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The Seat Of War In The East

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The progresa of the Bussian columns in Armenia has been marked by singular good fortune up to tho pi'esent. With an extended front they have swept forward from the coasfc of the Black sea to the Persian frontier, meeting scarcely any opposition from the Turks. In reflecting on this remarkable movement several important points present theniselves, as indicating pretty clearly the relativo strength and morale of the belligerents. Without a prepoüderating force the Bussians could not undertake the invasión of Turkish territory from so many widely-separated points. A concentration of the Turks against any of the advancing Russiau columns would place before the latter not less than 40,000 men, with all the advantages of a chosen battle ground and the difficulties of the couutry. It is, therefore, safe to presume that each Russian column numbers at least 30,000 men, with eupporting bodies of cavalry operating in the intervals between the columns. The aggregate Bussian strength in the field must therefore be over 100,000, with strong reserves to occupy captured positions and maintain the communieations. The seizure of Bajazid by the Bussians shows that they are opiTatirg from Ri'iwon, a strongly fortified town soutirward of Alexandropol. The Turks retircd from the place on the approaeh of the enemy, being too weak in nnmbers and artillery to attempt a defense. Their withdrawal also indicates the weakness of their whole line, for the strategical value of Bajazid in view of a Persian advanco cannot be questioned. Perhaps, underthe circumstances, the concentration of the Turks is their best policy; but they must pay a dear price in important positions on the frontier for the safety of Erzeroum, if that city is to be saved by their efforts. The road from Bajazid towurd Erzeroum skirts the bnse of Mount Ararat toward the fortified place or castle of Toprak Kaleh, which covers tho pass in the mountiiin range that separates the valley of the Arras from that of the Mourad. The Turks of Bajazid will, therefore, retire on Toprak Kaleh or on Van, with the probabilities in favor of the iirst-named position. With Bajazid ns their depot, the Bussians will advance cautiously westward, timiug their movements with thoso of the Kars column. If the latter is successful iu isolating Kars, a eoncorted movement of the two will force the Turks to abandon the head of the Mourad valley altogether, and retire on Erzeroum. Il', therefore, a battle is to be fought by the late Tuvkish garrison of Bajazid, it will be on the road to Toprak Kaleh. It is probable that the Kussian Army of the Danube will maintain its present position until tho Army oí tlio Oauoasus has made further progresa westwurd. The poliey of forcing tbc Turks to dövelop their full flglitiug strength before attacking them on tlie Europcan sido ík the safest for the Russian commanders just now. The passafi of tlie Danubo is an operation so full of pSril that it will not be onderteken until at least 150,000 men are massed tor blo ptlrpose. Then comes the seleution of tlie point of crossing, which is one of the gravest problems of the campaign. By foreing the river at Silistria the liussians could avoid a long march in the Dobrudscha, at once threaten Shumla and isolate that fortress from Bustchuk and the west by a series of rapid marches on the railroad at liasgrad, whilo ui expedition operating from Tchemavoda would out the Kostendge railroad and thus destroy one of the Turkish linea of supply. Witli Silistria in their hands the ïinssians would control the Danube from that point to its mouth and compcl the Turks to retire to the Balkans on the west and to Shumla on the cast of the Bussian line of advance.


Old News
Michigan Argus