumors that her husband, Gioachino Rossini (62), has gone insane.
October 23, 1854: The second and third movements of the Piano Sonata no.3 op.5 of Johannes Brahms (21) are performed for the first time, in Leipzig.
October 24, 1854: Traveling from London to his post in Madrid, US ambassador to Spain Pierre Soulé is refused entry into France at Calais. He returns to London. France is believed to be angry over the Ostend Manifesto of 18 October.
October 25, 1854: Crimean War: Russian forces defeat the Allies at Balaklava just south of Sevastopol. The fighting features the famous Charge of the Light Brigade, which causes the needless death of over 100 of the brigade’s 670 members.
October 26, 1854: Crimean War: Russians attack the British siege lines at Sevastopol but are forced back.
November 2, 1854: Felix Mendelssohn’s incomplete oratorio Christus to words of von Bunsen after the Bible is performed for the first time, in Leipzig two days before the seventh anniversary of the composer’s death.
November 3, 1854: The Catholic University of Ireland (University College Dublin) opens its doors to students.
November 4, 1854: Crimean War: Florence Nightingale and 38 nurses arrive at the Barrack Hospital in Scutari (Üsküdar, Turkey), near Constantinople. They begin to introduce sanitary conditions.
November 5, 1854: Crimean War: The Russian army surprises the British by attacking east of Sevastopol on the Inkerman heights. A combined British and French defense manages to stave off the assault but the fighting leaves 15,000 total casualties. Both sides now settle in for a long siege.
November 6, 1854: John Philip Sousa is born at 636 G Street SE in Washington, DC, USA, third of ten children (only six surviving infancy) born to John Antonio Sousa, a Portuguese immigrant and trombonist in the US Marine Band, and Marie Elisabeth Trinkaus, an immigrant from Bavaria where her father was a small town mayor.
November 8, 1854: The Constituent Cortes is opened by Queen Isabella in Madrid.
November 9, 1854: Franz Liszt (43) conducts his symphonic poem Festklänge in its first performance, with Schiller’s play Huldigung der Künste in Weimar.
November 10, 1854: At the urging of Great Britain, desperate to hold together the alliance against Russia, France allows Pierre Soulé, the US ambassador to Spain, to travel through its lands to reach his post.
November 13, 1854: The American New Era, out of Bremen, goes down in a storm off New Jersey (what is now Asbury Park). About 240, mostly German immigrants, are lost with 132 saved.
November 13, 1854: George Whitefield Chadwick is born on Fifth Street in Lowell, Massachusetts, USA, the youngest of two children born to Alonzo Calvin Chadwick, a carpenter in the Massachusetts Mills, and Hannah Godrey Fitts who comes from a family of musicians. Mrs. Chadwick will die within a week of puerperal fever.
November 14, 1854: Crimean War: A violent storm strikes the allied armies at Sevastopol. 21 ships carrying food, medical, and military supplies are sunk. The supply ship HMS Prince is destroyed. Six of the crew of 150 are rescued.
November 20, 1854: The first meeting of the Neu-Weimar-Verein takes place at the Russischer Hof. Charter members include Franz Liszt (43) and Peter Cornelius (29), as well as out-of-town members Hector Berlioz (50), Hans von Bülow, Joseph Joachim, and Richard Wagner (41). The purpose of the association is to further the music of the more radical Romantics: Berlioz, Wagner, Liszt, and others.
November 24, 1854: Mustafa Resid Pasha replaces Kibrisli Mehmed Pasha as Grand Vizier of the Ottoman Empire.
November 27, 1854: Schnellpost-Polka op.159 by Johann Strauss (29) is performed for the first time, in Schwender’s Collosseum, Vienna.
November 30, 1854: Mohammed Sa’id Pasha, Govenor of Egypt, grants a concession to build a canal across Suez to Ferdinand de Lesseps and the Suez Canal Company. He sends the document to Constantinople for approval by the Sultan.
December 2, 1854: Crimean War: An alliance is concluded in Vienna between Austria, France, and Great Britain against Russia.
December 3, 1854: Rebel gold miners in a makeshift stockade, demanding democracy and an end to taxation without representation, are attacked by police and military at Bakery Hill in Ballarat, Victoria, Australia. 22 miners are killed, many after the outcome is decided.
December 6, 1854: French land and naval forces attack Shanghai, held for over a year by members of the Small Sword Society.
December 8, 1854: The Dogma of the Immaculate Conception is made an article of faith by Pope Pius.
December 9, 1854: “The Charge of the Light Brigade” by Alfred Lord Tennyson is published in The Examiner.
December 10, 1854: L’enfance du Christ, a trilogie sacrée for vocal soloists, chorus, and orchestra by Hector Berlioz to his own words, is performed for the first time, in Salle Herz, Paris directed by the composer on the eve of his 51st birthday. It is a great success.
December 12, 1854: Peter Georg Bang replaces Anders Sandøe Orsted as Prime Minister of Denmark.
December 12, 1854: On a voyage from Liverpool to Melbourne, the clipper ship Champion of the Seas travels 465 nautical miles in one 24-hour period.