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Adolf von Horsetzky




The insurrections in Herzegovina in 1875 led in the summer of 1876 to war between Servia and Montenegro and Turkey. Put as early as August Prince Milan was compelled to call on the Powers to intervene. After the armistice the turks dispersed the Servian army on October 29, 1876 north of Nis (near Djunis). There-upon Czar Alexander II demanded of Turkey that it cease hostilities, which was complied with. The conference of the six European Powers in Constantinople, which were intended to force Turkey to make reforms, were fruitless as England secretly supported Turkey. When Turkey declined the respective protocols of April 10, 1877, Russia decided to free by itself alone the Slavs from the Turkish domination and declared war against Turkey on April 24th. For this event Russia had entered an agreement with Austria as early as January, which overcame the danger that had threatened its army in 1854 on the Danube by the flanking position of Siebenburgen. Austria assured Russia of full freedom of action on the eastern part of the Balkan peninsula, while Russia left it to Austria-Hungary to occupy Basnia and Herzegovina. In the start Russia arranged a treaty with Rumania, through whose terrain it had to go to the Danube, referring to transition and subsistence matters only.

Corresponding to its political phases, the military measures on the part of Russia proceeded only step by step and considering the uncertainty whether war would actually break out - in an unsteady and fickle manner. The intention in August 1876 was to have the Odessa Division and two army corps invade Bulgaria; in September an army of operation of four corps was to be organized in Bessarabia; in November orders were issued for the mobilization of twenty infantry and seven cavalry divisions.

At that time Russia had 48 infantry and 16 cavalry divisions, of which 41 infantry divisions were organized in European Russia. It thus designated only two-fifth of its forces for the war; it believed, as it did in 1828/29 that Turkey was completely exhausted and not capable to oppose eight or ten divisions entering Bulgaria. Put in this Russia made a mistake. Then war broke out and knowledge received of the Turkish preparations, the first "November mobilization" was followed in April and May be the mobilization of eight additional infantry and one cavalry division, and in July and August of a further nine infantry and 2 cavalry divisions, so that finally there were only eleven infantry and six cavalry divisions not yet mobilized.



The cavalry corps, organized in the thirties had been disbanded again after the Crimean War; the main portion of them being changed into Dragoons. In 1862 the army was organized into corps, consisting of two and three infantry and cavalry divisions. Each infantry divisions consisted of sixteen battalions and four batteries. The Rifle battalions were organized into rifle brigades. After the Franco-Prussian war, in 1874,universal service was adopted. Every man on reaching the age of 20 had to become a soldier, remaining subject to military service until the age of 40. Six years he served with the colors, nine in the reserve, the remainder of the period in the "Opoltschenie" (Landstrum). As a matter of fact actual service with the colors was for only four years so that more men could enter the ranks annually. Recruiting was not by territorial districts. European Russia (excepting the German Baltic Provinces, Poland, and the government districts of Kowno and Bessarabia) furnished 164 infantry regiments out of 164 recruiting districts. The ten Guard and eighteen Grenadier Regiments, the 28 Rifle battalions, and all mounted troops were recruited from the entire country. The Cossacks retained their old military system.

The total strength of the Russian army in 1876 was 720,000 men; in November that number was increased to 970,000 by calling 250,000 reservists to the colors; in May and August this number was again increased to more than 1,800,000; counting off the losses in sick, etc, this left an effective strength of approximately 1,500,000 men in August 1877.

When war broke out in 1877 a portion of the Russian infantry was armed with the Berdan rifle (caliber 10.6 mm, initial velocity 442m, range 2000m, sighted for 1500m), the larger portion still carrying the Kruka rifle (caliber 15.2mm,. initial velocity 305m, sighted at 600 to 1200m). Bayonets were always fixed; each man carried 60 rounds of ammunition, 60 rounds being carried in the ammunition carts; infantry had tents but no entrenching tools; a number of tools being carried on wagons. Combat tactics in the battalion consisted in one company being deployed in skirmish line, followed by the remaining companies in two lines. The main combat formation was the line in close order, the principal method of fire was the volley, fired at 400 meters range, whereupon the charge was made; the skirmishers fired at will. Steps had been taken to re-arm the artillery,k but none of the new material had been supplied so far.

The war found Russia unprepared (it was never prepared at any time), it suffered still of the consequences of the Crimean war and from the enormous costs of the railroad construction found necessary in the interim; the military reforms, started in the first fifteen years after the Crimean war, had been changed into new channels because of the experiences gained in the Frnaco-Prussian War of 1870/71; and the universal service introduced in 1874 had so far (up to 1877) shown neither quantitative nor qualitative results.

There was great lack of trained men for the reserve and lines of communications organizations; lack of officers was especially felt in all organizations. Interdiction against having a fleet on the Black Sea had been abrogated in 1871, but no such fleet had as yet been organized; Turkey dominated the sea, prevented direct communication between the two presumable theaters of operations in the Balkans and in Asia Minor, and even threatened the little protected coast line at Odessa and of the Crimea. Under these conditions Russia could hardly arrive at any other plan than to first march into Rumania, trusting to the convention agreed between it and Austria-Hungary, and to cross, in the subsequent operations, the Danube between the Serbian frontier and Rustrschuk. The further object then was to advance on Adrianople, without stopping to besiege the fortresses north of the Balkans, but freeing the Slav population of Bulgaria. It was hoped that the difficult crossing of the Danube could be accomplished by blocking the mouth of that river to the Turkish fleet and by laying mines and resorting to torpedo maneuvers within the stretch selected for the crossing. For this purpose fourteen steam (torpedo) cutters were available.

The fighting forces of Turkey were far smaller than those of Russia, and Turkey had less means for a war. The land troops were organized into seven corps (Ordus); only 37,000 men joined the colors annually. The honor to carry arms was given only to the Mohanedan population, numbering about 19 millions. Service with the colors was for six years; there were about 200,000 field troops (Nizam), 200,000 Landwehr (Redif) and 300,000 Landsturm (Mustaphiz). As a matter of fact the Turkish army never attained a larger force than 500,000 men - or 2% of the Mohamedan population. The Turkish Danube fleet numbered 20 ships.

Two-thirds of the Turkish infantry were armed with Martini-Henry rifle (caliber 11.4mm, initial velocity 415m,sighted up to 1800 meters); which was about equal to the Berdin rifle. The other third was armed with the Snyder rifle (caliber 14.6mm, initial velocity 358m, sighted up to 1300 meters), which was about equal to the Krnka rifle. The men carried 60 rounds of ammunition each. The field artillery materiel, mostly Krupp model. was superior to the Russian materiel.

When war broke out the end of April the Turkish troops stood as follows:
-- 90,000 men in Bosnia, Albania, Epirus, Nacedonia, in Creta opposite the different insurrectionists;
-- 60,000 men along the Serbian frontier at Widden;
-- 90,000 men in Eastern Bulgaria and in the fortresses;
-- 40,000 men in the Balkan and in Constantinople;
-- 280,000 men total in Europe;
-- 120,000 men in Asia, making a grand total of
-- 4000,000 men.

Political as well as military Turkey could think only of the defensive, of maintaining and defending the status quo. Of course its fleet could become dangerous to the Russian coast cities. The Turkish plan of operations laid the point of gravity of operations on the Danube and the northern foothills of the Balkans, into the so-called fortress quadrangle Rustchuk, Silistria, Schumla, Varna. Razgrad, between Rustchuk and Schumla, was also fortified. The main army at Schumla was under command of Abdul Kerim Pasha, that at Widdin under Osman Pasha, that in Herzegovina, at Gacko-Pilek, etc., under Suleiman Pasha.

As the Russians, at the outbreak of war, did not reckon with the Rumanian army participating therein, and as Serbia had just been almost annihilated, it could only be assumed only that in any case the 20 to 25,000 Montegrians would hold down just as many Turkish troops and the other opponents an additional 25 to 30,000 Turks. By designating only 200,000 men for invasion in November (while 120,000 operated in the Caucasus,), 70,000 men for Odessa and in the Crimea, and as 70,0-00 men were to remain on the Austrian frontier, the ratio on the Balkan peninsula between Russians and Turks was as 20,000 to 220-230,000.



The Russian mobilization started on November 13th and included twenty infantry divisions with their artillery brigades and seven cavalry divisions of the military districts of Odessa, Kiev, Charkov, and Moscou, and also of the Caucasus. November 14th was the first day of mobilization. Of the 250,000 reservists called in, more than three-quarters arrived at the assembly stations as early as the fifth mobilization day. The total number of troops mobilized for Europe and Asia with all auxiliary units, etc., was approximately 550,000 men. Transportation of reservists and horses commenced on the third mobilization day and lasted seventeen days; the train schedules prepared in advance for the entire mobilization, however, had to be worked over and rearranged. Of the mobilized troops four army corps (VIIIth, XIth, XIIth), 160,000 men, were designated as an army of operation in Bulgaria.


Transportation point at Kischinev commenced on the seventh mobilization day (November 20th) and lasted until January 8, 1877 - fifty days. Two large interruptions happened. Because of insufficient rolling stock on the Odessa railroad and blockades of stations of the Kursk railroad, which also was a single track road,it was found necessary to stop all transportation of troops for three days on all the roads; and transportation was not resumed until the 27th, the 11th mobilization day. A second interruption was caused by the inadequacy of the water supply at the different stations,k and so as not to again stop the entire transport about fifty-five trains had to be cut out, the troops thereon having to take other trains as best as could be managed. The very cold weather interfered greatly with this detraining and entraining. Not counting the mobilization trains and trains carrying provisions exclusively, it took 2000 trains to transport the mobilized troops, or forty trains per day.

The "Army of Operations" remained in cantonments now for four months in Bessarabia; the XIIth Corps between the Rumanian frontier and Kischinew, the VIIIth Corps at and south of Pender, the XIth still farther south towards Galatz, the IXth in second line on the railroad leading from Zmerinka to Odessa. The Cossacks were out in front. The VIIth and the Xth Corps, detailed to guard the coast, took station at Odessa and in the Crimea. Four divisions concentrated for greater security - in spite of the Convention - in the Kiev military district along the Austrian-Hungarian frontier.

These four months were employed for tactical training of the troops and for disciplining the numerous reservists, the artillery breaking in the new horses. The trains were found too clumsy. Grand Duke Nicholas Nicolajevich Senior, 45 years of age, commanded this army.

When war broke out three additional army corps (IVth, XIIIth, XIVth) were attached April 26th to the Army of Operations, which latter was then supposed to have a strength of 260,000 effective. The Bulgarian Landsturm also joined it with some 30 to 40,000 men.



Chapter I

Invasion of Rumania by the Russians


The declaration of war was sent to Constaninople on April 24, 1877 and the frontier crossed at the same time. By a forced march of 80 kilometers one Cossack regiment reached Galatz as early as the 25th and occupied the Sereth bridge to the south at Barbos, to prevent its destruction by the Turks. This regiment was followed by the XIth Corps to Galatz and Braila, to secure the railroad and vicinity there. Under the protection of this corps the VIIIth Corps then marched via Leovo and along the Pruth, followed by the XIIth and IXth Corps (the letter partly by rail, Pender-Jassi-Galatz-Bukarest), to the Rumanian capital. The cavalry divisions advanced to the Danube. This advance lasted until June 4th (350 km in 40 days). Protracted rains and high water delayed the corps. It often took 12 ox teams to haul the cartridge and provision wagons over the sodden roads of Moldavia. The bridge that had been planned for construction at Leovo, could not be started because of the high water. The VIIIth Corps reached Bukarest twelve days later than it had been expected to get there. Rail transportation was greatly delayed by lack of rolling stock and damaged bridges, the total delay being about a month. This delay in the concentration was not very important, as the high stage of the Danube, occurring that year later than usual, made a crossing of that river the beginning of June impossible and, so as to cross the Danube with at least four corps, it was intended to await the arrival of the XIVth Corps, which was to relieve the XIth Corps at Galatz. The corps arrived there the middle of June.

The Rumanian army mobilized in April and took up a position facing Widdin - at Calafat - at the mouth of the Alt opposite Nicopolis. That army was composed of four divisions with a total of 50,000 men.



The Russians Cross the Danube


With the arrival of the first Russian troops and the subsequent arrival of mine planters and torpedo vessels, which were shipped knocked down, energetic action against the Turkish Danube fleet commenced. Supported by the shore batteries consisting in the start of only field guns, but later of heavy guns, success was very soon attained in blocking the sector between Reni and Hirsovo on the lower Danube to the Turkish fleet as well as in blocking the Danube with nines between Corabia and the mouth of the Alt and in front of Rustschuk and in pushing back the Turkish monitors and vessels to the fortresses Rustschuk and Silistria.

Grouping of forces the middle of June:
Of the Russian army the following stood in the first line on the Danube:

The 8th Cavalry Division at Turnu Magurele and Zimnica; the Detachment Scobelev (4th Rifle Brigade and Caucasian Cossack Brigade) in the sector from the Vede river to Giurgevo; the 12th Cavalry Division in the sector of Oltenitza; the 11th Cavalry Division opposite Silistra as far as the mouth of the Dimbovitza, connecting there with the "Lower Danube" corps (now the XIVth Corps) at Galatz--Braila.

The XIth Corps stood in front of Oltenitza and Guirgevo, the VIIIth, IXth and XIIth Corps in cantonments at Bukarest. At Slatina on the ALt work was in progress in asking floats from the materials for the Danube bridge, the material having been brought partly from the Siebenburgen frontier (the forests there) and partly from Galatz by rail. It was expected that the XIIIth Corps would arrive the end of June and the IVth Corps the middle of July.

On the Turkish side, a weak detachment was in the Dobrudscha at Macin, opposite Braila; in addition to the garrisons of the fortresses there were, for guarding the Upper Danube, garrisons of 2 to 3 and even four battalions in the different localities along the Danube between the fortresses; about 10,000 men were in Nicopolis and 2000 to 3000 men in Sistova and surrounding localities.



Grand Duke Nicolas had selected for his Danube crossing the stretch between Nicopolis and Rustschuk, where it was hoped there would be no difficulty in bringing - in spite of the fortress of Nicopolis - the bridge material prepared in the Alt river easily to the Danube under protection of the shore batteries. Four corps (VIIIth, IXth, XIIth, and XIIIth, a total of eight divisions) were to cross not far from Sistova and which were thereafter to gain a foothold opposite Rustschuck, on the Jantra and at Tirenovo, while an "advance guard" under General Gurko was to rapidly cross the Balkans and induce the Bulgarians to start an insurrection against the Rurks. The XIV the Corps - Zimmermann - was to march into the Dobrudscha a day prior to the main crossing so as to diverge the attention of the Turks from Sistova.

Four corps remained behind for protecting the communications and guarding the coast: the XIth Corps opposite Ristschuk, the IVth Corps at Calarasi opposite Silistria (and Bukarest), the VIIth Corps at Odessa, and the Xth Corps in the Crimea.

In the face of the advance of the Russians to the Danube, Abdul Kerim did not attempt a direct defense of the Danube, but wanted to start to meet the Russians only if they - as was to be assumed - took steps to invest Rustschuk and Schumla.

Crossing the Danube

The secondary crossing commenced the middle of June. The XIVth Corps threw a bridge - under protection of its shore batteries and torpedo crusiers - from Braila to the right bank, which was widely inundated, not far from the point where a bridge had been thrown in 1853. However, this bridge could not be fully utilized for crossing because the Turkish guns completely dominated that bridge. First of all the Turks had to be driven off. For that purpose on June 22d two regiments were transferred across by steamers from Galatz; these drove off the weak Turkish garrison after a short fight near Kacin, whereupon the XIVth Corps marched without further trouble into the Dobrudscha.

The next day, June 23d, the main crossing was to take place; the marches to the point selected therefore, Turnu Magurcle and Zimnica, had commenced as early as the 16th, when information was received that the four pontooneer battalions and the ponton park could not arrive at the point where the bridge was to be thrown before June 26th. Thereupon the movements were stopped for three days and the date of crossing fixed at the 27th. In the meantime the Grand Duke personally reconnoitered the Danube between Turnu Magurele Zimnica and ordered then that the crossing should take place at the last named point. At this place the river is from 1000 to 1800 meters across, has many arms, and on the left bank swampy terrain; the Bulgarian bank being 20 to 30 meters high and steep, the depth of the river being 4 to 7 meters, the current four miles per hour.

June 25th and 26th the technical troops under General Richter, the 14th Infantry Division and 4th Rifle Brigade under General Dragomir off arrived at Zimnica. In the afternoon of the 26th of June the troops were, for the propose of crossing the river, divided into seven echelons, each echelon consisting of twelve companies of infantry, 60 Cossacks and eight guns, or about 2500 men. A starting place for the infantry was designated about one kilometer up the river from the station of the Austrian Lloyd and one for the horses and guns about one kilometer downstream from the mentioned station, both covered by islands. When it became dark the engineers started from the town for the bank of the river and put the pontons together. At 11 o'clock the first echelon started for the Danube; it started at 1:00 a.m. and 2:00 a.m. the first twelve companies started across the river. The second echelon followed about half and hour later. The crossing took one hour, for wind and waves drove the pontons, each carrying 30 men, apart, but all companies of the first echelon landed between 3:00 and 3:30 a.m. three to four kilometers below Sistova, not far from a Turkish guard house. The Turkish guards did not discover the Russians until they were by a dew hundred yards from the bank; and though they fired on the pontons with rifles and guns they could not prevent their landing, though some of the pontons were sunk. The Turkish battalions hastening up to the point from Sistova (and Vardim), a total of about 4,000 and two batteries, attacked the Russians at 6:00 a.m. Though the subsequent echelons were not formed according to the program, at the time of the Turkish attack four of the echelons had arrived, a total of 8000 to 10,000 men, so that the Turks were outnumbered and thrown back from the river. By 10:30 a.m. the entire 14th Infantry Division had crossed the river; and now the smaller steamers came into action.

The next day, June 28th, construction of the "lower ponton bridge" commenced with the iron and wooden pontons assembled in Slatina, which had fortunately passed Nicopolis during the night from the Alt into the Danube, and been towed then by steamers to the island and from there to the Bulgarian shore at a point about 1 1/2 kilometers below Sistova. The bridge was 1300 meters long and was finished by July 1st, though a storm tore the bridge apart the night of June 29th, during which many of the iron pontons sank. (A second bridge was thrown between July 19th and August 9th farther upstream for heavy vehicles).

The artillery and the trains of the troops of the VIIIth Corps that had then crossed, proceeded across the river on July 2d, as did also the artillery and trains of the cavalry of the advance guard; after these were across, followed the main body of the XIIth, the XIIIth and the IXth Corps.

July 5th the advance guard under Gurko started from Sistova for Tirnova (20 kilometers and the advance guard of the Rustschuk army group to Bjela (30 kilometers). Because of repeated damages to the bridge the assembly of the IXth Corps was delayed till the 9th, the last brigade not closing up until July 12th.

The XIIth and XIIIth Corps under the successor to the Crown followed the cavalry towards the left by way of Bjela and the Jantra to the Kara Lom and established themselves at Pyros, about 15 kilometers in front of Rustschuk and at Kaceljevo. The IXth Corps marched from July 12th to 15th to Nicopolis, 40 kilometers distant.



Gurko's First Crossing of the Balkans


The "Advance Guard Corps" (4th Rifle Brigade and three cavalry brigades), followed by four (of the mobilized six) battalions of the Bulgarian levy (Bulgarian battalions being composed of picked men, each battalion 1000 effective), a total of 10 1/2 battalions, 45 squadrons and 40 guns (Ammunition and subsistence reserve carrying on pack animals) had advanced on the 6th, when Gurko assumed command, directly against the Balkans on Tirnovo. It reached, almost without fighting - being opposed only by some cavalry - that city on July 7th, whereupon the Grand Duke immediately followed up with the VIIIth Corps, arriving there on the 12th of July. Though his flanks towards the Kara Lom on the left and towards Nicopolis and Plevna on the right were little covered and insufficiently protected, he was carried away by the though of rapidly taking tirnovo so much that he proposed to the Czar to abandon the siege of Rustschuk entirely and to have the tow corps there follow up the VIIIth Corps and cross the Balkans. But that plan appeared too audacious to the Czar. No approved only that - while the Kara Lom be held by the XIIth and the XIIIth Corps left and the Wid on the right by the IXth Corps - the movement of the VIIIth Corps might take place across the Balkans as soon as the following up XIth and IVth Corps had come up.

In Tirnova (65 kilometers from Sistova, 205 meters above sea level) Gurko stood at the exit of four Balkan passes. Kept well informed by the Bulgarians, he knew that only the Shipka pass (1250 meters above sea level), the main connecting route between Rustschuk and Sofia and Andrianople, was occupied and fortified, and that the other passes were unoccupied. He decided to go around the Shipka pass by way of the road to the east from Nainkoj 'Heinboghaz). July 12th, after the arrival of the VIIIth Corps, he started from Tirnova; on the 13th all wagons taken along had to remain behind; on the 14th he reached the lower pass (683 meters above sea level); on the 15th he arrived at the exit of the defile at Hainkoj - 322 meters above sea level - in the southern foothills; on the 16th he turned along the southern slope west towards Maglis; a day later, the 17th, he reached, after a smaller engagement, Kazanlik and the village of Shipka at the southern slope of the Shipka pass. That day, July 17th, according to a prior agreement, a detachment from the VIIIth Corps attacked from direction of Gabrova the pass, but as Gurko did not appear that detachment had to fall back. July 18th Gurko on his part attacked the fortifications of the pass from the south. His attack was also defeated, but Kulissi Pasha voluntarily evacuated with the four to five battalions under his command the positions during the night of the 18th/19th and evade the threatening surrounding by a retreat square across the mountains to Philippopel.

During this time the XIVth Corps in the Dobrudscha had reached the Trajanswall on the 13th of July, without having encountered any resistance to speak of; the XIIth and XIIIth Corps stood on a 30 kilometers broad line east of the Jantra on the Kara Lom; the XIth Corps had established itself east of Tirnova to cover the left flank in connection with the XIIIth Corps on the road to Osmanbazar; the IXth Corps had forced Nicopolis to surrender on the 17th of July with its 7 to 8000 men.

Thus, the first operations were successful in all directions; no serious resistance had been countered at any point. Army headquarters in Tirnova (Imperial headquarters being 42 kilometers north, in Bjela) was under the impression that there would be no difficulty in occupying also Southern Bulgaria, when a tempest approached - believed in the start to be not at all dangerous - which brought about a complete change in the situation - which proves that no occupation of terrain has a military value as long the enemy's power of resistance in the open field has not been broken.



The Turkish Plan of Operations of July 10th - Osman's Approach and the First Battle of Plevna


After the main attack of the Russians had shown itself by the crossing at Zimnica, Osman Pasha had recommended from Widdin as early as the end of June that his army, or the main body of it, march to Tirnova to join the main army. When now Gurko appeared on July 7th in the old Bulgarian capital at the northern foothills of the Balkans, Sultan Abdul Hamid accepted that recommendation and during the course of July 10th issued orders for Osman's army to march to Tirnova and for Suleiman Pasha to march from Montenegro to the principal theater of war in Bulgaria. At the same time he relieved Abdul Kerim Pasha from command and assigned, on July 27th, Mehemet Ali in Schumla to the command of the "Eastern Army of the Danube." Of the "Western Army of the Danube" - numbering 70 battalions, 26 squadrons and 10 batteries, about 12,000 men, started from Widdin on July 13th and, marching mostly at night because of the extreme heat, arrived uninterested with and unobserved in Plevna (35 kilometers southwest of Nicopoliis) between July 17th and 19th (having covered 160 to 170 kilometers in seven days).

The march had undoubtedly been observed by the Rumanians and reported to the Grand Duke in Tirnova on the 14th, but that report had been paid no attention to. A valet de chambre of the Grand Duke received the telegram and handed into the Grand Duke, who merely read it but did not transmit it to the general staff. So far only a detachment of some 2000 men stood at Plevna, which had been sent there from the fortress on July 9th. Osman's main body had remained partly in Widdin and partly south of and on the line of approach, to keep down the Bulgarian population, which amounted to about 60% of the entire population, and to cover the line of communications to Widdin and Sofia. Osman had arrived about two days too late to relieve the garrison of Nicopolis. On the other hand, he arrived at the opportune time, to prevent the Russians from capturing the city of Plevna.


Immediately prior to the capture of Nicopolis, July 16th and on July 17th again, the Grand Duke had directed the IXth Corps to occupy as rapidly as possible Plevna, the main city of western Bulgaria on the main road Rustschuk --Bjela--Widdin "in order to secure itself there against any probable offensive coming from Widdin." Thereupon General Krudener directed General Schilder-Schuldner with two infantry regiments and five batteries from Nicopolis, and also the 19th Infantry Regiment with one battery - which up to then stood at Bulgareni, 30 kilometers east of Plevna on the Osma, at the cross roads to Sistova - and finally the Caucasian Cossack Brigade to start for Plevna on July 18th. On July 19th Schilder encountered with his two regiments (without his cavalry having observed the approach of Osman nor his arrival in Plevna on the 19th) entirely unexpectedly a very strong hostile position, supported by artillery, on the heights just north of the town of Bukova. The 19th Regiment had marched independently only along the main road to within 10 kilometers east of Plevna. July 20th Schilder attacked the heights of Bukova from the north with about 8,000 men and five batteries; the 19th Regiment attacked the heights at Grivica from the east, about 2,000 men and one battery strong. The two battlefields were about seven or eight kilometers apart; at Bukova stood between 9000 and 10,000 Turks; at Grivica 2000; in the city in reserve between 5000 and 6000. Both columns of the Russians were completely defeated.

The Turks did not pursue and did not continue their match on Tirnova but, expecting another attack coming from Nicopolis, held the heights around Plevna. July 27th Lovca was occupied by a Turkish division (under Rifat Pasha) with about 4,000 men and thereby communication established with Sofia. The Turks now threatened Sistova from Plevna and Tirnova from Lovca. By July 30th the Turks had thrown up about 14 fortifications: 1st to 6th on the heights of Bukova, facing north; 7th and 8th on the hill at Grivica; 9th and 10th on the heights west of the Tucenice defile on both sides of the road leading to Lovca. The fortifications at Grivica were about 6 kilometers from the center of the town, numbers 9 and 10 about 2 to 3 kilometers, number 14 about four kilometers. The Grivica fortifications faced east, the 11th to 14th facing south; numbers 9 and 10 formed a sort of curtain between the neighboring groups.



The Second Battle of Plevna


Believing that there would be no difficulty in easily overcoming the Turkish army group in Plevna, and desiring to follow Gurka across the Balkans as soon as possible with the VIIIth Corps (which decision was arrived at on July 22d and 23d), only one infantry and one cavalry brigade with six batteries of the XIth Corps, which had been sent against Tirnova, facing towards Osmanbazar (one division remaining there, the other brigade being in front of Oltenitza) were placed under General Krudener's command, and subsequently also two infantry brigades and six batteries of the IVth Corps which had just then arrived at Sistova. General Krudener thus had at his disposal, by July 27th, 36 battalions, 36 squadrons and 180 guns, or from 26 to 28,000 effective. This general estimated the Turkish forces in Plevna at 50,000 men and consequently considered himself entirely too weak. Army headquarters did not believe that such a strong force could be there, and in addition considered that Krudener's cavalry and artillery outnumbered the Turkish three or four to one, and directed him to finish with Plevna as rapidly as possible. On July 28th, 29th, and 30th three regiments crossed the Danube, but they were not sent to reinforce Krudener, receiving orders instead to march to Tirnova. The 124th infantry regiment, guarding the bridge, was placed under the orders of Krudener only on July 28th, so that it arrived too late. Thus, army headquarters was much to blame for the defeat Krudener suffered on July 30th.

July 28th and 29th General Krudener placed his forces in readiness near the Bjela--Plevna road at Laragac Bulagrski and southwest thereof at Polischat--Pordim, about 10 to 15 kilometers east of Plevna. July 30th about half of his force advanced to attack fortifications numbers 7 and 8 situated north of the road and brook there near the village of Grivica, while the smaller half of his force under Schachovskoi attacked the hills south of the road, about 4 kilometers from Grivica and Plevna, which appeared to be but weakly held and where the Turks were constructing their fortifications number 9 and 10. The reserve followed along the road. Skobeleff with a strong cavalry column, which had reconnoitered towards Lovca, accompanied the attack west of the Tucenica brook, which had steep banks, in order - like the cavalry on the right wing - to interrupt the connection between Plevna and the Wid.

Osman Pasha had at his disposal approximately 20,000 men and 58 guns. He had placed one division, 12 battalions, on the heights of the north and east front, at Grivica, one division on the south front, and kept nine battalions in reserve. The one and a half Russian divisions, on the right wing, saw when they arrived on front of Grivica that a frontal attack would be out of the question and General Krudener wanted to discontinue the attack even before noon, when he received a report from Schachovski that he would attack at 2:00 p.m. the hostile position about 1500 meters in his front (Fortifications numbers 9 and 10) and that he counted on Krudener's support. (The Grivica fortifications were about 300 meters above the low-lying village traversed by the main road, but were overtopped by the hills on the east and south by 30 to 60 meters at a distance of 3000 to 4000 meters, so that if the Russian troops had been used rationally, and considering that the Russian artillery outnumbered the Turks there three to one, the fire superiority could have been attained easily and probably the earthworks destroyed. But we must remark here that the Russians had no information at all of the construction of the works, though several reconnaissances had been made. The fortifications in most cases were open redoubts with sunken cover and were made bomb-proof like the infantry trenches.) When Krudener learned Schachovskoi's intentions he sent him one regiment from his reserve and also had his right wing advance to the attack towards 3:00 p.m. Both groups got to very close to the fortifications, some individual men even entering the trenches; but finally both wings were forced to retire. The weak 3d column Skobeleff, which had approached very close to the city on the Green Hills, had to abandon the advantages it had so far gained. July 31st Skobeleff and Schachovskoi fell back to Podim and Krudener to Trestenik and Bulgareni, 15 and 30 kilometers respectively from Plevna; a panic overtook some of the trains in this retreat and they fled to the bridges at Zimnica (70 kilometers) carrying fright and confusion to the left bank of the Danube. The day (July 20th) the Russians lost 2400 men, on the 30th some 7000 men or 23% some single regiments lost as high as 40%. Of the total number lost the cavalry lost only 18, the artillery only 85 men. The loss of the Turks was 1200 men. And at the same time a catastrophe overtook Gurko's advance guard.

The Russians soon found out that the forces they had mobilized for the war were entirely inadequate. Orders therefore were issued for the mobilization of the Guard and the Grenadier Corps as well as of the 24th and 26th Infantry Divisions (a total of seven infantry and two cavalry divisions), after orders had already been issued for the start of the already mobilized 2d and 3d Infantry Divisions and 3d Rifle Brigade from the Moscow military district to Bulgaria. But as it would take at least two months for the Guard and Grenadier Corps to reach the theater of operations (as a matter of fact they arrived there the beginning of October), co-operation of the Rumanian army was now accepted. One Rumanian Division (the 4th), standing in front of Nicopolis, immediately started to the southern bank of the Danube for Plevna.



The Turkish Offensive

Gurko's and Suleiman's Operations South of the Balkans


Reuf Pasha, who had been assigned to the command of the troops defending the Balkans at the last moment - 14 to 16 Turkish battalions - assembled those battalions at Jeni Zagra (Nova Zagora) and was driven from that place by General Gurko on July 30th after a short fight. Gurko's right flank detachment soon reported from Eski Zagra (Stara Zagora) that new and stronger Turkish forces were approaching - the army under Suleiman.

After a stubborn fight Suleiman had dispersed the Montenegrians and had been be called to the main theater of war as had also Osman, by orders of the Sultan dated July 10th. The same day the fleet of transports left Constantinople, arriving in Antivari on July 14th. Suleiman embarked his six brigades, about 50 weak battalions,on July 16th. The first echelon landed in Dedeagatsh (1500 kilometers from Antivari) on the 21st, proceeding thence by rail to Adrianople (July 22d) and to Karabunar (July 25th to 27th). He started his advance resolutely on Eski Zagra on the 28th. He drew Reuf Pasha's force onto his own from Jeni Zagra, reaching Eski Zagra on the 30th of July, on which day Gurko reached Jeni Zagra. He pushed Gurko thereby away from Kazanlik and Shipka, the latter falling back in all haste across the Hainkioj. Gurko's troops reached Tirnova entirely exhausted and had to be put into recuperation cantonments north of Tirnova.

The successes of Osman at Plevna and of Suleiman on the south of the Balkans threw the Russians entirely on the defensive. Army as well as Imperial Headquarters retired to G. Studen (20 kilometers from Sistova). Preparations were made for a renewed attack on Plevna and until that time the corps on the south and east line were to merely hold their positions. The Turks were left consequently the initiative in the offensive. However, there was no correct co-operation between the three armies. It is true that the Sultan approved Suleiman's intentions to attack the Shipka, but the simultaneous attack he desired Osman and Mehemet to make on Tirnova went to pieces because the last named two armies were insufficiently equipped for any offensive on a larger scale.

Grouping of Forces the Middle of August.

Of the 270,000 Russians the West Army group (Zatow) stood in front of Plevna with about 45,000 men; the Rumanian 4th Division in Nicopolis; as left flank detachment (Skobeleff) towards Lovca; the South Army group (Radetzky) at Selvi, Tirnova, in the passes of the Balkans, especially in the Shipka pass and towards Osmanbazar, approximately 50,000 men; the Rustschuk group in three bodies in front of Rustschuk towards Razgrad and Eski Dzuma, 55,000 men.

The 3d Rifle Brigade crossed the Danube on the 8th, the 2d and 3d Infantry Divisions crossed between August 14th and 30th and formed the army reserve of approximately 35,000. Grand total: 185,000 men.

Of the 300,000 Turkish troops in the Balkans about 200,000 were in Bulgaria; of these Osman was with 30,000 to 35,000 men at Plevna; Suleiman Pasha with approximately 35,000 men at Kzanlik. Mehemet Ali had about 60,000 men of the 100,000 men of the fortress quadrangle in three groups on the Kara Lom - a total of approximately 130,000 men in the field.

Suleiman Pasha's Attack Against the Shipka.

After a rest of about ten days which had been employed in properly training, etc. of his troops, Suleiman Pasha started on August 10th by way of Tvrdica (reaching there the 13th) to Hainkoij (14th to 16th), from there, after leaving a brigade, he marched by Maglis to Kazanlik, arriving there on the 18th, and the village of Shipka, reaching the steep slopes of the southern face of the Balkans on the 19th of August, with the intention of attacking with his 25,000 to 26,000 men and 48 guns the Shipka Pass, about 8 kilometers distant, and having an elevation of 800 to 900 meters above the village of Shipka. He had left strong detachments in the Elenam Brbrova and Hainkioj passes, which, in conjunction with the Bashibozuks and Turkish population harassed the Russian stations so much that Radetzky departed with his reserves towards Elena on the 19th and 20th of August, just when Suleiman Pasha arrived at the Shipka Pass. August 21st Suleiman ascended with one brigade the slope on both sides of the highroad to very close south of the Russian fortifications at the foot of the Sveti Nicolai rock and with two brigades the heights of Brdek east thereof, to attack those fortifications in flank. General Stoljetow had at his disposal for defense five Bulgarian and three Russian battalions, more than 6000 men and 30 guns (8 and 9-pounders, as well as mountain guns); he had formed that force into three separate groups, each group having three to four batteries on a line of approximately 2000 meters extension and 1500 meters depth. The steep and very rocky heights of the passes were overtopped on the cast by the Brdek, 1 1/2 to 2 kilometers off, on the west by the Lisaja gorna, two to three kilometers off, but only very narrow ridges, with wooded slopes, led to the Russian positions and the defenders could sweep them at every point with their fire. Suleiman's attack on the 21st of August miscarried as in spite of all efforts only few mountain guns could be brought onto the Brdek. A reconnaissance was again made on August 22d and on the 23d Suleiman again attacked from three sides with all his brigades. The attackers had worked their way, with what support they could get from the few guns in position to within a few hundred meters and the final charge was about to be made when Radetzky arrived late in the afternoon with the Rifle Brigade, being followed at night by two infantry regiments, totally exhausted however by the marches to Elena and back.

The arrival of additional reinforcements on August 24th enabled General Radetzky with his twenty battalions to offer permanent resistance to the Turkish attacks, and to even take the offensive himself and therefore Suleiman desisted from all further attacks on August 26th. He entrenched himself close opposite the Russian fortifications and besieged them, extending his positions as far as Zelendrevo (halfway to Gabrova), without however being able to hold the main road.

The battles for possession of the Shipka Pass had induced Russian army headquarters to make a series of troop shifts, especially from Selvi towards Gabrova.

Simultaneously with the fighting at the Shipka Pass engagements took place on the Lom and on the Jantra. Mehemet Ali shifted the first days in August for operations in the open field two corps (the IIId and IVth) with a total of five to six divisions from Schumla and one to two divisions from Rustshuk towards the Lom against the Grand Duke. The latter had the XIIth and XIIIth Corps in the northern third, and in the southern third the XIth Corps at his disposal - the latter being joined the beginning of August by the detachments employed prior to then at Plevna. When Suleiman Pasha attacked the Shipka Pass Mehemet Ali executed an attack with his left wing against the Jantra, which led on the 22d and 23d of August to the engagements at Ajazlar and Popkioj. On August 30th he again attacked with two divisions of the center the advanced forces of the Russian XIIIth Corps at Karahassankioj, but again without being able to pierce that line.

August 31st a larger engagement ensued at Kadikioj (Stroklevo) south of Rustschuk, which the Russians again renewed on the 4th of September. Finally, the beginning of September, when it was already too late considering conditions with Suleiman, Mehemet Ali advanced with his right wing and his center, with three to four divisions, against the Russian position at Kaceljevo-Ablava, and with one division from Osmanbazar in the direction of Tirnova.

These movements resulted on September 5th in the engagements at Kaceljevo and Ablava, by which the left wing of the group under the Grand Duke was pushed across the Lom and had to retreat to the Jantra and the hills east of Bjela (reaching there on the 9th).

August 31st Osman Pasha made a sortie towards Zgalevice and Polischat on the southeast front of Plevna, but without achieving any success. With all these individual operations the offensive power of the Turks did out.



The Third Battle of Plevna (September 7-12)


After, on the one hand, negotiations with Rumania, started the beginning of August, had ed to the result that three Rumanian divisions crossed the Danube at Corabia between August 24th and 27th and Prince Karol assumed command on the 29th of his four divisions and the Russian Division Zatow in front of Plevna and after, on the other hand, the crisis in the Shipka Pass had been fortunately overcome and the attacks of the Turks on the Lom and at Plevna had been successfully defeated, and as finally nor reinforcements could be expected until October, it was decided to make an attack against Plevna with full energy from the East and South with all nine Russo-Rumanian divisions. However, Lovca had to be captured prior to that attack. for that purpose General Prince Imeritinski attacked the Turkish Division Rifat at Lovca on September 3d with the 2d and half of the 3d Infantry divisions and 3d Rifle Brigade, which had again been detached from the group at the Shipka Pass, in conjunction with the detachment under Skobeleff coming from Selvi. The Turkish division Rifat was driven back to Plevna. Leaving one brigade in Lovca, Imeritinski marched on September 5th to Bogot, south of Plevna.

Osman Pasha had thrown up very strong earthworks in a semi-circle around the city, only the southwest and west front being still open. He had between 30,000 and 35,000 men at his disposal and a total of 70 field pieces, a few three-pounders among them. The Russians greatly overestimated his forces, calculating to be no less than 50,000 to 60,000 men with from 120 to 150 field pieces.

It was decided to make a simultaneous attack against the east, southeast and south front, each attacking line to be about 5000 meters in extent. the Rumanians attacked with three divisions the east front, the Grivica works, the IXth and IVth Corps (four divisions) attacked the southeast front, the Radischevo works, the 2d Infantry Division and 3d Rifle Brigade (1 1/2 divisions) under Skobeleff, coming from Lovca, attacked the south front, the Green Hill - a total of eight and a half divisions, approximately 85,000 men and 425 field pieces. Twenty- four siege guns bombarded the Radischevo works. For the reason that it was held that in the second battle of Plevna the artillery preparation had been insufficient, the general assault was this time to be preceded by a specially long artillery bombardment. It had been impossible to thoroughly reconnoiter the nature of the hostile front.

Third Battle of Plevna

The Russian troops proceeded to their positions in the foreground on September 6th; on September 7th the artillery battle commenced; the tactical concentration was completed that day. the bombardment was continued from September 8th to 10th but without success, as was ascertained subsequently; the range was too long in some cases, and in some cases there was a total absence of massed fire effect. The main assault took place on September 11th. Skobeleff gained a firm foothold on the Green Hill immediately in front of Plevna; the Rumanians captured one of the Grivica redoubts; but the attack of the main column against the Radischevo front went to pieces nd had no result. September 12th Osman Pasha led his reserves forward to recapture the lost position on the Green Hill. Skobeleff was forced to retire.

A few days later the Russian army detachment on the Lom also went through a crisis, for Mehemet Ali appeared to have made up his mind to make an attack on a larger scale. However, the weak attack started from Ajazlar in the direction of Bjela was defeated at Cajirkioj -Cerkovna between the 18th and 21st of September, and the Grand Duke was thereby enabled to again take up his old positions on the Kara Lom.

Suleiman's audacious night attack against the Sveti Nicolai on September 17th was defeated also by Radetzky.



Investment and Fall of Plevna


After the third battle of Plevna the Russian headquarters called on the defender of Sebatopol, General Todleben, to take charge of the operations in front of Plevna, to completely invest that place, starve it out, and eventually storm it. But first of all the Cavalry Corps Kryloff and Laskarev (with their 75 squadrons) were to interrupt the communications of Osman's force with Orhanje--Sofia. No ,success was attained in this matter however. Repeatedly large convoys from Sofia entered Plevna , for instance on September 22d and 23d and again on October 5th. The Turks also organized a reserve army at Sofia and Orhanje and entrenched themselves at the most important line of communications stations along the Sofia--Plevna road, to protect communication with Plevna as best as practicable.

Only after Gurko took with his 20,000 to 30,000 men and 60 guns - after having been joined by the Russian Guard on October 24th- Gorni Dubnjak which was defended by 4000 Turks with four guns (in which action Gurko's command suffered material losses) and after having driven the Turks mainly by artillery fire out of Telsch on October 28th was communication with sofia interrupted and Osman Pasha completely invested.

Turkish Attempts at Relieving Plevna

The middle of November, on the Russian side, stood the Grand Duke with six divisions on the Lom; Radetski with three divisions in the Shipka Pass; Gurko with two and a half divisions on the Plevna-Orhanje road; and one division between Radetzky and Gurko at Lovca. This was a total of 12 1/2 divisions or 125,000 men four to five marches away from the army investing Plevna, which on its part numbered twelve divisions or 120,000 effective under Prince Charles and General Todleben.

On the Turkish side, Osman Pasha had enlarged Plevna fortifications so much that they now formed a fortified camp extending as far as the Wid bridge, 30 kilometers in extent.

Suleiman Pasha had assumed command on October 3d of the turkish main army, which had fallen back to Razgrad after the engagements at Cajirkoj--Cerkovna.

Shefket Pasha had concentrated about 20,000 to 25,000 men from Bosnia and from Adrianople around Sofia; these were mostly raw troops, with but few Redifs among them. to him always fell the principal working all the attempts at relieving Plevna. He also wanted to take up the offensive as soon as his army was in proper shape and as soon as the promised reinforcements from the Shipka army and from the main army had reached him. For the present he had established himself firmly and entrenched himself in part along the road to Plevna as well as in the mountains on the northern slope of the Etropol Balkan, his strongest positions being on the road east of Orhanje and farther in rear at Arabi-Konak. He also guarded all roads circumventing his positions.

Wessel Pasha, who commanded at Shipka in place of Suleiman, had been compelled repeatedly to detach forces of his command during the month of November to the Sofia Army, so that very soon had no more than 20,000 to 25,000 men left at his disposal. However, he masked the departure so well through smaller offensive operations, that the Russians continually forced a large offensive to take place on the part of the Turks at the Shipka and suffered in inconvenience of losing large numbers of deserters (Stragglers) and sick because of the continual excitement and hard service during the exceeding cold and bad snowstorms. But there could be no talk of an actual offensive on the part of Wessel Pasha.

The middle of November Gurko's recommendation was approved to get ahead, by an offensive, of all attempts at relieving Plevna which had to be feared at any time coming from Sofia. Leaving sufficient cavalry to hold Vraca, he established himself one march north of Orhanje with two Guard and half an infantry division (30,000 to 35,000 effective) at Jablonica and southeast thereof. November 23d he attacked the advanced entrenched positions in the mountain defiles at Vracesm at Pravec (east of Orhanje) and at Etropol and caused the Turks to evacuate them. Nehemed Ali, who had assumed command there, had to fall back to the main position at the Arabi-Kinak Pass. Gurko pursued to that position, but he could not take it at the first rush. Because he considered himself entirely too weak to execute a far reaching envelopment eastward towards Zlatica or westward towards Sofia, he drew back the main body of his army in December form the mountains to the valley at Orhanje and waited there fore the fall of Plevna, expected to occur within a very short time.

As now, through these operations on the part of Gurko, the chances for relief of Plevna became smaller and smaller, Suleiman's attempts to bring about a change in the situation on the Kara Lom, also miscarried. He first started from Rustschuk against Pyrgos and got as far as Meczka, but was compelled to fall back from there. He again attacked Meczka on November 26th, and also Trstenik. The main attack against Elena was made on December 4th. Here Fuad Pasha drove Prince Mirski under heavy loss of guns back to within one day's march of Tirnova and caused there, as on front of Plevna, great confusion for the time being, but no decisive success was attained there, for Suleiman had in the meantime received orders from Constantinople to send a portion of his army back across the Balkans to sofia to oppose Gurko.

Osman Pasha finally, after all these events, remained confined to his own resources. When his supplies became short, he made a sortie on December 10th in a westerly direction towards D. Metropolje, to march, in case he did pierce the Russian lines, by way of Perkovica to Sofia. The piercing attempt went to pieces, after a few minor successes in the start, at the strongly fortified Russian investing line. The Russians soon took up the offensive on their own part. Osman was wounded and the army capitulated.



Gurko's Second Crossing of the Balkans. Campaign in Rumania


After the capitulation of Plevna Gurko started with the main body of the investing army the march on Sofia in spite of the cold weather in order to take the turkish position on the Shipka in rear by his advance south of the Balkans and to thereby bring Wessel Pasha between two fires. Mehemet Alistill was in command of the Turkish troops opposed to him at Arabi-Konak. By December 24th Gurko had five and a half divisions assembled at Orhanje. The second crossing of the Bakjabs then commenced on December 25th. This crossing, estimated to take no more than two days, actually required six days. By December 31st the main column had laboriously crossed the Curjak Pass (west of the Arabi-Konak) and attacked Tashkisen. But in the interim the Turks had evacuated their positions unobserved. Now Gurko turned with a portion of his forces southeastward towards Otlukioj for pursuing Schakir Pasha, and with his main body occupied Sofia on January 4th. After a short rest there he again started in pursuit of the demoralized turkish columns retreating on Tartar Pazardshik.

Kept back in his positions during January 8th, 9th, and 10th because of the erroneous information sent by the Turkish Minister for War Reuf Pasha, Suleiman Pasha, who had by that time taken command there, had great difficulty in assembling the main body of that command on January 12th and 13th at tatar Pazardshik - the main body also having been joined by that time by the reinforcements from Shumla, some 20,000 to 25,000 men. The subsequent retreat for the purpose of holding Adrianople proved to be impracticable, as in the meantime the Turkish Shipka army had been forced to capitulate - again due to Reuf Pasha's unfortunate interference in things.



The Capture of the Shipka Positions and Radetzky's Advance by Way of Adrianople against the


Tshataldja Line

January 5th General Radetzky started the attack against the Shipka position. Holding the S. Nicolai, two enveloping columns with a few guns each were to advance across the mountains on both sides of the Shipka pass; the western column being 16,000 to 18,000 the eastern 18,000 to 20,000 men; the former, under Skobeleff to take direction on Imetly, 5 kilometers west of the pass, the latter, under Prince Mirski, on Gjusevo, 15 kilometers east. Both columns were to make a simultaneous attack on January 8th against Wessel's camp supposed to be at the village of Shipka. This camp, however, was at Sheinovo, off the road to Kazanlik, three kilometers south of the village of Shipka. The crossings over the mountains, though only 16 kilometers long, were extremely difficult. the altitude of both was about 1250 meters. Much snow covered the ground, the cold was intense, and the descent down the south slope very steep, especially in case of the western column towards Imetli, and could be passes only in single file. By January 8th Skobeleff had only about half his force (9 battalions, 7 squadrons, and 4 guns) brought to Imetli and was afraid of making an attack. But Prince Mirski, whose crossing was easier and apparently better prepared for in advance, attacked as ordered. His attack was defeated. Skobeleff started to attack sheinovo only on the 9th; he succeeded, supported by Mirski, in taking the camp and in forcing the Turks to capitulate.

As early as January 7th Wessel Pasha had reported his difficult situation, to Suleiman at once counselled immediate retreat. But Reuf Pasha , who had temporarily assumed command, sent orders to hold the Shipka positions under all circumstances, being under the entirely unjustified impression that the Russians would grant an armistice, Wessel Pasha included in his capitulation of January 9th not only the 12,000 to 15,000 men in the camp at Sheinovo, but also the 5000 to 8000 men, the actual defenders of the Turkish Shipka positions which had bloodily defeated that very day a frontal attack executed by the central column under Radetzky for the support of the enveloping columns.

The destruction of Wessel Pasha, was to have protected the right flank and the rear of the Turkish main army by holding the Shipka fortifications, precluded any further defense in the Marica valley and especially the further defense of Adrianople,which at that time was unfortified.

As the distance from Kazanlik to Semenli is 90 kilometers, that from Tatar Bazardshik to Semenli 130 kilometers, Radetzky's advance guard reached those places, past which the road to Adrianople leads, as early as January 15th, 16th, and 17th at Philippopel, Suleiman could do nothing then make his retreat across the Rhodope Mountains to the sea; he accomplished this retreat successfully, but having to leave his artillery at the foot of the mountains, of course.

Radetzky arrived at Adrianople, 150 kilometers from Shipka, on January 19th. January 30th the Russian advanced troops were only two marches from constantinople, at the weakly occupied, hardly 30 kilometers broad lines of Tshataldja. But Suleiman's army was still at Dedeagatsh waiting to embark for Constantinople. The devastation of the country, directed by the Minister for War, destroyed the welfare of the populace in the upper Marica and in the Tundza valleys for a decade to come, but it never delayed the advance of the Russians in the slightest.

Results of the War

The preliminary peace protocol was signed on March 3d in San Stefano. Its clauses were materially modified in the Berlin Congress - June 13th to July 13th. But Bulgaria received its independence and Eastern Rumanlia autonomy.


See also Encyclopedia Britannica entry on Russo-Turkish War and entry on Battle of Plevna


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