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included in the number given above. It seems clear that the Cesarowitch was for a long time uncertain as to the direction of his antagonist's real attack, and the object he had in view ; that. is to say, whether in connection with, or independently of Suleiman, he intended to advance from Osman Bazar upon Tirnova, or whether his line of attack would be in the direction of Kacelyvo, Bjela, and Sistova. He therefore seems to have thought it necessary to break up his force into comparatively small detachments in order to observe and partially defend the whole of the long line he occupied, and at the same time hold his left as near Rustchuk as possible.
From about the middle to the 29th of August various small affairs took place on or near the upper course of the Kara Lom, as, for instance, at Jaslar, Sultankoi, Kezlar, Kerecim, etc. Some of these were the result of reconnoissances made by the Russians for the purpose of ascertaining the position and intentions of the enemy; others were Turkish attacks, as a part of their plan for driving in the Russian right, and forcing them entirely across the line of the Lom. In all these affairs the Russians were in much inferior force, and displayed great tenacity, always holding their positions for a long time, and to the last moment, and retiring in good order. On the 23d the Turks attacked Jaslar, and were repulsed ; later in the day they returned to the attack in large force, when the Russians, after a sharp contest, withdrew to Sultankoi. The Turks intrenched at Jaslar, and showed a considerable force there.
On the 29th Mehemet Ali attacked the Russians at Karahassankoi, and finally drove them over the Lom, where they took position near Popkoi on the left bank.
The Turks did not follow up this success, but moved a portion of their troops up the right bank of the Kara Lom, and effected a junction with Eyoub Pasha, coming from Rasgrad. On the 4th of September a detachment from the garrison of Rustchuk attacked the Russians at Kadikoi but were finally repulsed.
On the 5th the Russians at Kacelyvo — five battalions, eight squadrons, and some artillery -- were attacked by about three times their numbers; they resisted the attack for nearly six hours, when, the Turks being heavily reinforced, they were driven across the Lom, and fell back to Ostritza. At the same time a Russian detachment
at Ablava was attacked by a large force, but held its ground. On the same day the Turks made fruitless attacks at Popkoi and Kadikoi, on the extreme right and left of the Russians.
The result of the affair at Kacelyvo appears to have been that the Russians abandoned the line of the Kara Lom, above the mouth of the Banicka Lom, which comes in from the southwest about six miles below Kacelyvo, and took up new and more concentrated position, or, to express it more accurately, they drew in their outposts and occupied the position prepared in advance for the contingency of an attack in force by Mehemet Ali.
The left of this line rests on the Danube in the vicinity of Metcka, about fifteen miles southwest of Rustchuk, and is near the intrenched camp of Tristenik, occupied by the twelfth corps, on the direct road from Bjela to Rustchuk.
Hence the line extends in front of Obertini and Monastiv to the Banicka Lom near its mouth, and follows the line of that stream to a point south of Cherkovna and Cavikoi, and thence tends back to the Jantra. The important points of this position are stated to be strongly intrenched, and there is ample force to hold it.
Several affairs of outposts and detachments now took place, but none of any importance until the 20th of September, when the Turks in considerable force attacked the Russian position near Cherkovna, endeavoring to secure a foothold on the left bank of the Banicka Lom. They were completely repulsed with considerable loss.
Since the battle of Cherkovna no fighting of importance has taken place. It seems to be established that on the 24th of September Mehemet Ali fell back to the line of the Kara Lom. It is fair to infer that he found the Russian left and centre too strong for attack; it remains to be seen whether he will renew the attempt further on the Russian right, or remain inactive on the Lom until in his turn assailed by the Russians.
If it be true that Suleiman has replaced Mehemet Ali in command of the Turkish army of Shumla, we may expect that his advent to the command will be marked by some very desperate but not well-arranged attack upon the Cesarowitch. But the latter has his army well in hand, in good positions, and must be by this time strongly reinforced, so that he would rather court than avoid the contest.
The operations around Plevna have assumed so much importance that it is desirable to give a short description of the region in which it is situated. The field of operations of which Plevna is the central point of interest is bounded by the rivers Osma and Isker on the east and west, by the Danube and the Balkans on the north and south. It is about sixty-five miles in length, from north to south, and varies from twenty-five to fifty miles in width
This area is divided into two nearly equal parts by the river Wid, whose general course is nearly north and south, and it is in the valley of the Wid that Plevna is situated. From the foot-hills of the Balkans to the Danube the ground slopes gradually down, terminating in crests or bluffs of considerable height above that river. The Osma, Wid, and Isker all rise in the Balkans, and each is formed by the union of several branches, draining as many valleys of the main and foot hills. In their course to the Danube each of these rivers receives many small streams, which, in the course of ages, have excavated deep valleys and ravines in the sloping plateau. The consequence is that the region in question is much cut up by valleys, deep ravines, and lofty hills, and abounds in strong positions which offer great advantages to an army on the defensive. The main streams, which run nearly north and south, with their bounding ridges, present great obstacles to the attack of an army moving east or west, while the smaller branches often afford good protection against attacks upon the flanks of the main position. The nature of the country westward from the Isker towards Widdin is such that numerous strong positions present themselves for an army operating to cover the latter place, and so long as the Turks hold the line of the Balkans in that direction, these positions become stronger as you proceed westward, for the reason that the Balkans continually approach the Danube, and thus shorten the defensive lines. But any of these positions west of the Wid, and more particularly west of the Isker, would be of little avail to the Turks for the reason that they would be too far away to threaten seriously the Russian lines of supply and communication through Nikopoli and Sistova.
Herein is the chief value to the Turks of their position at Plevna, that it is so near the Russian lines of communication that the latter must either drive them back, or leave a large force in their front to hold them in check, while they operate elsewhere.
As the Russians and Roumanians practically hold the line of the Danube from Pirgos to the immediate vicinity of Widdin, all of the positions we have referred to can be turned by crossing the Danube in force in their rear, or by the entrance of Servia into the contest. Whether the Russians will avail themselves of their reinforcements to gain the rear of Plevna remains to be seen. The upper courses of the streams mentioned above cut through mountains and high hills, traversing deep gorges and narrow valleys; here the population is sparse, supplies are rare, and the country very difficult, if not impracticable, for masses of troops, with their artillery and trains, except by the roads. Before reaching the lati- . tude of Plevna the valleys widen and become fertile and populous, while the plateaus between the main streams become more open and quite practicable for the movement of armies, although still abounding in very formidable defensive positions.
Plevna is not immediately upon the banks of the Wid, but about four miles to the east, in a large valley, on a branch formed by the union of the Grivitza, Radichevo, Tutchenitza, Bogot, and other small streams. The valleys of these streams have between them, or on either side, the high ridges or plateaus upon which are the great redoubts and lines of works which have so well withstood the fierce attacks of the Russians. The most northerly of these branches is the Grivitza, whose course is nearly at right angles with the Wid. Just north of the Grivitza is a high ridge bordering the stream from its head to Oponetz on the Wid. On this ridge, close by the head of the little stream, is what has been called the central redoubt of Grivitza, not long since captured by the Russians; just west of this, on the same ridge, is the second great redoubt, which the Roumanians are now attacking by regular approaches; from this there extends along the summit of the ridge a line of works reaching as far as Oponetz. The capture of the redoubt now being attacked by the Roumanians will go far towards making this line of works untenable. South of the great redoubt, which occupies a strong salient in the general line, and on the ridge between the Grivitza and the Radichevo is another work, and between the Radichevo and the Tutchenitza still another. These works, from the Grivitza to the Tutchenitza, will
. probably also be untenable when the second redoubt falls, and so will be a portion of the remainder of the line, which after crossing
the Tutchenitza bends square to the west, reaching the Wid near the mouth of a small stream which joins it near Dubnik. Within this portion of the line is a second line, facing also to the east. This forms a species of citadel, leaving the town of Plevna outside. On the left bank of the Wid, quite near the stream, are three or four small works looking westward.
Our knowledge of the defences of Plevna is necessarily imperfect, but such as it is, it leads to the opinion that the fall of the second Grivitza redoubt will carry with it the greater part, if not the whole, of the outer line of defences, and at once enable the Russians to throw a larger force in rear of the position.
Outside of the immediate position of Plevna, Lovatz is a point of great importance. It is in the valley of the Osma, and is the meeting-point of several important roads ; for instance, one from
i the Karaul Pass through Trojan, others from minor passes to the west, roads leading from the Orchanie Pass, and others leading to the west and north in rear of Plevna. From Lovatz roads also lead eastward to Selvi, Tirnova, and Drenova, and northward to the flank and rear of the Russians in front of Plevna. The possession of Lovatz by the Turks enabled them to threaten the left flank and rear of the Russian army of Plevna, and facilitated their junction with Suleiman, had he forced the Shipka Pass, or, with Mehemet Ali, had he moved from Osman Bazar upon Tirnova..
Now that the Russians hold it, the Turks have lost these advantages, and its possession permits the former to operate against the right flank and communications of Osman Pasha. Its capture was a great advantage to the Russians and a serious loss to the Turks. Selvi, although not literally within the immediate theatre of operation, we have described, is very closely connected with it, and is of great importance to the Russians. To the westward Orchanie, at the northern end of the Balkan pass of the same name, is a point which the Turks will naturally intrench and hold for the purpose of securing the retreat of Osman Pasha, should he be driven out of Plevna. The possession of Lovatz enables the Russians to reach it with their left wing before the main Turkish force at Plevna can do so. Radomirzy, where the main road from Plevna to Orchanie and Sophia crosses a branch of the Isker, is a point which the Russians may reach from Lovatz or from the