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April 11.-At 6h. 14m. A. M. weighed, but in easting the stream caught her bow and there not being room from the confined space the river flows in, to bring her head up stream with the helm, dropped an anchor in the hopes of checking her, but without effect, from the hard nature of the bed of the river. Drifted down a considerable distance before we could get her head round, and did not reach the place we
started from, until 6-45. The anchor too, on heaving it up, was found minus the stock. Sent the boats with a party of hands to track up while the vessel ascended the rapid, which she did with tolerable ease. Steamed up to a bluff point of the cliffs on the west side of the river called Abd'l Kerim* from an old Immam now in ruins standing on its summit. Hauled alongside the bank to wait for the boats, which came through an inlet or Khalidj, observing a party of Shammar horsemen making towards the boats sent an armed detachment to prevent them molesting the trackers, on which they retreated. The boats having joined at 9-20, steamed on. The river rose 17 inches between sunset and daylight, causing a greater rapidity in the current⚫ It is hereabouts divided into many channels and well wooded islands. 12h. 20m.-Reached Gubah on the left bank, near a high mound+ in the plain, and the first tamarisk grove met with, north of Baghdad. Our wood is deposited here. Completed wooding by two P. M. and stood The channel is very tortuous to Kaleh Abu Reyyash.
At four P. M. the Kaleh bore west. It is a ruined enclosure on the cliffs, with a fine plain or Hawi extending to the eastward; from it a
present anchorage; the Pilot terms it "E Seliva," or the "Siren." The Kelleckchis or raftmen have a peculiar dread of the spot, and will never stop in this vicinity, believing the interior of the cliff to be the habitation of a pleasing but seducing race, who lure but to destroy.
*This is the burial place of a son of the Imam Musa, the seventh of the 12 Imams revered by the Shiáhs. He was born in the year of the Hejra 128, and was poisoned at Baghdad by order, it is said, of Harun El Rashid. He is buried at the village of Kathemem, on the right bank of the Tigris, three miles above Baghdad, and the Persians have built a handsome mosque over his remains the cupolas of which are covered with beaten gold. Rich's Kurdistan and Nineveh, note to page 144, Vol. 2nd.
+ This mound is of great antiquity, and as its name signifies in Arabic a "Chamber or Temple," I think it might be identified with some of the last positions. I possess neither the time nor learning for such researches. Were the mound excavated it would no doubt afford some interesting relics. Its situation is about N. by W. from Tekrit, and is in Latitude 34° 47′ N. or 11 Geographical miles distant from the town.
large encampment of the Shammar now occupy this magnificent plain. They are of Mejris' party and of considerable strength. Nejin is the name of the Sheikh, indeed the margin of the river from Tekrit to Khán Kharneinah is now entirely peopled by the Shammar, and all communication between Tekrit and Mosul is in consequence stopped. They have vast herds of camels and sheep, which are seen gazing with their beautiful horses on this rich plain dotted here and there with black tints, affording a pleasing picture of pastoral life, did not the character of the tribe contrast sadly with its primitive habits.
At six P. M. brought to for the night on the east bank. Our whole progress to-day, as deduced from the latitude obtained from an altitude of Dubhe, 34° 49′ 43,' has been but 7′ 51′′ to the northward. The river rose three inches during the night.
April 12.-Left at six A. M. and struggled hard against the rapid stream until 9h. when we were opposed by a fall. The ascent of this, not 100 feet in extent, occupied us until 11h. 20m. It was only overcome at last by a south wind springing up, enabling sail to be set, and by sending our boats to track up in shore. 12h. 30m, passed a ruined Khán named Kharneinah,* situate under the cliffs on the west side of the valley. These cliffs now diverge considerably more to the westward, while those forming the east boundary of the valley of the Tigris, tend more to the eastward, leaving abrupt and broken angles at Kharneinah on the west, and at a point called Leg Leg on the east. Immediately north of Leg Leg about three miles, the remains of Nahr Hafu, or upper branch of Nahrwán, is seen. It is said to have conveyed the waters of the Tigris under the cliffs, through a tunnel, to the main branch at Kantarat el Resásá ;† another small canal or feeder is situate about two miles south of the same point. From the diverging points described above, the country is more open and undulates in gentle slopes to the foot of the Hamrin range. From Khán Kharneinah the river is very tortuous and is divided by numerous beautiful islands, covered with every species of wild grass, as well as with the tamarisk
A caravanserai now in ruins. It stands on the high road to Mosul, and was much frequented when the kafilas pursued the route by the Jozira. The encroachments and increasing power of the Arabs rendering travelling by this route unsafe, caused its abandonment.
† Ancient Carche.
and poplar; some of the latter have obtained to considerable size, affording a precarious livelihood to the inhabitants of Tekrit, who raft it to Baghdad for sale. After leaving Kharncinah our progress was a little more rapid, owing to the fine southerly wind which continued till sunset, when we made fast for the night at an island about three miles below "El Tettha," or the "opening," where the Tigris breaks through the hills. The latitude observed here was 31° 56′ 57′′ and the northernmouth of the Nahrwán bore N. E. one mile distant. The continuation of the Hamrin on the west side of the Tigris, termed Jebal Makhal, is now end on, and bears N. N. W. half W. The eastern ridge, or that termed Jebal Hamrin, extends from a little above this point to the eastward, and is an incongruous heap of barren mounds, composed of sandstone and pebbles without a blade of vegetation. Both the IIamrin and the Jebal Makhul are alike in formation, and may be reckoned about 500 feet high at this spot, though their altitude decreases as they advance to the S. E. The rich plain at their base is in pleasing contrast with their desolate summit. During the night the river fell six inches. Thermometer at 50° to 85° in the shade.
April 13th.-Left at 5h. 45m. and not being favored as yesterday with the south wind, advanced at a snail's pace to our wood, which we reached at 7 A. M. It is cut in a small tamarisk grove just above the mouth of the Nahr Haffu, and covered in with branches to prevent its being fired by the Arabs. Here we remained wooding and despatching answers to letters just received from Baghdad until 9h. 30m. Made a fresh start at this time, but as I had anticipated, after receiving our fuel, with little or no success, struggled hard against the stream, which here breaks through the hills with much force, until 11h. 20m. when we were brought to a stand-still without any hopes of accomplishing our object, and on considering that our success hitherto had been mainly attributable to fresh S. E. wind, and that obstacles of a much more formidable nature than those we had encountered awaited us, besides the risk we ran of grounding and eventual detention, should the water fall after the high state the river had risen to, I reluctantly determined on retracing our steps to Baghdad, and accordingly put the helm up.
The last day's journey has been through a rich country teeming with wild plants of nearly every description; undulating slopes of an emerald green enamelled with flowers of every huc are spread before the eye like
a rich carpet, at every turn of the stream, and nothing is wanting but the hand of man to turn such a profusion of nature's gifts to account. But all is a vast solitude. The silence is unbroken except by the rushing of the torrent past, the time-eroded cliffs, or by the screech of an owl, awakened from his lethargy by the flap, flap, flap of our paddle wheels. When Mr. Rich passed this spot some 20 years' ago, all was bustle and activity. Arab tribes were located on the banks of the river, and the beautiful islands, rich in their spring garments, formed the abode of the peaceful cultivator. The ruthless Shammar have since then, by the weakness of the Government, spread devastation wherever they pitched their tents, and, thinned by the plague which assailed the Pachalic in 1831, the former population have been obliged to flee to the more secure districts in the neighbourhood of Kerkuk.
The rapidity with which we are now descending after our hard struggle upwards, appears to gain fresh impetus at every mile. Rocks and islands, steep cliffs and shingle banks, quickly succeed each other. Cattle, tents, and men are reached in a single hour, and the silent desolation of yesterday is exchanged for the noise and activity of animated nature. The following places were passed at the respective times found opposite to them, viz. Khán Kharneinah 00h. 52m. Place anchored at on the evening of April 11th, 1h. 15m. Kaleh Reyyash 1h. 30m. Reached Tekrit at 3h. 20m. P. M. thus performing the descent in 3h. 50m. which had occupied us 30 hours steaming on the journey upwards. Between Abdel Kerim and Kaleh Reyyash, a small stream or torrent fall into the Tigris on the left bank. It is named Nahr Milha, and is said to be of considerable size during the winter months, when swollen with the torrents from the Hamrin range.
April 14th.-Reached Samarrah* at 9h. 9m. A. M. Remained here during the day to make arrangements regarding the despatch of our overplus fuel to Baghdad by raft.
In the evening visited the Maluryah, from its summit I obtained the following true bearings as deduced from magnetic by a prismatic compass. Minaret or tomb of Imam Mahomed Dur at Dur 342° 45'; Khán Tholush 119° 30′; Khán Mazrakji 132′; El Ghaim, tower at the entrance of the south branch of the Nahrwán, 165° 30′; ruins of Ashik, on the
By good observations for latitude and longtitude, I place Samarrah in 34° 11 33" North, and 32' west of Baghdad.
right bank opposite, 299° 30′′. Tel Benat or the "girl's mound" near Dur, 345° 30'. Tel Alij or the "nose bag mound" 18° 30′. Khalifa or old palace, 341° 00.' Qádésiyeh old fortress extending from 147. to 157°; Istabolat town 1670; variation of the needle 2° 55′ west.
April 15th.-Left Samarrah at 6h. 21m. and steamed down the river against a heavy south wind, which in the reaches directly opposite to it raised the waters of the Tigris into a considerable swell. Passed Qádésiyeh at 7h. 25m.; Khán Mazrakji 8h. 10m.; Khán Tholiyeh 9h. 3m.; mouth of the Atheim 10h. Om.; Sindiyeh, where we stopped for fuel, at 11h. 52m.; Jedidel village 3h. 7m. P. M. and anchored off the gardens of Trumbee in a heavy squall of thunder, lightning, hail, and rain at 6h. 20m. The next morning took up our old berth at Baghdad after passing through the bridge of boats.
From these observations it will be seen that the journey northward against the stream occupied 86 hours steaming, while the descent was performed in the short space of 19 hours.
I much regret the termination of our trip, for I had flattered myself that it might not only prove useful in a geographical sense, but also both instructive and amusing. I had contemplated, could I have only reached the neighbourhood of Mosul, a visit to that town and the adjacent ruins of the Assyrian cities of Nineveh, Khorsabad and Nimrud, as well as a minute examination of the interesting Al Hadhr,
* A large and very ancient mound, I believe first described by Mr. Rich in his Kurdistan and Niniveh. He identifies it with the Larissa of Xenophon. The learned Bochart in alluding to this spot, remarks the improbability of a town with such a name existing in this part of the world previous to the conquests of Alexander. He therefore conjectures that this city is the Resen mentioned by Moses in Genesis x. 12, and imagines the name Larissa to have been applied to it by Xenophon not only from the attachment of the Greeks to this peculiar name, but from its resemblance to the Hebrew Laresen "of Resen," which no doubt suggested its being corrupted to Larissa. He concludes by observing that it is easy to imagine how this word (Laresen) might be softened by a Greek termination and made Larissa.
Mr. Fraser, in his work on Mesopotamia and Assyria, states it is also known by the appellation of Al Athus or Asshur, from which the whole country derived its name. Be this as it may, there can be now no doubt of its great antiquity, for the enterprizing and intelligent Bukhtyari traveller, Mr. Layard, so far back as last November, succeeded in discovering with little labour some beautiful specimens of antique statuary, in very high relief, and large slabs covered with the Assyrian cuneiform writing. He is now actively employed in extensive excavations since he obtained the Firman from the Porte,