LORD  BYRON  and  his  TIMES
Documents Biography Criticism

Journal of a Visit to Greece
Chapter VIII

Chapter I
Chapter II
Chapter III
Chapter IV
Chapter V
Chapter VI
Chapter VII
‣ Chapter VIII
Chapter IX
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In the mean time the siege of Navarino continued but too successfully on the part of the Turks. The Greeks could not stand the determined advances of regular troops; and, abandoning their tambours, were cut up by the cavalry. A brother-in-law of Coletti, Pappas Flescia, and several other commanders, were killed. Hadgj Christo, with 800 men occupying a position in the old castle of Navarino, their supplies were cut off, and they were obliged to capitulate; but the gallant Hadgj Christo, unwilling to surrender, and, with only a hundred followers, endeavouring to force his way through the Turks, was made prisoner, and afterwards shot. Those that submitted were dismissed by
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Ibrahim Pacha. On the appearance of an attack in boats, on a small island situated in the harbour, the greater part of the garrison abandoned it, and took refuge on board the ships; but the brave Surmadoff, an Hydriot captain, who commanded the squadron, and was entrusted with its defence, refused to desert his post, and remained with twelve of his men. His brig, in which Mavrocordato, who was in the Island, had embarked, fought her way gallantly through the Egyptian fleet, and joined the rest of the squadron, who had moved off. Mavrocordato joined the President Conduriotti at Calamata, who shortly after returned to Napoli. Anognostara, and other captains, who had remained, were killed; the few men who escaped saved themselves by swimming. The brave Count Santa Rosa here lost his life. The surrender of Navarino soon followed the loss of the Island: the garrison being reduced to a scanty supply of water and provisions, in the
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latter end of May capitulated, to the number of 700 men—the soldiers giving up their arms, the officers retaining theirs. The garrison was to be transported by neutral ships to Calamata, but Ibrahim Pacha detained the only surviving son of the
Bey of Maina, and Iatracco, chief of Mistra, and afterwards offered them in exchange for the Pacha of Napoli, Ali Bey, whom the Greeks had made prisoner: but this was refused, on the plea that he had retained his prisoners contrary to the treaty. The English surgeon, Dr. Millingen, joined the munificent Pacha. The loss of the garrison during the siege amounted to about fifty men; and in the different engagements, since the landing of the Egyptians, the Greeks lost about 1000, and the enemy more than double that number. In this Oriental warfare, where so small a number of men are killed, it is only a few of the bravest who advance and are really engaged; the rest are little more than noisy spectators,
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firing out of all distance. It is the same thing with the fleet: about ten vessels take the lead in every engagement; the others look on. The Greek fleet had made a successful attack on the Egyptians lying at Modon; burning several of their ships, and making numerous prizes of vessels bearing supplies: but the advantage came too late “to turn the odds of deadly game.” The Moreots used before to regret the successes of the fleet, and complained that the Islanders, by impeding the enemy’s landing in the Morea, monopolized to themselves all the booty and spoils of war. But the Greeks still find, as in former times, their best defence is in wooden walls. Messolunghi was closely besieged. There were many Greeks in the Turkish army, and these were chiefly employed in the works of the siege. They had advanced their approaches, and had planted two guns on the counterscarp of the ditch: four guns and two mortars, badly served, formed their train of ar-
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tillery. They had effected breaches in two places, but did not attempt any assault. Their force amounted to 22,000 men: three Pachas, besides
Radschid Achmet Pacha who commanded, were in the camp; they were well supplied with provisions, but without the slightest order or vigilance; and a spirited sortie would be very likely to raise the siege. The garrison of Messolunghi amounted to 6000 men; most of their families had taken refuge at the Island of Calamo, humanely appropriated to the reception of the Greeks; but so many of the inhabitants of the country had sought protection within the walls, that the number of useless mouths was very great, and they required large supplies of provisions, which were beginning to fail them. Colocotroni, and the other state prisoners at Hydra, were now released; the Government proclaiming a general pardon to all political offenders, with the exception of Ulysses, as a traitor to his country. But by retarding this
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measure till the emergency of affairs, and the demands of the people left them no choice, it was received not as an act of grace, but as a homage to their power; and Colocotroni again raised his standard for the gathering of his clan at Caritena.

The Turks from Negropont were now advancing towards Athens. The posture of affairs at Salona remained much the same. We led a rough life on the heights of Mount Parnassus; marching and countermarching; bivouacing in its sequestered valley—“scenes more suited to the shepherd’s tale;”* never engaging, though

* After marching through the trackless wilds of the mountains, our guides showing the sagacity of the American Indian, we used to halt in some grass-grown dell, where there was a supply of water, and where our fires were not likely to be discerned by the enemy. Numerous fires soon appeared among the rocks and trees; and the rude groups of the soldiers were seen, by their light, preparing their repast, or couched under the thick foliage of the fir-trees, which formed our dwell-

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close to the enemy; and harassing the men to no purpose. As long as the Turks were accommodating enough to remain inactive, it would have been folly, on the part of the Greeks, to rouse them from their lethargy,“and make pursuit when they did mean no chace.” But the time was come to stand at bay. The Turks had been reinforced, and amounted to about 8000 men. We had divided our forces; one division occupying a monastery about two miles distant from Salona, while the other formed a camp volant; and if the monastery was attacked, we were to fall on the enemy when engaged. A Greek captain, Skalsas, was on the opposite mountains, close above Salona, with about 2000 men. The multitude of our generals were constantly holding councils of war, where they universally agreed to disagree. It was an amusing

ing, and sheltered us well from the heavy rains that fell continually on the mountains.

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sight to see these cross-legged warriors seated in a circle on the ground, surrounded by their armed followers.
Goura possessed no authority, and his situation began to be embarrassing; Sophionulo, his adviser, having derived from him all the advantages he had to expect, now deserted him. He had made himself an host of enemies by betraying the party he had espoused, who were now become all-powerful in the Morea, and his only chance of support was in giving Ulysses his liberty; but he feared Ulysses might forget that benefit, and only remember the wrongs he had received from him. He proposed making an adherent of General Giavella, by holding out the prospect of his taking the command of the province of Livadia. An affair now happened that led to my leaving Greece, which I should not otherwise have done at this critical juncture. A treacherous attempt by Fenton to assassinate Trelawney, and in
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which Fenton was shot, had taken place in the cave of Ulysses; and a few days afterwards Ulysses met a violent death at Athens. In the month of June, I left Roumelia, to procure medical assistance for Trelawney, who was dangerously wounded; and, on the frivolous pretext of having left the camp without leave, I was detained a prisoner by the Government at Napoli.