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days without sighting an enemy, until the pass of Retschel, leading over the Andi range into Itchkeria, was occupied. Up to this time only a few of the enemy's scouts had been seen, but as the advance guard descended into the wooded country, the forest became alive with mountain skirmishers. A Russian officer says that they did not burn much powder, but every shot told.' At intervals were barricades of felled trees, which had to be carried with the bayonet, and the progress was so difficult that the troops did not make more than a mile an hour. On this day, the 7th of July, the Russians lost General Fock, Colonel Levinson, and several other officers, together with seventy rank and file killed and many wounded. Dargo was at length reached, but Schamyl and his mountaineers had disappeared, leaving only the smoking ruins of their stronghold. Woronsoff then settled down in the valley, in the hope that the enemy who hung on the hills roundabout would submit.
On the 10th of July a convoy of provisions that was expected reached the Retschel pass, where, according to arrangements made, it was to be met and brought into the camp at Dargo, a distance of about six miles, by a detachment from the main body.
Accordingly a force consisting of a half-battalion from each battalion in camp, or half the total force, with all available baggage animals, was despatched to bring in the convoy; the whole being in command of General Klüke von Klügenau, an Austrian of much experience in this border warfare, whilst two generals—Passek and Victoroff—commanded the advance and rear guards.
Schamyl allowed the detachment to go through unmolested, but on its return to camp, encumbered with its convoy of many hundreds of baggage animals, it was furiously assailed.
General Klügenau, probably deceived by the inaction of the enemy, started with most of the light troops to return in advance of the convoy. An inopportune fall of rain made the tracks down the steep incline almost impassable, and the baggage column was delayed and disordered, and lost touch of the advance troops. The mountaineers, watching every move from the heights around, were quick to grasp the opportunity. A body of them threw themselves into the interval thus left between Klügenau's troops and the baggage column, and throwing up hasty barricades of felled trees checked its further progress. At the same time the flanking parties were attacked and swept away, most of them being cut down, and the mountaineers threw themselves on to the long and straggling train, Schamyl and his Murids,' or fanatics, leading the attack. An officer of the force relates that :
The militia forming the left chain of flankers were almost all cut down, the files of the Kurin Regiment furnishing the right flankers became extended, lost touch of each other, and were completely disorganised. Dreadful confusion befel the baggage. The mountaineers burst into its centre, seized the soldiers by their belts, killed them, and plundered everything they could find to lay hands upon. Bags were cut open, and gold and silver coins strewed the road ; spirits poured out from the wineskins pierced by bullets. Some soldiers, demoralised, threw themselves on this booty, and there perished under the accurate fire of the enemy. Narrow parts of the road were literally blocked with their bodies.
To add to the confusion, the rearguard was attacked, and though it repelled the first onslaughts steadily and manfully, it was at length driven on to the confused mass of men and animals below. Further progress was checked by the barricades in front of the force, and Klügenau, although hearing the firing, was not aware of the disaster that had overtaken his convoy. Several desperate attempts were made to clear the road, but the troops were broken and disordered. One detachment brought up to clear the road wavered, and allowed General Passek, who was leading them on, to reach the barricade alone, where he was killed, having nobly done his duty. Victoroff, commanding the rearguard, was also killed, and the detachment returned to camp having lost 2,000 men and thirty-six officers in killed alone. The officer before mentioned says:
It would be impossible to describe in words the heartrending scenes that took place in that fatal mélée between the enemy and ourselves, with all our numerical superiority. When the disordered crowd of our beaten troops approached the camp, the 2nd Kabardin Battalion was sent to assist it. It brought only in a few loads, forty head of cattle, and groups of exhausted and bloodstained troopspitiable sight.
On the 14th of July, after having waited vainly for a week in the hopes of bringing the mountaineers to terms, the Russians, short. of supplies, were forced to commence their retreat. The original plan of a return to Gersel through Itchkeria was adhered to, and it is to be supposed that the difficulties encountered by Klügenau's detachment finally determined this route, in spite of the fact that many miles of dense forests lay between the Russians and their frontier.
Fighting daily, the force was brought to a standstill on the 18th of July, having accomplished barely half the distance to Gersel. For three days it could not advance, both on account of the many sick and wounded, and because it was surrounded by hordes of mountaineers. The officer before quoted says :
No rations had been issued to us for twelve days, but the soldiers did not lose courage. At night they crawled out into the forest as far sometimes as a 'verst' from the main body to some clearing in the forest that was cultivated, and brought back sheaves of corn, which they sold for twenty copecks. Doubtless many of them paid for their temerity with their lives. We ground up the corn and made porridge, though only half cooked; we ate a few spoonfuls a day, and so managed to maintain existence, if not strength. It is difficult to believe that we only made about forty versts? (twenty-six miles) in about fourteen days, and besides this, from morning till late in the evening, we were skirmishing with the enemy. At
· The diarist probably reckons the time and distance from the crossing of the pass over the mountains.
each step we were confronted by death. Along the whole extent of our route we successively took with the bayonet twelve fortified positions, hastily prepared by the enemy to block our progress. All the way to Gersel we supported the honour of the Russian arms with our bayonets alone.
Woronsoff, it is said, even contemplated abandoning the sick and wounded and baggage to a merciless enemy, forcing his way through with the men still fit for duty. The Russians, however, found means of communicating with Gersel. General Freitag, in command there, moved up with a force of 6,000 men and extricated his chief, who was thus spared such a disgrace, and he recrossed the frontier, having sustained a loss of 7,000 men and many officers. The extent of the disaster may be realised by the statement of the Russian officer before mentioned, that his battalion of the Kurin regiment lost 603 rank and file, and twenty-three officers killed or wounded, out of a strength of 850. He says further that 'the cause of such losses was that after the death of Passek, who fell so nobly, although there were a few competent officers left, they were inexperienced in leading troops, and paid no attention to them; and when they were wanted it was often impossible to find them.'
All the official accounts of this expedition lie buried in the archives of the Russian War Department at Tiflis, and the slight outline given is taken from the diary of an officer of the Kurin regiment, who accompanied the expedition. The diary bears the stamp of truth, and the details given are not inconsistent with the main facts as known in history, and are probably, therefore, not far from the truth. It is clear that Klügenau's mistake in losing touch of his convoy brought about the ruin of the whole force. The mountaineers got what probably they most wanted, an abundant supply of arms and ammunition, besides the accession to their numbers that success always attracts amongst these wild tribes. The Russians were left without food and transport, were disheartened, and were embarrassed with wounded in a difficult country.
As to the moral of the story, this Russian expedition may well be compared with Sir W. Lockhart's expedition to Tirah. The two theatres of war are very similar in climate, topography, and extent. If the Russians had the disadvantage of operating in a thickly wooded country, Tirah, whilst being also in many parts covered with forest, which on one or two occasions gave the Afridis an advantage, is probably by far the more rugged and difficult, for the Russian's account mentions some light carts as having accompanied their force, which in Tirah would have been impossible.
The wild tribes in both cases also seem almost identical. The Caucasians, like the Afridis, are bigoted Mohammedans. Schamyl, their famous leader, was himself an 'Imam' (or Mullah) of great sanctity, and this, no less than his undoubted military capacity, secured him the enthusiastic devotion of the mountaineers. His Murids, or disciples, appear under the name of the 'Ghazis,' or fanatics, who lead all the desperate rushes of swordsmen that have been always a feature of our frontier warfare—men who care nothing for life if they can but slay an infidel. Both people are formidable opponents. Living lives of bloodfeud and strife, they are trained to arms from their youth up. Their tactics of offering but slight opposition to an advance, and of taking full advantage of the opportunities offered by a retreat, are common to both, and both are hardy and enduring, and independent of commissariats and of bases of supply. The tribes of the North-west Frontier are, however, incomparably better armed than were the followers of Schamyl, for the possession of long-range modern rifles gives these wild people, who know every corner of their wild hills, and who can move over their hills with a celerity that is impossible to any but mountaineers, an advantage that is as yet, perhaps, not sufficiently recognised. It is evident that the Russian soldiers must have fought with all their characteristic stubbornness, and must have met all the trials of their slow retreat with fortitude, to have made their way through such a country in the face of a numerous and fanatical enemy, flushed with success. No troops could have done better, probably few as well.
The conditions of both these campaigns being so nearly alike, the cause of the ill-success of the admirable Russian soldiers may be found in the leadership of Schamyl, who took such instant advantage of the first mistake made by his adversaries. The happier result of our recent experience is probably due to the ability of our General, and to the better training of the modern officer. There may have been some mistakes made during our campaign in some of the rearguard actions, but such retreats in a mountain country are among the most difficult of military operations, and in the light of history we may well congratulate ourselves that our losses were no greater.
As to the result of the Tirah campaign, it is known now that the Afridi clans are broken. A frontier officer writes that it is doubtful whether they will ever recover their former position. The speedy submission of the clans of Buneyr, who fought us so stoutly and with so much success in 1863, is further evidence that the neighbouring tribes did not look upon that campaign as an encouragement.
NAPIER OF MAGDALA.
THE WORKING GIRL OF TO-DAY
We are living in times of so much philanthropic activity that most of us are bewildered with the appeals for pecuniary help which pour in upon us from every side. I wish, therefore, from the first, to set my charity-worn readers at rest, by stating that I am advancing no fresh claim on their purses. Money, which plays such a large part in all public appeals, sinks into a secondary position as soon as we plunge into the vortex of active work, and realise that personal influence is the power we need above all others to make our work effective.
I venture to make the following remarks on working girls and their clubs because, after spending several winters in a remote corner of London, I am more convinced than ever that this is a work of supreme importance both for the present and for the future welfare of our nation. It is a work sorely needed at the present time to supplement our public education, which stops abruptly when the scholar is thirteen, and leaves a girl without any help or guidance at the most critical moment of her life. It is a work with issues which stretch far into the future, when these girls shall be wives and mothers, wielding a mighty influence over the next generation-an influence which we hope will be nobler and better because of the lessons learned long ago in some girls' club.
If, however, we are to accomplish these great ends by means of clubs, it is necessary to think out the matter intelligently, and to have clearly defined aims in all we do. The methods may vary, but I cannot help thinking that the aims should always be the same. I have divided these into three.
(1) To provide a safe place for recreation after the day's work is done.
(2) To strengthen and develop individual character by making the girls learn to do something well, and to persevere when difficulties arise.
(3) To give higher ideals of life.
These three aims really hang together. The success of a club depends very much on our being able to keep girls of different grades in the same club. This is difficult, and many people hold that it is dangerous ; we, however, determined to try the experiment, and it