1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Isly
ISLY, the name of a small river on the Moroccan-Algerian frontier, a sub-tributary of the Tafna, famous as the scene of the greatest victory of the French army in the Algerian wars. The intervention of Morocco on the side of Abd-el-Kader led at once to the bombardment of Tangier by the French fleet under the prince de Joinville, and the advance of the French army of General Bugeaud (1844). The enemy, 45,000 strong, was found to be encamped on the Isly river near Kudiat-el-Khodra. Bugeaud disposed of some 6500 infantry and 1500 cavalry, with a few pieces of artillery. In his own words, the formation adopted was “a boar’s head.” With the army were Lamoricière, Pélissier and other officers destined to achieve distinction. On the 14th of August the “boar’s head” crossed the river about 9 m. to the N.W. of Kudiat and advanced upon the Moorish camp; it was immediately attacked on all sides by great masses of cavalry; but the volleys of the steady French infantry broke the force of every charge, and at the right moment the French cavalry in two bodies, each of the strength of a brigade, broke out and charged. One brigade stormed the Moorish camp (near Kudiat) in the face of artillery fire, the other sustained a desperate conflict on the right wing with a large body of Moorish horse which had not charged; and only the arrival of infantry put an end to the resistance in this quarter. A general rally of the Moorish forces was followed by another action in which they endeavoured to retake the camp. Bugeaud’s forces, which had originally faced S. when crossing the river, had now changed direction until they faced almost W. Near Kudiat-el-Khodra the Moors had rallied in considerable force, and prepared to retake their camp. The French, however, continued to attack in perfect combination, and after a stubborn resistance the Moors once more gave way. For this great victory, which was quickly followed by proposals of peace, Bugeaud was made duc d’Isly.