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"Quite correct !'and placed himself second. Before he had advanced three steps Razin fell dead; the quarter-master sprang forward, and a second bullet laid him beside the sergeant, and on the Kabyle corporal coming to his assistance—Take care of Razin,' said he, 'I can help myself.' As the corporal was accordingly hoisting the body upon his shoulders, a third bullet laid him dead on the spot. The quarter-master immediately rushed to the dead sergeant, snatched off his cross of honour, and, though seriously wounded, succeeded, by crouching down among the brushwood, in joining the battalion, and placing the cross in the hands of the commanding officer, said—'If I haven't brought him back, it's because I am wounded myself, but I have saved his cross at any rate,' at the same time he pointed to his arm hanging helpless by his side.”
Just as the officer of the Zouaves had brought his narrative to an end, the camp clock struck eleven. In speaking thus of the humble drummer, who announced the hour by striking his sheepskin the required number of times, I confess myself guilty of exaggeration. The sentinels were now relieved, and thanks to the silence which now prevailed, we lost not a syllable of the facetious objurgations addressed by a sinking up
sergeant to one of the soldiers lagging behind his
knees in the mud ? How can a fellow walk through this sort of stuff ?”
“Why you d—d greenhorn, when you can't walk you should run.
Don't you know that ?" replied the sergeant.
After listening to this sally we wished each other good night; and those who had to return to their tents to seek repose, went off with the hoods of their cabans over their eyes, and their trowsers tucked up, swearing like heathens, and when the occasion presented itself adopting the sergeant's plan.
The next day our expeditions over the country recommenced; and at the end of a month, on returning to the garrison, we found ourselves once more in company with our associates of the Upper Riou. The officer who had related to us the severe hardships endured by the Zouaves, at Medeah, during the winter of 1840, here confided to me a journal, of which he had often spoken. This journal, a confidential record of hours of solitude, a curious chapter in the history of the sufferings of the African army, bore as a
motto, these words of Blaise de Montluc : “Would to Heaven that we who bear arms might take up this custom of writing that which we see and do ; for it seems to me that it would be better dressed up by our hands, I mean in the matter of war, than by any men of letters soever, for they disguise things too much, and give it a clerkish air." Some explanation will be necessary ere we subjoin this journal. In 1840, the war was still at the gates of Algeria, the province of Mitidja was intersected; and though at Medeah, and at Milianah, there was a French garrison, an army was required to insure the revictualling of these cities. In the month of October, in this same year, Milianah had just been relieved, the garrison, decimated by nostalgia, famine, and sickness, having almost given way under its duties; out of 1,400 men, 720 were dead, and 500 were in the hospital; the remainder had scarcely strength to carry their muskets, and had the relief arrived a few days later, the town would have been taken for lack of men to defend it. On their return these living corpses were carried on the backs of sumpter mules. Evidently such a spectacle must have made a deep impression upon the army; for if such sufferings had been endured in the summer season, what were they to expect during the winter. Meanwhile the garrison of Medeah was to be relieved, as that of Milianah had been ; Marshal Valée determined to send thither none but case-hardened men, who in their esprit de
corps and their desire to support the renown · attached to their name, would find strength to resist all the privations and all the sufferings of isolation. The Zouaves were chosen for the occupation of Medeah.
On the 18th November, 1840, two battalions of Zouaves, each five hundred strong, commanded by Messrs. Renaud and Leflo, took possession of the city of Medeah, where, under the orders of Lieutenant-Colonel Cavaignac, who had been appointed to this superior command, they were to be garrisoned for the winter. It is the custom to call Medeah a city, but to describe properly this heap of ruins and tumble-down houses, a name should be expressly invented. The Zouaves relieved the 23rd, and an officer of this regiment rendered me an essential service, by leaving behind him a sheepskin, a table, a few wooden benches, two boxes, and some kitchen utensils—precious resources in the midst of the general want of all such articles.
On the 19th, the army left us, abandoning its bivouac, to return to Algiers. At half-past seven o'clock, the last files of the rear guard dis