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Received a visit this evening from the Governor of Sámarráh, who has been summoned to Baghdad on business, but has obligingly given me a letter to his vakeel.
Strength of the current where we are at anchor was found 2, knots per hour, though a few hundred yards lower down it probably amounts to double this rate.
April 3d.—Left our anchorage at 5-38 A. M., the river having risen during the night 8 inches, with a cold northerly wind. Thermometer 43° ; passed the villages of Howeish and Mansuriyeh, the former at 640, the latter at 8-15, when it bore east on the right bank and west of Mansuriyeh ; the Tarmiyeh ancient canal leaves the Tigris, and another large canal bearing the same name, and said to be of more ancient date, is seen about one and a half miles below. This has now been long dry, but the northern canal, during the high state of the river, still receives a portion of the Tigris and is lost in the marshes west of Kathemein. Its direction by compass was observed to be 244'. The river near Mansúriyeh is very broad, but broken by islands. A khiyat* or wall is situate a little to the north of the Upper Tarmiyeh, having an old Khán in ruins close to it. 9-11 passed Sadiyah village and grove of date trees; the country every mile becoming more elevated, and the valley of the Tigris beginning to assume a distinct form. Reached the village of Sindiyah at 10-33 and received 12 hours' fuel. Remained here until noon to ohtain observations, which place the village in Lat. 33° 52' 50". The whole of the gardens and date groves, from Jeddiah to this place are irrigated by the Khalist canal, which and the Dejeil, are the only canals of importance that the Pachalic can now boast of. A sad picture for
This is represented as resembling the Khali sidd 'l Nimrud, or Median Wall, in construction. It is stated to run in a S. W. direction and to be lost in the marshes near AkrKeif. I think it very probable from the information obtained, that many walls of the same description as that “ par excellence” termed “the Median” will be found to exist in this part of the country. The term Khiyut or “ lines” is here universally employed for parts or walls” and differs materially from that of Nhar adopted in reference to canals. The Khali is however the longest and most northerly and therefore the most important.
+ This canal is a cut from the Diyala where it breaks through the Hamrin range. It pursues a S. W. course a short distance north of and nearly parallel to the river Diyala ; many villages are situated on its banks and numerous fine date groves are watered by it in its course to the Tigris, which receives its superabundant waters after a severe winter only. At other times it is lost in irrigating the country around Sadiyeh, Mansuriyeh, Howeish and Jedidah,
contemplation is afforded by the remains of so many noble works of the same order lying scattered around neglected and abandoned ; showing at a glance without the aid of history, the once flourishing state of this classical province.
Left Sindiyah at 12-10 P. M. and at 1-35 observed it to bear 137o. At this spot the high cliffs forming the valley of the Tigris abut on the left bank of the stream, and the large canal Nahrwán is seen above them about half a mile distant, bending to the S. eastward. From this point the river runs in a more westerly direction, and at 3-10 passed some high cliffs (assumed at 50 feet) on the summit of which a part of the Nahrwán is observed to have been cut away by the force of the current encroaching on and undermining the soil on which it stands. The cliffs forming the right bank of the river are distant from this spot about five miles. A long alluvial Hawi* projects from them to within 100 yards of the left bank. This space only is now occupied by the river. The tomb of Imam Syed Mahomed bears from this point 262°. This also is the general direction of the river to the mouth of the river Atheim. The Nahrwán is also known here by the name of El Dojin. 3-35 anchored off a small branch of the Atheim to obtain observations.t The western branch is larger, and is two miles distant from this. appears a considerable stream, but when I passed it in March 1843, it
* Alluvium deposits in the valley of the Tigris are thus styled.
+ The western or larger mouth of the river Atheim is 7' gm' west of Baghdad by these observations. Its sources are in the Seghimeh range of Kurdish mountains. The Kisseh Sir at Kerkuk, the stream at Táú and the Safidrud unite their waters in about Lat. 34° 40° north, and in the meridian of Baghdad from whence, under the name of the Atheim it pursues a course a little to the westward of south, through the Hamria range, and final. ly falls into the Tigris in Lat. 34° 00' 80”. Where the Atheim breaks through the Hamria, the remains of a strong “ Sidd" exists, of great antiquity. This “Sidd" formerly blocked up the natural course of the stream, diverting it into two ancient canals, named the Nahr Batt to the north, and the Nahr Rathán to the south. These canals irrigate the country between the Hamrool and the Nahrwán, and contribute materially to swell the waters of the latter,
There can be little doubt, but that the Atheim is the Physeus of Xenophon, but the position of its junction with the Tigris in the days of the learned Greek, must be sought for, I think to the south of its present confluence. A line carried south a little westerly from the present delta of the Atheim, to the dry bed of the Shtaitha, would in all probability not only mark the site of its former confluence with the Tigris, but might pass over, or near to some extensive ruins, in which might be traced some features that would identify them with the lost Opio,
deserved little notice, but the heavy rains experienced this winter throughout the Pachalic, have increased its importance. After passing the Atheim, the river becomes more tortuous, a long reach extending to the S. W. leads you to an opening of considerable extent, which I am told is the mouth of the Sh'taitha, and supposed to be the old bed of the Tigris (see note of April 2nd). We passed it at 6-15 and stood towards Khán Tholiyah, in a northerly direction. Anchored for the night at 6-32 near two islands which here bisect the stream.
The alluvial soil now gives place to banks of pebbles and shingle, occasionally mixed with conglomerate masses, but the high cliffs still exhibit alluvium, mixed with many strata of sand, and in some places red clay. A salt stratum is observed near the present margin of the stream, in which sprigs of the Tamarisk flourish, but the rest is bare and much eroded, not only by the Tigris, but from the numerous torrents that find their way from the high lands contiguous to the Hamreen range. The Hawis, or alluvial deposits, formed in the valley of the Tigris, are now in a high state of cultivation. Obtained observations both for longitude and latitude, the latter deduced from the M. A. of* Antares was found to be 34° 00' 19" N.
Sunrise, April 4th, from the masthead observed the true bearing of Khán Tholiyeh to be N. 00° 45' W. At the same time the following angles right and left of it were taken by sextant; angle right, high peak of Daláhee on the great Lagros range 14° 25'; angles left of the Khán, Minaret in the village of Beled on the Dejeil 87° 32' ; Malwujeh, or spiral tower above Samarrah 53° 16'; Tomb of the Imams in Samarrah 55° 54'; Khán Mazzuki 63° 21°; Imam Syed Mahomed subtended an angle of 43° 34' left of Beled, and the Minaret of Sumeichah village 52° 9, left of Syed Mahomed. From this station, the mouth of the old bed of
* Both Dr. Ross and Capt. Lynch place the northern mouth of the old bed of the Tigris about 20 miles further to the west ; but I am assured from very good authority, that its true position is where I assigned it. There may however have been a branch further to the westward, and it is hazardous to differ with two such observant travellers as those I have quoted, but the nature of the soil changing from hard sandstone to alluvium in this vicinity, it is natural to infer that a deep and rapid stream like the Tigris would select the first yielding soil it met with for a bed to convey its pent up waters to the sea.
+ Observations (for longitude) of a Orionis, place this station 11' 16'' west of Baghdad, and as Khán Tholiyeh bore north, it also lies on the same meridian.
the Tigris or El Sh’taitha bears S. S. E. one and half miles distant, which would make the bottom of the reach south of Khán Tholiyeh, in latitude 33° 59' nearly, consequently if my latitude be correct (which I have no reason to doubt) the delineation of this part of the river in Lynch's Map is scarcely carried far enough south. It is difficult however to speak with certainty, as the map in my possession is on a very small scale, deduced by Arrowsmith from Lynch's original of 12 inches to a degree. Capt. Lynch's fixed stations are however very accurately determined. During the night the river rose 8 inches, occasioning the banks to fall in with loud reports. Thermometer 42° at daybreak.
Left our anchorage at 6-9 A. M. and crossed over to the Hawi on the left bank and received some fuel ; completed at 9-15 and pursued a northerly course towards Khán Tholiyeh.* I may here mention a trait of Arab rapacity and general character. Some of the Jebour had been assisting us in carrying our fuel, and I presented them with some ball cartridge in return; scarcely however had they reached the party to whom they were to have been presented, when one and all made a general scramble. The person to whom I entrusted them finding it now impossible to distinguish those who had earned the cartridges, threw them down, and such a scene ensued as could only be told by any unfortunate traveller who might fall into such hands, as assuredly his garments or any other property he might possess would be thus contended for ; swords were drawn, and sticks of no ordinary dimensions whistled through the air, and when we left, the excitement appeared as if it would last the entire day.
The stream is now becoming more rapid from the increased declivity of its shingly bed; as we approached the neighbourhood of Khán Tholiyeh, our progress
therefore was proportionably slow. At 9-50 the Khán bore N. E. one and half miles. From this the river pursues a westerly direction to Khán Mazrakji, and from thence to El Ghaim, t a little more northerly. At noon, Beled on the Dejil bore 182', Tholiyeh Khán 89o. At lh, a tomb in the body of Nahrwán, called Imam Syed Hussain, bore north one and half miles distant. A small branch of the Nahrwán is also called
* A caravanserai on the road to Samarrah from Baghdad.
Properly El Káim, but is pronounced as I have written it.
here Siél el Azeez ;* at the above time Beled bore 169°, and Tholiyeh 99o. Khán Mazrakji, a place of accommodation for pilgrims on the road to Samarrah north, and at 4 P. M.-N. E. This is the nearest point to the Khali Sid'l Nimrud or Median Wall. I visited it in 1843 but it is so well fixed and described, both by Capt. Lynch and Dr. Ross in the Journals of the Royal Geographical Society, that I need not further allude to it. 5-45 came to an anchor for the night in exactly the same spot as we spent the night on three years ago. I was not sorry when the declining rays of the sun obliged us to stop, for I felt much fatigued, having been on my legs the whole day ; indeed nothing but the greatest perseverance and attention to the steerage of a steam vessel through such intricate navigation as we have had to-day, could ensure her making any progress. From Khán Tholiyeh, the bottom has changed to a hard shingle, over which the current runs, by trial, at the rate of 6} geographical miles per hour. The bed of the river is full of numerous islands and shingle flats, and as there is in this season of the year, but one channel of sufficient depth which receives the whole stream, it occasions, where it is thus confined, a considerable fall or rapid, some of which, notwithstanding, a heavy S. E. wind set in, enabling us to make sail, we could scarcely surmount. The engines indeed appear to be paralized, when on the summit of a rapid, as the revolutions decrease from 29 to 23. This I can only account for by the weight of the vessel in her ascent, acting against the momentum of the paddles ; in fact the small diameter of the wheels is not calculated to lift, as well as to propel, the vessel up an inclined plane.
The country passed through to-day has been beautiful in the extreme. The undulating hills forming the valley of the Tigris are now clothed in their spring garments, waving grass intermingled with flowers of every hue, forms a rich landscape, which the eye is unaccustomed to meet in the alluvial plains below. Perpendicular cliffs, composed of masses of conglomerate, laid bare by the abrasion of the stream, seeming to threaten the destruction of the vessel should they fall, are happily contrasted with their carpeted summits. The Hawis of alluvium projecting from the various points of the valley of the Tigris are highly
This is the south branch or feeder of the Nahrwán. It is now much broken by the encroachments of the river. I have throughout erroneously termed the branch at El Ghaim the south branch,