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That Greece Might Still Be Free

William St Clair

9 The Battle of Peta

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1By the early summer of 1822 the Greek Revolution had cost the lives of upwards of 50,000 Turks, Greeks, Albanians, Jews, and others. Many more had been reduced to slavery or misery. Only a tiny minority had been killed in direct combat with the enemy. The Greek War of Independence hitherto was hardly a war at all in the conventional sense, but largely a series of opportunist massacres. The dead Turks were not for the most part the soldiers of the Sultan nor the dead Greeks the revolutionaries; the victims had simply paid the price of belonging in their respective circumstances to the weaker community and the wrong religion.

2In the Peloponnese, apart from a few fortresses which were slowly being reduced by hunger, the Greeks had complete control. They also held a few of the islands. Elsewhere, however, the Revolution had been by no means successful. Despite the plans of the Friendly Society, it had not been joined by all the Christians of the Ottoman Empire. The Slavs, Bulgarians, Romanians, and Armenians had stood aloof and the Greeks of Northern Greece, of Constantinople, of Asia Minor, and of Egypt had all been terrorized or crushed into maintaining their loyalty to the Sultan and to the pro-Turkish patriarch at Constantinople. The Albanians, some of whom were Christian and some Moslem, were torn by uncertainty as to where their best hope lay, but were untroubled by nationalist considerations. In the central part of present-day Greece, Epirus in the west, and Thessaly, Boeotia, and Attica in the east, the local leaders were ambiguous in their loyalties, well aware of the penalities of finding themselves on the losing side. At sea the huge Turkish fleet was still undefeated despite some striking but strategically unimportant successes of the Greek ships.

  • 1 Rev. Robert Walsh, Narrative of a Journey from Constantinople to England, 1828, p. 63.

3In early 1822 Ali Pasha of Ioannina, who had for so long defied the power of the Ottoman Government, was at last crushed. He had maintained his independence for so many years that many had thought he was invincible but his final defeat was total. The old man’s head was sent to Constantinople, carefully washed and stuffed and exposed on a dish, as befitted his rank, outside the Seraglio. An inscription informed the passer-by that the head belonged to a ’traitor to religion’ and included among the list of crimes that he had ’attempted the lives of a number of poor Rayas [Christians] who are a sacred deposit placed in our hands by Almighty Allah’. The heads of his four sons appeared there soon afterwards.1 The formidable Turkish army which had been besieging Ioannina was now free in northwest Greece ready to march south against the revolutionaries.

4On the other side of the country another large Turkish army of at least 20,000 including many cavalry was being prepared to march south. The ramshackle Ottoman Empire was mobilizing its immense resources for a massive attempt to reconquer the lands from which the Moslems had been so summarily extirpated. During the early months of 1822 it should have been obvious that the Greek revolutionaries were going to be put to a severe test. Instead of skirmishes outside besieged fortresses, tumble-down and isolated, crammed with refugees and defended by small poorly-armed garrisons, they were about to be invaded by two specially mobilized Turkish armies.

5Greece was in no position to face such a challenge. Many of the Greeks who had massacred the Turks of the Peloponnese in 1821 seem to have assumed that the matter ended there; the Turks were gone, they now had taken over their lands: as far as they were concerned nothing more was called for. They made no attempt to provision and repair the fortresses that had been captured but were content to live their rough lives in their traditional way. The Greek leaders of the various districts devoted their efforts to imposing their authority as if they could now become independent potentates.

6There still existed, however, the national Government which had been proclaimed by Demetrius Hypsilantes at the beginning of the Revolution. The less ignorant of the captains and local leaders had to recognize that some co-ordination of the activities of the revolutionaries was necessary although they had no wish to see an effective national Government which would cut their own powers. Colocotrones therefore and the other captains, while they would give no active support to the Government and in particular would not allow the formation of a regular European army, were ready to see the Government continue to be nominally in charge. There were also some incidental advantages to them in leaving the nominal direction of affairs in the hands of the Europeanized Greeks. For one thing they were literate, which was more than could be said for most of the captains, and they were adept at drafting the proclamations, laws and decrees which, made such a favourable impression on international opinion. The existence of a nominal national Government gave an air of respectability to the cruel and selfish policies of the captains.

7Hypsilantes himself, after his repeated failures at Tripolitsa, Nauplia, and Corinth in 1821, had lost all authority although he still tried to maintain an attitude of superiority. And he had no money left. The Regiment could not be maintained and there was no prospect of his asserting enough authority to derive any revenues from the population. But just when Hypsilantes’ authority reached its lowest point after his failure to prevent the pillage of Acrocorinth, Mavrocordato, who had been waiting in the wings, presented himself as his successor. Mavrocordato still had money and arms that he had brought from Europe and the remaining European volunteers had attached themselves to him.

  • 2 Vincenzo Gallina. See Raybaud, ii, p. 167.

8In January 1822 the representatives of the various groups in Greece agreed to appoint Mavrocordato the first President and Chief Executive of independent Greece. Hypsilantes was given the honorific but even less authoritative post of Chief of the Legislature. The new arrangements were formalized in a written Constitution which was drafted by an Italian2 to incorporate the philhellenic and liberal ideas of the time.

9The Constitution of Epidaurus (the Greek village of Piada being renamed in its old form for the occasion) never existed in Greece except on paper. In the countries of Western Europe, however, where it was widely circulated, it played its part in maintaining the belief that the Greek Revolution was being conducted on progressive liberal principles.

10When Mavrocordato was organizing the Philhellene Battalion in the spring of 1822 Greece was under this threat of invasion from two Turkish armies in the north-west and in the north-east. The Turkish fleet, reinforced with contingents from Egypt and the Barbary States, was being made ready to support them. It was a desperate situation. If Greece was to survive it was necessary for urgent measures to be taken to prevent the southward march of the two Turkish armies.

11The Turkish army in the north-east posed the greater threat. Mavrocordato decided, however, to make his main effort in the north-west where the Turks were attempting, after their subjection of Ali Pasha, to conquer the Albanian Suliotes who had decided to join the Greeks. Mavrocordato probably felt that he had more chance of success in Epirus where he was already known from his activities in 1821 at Missolonghi. But the deep conflict of interest between the Government of Europeanized Greeks on the one hand and the various captains on the other was just as apparent as it had been when Hypsilantes was the nominal leader. Mavrocordato desperately needed a success. If he was to have a chance of building up Free Greece as a European-type nation state he must win a victory. Unless the regular troops, the Regiment Tarella, and the Battalion of Philhellenes, could be given a chance of showing their usefulness, Mavrocordato was doomed to seeing his authority, and his army slip away from him as surely as it had done from Hypsilantes in 1821. Without victory there would be no chance of raising money and without money there could be no regular army. Without a regular army, Free Greece, if it survived at all, would inevitably be controlled by the wild self-seeking captains and local leaders. Two views of the Greek Revolution were in barely concealed conflict. Mavrocordato and the regulars represented the philhellenic ideal of a regenerated European state, the captains represented the simpler notion of a semi-barbaric Eastern theocracy in which the Moslems had simply been replaced by Christians, and where they would exercise the same kind of authority over their districts as Ali Pasha and innumerable other semi-independent potentates did all over the Middle East. The third (and original) view of the Revolution – that it was an attempt to restore a Christian Empire on the Byzantine model over the whole of the Ottoman Empire in Europe – had now lost all credibility, although the feeble Hypsilantes still paid it lip service. Few if any of the Philhellenes who set out proudly on Mavrocordato’s expedition to Epirus understood the intricacies of the internal Greek political scene in which they were cast in such an important role.

12At the end of May the Battalion set off from Corinth. The Philhellenes took affectionate farewells of the Turkish women in their menages that they had rescued from the various massacres, knowing well that they would not survive long without their protection. They embarked on vessels at Corinth to take them to Vostitsa. As a result of bad weather the voyage took four days and, since they had only provisioned themselves for one day, they were famished when they arrived. Others went to Vostitsa by land. The Regiment Tarella accompanied them and on the way they were joined by several thousand irregular Greeks.

  • 3 These incidents are related by Mengous, pp. 185 ff., and Elster, Fahrten, i, pp. 328 ff.

13The old quarrels soon broke out. At Vostitsa the French company killed a sheep and refused to share it with the German company. It was agreed to settle the quarrel by a duel and two champions, a Frenchman and a German, were chosen. A ruined house without a roof was selected as the duelling ground and spectators lined the walls. After a short fight the Frenchman plunged his sword into the German’s side and calmly asked if anyone else ’wanted satisfaction’. He was himself later killed in Spain. Normann and the other more senior officers tried to patch up the quarrels but they had little success. The Germans complained that the French had been given more than their share of positions on the staff but Normann could only reply ’I am a German. When there is a battle we will show the French that we are better with the sword than with the tongue’. At Missolonghi there was another duel in which a German was shot dead by a Frenchman.3

  • 4 Brengeri, iv, p. 340.

14The Greeks observed these duels with amazement and incomprehension. They were also astonished when one of the Philhellenes decided to marry a Turkish women whom he had bought for two piastres. He had her baptized and married her in the church at Vostitsa. Then he dressed her in men’s clothes intending to take her on the expedition. But the first time she went out to gather herbs to prepare his meal she was killed by the Greeks.4

15At Missolonghi, however, it began to appear as if Mavrocordato’s policy was going to work. Surrounded now with a disciplined and loyal force, he was able to persuade the Missolonghiotes to provide him with money and supplies. They had at first refused but agreed to co-operate when faced with the prospect of the troops helping themselves. At last the process of grafting a government on the country seemed to be showing some success. Whereas in 1821 Hypsilantes and his regulars had never exercised any authority over the population and had been obliged to subsist on their own resources, now there was a real chance that Mavrocordato might be able to harness the resources of the country little by little to his Government. If he could obtain resources from the country he would be able to strengthen the forces at the command of the Government, and as he strengthened the Government he had more chance of obtaining resources.

16Before the process could be properly established, however, the army moved forward on its northward march into Epirus leaving only irregulars to guard the line of communication. The Missolonghiotes promised to continue to send supplies but once the regulars had gone, their co-operation drained away.

  • 5 There are several accounts of the duel between Hobe and Mignac, the fullest in Elster.

17At Comboti there was another incident. A French fencing master, Mignac, who claimed to be an ex-cavalry captain, tried to punish (for some minor offence) a German lieutenant, who was serving as a corporal. When he appeared with a piece of rope intending to arrest the corporal, the Germans lost patience and, with the cry ’To arms’, they surrounded Mignac with their bayonets. A full-scale fight between the two companies was only averted by promises of an inquiry and a decision that the two companies should proceed separately. However, when the inquiry came to the conclusion that a genuine mistake had been made they were not satisfied. A duel was inevitably the result. Mignac shot the Bavarian Baron Hobe at thirty paces and fatally wounded him. When Mignac went to shake hands with the dying man he refused. Mignac offered to fight another German, but Dania succeeded in having them both arrested before the duel could take place. Dania said they must put off their affairs of honour until after the battle for they were now entering enemy territory.5

18On 22 June at Comboti the expedition had its first engagement with the Turks. They positioned themselves on some small hills near the plain and Normann himself with about twenty Philhellenes set out to reconnoitre the vicinity of the fortress of Arta. Soon after they set off they were sighted by a party of Turkish cavalry who galloped out to attack them. But now the Europeans were able to show that this was the kind of warfare which they really did understand. Tarella led his regiment swiftly along the base of the hills to cut off the Turkish retreat and Dania moved the Philhellenes to attack their flank. This was not the kind of strategy the Turks were used to – they expected only to meet the usual bands of irregular Greeks who were firing wildly from the hills. A momentary confusion seized them and the ever eager Dania gave the order to charge with the bayonet. The Philhellenes threw themselves eagerly at the enemy in good order and the Turks fled in confusion only to run into the fire of the Regiment Tarella, The Philhellenes pursued them for four miles killing many straggling horsemen without the loss of a single man. It was an astonishing vindication of European methods, and the Turks were convinced that they had come upon a foreign army 2,000 men strong.

19The success of the affair at Comboti confirmed the belief of the Philhellenes in their intrinsic superiority and raised the confidence of the whole expedition. They moved forward and a few days later took up new positions in the village of Peta a few miles from the fortress of Arta.

  • 6 Johann Bohn.
  • 7 C. W. Van Dyck, a captain of cavalry. He returned safely to Holland.

20But the long march from Corinth was already beginning to take its toll. A series of violent storms had soaked and chilled the men bivouacking on the open ground. Some had no more than rags on their backs and they found themselves scorched during the day and frozen at night. Fever broke out. A few Philhellenes were too ill to leave Missolonghi and at Comboti it was decided to evacuate seven more of the worst cases back to Missolonghi. Before this could be arranged, one of them, a captain from Hanover, died in convulsions.6 A Dutch guards officer7 was given the task of escorting the others back with the help of a few Greek muleteers. But no sooner had the rest of the expedition left Comboti than he took a horse and went off, leaving the sick men in charge of the muleteers. They abandoned them soon afterwards after taking their money. Two of the sick died that day of exposure and the other four, when found and brought to Peta, did not long survive.

  • 8 Monaldi. See especially Brengeri, iv, p. 347.

21An Italian, a former cavalry officer,8 who had been showing signs of mental distress, also disappeared one night from the Battalion. It was thought that he had listened to the stories current in Corinth that the Turks were willing to take on European officers and had decided to desert to the enemy. Whether this was his intention or whether he, like the Dutchman, was merely trying to leave Greece is uncertain, but he was taken prisoner by a patrol and taken to the Turkish commander at Arta. There, in hopes of saving his life, he revealed all that he knew about Mavrocordato’s forces and offered to join the Turks. He was summarily hanged.

  • 9 Johannsen.
  • 10 The wife of Toricella.

22In spite of these losses the numbers of the Philhellenes were kept up. At the end of June a party of volunteers, who had arrived in Greece too late to join the expedition at Corinth, reached Missolonghi. There they found the sick who had been left behind by the expedition. In that unhealthy place there was little hope of recovery. A young Danish doctor,9 and the Spanish woman who had accompanied the Philhellenes all the way from Marseilles10 had already died but others felt well enough to rejoin the army. Some of the new arrivals, already disgusted with the Greeks for the usual reasons, were only too glad to abandon their enterprise and cross from Missolonghi to the safety of the Ionian Islands. But eight men set out to join the Philhellenes at Peta; only one was to survive the forthcoming battle.

23Peta is on a low hill within sight of Arta with a few miles of plain and a broad river between. The roads in and out of Arta can be clearly seen and there are a number of other smaller hills covered with rough scrub between the two towns. It is a strong defensive position provided all the hills are held. The expedition spread out its forces on these hills round Peta with the Battalion of Philhellenes claiming the post of honour on the low hills nearest the plain. Normann and his headquarters lay further back. The Greek irregular bands, as was their custom, built small entrenchments but the Philhellenes, anxious for the opportunity of manoeuvring in the European style, despised such methods. All their hopes were on staging a pitched battle in which their discipline and superior fire power could be turned to advantage. It seemed to be only a matter of time before the Turks would come out from Arta to try to dislodge them. Every morning the Philhellenes at Peta could see the Turkish cavalry leaving the gate of Arta and practising manoeuvres on the nearby plain. They itched to be allowed to attack. Some of them even suggested that they should abandon their position on the hills but Normann insisted on their remaining on the defensive. Dania, ever the dashing cavalry officer, was eager to the point of insubordination and led a strong patrol into Turkish-held territory beyond Arta before he was called back.

24As the days passed, however, the situation of the troops at Peta became increasingly uncomfortable. The food was bad – coarse corn mixed with peppercorns and baked into hard bread. Water had to be fetched from two hours’ distance away. An enterprising Frenchman bought a quantity of wine in the village but he would not give any to men who could not pay. It was now obvious that the Greeks of Missolonghi were deliberately refusing to send the supplies that they had promised. The Greek irregulars who had accompanied the expedition began to melt away.

25More worrying still was the curious behaviour of the local Greek leader Gogos. He had for years maintained his strong band of armed Greeks in the region, sometimes allying himself with Ali Pasha sometimes with the Turks. It was thought, because of his vigorous fighting against the Turks in 1821, that he had irretrievably committed himself to the Greek cause. In fact, however, Gogos was typical of many of the Greek captains. He had no interest in the aims of the Greek Revolution as propounded by the Europeanized Greeks, although from time to time he pretended the contrary; he was only concerned to maintain his personal position as a quasi-independent leader. If possible he would have preferred the Turks to be driven out or killed off, but if that was not possible, then his first priority was to make sure he was not caught on the losing side. In Epirus, unlike in the Peloponnese, the Greeks had not been able to massacre the Turks in 1821. It was possible still to make use of that fact to hedge bets, a policy which several Albanian groups successfully carried through to the end of the war.

26It was obvious to the army encamped at Peta that Gogos was in communication with the Turks. Stietz, a Hessian colonel on the staff, on a visit to the front, found him in the presence of emissaries from the Turks. At night beasts loaded with supplies were seen leaving Arta for Gogos’ camp, and returning later without their loads. While the rest of the army depended on a feeble supply of food from Missolonghi, Gogos and his men always seemed to have an abundance. When questioned about the strange situation, he boasted that he was deceiving the Turks into supplying his men by promising them his loyalty. The Philhellene officers made repeated representations to Mavrocordato that Gogos was unreliable but Mavrocordato refused to take any action. He probably did not himself believe his statement that he had every trust in Gogos’ loyalty, but was in too weak a position to enforce his will over any of the captains.

27One advantage of the continuous communications which Gogos and others kept with the Turks in Arta was the steady flow of intelligence about the Turkish intentions received in the Greek headquarters. Information was received well in advance that the Turks were going to launch an attack on 16 July. Mavrocordato held a council of war of European officers to ensure that their dispositions were right. Tarella and Stietz were of the opinion that the Regiment and the Philhellenes should be held back in reserve so that they could repeat the tactics that had been so successful at Comboti a few weeks before. Dania, on the other hand, insisted that his men should remain in the place of honour in the front of the position. Mavrocordato and Normann were more swayed by the consideration of the effect on the morale of the remaining Greeks if the Regiment and the Philhellenes seemed to be drawing back. In the end political arguments overruled the military arguments, and the various forces took up positions in a rough circle round Peta. Normann, however, remained profoundly unhappy at the decision and felt obliged to write a letter to Mavrocordato to put his misgivings on record. The Regiment, he said, was now reduced to 350 men; the Philhellenes to 90; the Ionians, the only other force on whom he could rely were only 75; Gogos would probably desert his post and the other more reliable Greeks would be unable to help. Mavrocordato replied that he was sure the position could be defended and that Gogos would maintain his post with honour.

28On 15 July the final preparations were made. The two field guns were moved into place. The French were persuaded to divide out the wine and brandy so that everyone would have something to hearten him next morning. A suggestion was made that the sick Philhellenes – who now amounted to twenty-one – should be moved back but they were obliged to remain at Peta.

  • 11 The best first-hand accounts of the battle are Raybaud, Brengeri, and Kiesewetter.

29On the morning of the 16th there was a thick mist. As the sun rose it cleared. The Philhellenes were gradually able to see that their expectations were correct – an army of several thousand Turks and Albanians had left Arta and was advancing towards them.11

30The Turks came forward by their age-old methods crossing the open ground for a frontal attack up the hillside. Their standard bearers would rush forward and plant the standard and the troops would follow regardless of danger, stopping to fire and then waiting for the standards to be moved forward again. It was the first time that the Regiment had been in a conventional action and there was a momentary fear, after the first Turkish fusillade, that they would revert to their instinct to turn back, but the long training of Baleste and Tarella had had its effect. The Regiment stood their ground, held their fire until the first Turks were within range and then calmly shot them down. The Philhellenes for their part could hardly believe their luck – here was a type of war where their experience could be exploited to the full. A thrill of excitement passed through the ranks. Time and again as the Turks came within range they were met by a steady, deadly fusillade from the Regiment and the Philhellenes. A Turk would seize the standard and run forward with it only to be shot down, another Turk would pick it up only to suffer the same fate. For two hours the Turks tried to come up the hill with their traditional fatalistic disregard of casualties and of danger, acting out to the death the obsolete tactics which had once been the terror of the world. The hillside was soon covered with dead and dying Turks and Albanians. Victory seemed certain. The Philhellenes laughed with excitement at their good fortune and shouted to one another that they would dine in Arta that night.

31Suddenly they heard shouts behind them and, to their horror, they saw that the Turks had turned their flank and were bearing down on them from the rear. Gogos had deserted his section of the front and his men could already be seen retiring to the security of the mountains behind. Whether Gogos deliberately deserted his station in accordance with some treacherous arrangement with the Turks cannot be proved, although the Philhellenes certainly believed he had. Perhaps he was merely obeying the old convention of hasty retreat as soon as the enemy appeared.

32In any case it was fatal for his comrades who were fighting the battle in the European style. The Regiment Tarella, as soon as they saw the danger, managed to retreat, but for nearly a third of them – about a hundred men in all – it was too late. They were killed as the Turks overran their position. The Philhellenes also tried to retreat but Dania, confident to the last, gave the order too late. Most of the Philhellene Battalion found itself isolated on a small hill entirely surrounded and being attacked from all sides by the imperturbable enemy. In the melée firearms could not be used and the battle was fought to the death with bayonets, swords, and daggers. The Philhellenes realized only too well that their fate was certain but in their supreme crisis they were seized by a mad desperate excitement. A party rallied round the Standard of the Philhellenes which had been presented to them by Mavrocordato and only let it go when they were all killed. The last survivor was still holding it aloft as he died. The Frenchman Mignac, who had killed the Bavarian Baron in the duel a few days before, became a favourite target because from his bright red cavalry coat the Albanians thought he was the leader. He is said to have killed nine men before his sabre broke and he was overcome. Twelve Poles tried to force their way through with their bayonets but they were all cut down. By the afternoon it was over. If the Turks and Albanians had not stopped to strip the dead even fewer would have survived. As it was, out of the Battalion of about a hundred men, probably less than thirty survived. When the Turks entered the village of Peta they burned it down and cut off the heads of the sick Philhellenes that had been left there. Tarella, Dania, and eighteen others were captured alive as a result of a deliberate decision. They were made to carry the heads of their comrades back to Arta and were then impaled. A German doctor alone was spared after promising to join the Turks.

  • 12 I include the following:

33The names are known of sixty-seven Philhellenes who lost their lives in the battle or its immediate aftermath. Thirty-four Germans, twelve Italians, nine Poles, six Frenchmen, three Swiss, a Dutchman, a Hungarian, and an Egyptian Mameluke who was naturalized French.12 They include all the higher ranking officers of the Battalion, Lasky and Chevalier who had fought the famous duel at Marseilles, the impostor Tassi who had exploded the mortar at Tripolitsa, old soldiers, runaway students, mercenaries, political exiles, and simple adventurers.

34In the days after the battle the survivors began to straggle back to Missolonghi. Normann was alive, although slightly wounded in the breast, and also some members of his headquarters which had been back from the main battle area. Most of the other survivors were wounded and ill. On 27 July twenty-five Philhellenes paraded at Missolonghi for the last time at a funeral service for their dead comrades. The Battalion was formally disbanded and those who still had the strength and the means prepared to leave for home.

35In the next few months disease and neglect completed the toll of misery. There still remained at Missolonghi the sick and the wounded and a few, as usual, who had no home to go back to. And there were other Philhellenes who had arrived too late to join the expedition at Peta. There were also the remnants of the Regiment, the command of which was now given to Gubernatis, an Italian who had once served Ali Pasha and a survivor of the battle.

36Panic reigned in Missolonghi. It was obvious that the Turks, after their victory, would soon be on the march south. The Turkish fleet also appeared offshore. Many of the Missolonghiotes decided to leave either for the mountains or for the Peloponnese, but for the majority there was no choice but to try to put themselves in a position to resist a siege. Mavrocordato too believed that if the Revolution was to survive in western Greece, Missolonghi must be held. Gubernatis in command of the two hundred survivors of the Regiment offered to help in the defence if the Missolonghiotes would pay and supply his men. When they refused, Gubernatis marched his men to Amphissa leaving the ungrateful town to survive if it could.

37It was late in the autumn of 1822 before the Turks reached the gates of Missolonghi. The interim was taken up with long complex negotiations as the various captains in the region mended their fences with the enemy. The Suliotes, to save whom the expedition had been mounted, were evacuated to the Ionian Islands.

  • 13 Karl Weigand from Würtzburg, Friedrich Schweicart from Baden, and probably Deiss, a schoolboy from (...)
  • 14 The brothers Benjamin and Franz Beck.
  • 15 J. Winterholler.
  • 16 H. Pruppacher from Zürich.

38There were now only about a dozen Philhellenes left in Missolonghi. Several had already died of disease since the battle of Peta.13 As the winter rains set in, the others began to succumb. Two brothers who had together left the Cadet School in Württemberg to come to Greece both died in November.14 Another Bavarian died in December.15 A Swiss lieutenant16 went mad and had to be chained up like an animal. A Turkish slave woman gave him food until he too died, howling deliriously to the end.

  • 17 Known only as Johann.

39At the end of November General Normann died. His personal servant who had accompanied him from Württemberg died soon after.17 It was said by some that the Greeks refused to give Normann enough money to pay his fare to the Ionian Islands. Others more charitably said that he deliberately decided to stay in Greece. Whatever the truth, Normann’s death in Missolonghi had a certain dignity. If it is possible to die of a broken heart, that was the cause of his death. Apart from his personal tragedy Normann felt (with some justice) that he must share the blame for the destruction of the Philhellene Battalion. He had been responsible for them; in many cases it was his name that had made them volunteer. If he had only been a little more firm with Mavrocordato, the defeat might have been averted. Normann tortured himself with the thought that he had foreseen it all, the wrong dispositions, the treachery of Gogos, and yet had done nothing to stop it.


1 Rev. Robert Walsh, Narrative of a Journey from Constantinople to England, 1828, p. 63.

2 Vincenzo Gallina. See Raybaud, ii, p. 167.

3 These incidents are related by Mengous, pp. 185 ff., and Elster, Fahrten, i, pp. 328 ff.

4 Brengeri, iv, p. 340.

5 There are several accounts of the duel between Hobe and Mignac, the fullest in Elster.

6 Johann Bohn.

7 C. W. Van Dyck, a captain of cavalry. He returned safely to Holland.

8 Monaldi. See especially Brengeri, iv, p. 347.

9 Johannsen.

10 The wife of Toricella.

11 The best first-hand accounts of the battle are Raybaud, Brengeri, and Kiesewetter.

12 I include the following:

Image img01.jpg

13 Karl Weigand from Würtzburg, Friedrich Schweicart from Baden, and probably Deiss, a schoolboy from Weimar at this time.

14 The brothers Benjamin and Franz Beck.

15 J. Winterholler.

16 H. Pruppacher from Zürich.

17 Known only as Johann.


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