Campaigning on the Oxus (Classic Reprint) Book

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Excerpt from Campaigning on the Oxus

The aim of this book is modest. It is rather a record of travel and adventure than a re gular history of a military campaign. For the most part, I simply describe what I myself saw and heard. In doing this, I hope, however, to have at the same time succeeded in producing something like a picture of life and warfare in Central Asia. And I have done my best to give completeness to my narrative by describing not merely the military operations against Khiva, but also the physical features, the social life, and the political condition of the country itself.

It may be objected that I have dwelt too much -especially in my first chapters - on merely per sonal adventures. While pleading guilty in some degree to the charge, I venture to offer two pleas in extenuation. First, I travelled through a strange country under very strange circumstances. And, secondly, an account of my own adventures may serve to give the reader some idea of the manners, customs, and feelings of the almost unknown people among whom I moved.

The book is divided into three parts. In the first part, I give an account of my life in the desert of the kyzil-kum, while still in search of Gen. Kaufmann's army. The second describes the march on Khiva, and the capture of the city; and some chapters are devoted to a general account of the Khanate. In the third part is narrated the war with the Turcomans, which followed the fall of Khiva.

I am deeply indebted to Mr. Schuyler, Secretary of the American Legation at St. Petersburg, for the assistance he rendered me, on the way to Central Asia; but for his aid, I should probably never have been able to reach Khiva. To Mr. Robert Michell I also owe my thanks for many valuable suggestions.

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