Friday, 2 July 2010


ABD-EL-KADER (c. 1807-1883), amir of Mascara, the great opponent of the conquest of Algeria by France, was born near Mascara in 1807 or 1808. His family were sherifs or descendants of Mahomet, and his father, Mahi-ed-Din, was celebrated throughout North Africa for his piety and charity.
 Abd-elKader received the best education attainable by a Mussulman of princely rank, especially in theology and philosophy, in horsemanship and in other manly exercises. While still a youth he was taken by his father on the pilgrimage to Mecca and Medina and to the tomb of Sidi Abd-el-Kader El Jalili at Bagdad - events which stimulated his natural tendency to religious enthusiasm.
While in Egypt in 1827, Abd-el-Kader is stated to have been impressed, by the reforms then being carried out by Mehemet Ali, with the value of European civilization, and the knowledge he then gained affected his career.
 Mahi-ed-Din and his son returned to Mascara shortly before the French occupation of Algiers (July 1830) destroyed the government of the Dey. Coming forward as the champion of Islam against the infidels, Abd-el-Kader was proclaimed amir at Mascara in 1832.
 He prosecuted the war against France vigorously and in a "short time had rallied to his standard all the tribes of western Algeria. The story of his fifteen years' struggle against the French is given under Algeria.
 To the beginning of 1842 the contest went in favour of the amir; thereafter he found in Marshal Bugeaud an opponent who proved, in the end, his master.
 Throughout this period Abd-el-Kader showed himself a born leader of men, a great soldier, a capable administrator, a persuasive orator, a chivalrous opponent.We have now come to the time when the French soldier began to wear the red trousers which later became so distinctive a part of his attire: an outcome, we are told, of the necessity for finding a commercial use for the red madder dye then being produced extensively in the French territories in North Africa.

The French conquest of-Algeria grew out of a long-standing quarrel with the Dey of Algiers over corn supplied to France during the Directorate. French troops landed at Sidi-Ferruch on June 14, 1830, capturing Algiers on July 5. It was not until December 23. 1847 that the legendary Arab leader Abd-el-Kader finally surrendered to General Lamoriciére.He was one of the most distinguished and efficient of Bugeaud's generals, rendered special service at Isly (14 August 1844), acted temporarily as governor-general of Algeria, and finally effected the capture of Abd-el-Kader in 1847.From 1848 to 1851 Lamoricière was one of the most conspicuous opponents of the policies of Louis Napoleon, and at the coup d'état of 2 December 1851 he was arrested and exiled.See him on the right with the other leaders of the battle at Castelfidardo

He refused to give his allegiance to Emperor Napoleon III. In 1860 he accepted command of the papal army, which he led in the Italian campaign of 1860.On 18 September that year he was severely defeated by the Italian army at Castelfidardo.

The French infantry of the line – still sub-divided into grenadiers, battalion companies and voltigeurs-had retained a style of dress much resembling the Napoleonic, with its bell-topped shako and long-tailed coat.

By the 1840s, however, a new branch of light infantry had come into existence: the Chasseurs d’Orléans, clothed in dark blue with blue-gray trousers. They eventually replaced the existing Infanterie légére and, under the new denomination of Chasseurs à Pied, continued to wear basically the same uniform until 1914.

François Certain Canrobert, (Saint-Céré 1809 - Paris 1895) was a French officer who spent the first part of his career in the war for the conquest of Algeria. Close to Napoleon III, he supported him during the coup of 2 December 1851 and took part in suppressing the republican resistance against the new regime. He was made Marshal of France on his return from the Crimean War (1856) and became a leader of the Bonapartist party after the fall of the Second Empire.

The Foreign Legion needs no introduction. This remarkable corps owed its origin to the eight foreign regiments which, after Waterloo, were formed into the Légion de Hohenlohe. In 1830, however, the corps was disbanded, but many of its former members rejoined in 1831, when the Légion Etrangere was raised.

Several new bodies of French troops, apart from the native regiments, came into being as a result of the conquest of Algeria, in particular the mounted Chasseurs d’Afriqu e, and the Zouaves, originally Arab infantry, but eventually entirely European in composition.

Louis Léon César Faidherbe (3 June 1818 – 29 September 1889) was a French general and colonial administrator. He created the Senegalese Tirailleurs when he was governor of Senegal.In 1863 he became general of brigade. From 1867 to the early part of 1870, he commanded the subdivision of Bona in Algeria, and was commanding the Constantine division at the commencement of the Franco-Prussian War.faidherbe

 His fervent faith in the doctrines of Islam was unquestioned, and his ultimate failure was due in considerable measure to the refusal of the Kabyles, Berber mountain tribes whose Mahommedanism is somewhat loosely held, to make common cause with the Arabs against the French.
 On the 21st of December 1847, the amir gave himself up to General Lamoriciere at Sidi Brahim. On the 23rd, his submission was formally made to the duc d'Aumale, then governor of Algeria. In violation of the promise that he would be allowed to go to Alexandria or St Jean d'Acre, on the faith of which he surrendered, Abd-el-Kader and his family were detained in France, first at Toulon, then at Pau, being in November 1848 transferred to the château of Amboise.
 There Abd -el -Kader remained until October 1852, when he was released by Napoleon III. on taking an oath never again to disturb Algeria.
 The amir then took up his residence in Brusa, removing in 1855 to Damascus. In July 1860, when the Moslems of that city, taking advantage of disturbances among the Druses of Lebanon, attacked the Christian quarter and killed over 3000 persons, Abd-el-Kader helped to repress the outbreak and saved large numbers of Christians.
 For this action the French government, which granted the amir a pension of £4000, bestowed on him the grand cross of the Legion of Honour. In 1865, he visited Paris and London, and was again in Paris at the exposition of 1867. In 1871, when the Algerians again rose in revolt, Abd-el-Kader wrote to them counselling submission to France.
 After his surrender in 1847 he devoted himself anew to theology and philosophy, and composed a philosophical treatise, of which a French translation was published in 1858 under the title of Rappel d l'intelligent. Avis a l'indif Brent. He also wrote a book on the Arab horse. He died at Damascus on the 26th of May 1883.

Prisoner of the Apaches

In 1929, the Spanish teacher Myrtle Love, from the town of Isleta, New Mexico, west of Texas, who was very interested in old west history, received a phone call from the El Paso sheriff saying that there was a man under arrest with a very interesting story to tell. The man’s name was Race Compton and was arrested when found sleeping in a rail road freight car. He looked like a vagabond. He told Miss Love that he was going to get dynamite and excavation equipment so he could go back to an old cave that had been sealed off by the Indians and presumably inside contained millions of dollars in gold ingots and gold coins.Compton said “in 1859, the stage coaches were hard at work transporting people, mail, promissory notes and some times large sums of gold. Stations for the stage coaches were established along the region of the Trans- Pecos for passengers and conductors to eat. One of these stations was in Eagle Springs, Texas located at the foot of Eagle Mountain, about 15 miles south of Van Horn and 12 miles north east of Indian Hot Springs.Big Foot Wallace was a famous adventurer and Texas Ranger. He was one of the stage coach conductors, along with Joea Peacock who was only 19 but had been involved in several incidents with fugitives and Indians and had killed a few men.During these times, bands of Apaches were very active in their incursions along the Texas territories. Their Chief, Victorio was commanding the major part of these rebel Indians. Even thou it was said that Chief Victorio was white and that he had been kidnapped as a child from Coahuila, Mexico, he had a peculiar hatred towards the white men.During one of the stage coach runs, the Apaches attacked and in some 20 minutes killed two passengers and one of the station attendants. The horses were stolen and Peacock was hurt in the leg by an arrow and taken prisoner by the Indians. The Apaches and their prisoner rode none stop on horse back to the Tres Castillos Mountains in Chihuahua, Mexico. This is about 20 miles south of the Rio Grand River where they felt safe from the Texas Rangers, the Calvary and the Mexican soldiers. The prisoner’s wound was not bad, but it was taken care of by a young Indian woman named Juanita, presumed to be Chief Victorio’s daughter. Victorio tried to kill the prisoner several times but Juanita kept him from it because she had fallen in love with the prisoner.At night the young Indian woman and the white prisoner would get together in secret. She tried to get him to marry her, but he was very cautious for he knew that she was the only reason he was still alive.Finally Peacock said he would marry her only if she would tell him were Chief Victorio had hidden the treasure. He was intrigued by what he saw, the Indians were carrying off gold ingots probably stolen from a train robbery and taking them to Mexico to trade for rifles and ammunition.Juanita told him that the gold was being stored in a cave in the Eagle Mountains, close to were Peacock had been taken prisoner. She told him he could get there by going thru Hot Indian Springs. She also told him that the entrance was well hidden in the rocks and that he had to crawl on all fours to get in because the entrance was very small. Juanita told him that she had gone to the cave many times with her father and that she remembered seeing dozens of gold ingots, many bags with gold coins and chests full of religious artifacts and jewelry stashed away in the back of the cave. Her father had mentioned to her that it would take some 50 mules to transport all that had been stolen and hidden in the cave for years.Afterwards, when Victorio and several of his warriors were taking gold ingots to trade for guns, they were spotted by soldiers on the old Indian path. One Indian woman was hurt and two soldiers died that day.After this, Victorio was afraid that the location and contents of the cave would be investigated and discovered. So they got out what they were going to need and sealed off the small entrance with rocks making it look like part of the same mountain. Even so, Juanita told her lover she could find the entrance to the cave with no problem. That night, Peacock planned his escape thinking that with all that he knew he could find the cave without the help of anyone.Finally, one day, Victorio and his men left on an incursion into Chihuahua, leaving only women, children and the elderly in camp. With Juanita’s help, Peacock got a horse and water. He promised the young Indian he would be back for her as soon as possible. The prisoner left for the mountains and crossed the desert. After several days, he finally arrived at Eagle Springs.It is a long story. Peacock after resting, decided to begin the search with out any luck. Probably because sometimes what one person describes, is not what another person sees. Discouraged, he returned to his old job with the stage coaches while the Indians were being eliminated by the Texas Rangers and the Mexican soldiers. Finally, in the Tres Castillos Mountains, in June of 1880, Victorio, some 60 warriors and 18 women, including Juanita, were killed. All of those who knew of the location of the hidden cave where gone, the enormous treasure was lost.In 1895, Peacock met Peace Compton that was a gold prospector and because of the interest of both of them for gold, the ex Apache prisoner told him of Victorio’s cave. They spent 15 years looking for the treasure. In 1915 Peacock died. Compton kept the ranch they had and continued looking for the cave, although he sometimes had to work to be able to buy dynamite and food.In the end, he told Miss Love that as soon as he got out of jail, he would go back to the mountains to dynamite the cave he had finally found, approximately 5 miles east of Hot Indian Springs and south of the old Indian path. He described the place to be about one day on horse back, south of Sierra Blanca and a half day west of Hot Indian Springs. He added to Love that a torrential rainfall had removed some of the rocks that covered the entrance to the cave and that he only had to dynamite the rocks that were left.Compton was never heard of after leaving jail. An old resident of Sierra Blanca that had met him, said that he had died of a heart attack on his way back to the mountains and that he had been buried in Sierra Blanca.The history of the lost treasure of Victorio is still alive. Everything suggests that the gold ingots, the bags of gold coins and the chests of jewelry are still in the mountains. What you need is a sense of adventure, good research, patience, and last but not least, good detection equipment

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