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owed her protection. To go to his assistance without delay was of the highest importance; if they passed through Milianah, the journey would be lengthened by four days, whereas, by the mountain, two marches would bring them in a position to lend bim support. The tribes appeared pacifically disposed, and the Arab chiefs gave their assurance that not a single shot should be fired. They mentioned a certain defile of a dangerous character, but all agreed in stating that it did not extend beyond two hours' march. Moreover, it was only dangerous in case of hostilities on the part of the neighbouring tribes, and these had sent their chiefs to the camp only the evening before, with messages of friendship. Lastly, the General had under his orders a body of Zouaves, of Chasseurs d'Orleans, and of Chasseurs d'Afrique, commanded by Colonel Cavaignac, Lieutenant Colonel Forey, and Colonel Morris. With such valiant troops, and such officers, no danger need be feared. The General's determination was accordingly soon fixed, and it was resolved that the column should pass by the mountain.
On the eve of departure, our sick men vere sent under escort to Milianah, and the Roman sepulchres received those who sank under their maladies. A Zouave was buried in a
Christian sepulchre, and a cross, which was found in digging up the earth, was placed with reverence upon the stone covering the grave of the soldier who had died amidst the toil of his profession. In this friendly territory there was no fear of profanation.
The next day, the 17th, the little column set out, marched the whole of the next day, receiving the submissions of several tribes, and on the 19th, towards half-past nine in the morning, halted on the banks of the Oued Foddha.
The cavalry took advantage of the halt to send out foraging parties, escorted by two sections of infantry. Orders had been issued, forbidding a single shot to be fired. Suddenly the column was startled by the sound of a brisk firing. Captain Pourcet was immediately sent off to the spot by the General, and found our soldiers, faithful to their orders, receiving the enemy's fire, sheltering themselves as best they could, and only returning the attack of the Kabyles, when the latter came and seized them by their belts. From the spot where the mass of troops halted, it was impossible to perceive a small valley separating the foraging party from another hill. In this valley, and on this hill, were assembled crowds of white Kabyles, like vultures, in the midst of whom were a number of regular officers, in red garments, running from group to group, and urging them on. All were shouting, howling, and gesticulating like madmen, apparently working themselves up to a fighting pitch. There was a wide gulf between this warlike attitude, and the peaceful disposition promised by the Arab chiefs; but to retreat was impossible, and advance we must. To have retired before these tribes would, by an exhibition of weakness, have given consistency to the insurrection. In retreating, we should have many wounded, without utility and without advantage, whereas, by proceeding, on the contrary, the blood of our soldiers would not be shed in vain. Accordingly, as soon as the attitude and spirit of the Kabyles were reported to the General, the order to march forward was immediately given, and the head of the column was ere long within the fearful defile of the Oued Foddha.
A body of Arab horsemen rushed from their ambush on the banks of the river upon a company of the 26th ; but they met with a vigorous reception from Captain Lacoste, and upon this open ground the little foot soldiers retreated without confusion, as though they were on parade, and never firing except with murderous
certainty. Meanwhile on the right (the left bank of the river, as the troops were advancing southwards, and the Oued Foddha runs north), the company of Chasseurs d’Orleans, under Captain Ribanis, sent to support the foragers, fell back in good order upon the column; every bramble, every bush, every tree was used in turn by the men as a secure position or ambuscade, and frequently the same object concealed a Kabyle and a chasseur on opposite sides, both seeking a fair opportunity for a shot. On reaching the last plateau, the bugle sounded the pas gymnastique, and all began to slide and scramble down the steep, quickly joining the rear guard, who in turn were on the point of entering the gorge. The fight now commenced in earnest. The Kabyles shouted from the crests, “You have entered the sepulchre; you are doomed.” But they were out in their estimate of the men they had to deal with, and of the chief who commanded them. Calm and unmoved, General Changarnier was posted in the rear, wrapped in his little white woollen caban, a target for all the Arab bullets, giving his orders with a degree of coolness and precision, which inspired the troops with confidence, and redoubled their ardour.
In order well to understand the nature of this terrible struggle, it is necessary to have a correct idea of the ground. A breadth of a hundred feet to fight in; a sandy soil, ploughed through by the bed of the torrent; to the right and to the left a series of grey schistus rocks, rising perpendicularly one above the other, and overgrown with pines; above these, the mountain peaks rising like pyramids, from which the Arabs showered their bullets : such was the scene of the conflict.
Imagine this ravine, with the overhanging rocks and mountains covered with a dense multitude, exciting each other with shouts, intoxicated with the smell of powder, insensible to danger, and rushing upon a handful of men, by whom their wild fury was met with energetic coolness and that constant steadiness of action which is the result of discipline. This was due to the fact that our soldiers are at all times worthily commanded. The officers set the example; the chief never hesitates an instant. At once he had resolved on the course to be taken, and carried his troops along with him by the firmness of his decision. The General's object was to clear the defile, and by marching quickly, to endeavour to pass the peaks separated from each other by inextricable ravines, before the mass of the Kabyles could have time to advance from one