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The struggle now seemed to grow more fiercely obstinate; the river became somewhat wider, and a squadron of cavalry was required in the rear. There was no artillery; its office was filled by the Chasseurs d'Afrique, the General launching them like cannon balls after the enemy, to drive them back, and allow the wounded to be taken away. This squadron being soon disabled, was succeeded by Captain Bérard's division; these were ordered to charge in a similar manner, and in ten minutes an ertire platoon, with the exception of the brave officer commanding them, Lieutenant Dreux, were rendered hors de combat. MM. Sébastiani, Corréard, Paër, and Fraiche, of the Zouaves, were wounded or killed within a short distance. The men, however, remained staunch. How, indeed, could they do otherwise, commanded by such officers, seeing Corréard with a bullet through his arm still leading his men to the fire, and M. Paër, with his throat pierced, unable to speak, yet fighting on? Meanwhile the time was gliding by, and night was at hand; the head of the column having reached a spot where the river formed a circular space, had established itself in bivouac. All necessary precautions for safety were immediately taken, and the wounded were then laid down in the hospital
tents, pitched at a short distance from the General's.
The General gave his orders immediately on dismounting. The wounded obtained his first attention; his next care was bestowed on the ammunition, the food of battles. The Arab chiefs had to give up a portion of their mules for the accommodation of the wounded on the following day, and the cartridges of the cavalry forming the baggage escort were distributedamong the infantry. Lastly, the 6th battalion of chasseurs was ordered to commence marching in silence, without trumpet calls, at about two o'clock in the night, and to occupy the different heights along the course of the river, which was still used as a road by the column. These arrangements being duly settled each betook himself to rest. In the bivouac there were no signs either of sadness or anxiety; all were proud of the day, and in the evening, beside the fire, the conversation was kept up to a late hour, for the exciting effects of the gunpowder had not subsided. Each related his deeds of prowess, bestowed a thought on the dead, and expressed his hopes of the next day's' success. The Arab horsemen were far from participating in this state of happy indifference. Squatted mournfully beside their steeds, which they kept saddled, wrapped up in their burnous, they passed the night without fire, and in evident consternation. Not far from thence the field hospital presented a fearful spectacle; nothing but cries and groans were heard, of so terrible a character were the wounds, all of them inflicted by shots fired quite close. Those most seriously wounded were laid beneath the tents, the rest were stretched around and covered with blankets. Our three surgeons, the whole of our medical staff, came round to each in turn, dressing their wounds and cutting and hacking their bruised flesh. In the course of the night there were eight amputations; and in the dead silence, when the fires were everywhere extinguished, the dim lights of the field hospital were still seen flickering beside our mutilated comrades. All vied with each other in endeavouring to mitigate their sufferings; the officers all pressed round to shake a friend by the hand, and to cheer with affectionate words the soldiers who had fallen in the morning while obeying their commands. Among the wounded in the 4th Chasseurs d'Afrique was a man named Cayeux. Feeling himself dying, he sent for his captain. After entrusting him with a last message to his mother, the poor fellow added, “ Give my thanks to Colonel Tartas, he is a good man,
and has always loved those whom he commanded; tell him that, dying, one of his soldiers thanked him." A touching trait, as honourable to the chief as it was to the soldier. On this same night Dr. Laqueille, chief of the staff, performed an operation which lasted forty-five minutes, on the shoulder of Captain Ribains, whose arm was thus saved by the skill of the operator. During this long interval of suffering Captain Ribains, seated on a case of biscuits, surrounded by the dead and dying, showed as much firmness in bearing up against acute pain as he had exhibited courage in the field. Not a groan escaped him, but from time to time he could not help turning round to the doctor, and saying, “ Indeed, Doctor, you hurt me.” Thus did officers and men accomplish their duty.
There was not a sufficient supply of litters to carry the men who had suffered amputation. Trees were cut down, and a number of litters hastily constructed. An hour before daybreak, all the dead were collected together; a detachment of sappers and miners dammed the river, and dug out a deep hollow in the bed, into which the bodies were placed; the water was then allowed to flow in its natural channel. It was our hope that the bodies would thus escape profanation from the Kabyles.
Far in the recess of the mountains, we could hear the sound of voices and a stir, but around the bivouac all was dark and silent. There were no fires, nor any thing to betray the presence of our advance guard : nevertheless they kept a sharp watch, and several skirmishes were fought with the bayonet; for, true to their instructions, not a single shot was fired. At two o'clock, the battalion of Commander Forey executed the General's orders; the drum beat at dawn, and the column proceeded on its march amidst the shouts of the Kabyles, as though calling on each other to join in the massacre of the French. But imagine their astonishment when they saw every position occupied, and the column advancing without the possibility of their attacking it. Several vigorous charges were made in the rear, in which the Zouaves worthily sustained their glorious renown. After one of these engagements, to the great joy of all, we passed through some splendid vineyards; every one began to quench his thirst with the fine branches offered to us on all sides. The General himself, to whom the soldiers hastened to present the finest bunches, followed the example of the rest. Just at this moment, Colonel Cavaignac passed near him:-“Here, mon cher Colonel.”' said he, holding out a magnificent bunch of grapes,