Page:Yule Logs.djvu/120

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104
"A FRENCHMAN'S GRATITUDE"

But the words had hardly been spoken, when the Turkish horsemen wheeled round and charged down upon us, with shrill cries of "La la ha il Allah! Vras! Vras![1]

Again the six-pounders were fired; then the centre sections closed up, and the moment the Turks got within musket-range, our standing ranks gave them a rattling volley, which knocked over several of them, including one of their boldest leaders. This warm reception damped their ardour, and once more they retired in confusion.

We young hands thought the day was our own, and rent the air with cheers; some of the men even sprang forward as if to start in pursuit of the retreating horsemen; but the stern voice of the veteran major quickly recalled us to our senses.

Vogelsang now ordered the gunners to load, "to the muzzle," with grape and canister, and the infantry to drop a running ball into their muskets. "We will give them a still warmer welcome, my children!" he exclaimed, with a laugh like the croak of a raven; "but you must be steady, and not break your ranks."

Once again the turbaned warriors advanced to the attack, yelling like a pack of fiends. A well-directed volley of double-shotted musketry greeted them, yet they paused not in their wild career. Then the six-pounders opened on the columns attacking our right and left faces, and their salutation no mortal Turk could have withstood. The havoc produced as the grape and canister tore through the serried ranks was fearful, and with a cry of dismay the assailants of the right and left sides of our square galloped off ventre à terre.

The third body of the enemy, however, undismayed by the repulse of their comrades, held on their course, and charged right up to the rear face of the square, where we were posted; almost up to our bayonets' points they

  1. "There is no god but God! Kill! Kill!"