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THE HOLY LAND.
LIEUT.-COLONEL E. NAPIER,
LATE 46TH REGIMENT, F. R. G. S.
AUTHOR OF " SCENES AND SPORTS IN POREIGN LANDS."
_" Rude am I in speech,
REMINISCENCES OF SYRIA
A RECONNOISSANCE ON THE ENEMY.
DEPARTURE FROM BEYROUT, AND ARRIVAL AT ACRE.
“ First in the van, the people of the rock,
On their light mountain steeds of royal stock,
AFFAIRS in Syria assumed towards the latter end of November, 1840, a most quiescent aspect. Ibrahim Pacha had concentrated his army at Zachlé in the plain of Baalbec, and the Emir Beschir, quartered at Hámānah, with between two and three thousand Mountaineers, cautiously watched his movements from the top of Lebanon, whilst
we were all comfortably smoking our pipes at Beyrout, and seemed quietly settled down for the winter: in fact all parties appeared as if by mutual consent to have rested for a while on their arms. Things remained for some time in this state, when at last an inti. mation was received from the Emir, that the enemy, having broken up his cantonments at the foot of the mountain, had retired across the Anti Libanus.
As it was of importance to ascertain this fact, on the 21st of November, Colonel Bridgeman (who had lately, from England, joined Sir Charles Smith's staff) together with Lieut. Rowan of the Royal Artillery,--the General's aide-decamp,--and myself, received orders to start next day, and bring some account of the Egyptians ;-the subjoined letter which I wrote immediately on our return, may suitably precede a more formal account of the reconnoissance we made on the occasion :
“ 15th November. " Here we are, safely returned ; and I will endeavour to give you some account of our proceedings.
“The party, consisting of Colonel Bridgeman (the senior officer), Lieut. Rowan of the Artillery, myself, my interpreter Giorgio, and a marine of the name of Gardiner, (whom the Commodore left behind to look after my horses), quitted, Beyrout on the morning of the 22nd, and arrived without accident at Hamānah, (the temporary residence of the Grand Prince); we, however, found the place deserted, as Ibrahim had retired into the Anti-Libanus, and the Prince now occupied his camp at a place called Záchlé, in the plain of Baalbec. After giving our horses and selves something to eat, we got under weigh, and reached the head. quarters of the Emir Beschir in the evening, after a ride of nine hours, during which 1 sketched in all the road. We found the Emir Beschir just sitting down to his supper, which we partook of in the Eastern style, seated on cushions round a metal tray, covered with dishes of rice, &c. into which we all indiscriminately dipped our fingers, or tearing off small flakes of thin flat cakes doing duty for bread, rolled up bits of meat