- Project Runeberg -  Through the Caucasus to the Volga /
158

(1931) [MARC] Author: Fridtjof Nansen Translator: Gerald C. Wheeler - Tema: Russia
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THROUGH THE CAUCASUS TO THE VOLGA
158
off or take their supplies; thus they could not
carry out any important operations, and it would
always end with their håving once more to with
draw.
This was exactly what happened in Prince
Vorontsov’s disastrous campaign in 1845. Owing to
his great reputation from the Napoleonic Wars, he
had that year been appointed viceroy of the
Caucacus and commander-in-chief. In obedience
to the Tsar’s orders he marched out on the 3 ist of
May, 1845, from the fortress of Vnezapnaya in
Chechnia with the finest anny yet seen in the
Caucasus, at least 18,000 strong. His objective
was ShamyFs capital, Dargo. Without meeting any
great direct resistance, but with heavy losses in
that difficult country, he reached it on the 6th of
July with a half-starved anny in a bad condition,
only to find the town burned down and laid waste
by Shamyl, all supplies carried away, and no
possibility of finding food, while his own convoys
were in great part cut off with heavy losses. In the
underground prisons in the town Shamyl had held
thirty-three Russian officers and men ; the Russians
had hoped to rescue them, but Shamyl had had
them all murdered.
Vorontsov’s position was a serious one; he had
now to try and bring back his anny in safety with
the utmost speed : it had shrunk down to 5,000 fit
men, had to transport 1,100 wounded, and had
food for only a few days. On the I3th ofJuly the
mournful retreat began under constant fighting
and great obstacles. The losses were heavy : in four

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