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mountains, but the country was then plunged in anarchy, and all fell upon the emigrants as on their natural prey. The Righas advanced in this wise, surrounding themselves with a circle of musketry, carrying off their wounded and burying their dead, until they reached the land on which their ancestors had dwelt. The territory of this tribe, long our enemies, but allied to us in 1842, extends to the walls of Milianah.
An hour after leaving the fountain of the Aspens, where the history of the tribe of the Righas was related to us, we entered Milianah by the northern gate. The guard turned out and the drums beat to announce the arrival of the commandant of the province.
Zaccar signifies one who refuses that which will not allow itself to be climbed; the Arabs have given this name to the long ridge of rocks overlooking Milianah from the north. Built on a plateau at the foot of the mountain the town advances like a promontory above the last declivities stretching out for the distance of a league to the valley of the Cheliff. From the sides of the Zaccar, and from the side of Milianah itself, spring a number of copious streams, spreading coolness over all around. Around the city stretches an expanse of gardens renowned in all Algeria; ivy, mosses of every description, and a thousand plants with long winding stems encirle the white-walled and red-roofed houses with a wreath of verdure. From afar the deluded eye beholds a prospect all of smiles, but on a nearer approach you find only whited sepulchres.
A principal street drawn out by the French, and in which are all the shops of the sutlers, traverses the town, and terminates at the entrance to the Arab quarter near the minaret of a ruined mosque. To the chant of the muezgin calling the faithful to prayer, succeeded the noisy ringing of the French clarions sounding the military signals. Milianah was in fact at the time of our visit in 1843 nothing but a vast camp. An advanced post until 1841, this town had become since then in conjunction with Medeah, the basis of our operations in the province of Algiers. From the top of the minaret surrounding the old mosque, the importance of this position could be appreciated, for the view extended over the whole country which it commands; the chain of heights which separate it from Medeah, the valley of the Cheliff running east and west, and beyond the rock of Ouar Senis, overlooking the Kabyle mountains, which we had to bring to submission: it was an imposing picture.
After surveying the distant horizon, returning to the town, the eye beheld at the foot of the walls a spot marked by sad recollections—the cemetery which in 1840 received an entire garrison. Of all the points which we have occupied in Africa, Milianah is perhaps the town in which our soldiers have had to endure the severest trials. Many a scene of despair has been enacted on this narrow plateau; but all who survived never relate their sufferings without mentioning the name of General Changarnier, who was twice their saviour. In June, 1840, the army was with Marshal Valée before the walls of Medeah. Milianah, which had been only a short time occupied by our columns, had to be revictualled. The generals were not agreed in opinion; the undertaking appeared at that moment too difficult and the troops too fatigued. Colonel Changarnier alone believed the thing possible; and the Marshal confided without hesitation the conduct of the expedition to one who had with the 2me leger just taken so brilliant a share in the storming of the Col de Mouzaia. The next day the Colonel started. Concealing his march from the observation of the enemy, he advanced twenty-four leagues in thirty hours. Four days afterwards he returned ; the complete success of the expedition had justified the confidence of the old Marshal, and Colonel Changarnier received the congratulations of the whole army.
The hot season having begun, the troops had returned to their cantonments. The governor calculated that the assistance thus left in the station, would enable the garrison to wear on till
the revictualling at the end of autumn; but he had not foreseen the sickness with which they were visited, nor the depredations of the vermin penetrating into the dilapidated storehouses, and destroying part of their resources.
The oxen were dead. It was impossible to pass beyond the ramparts; there was no more meat, and famine was beginning to declare itself.
Pressed by hunger, the soldiers ate whatever they could pick up, devouring even grass and mallows. This unwholesome food acting upon the brain, inclined them to nostalgia and subsequent suicide. Out of twelve hundred men, seven hundred and fifty had already perished, four hundred were in the hospital, and the remainder in little better condition. Scarcely had the small remnant of the able men strength to hold their muskets. The officers were obliged themselves to perform watch on the ramparts, and every day the sad fatal hour seemed to be advancing, when the town would be taken for want of hands to defend it. No letters, no intelligence of any kind reached them; their spies had been killed. At last a despatch from the commander reached its destination, and information was received at Algiers of the fearful situation of the garrison. Colonel Changarnier, who since the first victualling of Milianah, had