Roumania Past and Present eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 315 pages of information about Roumania Past and Present.
first time that day.  He was in a fearful state of excitement and fury.  His uniform was covered with mud and filth, his sword broken, his cross of St. George twisted round on his shoulder, his face black with powder and smoke, his eyes haggard and bloodshot, and his voice quite gone.  He spoke in a, hoarse whisper.  I never before saw such a picture of battle as he presented.  I saw him again in his tent at night.  He was quite calm and collected.  He said, “I have done my best.  I could do no more.  My detachment is half destroyed; my regiments do not exist.  I have no officers left.  They sent me no reinforcements, and I have lost three guns.”  They were three of the four guns which he placed in the redoubt upon taking it, only one of which his retreating troops had been able to carry off.  “Why did they refuse you reinforcements?” I asked.  “Who was to blame?” “I blame nobody,” he replied; “it is the will of God!"’[185]

[Footnote 183:  War Correspondence, vol. i. pp. 441-442.  Cassell (Ollier), pp. 404-405, where a plan of the Loftcha struggle is given.]

[Footnote 184:  It is not clear what these were; probably the tenth and thirtieth divisions, composing the fourth corps.  Compare Daily News War Correspondence, vol. i. pp. 443 and 444.]

[Footnote 185:  War Correspondence, vol. i. pp. 482-483.]

VI.

We have thus loosely described how the Turks had effectually disposed of the whole Russian attack excepting that of the Roumanians, and now we must turn for a moment to enquire what was occurring at Grivitza.  This redoubt is constantly referred to by the correspondents as the most formidable of all the Turkish positions.  It is called ’the indomitable Grivica redoubt;’ ‘the dreaded redoubt;’ ‘they’ (the Russians) ’may bombard it for a week, sacrifice a brigade of infantry, and not succeed in taking it.’  ‘The Turkish positions,’ says one writer, ’opposite to the Roumanian section, are the stronger both by nature and art.  But there are but 28,000 Roumanians to 50,000 Russians.  It seems logically to follow that the function of the Roumanians is intended to be chiefly of a demonstrative character.’[186] How ‘demonstrative’ it was we shall see presently.

Already on the 7th and 8th, the Russian siege guns had been pushed forward in closer proximity to the Grivitza, and on the 9th the Roumanians worked their batteries nearer to it; whilst on the 10th their infantry occupied a natural shelter-trench, from which they were picking off the Turkish gunners in the redoubt.  On the same day a couple of companies of Russians, thinking the redoubt was evacuated, made an attempt to take it, but when a small party of advancing skirmishers arrived within a hundred yards of the foot of the glacis, they were confronted by a row of rifle muzzles and Turkish heads, and thought it more prudent to retire.

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