a river in the Crimea where a battle between Russian and allied (French, English, Sardinian, and Turkish) forces took place 8–12 km southeast of Sevastopol’ on Aug. 4 (16), 1855, during the Crimean War.
In late June 1855, Emperor Alexander II demanded that the commander in chief of the Russian forces in the Crimea, General M. D. Gorchakov, mount a determined offensive to render aid to Sevastopol’. On June 28 (July 10) it was decided at a military council to attack the enemy at the Chernaia River. Preparations for the offensive proceeded slowly and with little attempt at concealment. About 58,000 troops, including 10,000 cavalry and 272 artillery pieces, were massed for the offensive. The enemy forces numbered about 60,000.
Two columns, the left led by General P. P. Liprandi and the right by General N. A. Reada, began the attack at dawn on August 4 (16) but were unable to advance because of insufficient troops, a lack of coordination in their operations, and unsatisfactory leadership by the Russian command. Reserves were brought into battle piecemeal and suffered heavy losses. The battle ended in sporadic skirmishes that were very bitter in some sectors. By 10 A.M. the Russian Army, having lost more than 8,000 men, had been driven from the Chernaia River. The allies’ losses were about 2,000. The defeat at the Chernaia worsened the position of the Russian forces in the Sevastopol’ area.