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Berkanis. At day-break we had reached a little plateau between two hills. At our feet lay a wooded ravine deep and difficult to pass; on the opposite side stood the huts of the Kabyles in the midst of tall olives and broad-leaved walnut trees. Their shots intimated but too clearly how unsuccessful was our undertaking. All the most important personages in the village had taken flight. The General immediately ordered all to dismount. The chasseurs took possession of the two heights, and exchanged fire with the enemy previous to the arrival of the infantry. M. de Carayon Latour and one of our companions possessed a couple of small carbines capable of carrying an enormous distance; they were loaded; bets were made, and a trial commenced as to which showed the most skill in this new mode of pigeon shooting; only here the pigeons were Kabyles armed with long guns, who levelled at us very dexterously in their turn, and succeeded in making holes through our cabans, notwithstanding the big trees behind which we took shelter. This increased our mirth and laughter, for on the whole we had killed some of them when the Orleans chasseurs came up. They were better hands at this work than we, and accordingly, after the first shots, the Kabyles made haste to get out of the
reach of their bullets. By the evening we had all returned to the bivouac, and next day the cavalry returned to Milianah, while the head of our column advanced into the valley of the OuedRouina. A few hours afterwards, the bad roads of Ouar-Senis commenced. Man by man, mule by mule, the troops and baggage advanced along these narrow paths up-hill all the way, and hooked on as it were in the midst of pine trees to the sides of the mountains. A bad time for the infantry was coming now, for battalions were ordered to protect the baggage on the right and left, cutting through tracts without the sign of a road, now descending into ravines, now climbing up steep shelves, enduring fearful fatigues, which war and the safety of all render it necessary to impose.
Though we had been two days in the enemy's country, we had yet met no one; all around was void and tranquil, a perfect desert, when suddenly on a peak commanding the narrow path we beheld a body of from five to six hundred Arabs, gesticulating and uttering loud shouts. A halt was sounded. The General formed the chasseurs d'Orleans of the van into a body, and placing himself at their head, set off to dislodge the enemy. Screening themselves behind the fig and other
trees which clothed the peak, the chasseurs clambered up to its summit at a double quick pace, in spite of the fire of the Kabyles, whom they soon drove forth at the bayonet's point. A tolerable number of them remained, the rest met with a vigorous chase, and we returned with a flock discovered in a wood, a few dead and a few wounded ; but such is war! During this time the baggage train having passed the defile after crossing the ravine, had established itself near the town of the Beni-Boudouans. The houses in this town are built of wood covered with pitch, and greatly resemble the huts of our peasants in Picardy. They are solid, and defy both rain and tempest; our soldiers, however, soon got the better of them, for the dry wood of which they are built gave out less smoke and made the best soup. Accordingly, during two days that we were waiting for the other columns, more than one was pulled to pieces and all would have shared the same fate had Colonel Picouleau delayed much longer.
On their longer and more difficult journey, the two columns commanded by the Colonel had encountered numerous bodies of contingents urged forward by the battalions of Sidi Embarek, and brought up a considerable number of wounded. General Changarnier resolved, in order to lighten the march, to send them back to Milianah under a strong escort, together with the useless materiel. A singular accident marked the departure of this body; M. Laurent, an officer of the chasseurs d'Orleans, who had suffered amputation of a limb on the previous day, had been placed on a litter; on the other side, as a counterpoise, was a man attacked with pernicious fever and almost dead. On leaving the bivouac, after crossing the rivulet and ascending to a certain distance up the mountain, the train was passing along a narrow road forming a ledge over the ravine, when suddenly the mule stumbled and fell, and the amputated and the fever-ridden man rolled over with him. A loud cry broke from the spectators, and all set about slipping down to the rivulet to render assistance. On arriving at the bottom, the mule was found quietly on his legs browsing. As to M. Laurent, the iron work of the litter had fortunately saved him ; and as to the fever patient, the shock had been so violent that it occasioned a reaction, and he owed his life to what could have killed any one else. All three resumed their march to Milianah, while our column, two thousand eight hundred strong, with twenty-five horses, set out in a westerly direction, in which, according to information furnished by the Arabs, the tribes had retired. During these marches we could never cease admiring the staunchness of the infantry soldier, so heavily laden, and who has in marching given himself the nickname of the soldier camel. It was in truth marvellous to see him toiling for long days together under a burning sun, and over the most distressing country, always gay, always in spirits, and ready to ind relaxation and amusement in the merest trifles. One afternoon we had reached the bivouacing place, the muskets were piled, and all were busily catering for themselves, when a terrific uproar burst forth, and right and left every one began to run; it was a perfect tumult. The General himself came out of his tent. What does the reader imagine was the great event? A hare, an unfortunate' hare, taken by surprise in his cover, had made up his mind, after considerable hesitation, to attempt escape. Perceived and pointed out, he became the object of a general attack; one pursued him bodily, another threw a stick at him, and each attempted after his own fashion to catch the still scampering meal. At last, a voltigeur, more nimble and adroit than the rest, threw his great coat over the animal and himself into the bargain, so that, will ye nil ye, the poor Kabyle hare made a Frenchman happy,