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BAD SUCCESS IN SEVERAL ENGAGEMENTS.
Giorgio Calespera, Chitzo Pandasi, Giannachi Sefo, Anastasio Cascari, and some others, besides the amazon Mosco, and Samuel a caloyer or monk, a man of wild enthusiastic character, who ran about animating the citizens with a Bible in one hand and a sword in the other, cutting off heads and explaining texts or prophecies, but whose courage and patriotism were more conspicuous than his prudence and discretion. The number of Suliots enrolled for the defence of their country never exceeded at any time three thousand men.
The army of the vizir marched from the district of Luro along the Ionian shore, and some skirmishing took place in the region of ancient Acherusia. The Suliots retreated before superior numbers, and the Albanians, setting up the yell of war, endeavoured in the pursuit to penetrate the great Acherontian chasm of Glyky. Here however they met with a most determined resistance; the Suliots overwhelmed their advance with huge stones from the overhanging precipices, and thousands of unerring musket balls issued from behind rocks which screened the marksmen from the view of their enemy. Whilst the contest on this side was hottest, a large body of 3000 Albanian troops under the selictar or sword-bearer of the vizir, endeavoured to
the rear of the Suliots from the mountain Bogoritza, where they had lain in ambuscade. These were met by Foto Tzavella with about 200 of his bravest palikars and put to rout with great slaughter. The vizir then gave orders for a retreat, after having lost about 500 of his
whilst the whole loss of his enemies did not exceed twenty*. In his disappointment he ordered Captain Botzari to be brought into his presence, reproached him with bringing false intelligence and raising delusive hopes, and in the end commanded him to give a proof of sincerity and devotion to the cause by heading his party of traitors against their valiant
It is scarcely possible to conceive how the loss on each side could be so disproportionate, nor did I believe it myself until I saw the scenes of action, where numbers must have created confusion instead of being advantage, and where the party attacked had such a superiority from its power of concealment.
BAD SUCCESS IN SEVERAL ENGAGEMENTS.
countrymen. Botzari, whose life or death depended upon the nod of Ali, dare not refuse, although, as it easily may be supposed, he had but little heart for the service. Being well acquainted with all the passes of his native hills he led his band over the great summit called Raithovuni*, with the intent of falling upon Kiaffa and Kako-Suli by surprise, whilst the troops of the vizir advanced to create a diversion and draw off the attention of the enemy. The enterprise however entirely failed: the Suliots were apprized of his approach, and whilst the main body of their forces kept Ali from penetrating the ravines, a small division met the traitors in their descent, put the greatest part of . them to the sword, and drove the rest, with their infamous captain, fairly off their territories. This wretch died, as it is said, of grief and disappointment about five months after his defeat, an object of scorn and detestation to all parties, though some report that he hastened his own end by poison. Many skirmishes ensued after this affair, in which the Suliots were invariably successful, and the vizir suffered such losses in his army that he almost despaired of the event.
In the mean time the ancient spirit of Corcyrean sedition began to manifest itself in Corfu, the Russian and Ottoman interests were found to be totally at variance, and Ali did all in his power to promote and take advantage of this jealousy: he persuaded the Porte how necessary was the extension and consolidation of his own power in Epirus, to counteract the influence of the Russians in the islands, and prevent them from fomenting dissensions amongst the minor states.
Hence he procured a firman from his government ordering Hassan Bey of Margariti, Pronio Agà of Paramithia, and several other independent chiefs, to assist him in his conquests; whereas it was their interest, as it was the secret wish of their hearts, to have leagued together for his annihilation.
Two of these agàs, Pronio of Paramithia and Mahmout Laliani of Konispoli, were obliged to lead 1500 men in a grand attack which Ali now meditated. The vizir himself encamped at Lippa near the sources
See the plate representing the mountains of Suli, and the exit of the Acheron.
BAD SUCCESS IN SEVERAL ENGAGEMENTS.
of the Acheron, sending about half his army to Cestruni (the ancient district of Cestrine) under his favourite general named Mustafà Ziguri. Against these forces the gallant Foto Tzavella marched with a body of Suliots, few indeed in number but all animated with patriotic ardour and burning for revenge upon their invaders. Having advanced within a short distance from the vanguard of the Albanians they laid an ambuscade, which they managed very adroitly from their perfect knowledge of the country, and then sent forward a few of their swiftest palikars to insult and provoke the enemy: this conduct had the effect desired; the Albanians, irritated by their taunts, ran swiftly after them, fell into the ambuscade and perished without having seen their enemies. The report of musketry reaching the ears of Ziguri, he hastened to the encounter, and as he approached the ambuscade waving his sword and encouraging his men, a shot from the musket of 'Tzavella pierced his heart and he fell dead upon the spot. An incident of this kind is very apt to strike with consternation the troops of a semi-barbarous people: a sudden panic spread itself from rank to rank, when a general volley from the Suliots and a fearful shout raised as a prelude to victory, put them all to flight and occasioned a loss in killed and prisoners that far exceeded in numbers the sum total of their antagonists.
The vizir indignant at this defeat upbraided his troops with pusillanimity and ordered a general attack on the morrow, that they might have an opportunity of wiping away their disgrace. The Suliots however were apprized of his design by their secret friend Pronio of Paramithia, and were advised by him, if they wished to escape the danger, that they should muster all their forces and boldly meet the foe already dispirited by his late disasters. The republic followed this judicious counsel, and placed the flower of their army under the command of its two best captains, Tzavella and Dimo Draco. These excellent and experienced officers led their forces through the defiles of the Cassopæan mountains, and came right upon the line of the enemy in his advance: at this moment a tremendous shower of hail poured down, which was
TURNS THE ASSAULT INTO A BLOCKADE.
driven by the wind into the faces of the Albanians. The Suliots taking advantage of the moment, descended with terrific shouts upon their assailants, who scarcely stood the shock, but throwing away their arms, fled with precipitation over the mountains, where great numbers fell into the hands of their pursuers ; the main body rested not till it arrived, after immense loss, at the corps of reserve under Ali at Lippa.
The vizir, now totally dispirited, and despairing to conquer Suli by assault, determined to alter his manner of warfare, and proceed according to the method of blockade.
Ali turns the Siege of Suli into a Blockade-Brave Action of the Suliots,
in which Foto Travella is wounded—-Stratagem of the Suliots— Treachery of Ali—Letter of the Suliots—Proposal of Ali to purchase Suli—Answer of the Suliots—Attempt made to bribe Dimo Zerva, but fails—Distress of the Suliots—Assistance sent by the French-Effects of Famine-Supplies gained by a desperate Effort-Two Suliot Captains yield to the Vizir's Bribes—One of them repents—Stratagem of Strivinioti-Confederacy of the Tzamouriot Beys against Alim-How dissolved-Ali joins the Army of the Grand Vizir against Paswan Oglou-Endeavours to impose upon the Suliots at his Return-Persuades them to banish Foto Tzavella— Foto goes to Ioannina—Thrown into Prison there-- Attack of the Fortress of Villa by the Suliots—The Vizir, indignant at their Valour, collects a vast Army under the Command of his Son Vely—Kiaffa taken-Foto Tzavella being released, returns to his Country-Last Action of the Suliots—Kako-Suli surrenders—People emigrate—Treacherous Conduct of the AlbaniansSuliots attacked-Affair of Zalongo—Desperate Revenge of Samuel the Caloyer-Suliots again attacked-Affair of Rhiniasa— Action at Vurgareli—Emigration of the Suliots—Song of Suli—Story of the Traitor Palasca—Ali's Quarrel with the Beys of Tzamouria—Suliots return from Corfu, in hopes of recovering their Mountains—Ill treated, and regain the Islands—Enter the Russian Service-Ali alarmed at the Progress of the French Arms in Dalmatia—Recovers the goodwill of Bonaparte— French Consul established in Albania—Ali gains Pashalics for his two Sons by the Interest of Sebastiani— Rupture between Turkey and Russia—Ali reoccupies the Continental Depend