Fitzjames’ official report from April plus June until December 1835 of the Euphrates Expedition. These parts have been published in Chesney’s book Narrative of the Euphrates Expedition: Carried on by Order of the British Government During the Years 1835, 1836, and 1837 (1868) and in his biography The life of the late General F.R. Chesney, Colonel Commandant, Royal Artillery (1885). Both Chesney in 1868 and his wife & daughter who wrote his biography in 1885 had access to Fitzjames’ journals and quote from them. When John Guest published his Euphrates Expedition book in 1992 he said that he could not locate the journals. Around 2010 William Battersby could not find them and I also have not been able to find them yet. The search is ongoing. The Chesneys also had access to Edward Philips Charlewood’s journals and those were ultimately given to the British Library in 2017 by Charlewood’s descendants. One can only hope that Fitzjames’ journals will similarly come to light.
To give the report more context, I have added excerpts from reports by Lieutenant Richard Francis Cleaveland, Expedition Commander Francis Rawdon Chesney, surgeon/geographer William Francis Ainsworth and Mate/Acting Lieutenant Edward Philips Charlewood (all as published in Chesney, 1868)
Bay of Antioch, April 1835
Monday, 6th April. We made the first beginning of landing our things. The wind is right on shore, and the boats sail over the bar through a tolerable surf till they meet the current on the other side ; they are then run over to the opposite shore and tracked up about two hundred yards, where a nice green plat, having the river and a small creek for three of the sides, forms a capital position for disembarking all our goods, the water being deep close to the shore, and the boats are able to get into the creek and lie level with the banks. I employed myself all the forenoon in clearing away the mud from the entrance of the little creek with shovels. We fixed two tents, and a large one made of the Columbine’s awning for the dry goods, and armed our position with the long 11 -pounder field-piece, two 1-pound swivels stuck in the ground, and two cohorns, or small mortars. The boats in employ are Columbine’s launch cutter, and jolly-boat, two flat boats brought from Malta, one of them manned with her marines, our own cutter and skiff the long boat having been hauled up yesterday to repair. Each boat has a rough square sail rigged up, and the master of the Columbine having stretched a number of ropes bent on to each other from the shore over the bar to the George Canning, we are enabled to haul the flat boats off again, getting wet occasionally going over the bar. We landed, to-day, all the provisions and some cases, &c., which were uppermost in the hold, probably twenty tons in weight. We leave on shore, for the night, Cockburn with four artillerymen, Lieutenant Thompson and two midshipmen of the Columbine, with their launch’s crew, and a guard of marines. They have rockets and blue-lights with them, and our little camp begins even now to look respectable.
[Later he says :] Our camp now consists of ten bell-tents, four marquees, observatory tent, a large mess-tent made of boatawnings, a large tent of Columbine’s awnings containing all our dry stores. So that with our iron sheeting, engines, boilers, shears, and cooking-house, we take up a large space and look like a village.
Mouth of the Orontes, June 1835.
On June 3, Omar Effendi came from Antioch with a message from Ibrahim Pacha to the Colonel, to the effect that he had received orders from Mehemet Ali Pacha, his father, to give the Expedition all possible assistance, and that, in consequence, he (Ibrahim) had ordered the Mutsellim of Antioch to collect 1,000 camels and a number of oxen for us. This the Colonel had been apprised of by a messenger who arrived in the night from Mr. Dibbs.
Lieutenant Lynch joined us the same evening from Aleppo, and the following day attempted to get up the Orontes in the ‘Tigris’; but failing in the attempt, we returned, taking the bank in several places, and giving her several most severe shocks, owing to her bad powers of steerage.
On the 5th, Yusuph Saba received orders from Ibrahim to repair the road to Antioch, which, however, had been previously done by Lieutenant Lynch, but not in a manner to admit of the passage of our boilers; in addition, the recent heavy rains have much injured what had been done, particularly by swelling the two rivers, Great and Lesser Kara-Chai, and the numerous streams which cross the line of road to Antioch.
At noon of this day we took the coals out of the ‘Tigris’ and dismounted her wheels previous to breaking her up; and on the 6th Lieutenant Lynch left to see the Pacha, and with orders to get the road cleared between Antioch and Birejik.
I was this day ordered by the Colonel to commence levelling and otherwise clearing obstructions on the road. I began about four miles off, with fifty men, most of whom were old and almost useless; but by dint of constant attention, and pointing out each stone which I wished removed, and every part I wanted cut away, I succeeded in making about a mile and a half tolerably good. I was assisted by Mr. Michel, who was of much use to me as an interpreter. Mr. Bell was sent on to a hill about four miles from the camp, which from its excessive steepness was ascended by a zigzag road to the height of about 100 feet, and the remainder of it a very rocky road. Here he had 21 men only at work.
June 7.—I had only 21 men on the road, and they did not come till 10 o’clock.
June 8.—I had great difficulty in procuring men. By 10 a.m. I had 30, collected by Mr. Michel, who went to Yusuph Saba’s. At the camp 55 camels were loaded with great difficulty, as the cameleers would only take the lightest loads, and that only after a great deal of vexatious talking and quarrelling. Three of them cast loads a mile off. ‘ Tigris ‘ was this day hauled up on shore, her engines being out, and the men were employed cutting her into eight sections.
June 9.—I had only 21 men, but heard that Mr. Bell had 45, and Lieutenant Lynch 60 working at the first Kara-Chai. I continued working at the road till the 15th, during which time I had always more or less difficulty in procuring men. Occasionally we had heavy rain and thunderstorms to interrupt us, and the sun in the middle of the day was very hot. In the meantime the ‘Tigris’ was cut into eight sections, and we got some native carpenters from Antioch to assist in making waggons. 200 bullocks also came on the 12th, but after fruitless attempts to make them draw weights, we discharged them. Lieutenant Cleaveland went to see Ibrahim Pacha on the 14th, to state the want of attention to his orders.
R.F. CLEAVELAND: June 4.—Lieutenant Lynch (who arrived the day before) visited the Pacha, made demands for animals for the transport, and men to repair the roads to make them passable for our waggons. The Pacha consenting to these demands, Lieutenant Lynch proceeded to superintend the repair of the road from Antioch to Birejik ; Messrs. Fitzjames, Bell, and Sergeant Quin, the road from Suedia to Antioch. This service was extremely well performed by the latter officers, which, from the indolent habits of the natives, want of proper tools, rough hilly ground, two rivers, and numerous streams (through which our road passed), made it a very arduous task, and one requiring great judgment to avoid the many obstructions presenting themselves. The road was completed about June 15. […]
CHESNEY BIOGRAPHY 1885:
The last-mentioned officer [Charlewood] tells us that Ibrahim Pasha having been at last induced to order the peasants to work at road-making, they did so in a good-humoured if not very efficient manner, singing over their work, although they expected no pay for it. Many of them were grey-headed old men. They used a pickaxe, with a hatchet at one end, and a wooden shovel, with which implements they managed the levelling pretty well ; but it was necessary to point out each stone that had to be removed, and every piece that was to be cut away. These Syrian natives soon got lazy, and the only remedy recommended for this complaint was the stick; but as Fitzjames could not bring himself to employ it, he often found himself in difficulties. He says, however, that the natives seldom broke their engagements only when a wagon broke down, or had got so immovably fixed in a ditch or stream as to require more energy than they possessed to extricate it.
June 16.—The Mutsellim of Antioch arrived by order of the Pacha with 96 men, who carried away some iron ribs of the ‘Euphrates.’
June 17.—Sent away 60 camels, loaded after great difficulty—the heaviest weight was only 600 lbs., and mostly under; also 48 men carrying iron. The Mutsellim and the Agha of the district being in attendance on the 18th, seventeen horses were bought for drawing the waggons, none of which, however, had ever been in harness before, the owners being averse to allow them to attempt to draw, although the Mutsellim used his utmost endeavours.
On June 19 the Colonel ordered me to take the divingbell truck to Antioch, laden with iron sheeting; but I was obliged to desist, as the bullocks would not draw.
Commenced training our animals in the waggons; had much trouble with them at first, as they had never drawn before, but the attempt was altogether encouraging.
June 19.—Mr. Fitzjames endeavoured to get on the divingbell truck, loaded with sheets of iron of the ‘Euphrates’; but after repeated trials was obliged to desist, as the oxen would not draw.
June 20.—At daylight the five platform waggons (under Lieutenant Cleaveland and Mr. Eden) started, each drawn by four horses, and about 100 men accompanied them. The heaviest, however, having been left behind, I was ordered to take it on. I therefore started with four horses and thirty men at the dragropes, and got it as far as the first stream, about three miles from the camp, where we slept in a cornfield.
R.F. CLEAVELAND: June 20. […] Mr. Fitzjames was employed during the day in bringing up the artillery waggon left behind by us. He had four horses and thirty men to assist with dragropes, and by great exertion made about three miles, bringing up for the night in a cornfield about two miles from us.
June 21.—We worked hard all day, beginning at 3 a.m., and, by taking the men from two arabas and a waggon made of the gun-slides, laden with iron, I increased our force to upwards of 60 men. By means of a tackle, we got it over the first hill, to within a mile of where Lieutenant Cleaveland was with the other four waggons ; but, owing to the great difficulty of getting them up the hill by the zigzag road, he ordered me to give him all my men, which increased his force to 160, who dragged the waggons up one by one.
R.F. CLEAVELAND: June 21. […] After an hour’s halt, ascended the hill with all our force on one waggon at a time. By 2 p.m. had them all up, but found we could not cross the rocky crest just beyond the hill, without an additional force on the ropes. Sent an order to Mr. Fitzjames to bring up his men and horses to our assistance. He was soon with us, and his aid as cheerfully given as it was useful to us.[…]
June 22.— I walked back to the camp, starting at 3 a.m., and on my way met 75 camels laden with machinery, stores, &c, some of them carrying about 800 lbs. Mr. Clegg accompanied them. I also passed Mr. Rassam, who was bringing on the large truck and two arabas laden with iron. In the afternoon I started again, by the Colonel’s order, and got one waggon to the foot of the large hill.
R.F. CLEAVELAND: June 22. […] At daylight I proceeded on with the four waggons, keeping Mr. Fitzjames’s men and horses, as we had some very bad road in front. Mr. Fitzjames returned to the camp, thereby incurring your [Chesney’s] displeasure, which should more properly have fallen on me, as this change of plans was entirely by my directions, but at the same time made with the best intention.
June 23.— Got all the waggons to the foot of the hill, and the large truck and artillery waggon up the steepest part of it. Being, however, obliged to unload the former, and make the men carry the plates of iron to the top, the iron slipped off the latter at the last turning and nearly killed a man. This day we had 103 men and twenty bullocks, all of whom were hardly sufficient to draw the waggons one at a time. Fifty-three camels and sixteen mules passed during the day, laden with iron, casks, machinery, &c. Lieutenant Cleaveland also rode to the camp from his waggons, and returned again by night. We slept on the top of the hill: and, in the middle of the night, Captain Estcourt passed us, on his way to the camp from Birejik.
R.F. CLEAVELAND: June 23. […] Mr. Fitzjames and Mr. Rassam, having 103 men and 20 bullocks, got their waggons to the top of the Zigzag Hill with great difficulty, lightening the waggons, and carrying portions of the loads up the hill by hand; nearly killed one of the natives by the falling of a plate of iron.
June 24.—Lieutenant Cleaveland started from Antioch, and Mr. Thomson, who was carrying the chronometers. Seventy-six men and twenty bullocks dragged the two wagons to the Great Kara-Chai. The large truck descended with great velocity into the river, on account of its iron wheels and great weight. The bullocks were taken out, and the men held on behind with ropes. We crossed the river at half-past 7 in the evening.
June 25.—By carrying the loads by hand, we got the waggons up the hill, and descended again into the second or Little Kara-Chai, and before dark got them up the hill on the other side. Walking on for an hour, I found Lieutenant Cleaveland and two artillery waggons in a cornfield, he having discharged his loads at Antioch. The fieldpieces arrived with two artillerymen.
June 26.—We got by sunset to within three miles of Antioch, having passed the most difficult part of the road, and occasionally unloading the truck and carrying the iron by hand. Eighty-four men to-day. Lieutenant Cleaveland passed with the two artillery waggons.
June 27.—Got both waggons to the gate of Antioch, where I found two platform waggons encamped under charge of Mr. Eden : Lieutenant Murphy being employed repairing the road to Djezzer Hadid, just outside the town. I sent the waggon I brought with Lawrie to the village of Guzelburj, on the right bank of the Orontes, four miles above Antioch, where he unloaded and brought it back to be repaired—the pole being broken—leaving the truck with Mr. Eden. Mr. Ainsworth arrived, having, in company with Mr. Bell, taken two boatloads of iron up the lake and to Murad Pacha Bridge.
June 28.-—This morning Mr. Eden took the truck across the bridge and through the town, which, from the large stones and sharp turnings, was no easy operation. In the afternoon the other two waggons were got through, and all encamped about a mile off. They were dragged through by the tanners, who turned out about thirty in number, in addition to the horses. Lieutenant Cleaveland arrived with the other two artillery waggons laden with iron, and Mr. Charlewood, who had brought four keelsons up the Orontes from the camp. Lieutenant Cleaveland returned thither in the evening. Lieutenant Murphy was at this time working in the house hired for the expedition, where we always lived when at Antioch.
June 29.—Captain Estcourt arrived, and having ordered me to repair the road towards Djezzer Hadid, I proceeded to St. Paul’s Gate, and set thirty men to work, who however did but little, as they were very lazy, and the cowass who was with them did nothing. Lieutenant Cleaveland passed on to Guzelburj with his two artillery waggons, and Captain Estcourt went down to the camp. In the evening Omar Effendi paid us a visit, and said that he had been ordered by Ibrahim Pacha to remain at Antioch till everything belonging to the Expedition had passed, the Pacha being then at Adana.
June 30.—Lieutenant Cleaveland took the two artillery waggons, which went to Guzelburj yesterday, to Djezzer Hadid Bridge in country boats to join Mr. Eden’s waggons. Captain Estcourt having directed me to take the four keelsons which had been left about two miles below Antioch on to Guzelburj, I went thither, having been assured by Omar Effendi that men would be there to bring them up; but none made their appearance. While there six more keelsons came up the Orontes, tracked by some twenty men, who left them with the other four.
R.F. CLEAVELAND: June 30. […] Mr. Eden passed over the bridge and through Antioch, having about 60 of the townspeople to drag the waggons they were a very riotous, unruly set; it was with great difficulty he got out of the town and suburbs, and finding the road very bad for some miles beyond, Mr. Fitzjames was set to work to repair it, by Captain Estcourt’s order.
F.R. CHESNEY: [end of June 1835] We had two serious undertakings before us—the construction of carriages strong enough to remove our ponderous boilers, &c, and the opening of a practicable road for a distance of 140 miles. The former was commenced with hearty goodwill, chiefly by our own artisans, whilst the latter fell to both officers and men, who were stimulated to their utmost exertions by the example of their commander (Captain Estcourt) and his zealous assistants, amongst whom Lieutenant Cleaveland, Messrs. Murphy, Charlewood, and Fitzjames specially distinguished themselves, and worked under the conviction that, come what might, they must not fail.
[beginning of July 1835] […] The second division comprised the navigation of the Lake of Antioch, between Guzel Burj and Murad Pacha, and fell to Mr. Fitzjames, who bore, the title of ‘our Admiral,’ and no officer, even of that rank, ever did more to overcome difficulties.
July 1.—I took one of our small boats from the place where it had been lying with the keelsons up to Guzelburj; it was easily rowed up the river, and hauled over the weirs, of which there are five above Antioch.
July 2.—Captain Estcourt having directed me to take charge of the depôt forming at Guzelburj, I pitched two tents there, and took up my abode with one seaman; and this day the first detachment of two-wheeled waggons, or arabas, arrived with some heavy pieces of machinery, and on the following day one more with iron plates—also two keelsons came up the river.
The road beyond Antioch by Djezzer Hadid having been found too bad, Captain Estcourt determined on sending all the things to Murad Pacha by water.
Guzelburj is situated on the right bank of the Orontes, on a point formed by a bend of the river, which is here about 50 yards wide, 2 1/2 fathoms deep, and the current varying from two to three knots per hour.
There are not above twenty houses, and the inhabitants—who are, as I was given to understand, Fellahs—gain a livelihood by their boats, which they work up to Murad Pacha Bridge, and up the Orontes, bringing corn to the mills of Antioch, and occasionally passengers, besides rushes gathered from the lake for mats, &c.
These boats are 37 feet long, 5 feet broad, and 4 feet deep; perfectly flat-bottomed, and propelled by a man on the stern, who pushes with a long pole; occasionally they have another poler forward. Large herds of buffaloes come in every evening to be milked, finding pasture during the day on the immense plains which, extending to the Lake of Antioch, spread themselves onwards to the Taurus Mountains. I always found the men civil, but probably through fear, as they occasionally refused to sell us articles of food.
The Sheikh was a very nice man and worked hard for us; but he died after I had been there a short time, and his successor was very lazy and avaricious, and only got work done when obliged to do so by threats of reporting his conduct to Ibrahim Pacha, of which he was in great terror.
After sending four boats to Djezzer Hadid to fetch the iron back, and discharging two arabas with heavy machinery, I rode down to the camp at Suedia on July 6, by order of Captain Estcourt, meeting on my way one of the sections of the ‘Tigris’ on a four-wheeled waggon, and one of the large flatboats, also mounted on four wheels, with Mr. Charlewood, who had not sufficient men. All the blacksmiths were working hard to complete some waggons for the boilers, and we were employed mounting some boilers and sections of the ‘Tigris’ on their respective waggons, several arabas with machinery being sent on with parties of natives, who were paid beforehand a certain sum, varying to 200 piastres, for the journey to Guzelburj. They seldom or never broke their engagements, and that only when the waggon broke down, which was but too often the case, or had got so immovably fixed in a ditch or stream, as to require more energy than they possessed to extricate it.
Thirty-three mules started on the morning of the 8th, laden with powder, and the blacksmiths and riveters, to commence putting up the ‘Euphrates’ at Birejik ; and on the 9th twenty mules more with rockets and baggage. On the 10th the Colonel started with more men and riveters to join the powder caravan.
July 10.—I was this day employed widening the road into the Great Kara-Chai with fifteen men, which were all that came, notwithstanding our repeated applications for more. At this time the flat-boat and three arabas were lying broken down between the two Kara-Chais. Having proceeded to where the former lay—to wit, in a narrow lane, with the wheels axledeep in mud—I received orders from Lieutenant Cleaveland by a Maltese to take Mr. Charlewood’s place with the waggons, and send him back to mend the road. I therefore proceeded to Antioch, where I found that the section of the ‘ Tigris ‘ had passed on to Guzelburj, and that the Colonel had gone on to Birejik.
On the following day I went to Omar Effendi at the seraï, for an order to get men for the flat. He referred me to the Mutsellim, giving me a note for him, which I took to him, but got no men. I therefore wrote again to Omar Effendi in the evening, stating the circumstances. The next day (12th) I went out to the flat and waited till 2 p.m., when Ibrahim Effendi came with fifty men and ten bullocks ; and after an hour’s hard work, aided by his personal exertions, we succeeded in extricating the flat from the gutter, and got it to the top of the hill over the second Kara-Chai. At this time one cylinder of the ‘Euphrates’ and another araba were lying in a stream near Antioch, broken down.
R.F. CLEAVELAND: July 10. […] The removal of the stores from Suedia to Guzelburj was effected by myself, Mr. Charlewood, and about three-fourths of our men —the remainder being with Mr. Fitzjames, receiving the stores at Guzelburj, and taking them across the lake to Murad Pacha; but it frequently happened that our waggons broke down near Antioch, in which case they were left to Mr. Fitzjames to repair and get on. […]
July 13.—The flat having a bolt broken, I got it repaired at Antioch, which delayed us till 2 p.m., the men and bullocks waiting in the adjoining fields; but we got it within two miles of Antioch, and the next time it broke in three different places; the last was one wheel splitting in two, not having been properly fellored. I therefore made the people take out the two gin-poles and baggage, which they carried to Guzelburj, and I discharged them, leaving the boat a quarter of a mile from Antioch.
July 15.—Lieutenant Cleaveland sent Frew, the carpenter, to repair the flat; also an order to get the iron then at Djezzer Hadid taken to Guzelburj. I accordingly wrote to Omar Effendi to order the boatmen to do as required.
July 16.—The four paddle-beams arrived, having broken down twice near Antioch, and finally halfway to Guzelburj. Mr. Rassam arrived from Gindareez to assist us, and Mr. Bell came down from Murad Pacha in a boat, very ill. I applied for twenty men, but only got ten, and eleven bullocks, which took the flat to Guzelburj.
July 18.—The iron arrived from Djezzer Hadid in five boats, with the diving-bell truck. I completed five good boats of 1 1/2 to 2 tons each, and sent them up to Nomad Pacha. The following day I sent Mr. Rassam to Suedia with four empty arabas. In the evening Lieutenant Cleaveland came in to buy necessary articles, such as pitch, rope, &c, and to procure money, having left three sections of the ‘Tigris’ and one boiler broken down near the camp at Suedia.
July 21 .—I commenced repairing the road between Antioch and Guzelburj with twenty-six men, and also worked with them the following day; and on the 23rd I went out to where the section of the ‘Tigris’ was lying, five miles from Antioch, to get it repaired, while Lieutenant Cleaveland and Mr. Charlewood passed on to Guzelburj with two sections and one of the bedplates of the ‘Euphrates’ on wheels ; but one of them and the bedplate broke down one mile from Antioch. Lieutenant Cleaveland and Mr. Charlewood went back to Suedia, and I got blacksmiths from Antioch to repair them ; the next day the bedplate got on to Guzelburj. On July 25 I got the section from Antioch to Guzelburj with a party of Turcomans and their bullocks, who had remained by it. The following day was employed getting the blacksmiths and carpenters to work for the other section of the ‘Tigris’ and having on the 27th sent a carpenter to repair it, I got it on to Antioch on the evening of the 28th, with twenty-seven men and twelve bullocks, which were very bad. It then broke down again. It was repaired the following day and got to Guzelburj, where I found the smallpox raging amongst the inhabitants.
F.R. CHESNEY 1868: One of our contrivances was a low truck-carriage, on which one of our boats, which had formerly done good service, was placed. But her progress was so slow over the plain, even with sails set and a favourable wind, that we were obliged to have recourse to animals to drag her as far as the Lake of Antioch, when she fell to the charge of our ‘Admiral,’ as Mr. Fitzjames was now constituted, after having completed his share of the transport service between Guzel Burj and Antioch.
July 31.—I was obliged to write a strong letter to Omar Effendi about the unwillingness of the men at Guzelburj to start with our machinery; and on August 1, having procured seven workmen from Antioch, I loaded the flat with heavy pieces of machinery.
August 3.—After several fruitless applications at Antioch for carpenters to repair the native boats, they at last arrived, and the flat started, poled by six men.
August 5.—Lieutenant Cleaveland sent for me to Antioch from Guzelburj to get money from Mr. Dibbs, and Mr. Charlewood arrived with two boilers of the ‘Euphrates.’ They both returned to Suedia the following day ; and the native boats having been repaired were launched, four in number, and loaded the next day with the remainder of the plates of the ‘Euphrates’ and some heavy machinery.
August 7.—At 10 a.m. I went to Antioch, where I found that the seaman, James Brown, had just died at our house, where he had been lying, attended most kindly by Mr. Haage, a Polish surgeon in the Pacha’s service. Dr. Staunton arrived a few minutes after his death, and returned again to Suedia. Not having any men with me, I judged it expedient to have him interred according to the rites of the Greek Church, which was done by applying to Mr. Dibbs, and he was buried in the Frank burial-ground east of the town.
August 8.—Captain Estcourt came from El-Haman, and Lieutenant Cleaveland came in for money in the evening, which, as was often the case, we borrowed from Mr. Dibbs. We all three rode down to Suedia in the night. I returned the next day with Captain Estcourt and Lieutenant Murphy, the former going on to El-Haman.
At this time there were ready mounted on waggons at State of Suedia, three boilers, two sections of the ‘Tigris’, one cylinder of the ‘Euphrates,’ and one bedplate of the ‘Tigris’, waiting for men and bullocks, although the Mutsellim of Antioch was there.
On the 12th, Captain Estcourt returned again, and on the following day, in company with Lieutenant Murphy and myself, paid a visit to Ibrahim Pacha on his return from Adana. He was very civil, spoke much about the affairs of Europe, and particularly of the Russians, whom he said he should much wish to go to war with. Nothing was said about the Expedition. Omar Effendi acted as interpreter. The same day, our flat and all the boats returned from Murad Pacha, and I loaded the former again the next day and sent it off.
August 14.—Captain Estcourt came to Guzelburj, and we sent off to Gindareez, with some trouble, four of the short pieces of keelson end-pieces on four horses.
August 16.—All the boats went again to Murad Pacha with loads, two with iron and two with keelsons. Captain Estcourt left for El-Haman, and in the evening Lieutenant Cleaveland arrived with the other large flat-boat on wheels, having left three boilers and a section four or five miles from Antioch; one of the boilers had capsized ; two half-sections came in from Suedia with natives, on large two-wheeled arabas.
August 17.—I sent fourteen horse-loads of plank (‘tach-i-van’) to Gindareez. In the evening, Lieutenant Cleaveland came in, having left the boilers a mile off. The next day Lieutenant Cleaveland went back to Suedia, and I got two of the boilers to Guzelburj by 11 a.m., but could not get the Turcomans to take back the empty waggons ; they all crossed over the river, and I observed that the natives of Guzelburj would not ferry them over, on account of the difference of religious opinions. On the following day, having got the other boiler repaired, and procured men from Omar Effendi, I took it to Guzelburj with twelve oxen and thirty-three men. The same evening the boats returned from Murad Pacha.
August 23.—I went out to the road to bring in a waggon drawn by six horses, under charge of Harrison (artilleryman), and at Guzelburj loaded our flat and all the boats with very heavy machinery, and started them all next day with the horse-waggon and its load, sending the horses by the north road to Murad Pacha.
This ends my proceedings at Guzelburj, as on the 25th I was taken ill, and suffered so much from fever as effectually to prevent my exerting myself at all. Mr. Charlewood took my place, and having embarked nearly all the remainder of the stores, went to Murad Pacha on September 24.
R.F. CLEAVELAND: Mr. Charlewood and myself were alternately laid up by hurts for a few days, and of course the work then devolved on the one. On August 25 Mr. Fitzjames was laid up with a brain-fever from exposure to the sun, and did not recover from the effects of it until September 30. Mr. Charlewood then took charge of Guzelburj, and the road and camp fell to me. […]
W.F. AINSWORTH: On my return I found that sickness had begun to interfere sadly with the efficiency of those engaged in the transport. Fitzjames lay at the ‘Pretty Tower,’ [Guzelburj] a most malarious position, in a very bad state, the fever affecting the brain, and Eden was brought down a few days after from Gul Bashi, another most unhealthy station, in a low typhoid stupor. A young sailor of the name of Brown had also been left at Antioch, labouring under acute inflammation of the brain, from which, alas ! he never recovered.
On October 31 I quitted the head of the lake with the sick, for the more healthy station of Gindaris. We passed a night at the hot baths previously noticed, and the next day reached the site of the old acropolis of Cyrrhestica. Here we found Durvish or Dervish Ali, whose services as an interpreter had been obtained since our arrival in the country, and who had provided two huts for our accommodation—one of which was converted into a hospital, and the other was kept for the officers, Fitzjames and Bell being at the time among the invalids.
CHESNEY BIOGRAPHY 1885:
Fever and ague became so prevalent that it was necessary to build a hospital for the men. The first death, that of Corporal Geddes, which naturally made a great impression on the survivors, was followed not long after by that of Brown and Harrison; but what seemed likely to give a very serious check to the expedition was the very serious illness of its commander, who was for a time completely given over. Speaking of this, Fitzjames says: “Really no calamity could happen to the expedition such as the death of a man we all like so much. God grant he may yet live to see all his plans brought to a happy end.” And when he had at last happily turned the corner, Charlewood writes: “To-day our spirits were cheered by the news of the Colonel’s convalescence. His kindness and tact in selecting officers for special duties, then trusting them to carry out his wishes, and when successful (as was almost invariably the case) giving them the fullest credit, had endeared him to all who really had at heart the desire to carry through this arduous transport.” At this time the same officer remarks that Estcourt, Cleaveland, and himself were the only executive officers then fit for duty.
[…] But to return to this miserable little village of Guzelburj, with its hovels plastered with buffalo dung, and swarming with vermin. Many pleasing recollections are brought to my mind with reference to it. It was the headquarters of my dear friend and brother-officer, Fitzjames, who superintended the transport of the stores from thence to Murad Pacha.
Upon one occasion when I again arrived with some waggons of boilers, I found everything at a standstill ; all the boatmen had left, and Fitzjames was lying in his tent, apparently insensible with a raging fever, his tongue black and swollen, with one large blood-red crack across it, his Maltese servant being the only person with him. A doctor was at once sent for from the hospital which had been established in Antioch. Upon his arrival he shook his head very sagely, pronounced the case all but hopeless, and requested the immediate removal of the patient to the hospital. To our utter astonishment, Fitzjames upon this opened his eyes, shook his head, and muttered, ‘I will die here.’
The worthy doctor left in disgust; and as it was necessary for me now to remain at Guzelburj to despatch the heavy weights by boats, I made my patient as comfortable as possible, and during every spare moment employed myself dropping water gently upon his poor tongue. He took little or no medicine, but the water continually moistening the tongue evidently had a surprising effect.
How Fitzjames gradually improved, and at last was able to sit upon my horse, supported by me whilst walking by his side:—how upon one of these occasions he placed his dear kind hand on my head, and with the tears starting from his eyes exclaimed, ‘Had you not backed me up, and refused to let the doctor take me to that hospital, I should now be dead : I shall never forget your kindness to me!’—how I am certain he never did forget it to the date of his death, when Captain of H.M.S. ‘Erebus,’ in Sir John Franklin’s ill-fated Polar Expedition : —but how in our case he was spared, and lived to be the cheerful, jovial spirit of the Euphrates Expedition, to help us on when sickness and weariness depressed us all: —these are indeed reminiscences most pleasing for me to dwell upon, but perhaps uninteresting to the general reader.
On December 10 Dr. Staunton advised me to go to Port William, and finding from Mr. Eden, who had just arrived, that the Colonel wished me to go, and also feeling that I should not get clear of ague till I did, I made a start for Port William, where I arrived on December 16.
To Lieut. Cleaveland, &c.