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Dan Sambra / Administrator

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Sunday, March 10th 2013, 1:52pm

1877, July 25: HMS Rapid, Varna - Rapport de E.Drummond, A.H. Layard, Küstendje, Constanta

1877, July 25 - Rapport de E. Drummond

[Dan - Report written:
- by E. Drummond, captain of HMS Rapid
- to Austen Henry Layard, UK Ambassador at Constantinople]

Quoted from "Rapport ..."

"Rapid", Varna, July 25, 1877


In compliance with your Excellency’s telegram, received on the 21st instant,
HMS Peterel (Rosario class, same as HMS Rapid)

Einschiffung gefüchteter Bulgaren auf die "Eveline"bei Cap Kartali am 21. Juli 1877
Source: Illustrirte Kriegs-Chronik, 1876-1878
Ausschiffung geflüchteter Bulgaren in Küstendje (Dobrudscha)
Source: Illustrirte Kriegs-Chronik, 1876-1878
I started in the evening of that day, having Lieutenant-Colonel Sankey on board, for Kustendji.

On, my arrival at that place on the following morning I was informed that the Circassians and tartars were pillaging and oppressing the Christians in the villages between Mangalia and Shabler, and that the small British steamer "Evelyn" had been down to a place abreast of the village Duran-Kulan, and at the village of Kaptcha, a couple of miles inland, and found the inhabitants of the last-named village had taken refuge in the middle of a lake.

The Circassians and Tartars, estimated at 1,000, were seen by the party on board of the "Evelyn" retreating. These marauders had pillaged and set fire to the village, killed 5 men, wounded 16 men and women, and carried off 22 girls. The "Evelyn" took back to Kustendji about 380 people; but unfortunately, by the capsizing of the small boat, a number of women and children (variously stated from 21 to 41) were drowned.

On this information I immediately started for the scene of disorder, and on arriving at a place about ten miles north of Shabler, I sent on shore to get information from the Bulgars, who could be seen at work in the fields, and who at first showed a disposition to run away.

They, however, stated that their village had not been troubled. and that the country generally along the coast as far as Kaliakra was quiet, and that a number of people had taken refuge at Kaliakra.

Finding that I could be of no use at this place, I returned to Kustendji, and landed the Vice-Consul.

I there saw M. Belo-Cherkovitz, the Russian Governor, who assured me that the Russian authorities have no objection whatever to the presence of Her Majesty’s ship "Rapid" at Kustendji, or to the ship going to Varna and that port, stating that he would entirely confide in me in the matter of taking away any information. ‘

As Her Majesty’s ship "Rapid" was, and probably will be, the only means of communication between Varna and Kustendji, and as I thought it desirable to go to Kavarna, I again left on the 22nd, and arrived at this place on Monday evening.

Having informed Mr. Dalziel, the Vice-Consul, of my intention to go to Kaliakra and Kavarna, he was good enough to accompany me.

I also received on board the Mutessarif of this place and the Greek Archbishop, who asked me to allow them to come: so at midnight on Monday I sailed from Varna, arriving at Kaliakra at 4.20 A.M., where I landed with the Consul, and found that a number of Christians, estimated at 2,000, had taken refuge at the very extremity of Cape Kaliakra - a very good defensive position, and safe from any attack by horseman.

They were from the surrounding villages - a large number from Kavarna - but were not in any immediate distress. They desired a safe-conduct from the Government to enable them to return to their villages. There was but one wounded man among them, whom I took on board and landed at Baltschik.

At 7.45 A.M. I anchored off Kavarna, and arriving at the village which is about two miles inland, and said to contain about 700 houses, I found that it had been entirely pillaged and was deserted, and I should say that 100 houses, including the school-house, had been destroyed by fire. I myself saw but two dead bodies, but I estimate the number of dead seen by different persons of our party at eight, and in one case I was informed that the body was decapitated.

On my return to the ship I proceeded to Baltschik, where were two Turkish iron-clads, one
bearing the flag of Admiral Hassan Pasha.

At Baltschik there are a large number of Christian refugees from different villages, and the inclosed statement of the origin of the disturbance at Kavarna was made before me and Vice-Consul Dalziel by two of the principal persons of that place.

I returned to this anchorage last evening, and beg to inform your Excellency that it is my intention to proceed to sea to-night and remain about the coast of Shabler and Kavarna, returning to this place by Friday night, as I think the presence of a ship may possibly afford some assistance to the Christians.

I have also the honour to acknowledge the receipt of your Excellency’s despatch of the 21st, and to forward also a list of wounded given to me by Lieutenant-Colonel Sankey.

I only received your Excellency’s telegram of the 22nd, directing me to proceed to Kavarna on my return from that place, last night.

I have, & e.
(Signed) E. Drummond

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Dan Sambra / Administrator

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Sunday, March 10th 2013, 4:10pm

1877, July: HMS Rapid at Küstendje, Constanta

1877: HMS Rapid at Küstendje
Source: ILN, September 1st, 1877

Quoted from "ILN..."


The Foreign Office batch of correspondence just pubIished regarding
the ill-treatment oft both the Christian and Turkish inhabitants of Bulgaria during the present campaign makes some mention of the presence of H.M.S. Rapid at Kustendje in the second week of July, and of the timely action by which Commander Drummond, with the officers and crew of that vessel prevented the Bulgarian populace from attacking their Moslem neighbours.

This was after the withdrawal of the Ottoman troops, and beforethe arrival of the Russians, who belonged to the Fourteenth Army Division, under General Zimmermann, then operating in the Dobrudscha.

Our special artist, Herr Schönberg, in a letter which we published three weeks ago, spoke of the prompt and opportune interference of the British
HMS Rapid in Kustendje (sursa: ILN, September 1, 1877)
naval commander, who landed a party of seamen and marines to keep the peace in the town, when abandoned by its regular governing authorities.

The sketch by Herr Schönberg, which we have now engraved, is an Illustration of this particular scene.

The British marine force had no difficulty in preserving order, without the need for any display of rifles and bayonets or pistols and cutlasses, which were discreetly kept out of sight.

In the meantime, the English manager of the railway [Dan: Edward Harris, DBSR], with a train, set out for Medjidieh to meet the Russians, and request them to come and occupy the place.

The general said that Kustendje did not lie in their line of march, and the occupation of the place did not enter into their plans; but that to satisfy the inhabitants he would send over a regiment of Cossacks to assist in keeping the peace, and would also dispatch some one to organise a local government.

The result was the arrival on Sunday, the 15th, of the 29th Regiment of Cossacks, whose entry into Kustendje was greeted by the whole population in holiday dress, along both sides of the road leading into the town.

A correspondent, writing from Kustendje to one of the daily papers, thus describes its present condition:

"The town is more than half empty, and looks very miserable. The houses deserted by the Turks have been occupied by whomsoever chose to reside in them, certain of not being troubled for rent for some time to come.

The Russian Governor of Kustendje informed all those whom it might concern that they were at liberty to go out into the country and gather the crops deserted by the Turks and Tatars. Having selected those they they intended to work upon, they were to have them registered in the village to which the land belonged..."

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