observations, 699.1, old, 597.5. Lichens abundant on black _limestone_?
rocks. On hills about camp, Labiata nova, and a curious tomentose plant
were the only novelties.
_19th_. - Proceeded to Argutto, distance nine miles, direction easterly,
the country continues unchanged until we ascended gradually the end of
the low ridge between us and Ghuznee. The slope was very gradual: the
road towards the foot generally sandy, and in some places very bouldery:
on surmounting the ridge, which was not 300 feet above the plain, we
descended a trifle, and encamped in an open space with hills to the
north; this place slopes to the south into the valley up which we have
come for some marches. The valley in this upper portion is not so
fertile as the lower parts we have seen lately, still there are a good
many forts, and some cultivation: one or two cuts were passed, and water
is abundant at our halting place in cuts, or _Kahrezes_, as well as in a
small torrent with a shallow bed. Several forts were seen on the north
side, situated in the small ravines of the hills, they are however,
mostly ruined. No change in the vegetation. Jerboas not uncommon. An
Accipitrine bird, the same as that obtained at Shair-i-Suffer.
Horsemen, about thirty, were seen on the hills; they descended thence and
skirted the base in number; when they were pursued by our cavalry, but
escaped through a ravine which Sturt says, leads into a fine plain with
many forts. The 4th brigade joined with the Shah's force. I observed to-
day a curious monstrosity of an Umbelliferous plant, in which the rays of
the umbellules are soldered together; forming an involucre round the
immersed central solitary female, the male flowers forming the extreme
teeth of the involucre.
Detached thermometer 83 degrees 3', attached ditto 83 degrees 3';
barometer 23.262, mean of three observations: old therm. bar. 597.2, new
ditto 696.9. Abundance of villages throughout the part of the valley
running east, and then north, and many trees.
_20th_. - Proceeded to Nanee, distance eight to ten miles, bearing north-
east; after descending slightly from the ground we encamped on, and
turning the east extremity of its slope, the road is good, sandy and
shingly, running close to low undulated hills. No change in vegetation.
Encamped on undulated shingly ground formed from low hills to the north,
about half a mile off: Ghuznee is thence visible, situated close under a
range of hills, the walls high, having many bastions, and one angle on
the south face. Abundance of villages and topes or groves about the
valley closing up with irregular barren mountains. Picquets were seen
about five miles from our camp, but no appearance of an army about
The valley up which we have come since leaving Mookhloor, runs opposite
this place, from nearly east to north, and apparently, terminates beyond
Ghuznee; it is highly capable, is well inhabited and much cultivated. So
are all the valleys that we have seen on surmounting the boundary ridges:
the villages occupy each indentation of the valley, as well as its
Barometer at 1 P.M. 23.336, thermometer 91 degrees: new thermometric bar.
697.1, old 597.2. Latitude mean of three observations 33 degrees 24' 26"
_21st_. - Moved to Ghuznee, ten miles six furlongs. Cavalry in very
regular columns on the left; infantry to the right, and the artillery in
the centre; the park bringing up the rear: to the last moment we were not
aware whether the place would hold out or not. The Commander-in-Chief
and staff moved far in advance to reconnoitre until we entered a road
between some gardens, at the exit of which we were almost within range of
the town; here we halted; a fire was soon set up against us from gardens
to our left, and somewhat in advance, but all the shots fell far short.
On the arrival of the infantry, the light companies of the 16th, the 48th
were sent to clear the gardens, which they easily did, although from
being trenched vineyards, walled and _treed_, their defence might have
been very obstinate. In the mean time the guns on the south face of the
fortress opened on us, and our artillery forming line at about 800 yards
range, opened their fire of spherical case and round shot in return;
other guns in the fort then opened and a sharp fire was kept up on those
in the gardens by _jhinjals_ and _pigadas_, who when hard pressed took
refuge in an outwork or round tower. The fire from the south-east
extremity was soon silenced _pro tempore_, the shrapnel practice being
very effective. The howitzer battery on the extreme left of the
artillery line was too great a range, and with the exception of one gun,
all the shells fell short. In the _melee_, the Zuburjur 48-pounder, was
dismounted, and carried with it a considerable portion of the wall of the
citadel where it is built upon a scarp in the east face. After some
further firing, the troops were withdrawn almost without range, but
sheltered by gardens and broken ground. From 9 A.M. the engineers with
an escort reconnoitred the place, and having ascertained that the only
practicable point of attack _with our means_ was the Cabul gate, we
were moved off, and marched to the new ground in the evening. Owing to
the difficulty of crossing a river and several cuts which intercepted the
way, and formed the worst road for camels and guns I have yet seen, much
of the baggage was not up till twelve next (i.e. this) morning.
One European was killed, accompanying the escort. Graves severely, and
Von Homrig slightly wounded, a _golundauz_ lost his leg, and a few others
were wounded. Their gun practise in the fortress improved much towards
the end, and against the reconnoitring party, was said to be good.
_22nd_. - The ground we now occupy is the mouth of the valley, up which
the Cabul road runs: our camp stretches obliquely across this; the Shah's
camp taking a curve and resting by its left on the river. On our (i.e.
the sappers) right, is a range of hills, from the extremity of which the
town is commanded; between us and the range in question, the 4th brigade
is stationed, and on the other side, the remainder of the infantry. We
are it seems within reach of the long gun, which has been remounted, and
occasionally directs its energies against the Shah's camp. The night was
quiet, the troops completely knocked up by the fatigues of the day, the
distance we came (to the right) was certainly six miles, and that by
which the infantry moved to the left, was still more.
The gardens between us and the town are occupied by the enemy, but the
village of Zenrot on the ridge, is not. Large numbers of cavalry are
seen on the other boundary range of the valley, opposite our encampment,
certainly 2,000; this is probably the other son of Dost Mahommud, who
left the fort with the Gilzee cavalry on the night of our march to
Ghuznee, for the purpose of attacking our baggage; they were easily
driven from the ridge, which is now occupied by our horse.
_23rd_. - Ghuznee was taken this morning by a coup-de-main, the whole
affair was over in half an hour from the time the gate was blown open;
there was, however, a good deal of firing afterwards, and some of the
inhabitants even held out throughout the day, and caused almost as much
loss as that which occurred in the storm. The affair took place as
follows: the guns moved into position between 12.5 and 2.5 P.M., and
about 3 P.M. commenced firing at the defences over the gate: under cover
of this fire the bags of powder, to the amount of 800 lbs. were placed
against the gate by Captain Peat, the hose being fired by Lieut. Durand.
In the mean time the road to the gate was occupied by the storming party,
the advance of which was composed of the flank companies of all the
European Regiments. The head of the advance was once driven back by a
resolute party of Affghans, who fought desperately hand to hand, but a
jam taking place, the check was only momentary. After clearing the gate,
the enemy must have become paralysed, and both town and citadel were
gained with an unprecedentedly trifling loss. None of the engineers, or
of the party who placed the bags, were touched, although from the enemy
burning blue lights they must have been seen distinctly: two, of a few
Europeans who accompanied Capt. Peat were shot; one killed. During the
day a great number of prisoners were taken, among whom was Dost
Mahommud's son; a great number of horses also fell into our hands.
_24th_. - Ghuznee: by this morning at 9 o'clock every thing was quiet, and
the last holders-out have been taken; strict watch is kept at the gate to
prevent plunder, dead horses are now dragged out, and dead men buried:
the place looks desolate, but the inhabitants are beginning to return. It
appears to me a very strong, though very irregular place, the stronger
for being so: the streets are very narrow, and dirty enough, houses poor,
some said to be good inside, it is a place of considerable size, perhaps
one-third less than Candahar. It is surrounded by a wet ditch, of no
great width, the walls are tall and strong, weakest on the north-east
angle immediately under the citadel; parapets, etc. are in good repair.
The loop holes are however absurd, and even when large are carefully
screened. The ditch is crossed at the Cabul gate by a stone bridge. The
Zuburjur is a very large gun, but almost useless to Affghans, who are no
soldiers. Every side of the town might have been stoutly defended.
The view from the citadel is extensive and fine, the mountains to the
north and north-west extremely so, and seem crowded in the view, while
the river and its cultivation add novelty to an Affghan landscape; many
villages are visible in every direction, surrounded with gardens and
There is a good deal of cultivation all round the town, which is situated
on a sloping mound, separated by the ditch from the ridge forming the
northern boundary of the valley, up which the Cabul road runs; there is a
small mosque on this ridge, and below it, within 400 yards of the
ramparts, a small village, from which the attack was best seen. The
gardens are as usual walled, and are all capable of irrigation, the plots
being covered with fine grass or clover. Apples, apricots, pears, and
plums much like the Orlean's plum, a sort of half greengage, bullace,
Elaeagnus, and mulberries, are the principal fruit trees; of these the
pear is the best, it is small but well flavoured; the others are
indifferent. There are many vineyards dug into shallow trenches: the
plum is allied to the egg-plum, but altogether there are four kinds.
The chief vegetation of the uncultivated ground is a small Salsola,
Salsola luteola, this is mixed with Peganum, Santalaceae, Senecionoides
glaucescens, Umbelliferoid bicornigera, Composita, having the decurrent
part of the leaves dislocated and hanging down. Centaurea spinescens,
Linaria, _Joussa_, and one or two Astragali.
The vegetation, with the exception of an Artemisia indicae similis, a
Malvacea, and an Orobanche growing on Cucumis sp., is precisely the same
as that met with from Mookhloor hither, Cichorium, Polygonum
graminifolium natans, and two others, Rumex, Mentha, Epilobium
micranthum, Dandelion, Plantago major, Panicum.
There are two kinds of willow trees; Thermopsis is not uncommon,
Centaurea magnispina and Zygophyllum of Candahar are very common,
Sisymbrium, Lophia, Hyoscyamus, Centaurea cyanea, Tauschia. Magpies,
Hoopoes, Pastor roseus. Corvus corax, etc., along the water-cuts.
Some fine Poplars occur at a village, or rather a Fuqeer's residence;
about one and a half mile to the south-west of the town on the road to
Candahar, and about it, one or two Carduaceae, one a fine one, to be
called C. zamufolia, Pomacea acerifolia, also in gardens: among the
cultivated plants are maize, fennel, aniseed? Solarium, Bangun! Madder,
the beautiful clover of Mookhloor, lucerne, melons, watermelons, cresses,
L. sativum, radishes, onions, beetroot.
There are no ruins indicating a very extensive old city. About our camp
are the remains of bunds and old mud walls; near us, and between us and
the city, are two minars, with square tall pedestals, of burnt brick,
about 100 feet high, and 600 paces apart: there is nothing striking about
them, although they bear evidences of greater architectural skill than
any thing I have seen in the country, excepting the interior of Ahmed
Shah's tomb. The base is angular, fluted, and equals the capital, which
is but little thicker towards its base. They are brick, and derive their
beauty from the diversity in the situation of the bricks. The one
nearest the city is the smaller, and appears perfect, it is likewise
provided with a staircase: the larger one is broken at the top of the
_26th_. - I went to see Mahmoud of Ghuznee's tomb, which is situated in a
largish and better than ordinarily built village, about two miles from
the Cabul gate, on the road to Cabul, at a portion of the valley densely
occupied with gardens. The situation is bad, and the building which
appears irregular, quite unworthy of notice; it is situated among the
crowded houses of the village, and to be found, must be enquired for.
At the entrance of the obscure court-yard which leads to it, there is a
fine rivulet that comes gushing from under some houses, shaded by fine
mulberry trees; in this court are some remains of Hindoo sculpture in
marble; the way there leads past an ordinary room under some narrow
cloisters to the right, then turning to the left one enters another
court, on the north side of which is the entrance to the tomb; there is
no architectural ornament at all about it, either inside or out. The
room is an ordinary one, occupied towards the centre by a common old
looking tomb of white marble, overhung by lettered tapestry, and
decorated with a tiger skin: over the entrance, hang three eggs of the
ostrich, for which the natives have the very appropriate name of camel
bird, and two shells, like the Hindoo conches, but smaller. The roof is
in bad order, and appears to have been carved. The doors appear old;
they are much carved, but the carvings are effaced; they are not
remarkable for size, beauty, or mass; and appear to be cut from some fir
wood, although the people say they are sandal wood. The tomb strikingly
confirms the idea that the Putans became improved through their
connection with Hindoostanees, rather than the reverse; the tomb is
unworthy of a great conqueror.
I then ascended the ridge, and descended along it to the picquets on the
flank of our camp. This ridge, like all the low ones from Mookhloor to
this place, is rounded, very shingly, and generally on the northern face,
is partly covered with rocks, apparently limestone. The vegetation
presents nothing unusual, with the exception of a very large Cnicus,
Cnicoideus zamiafolius, capitulis parvis, an Umbellifera, a Scutellaria,
Dipsacus; otherwise they are thinly scattered with two or three
Astragali, two or three Artemisiae, among which A. gossypifera is the
most common, Labiata fragrans of Karabagh, Senecio glaucescens,
Compositae, Eryngioides, Centaurea alia, magnispinae affinis, Santalacea,
Leucades, Onosma major, et alia, foliis angustis, Echinops prima,
Sedoides, Cerasus, Canus pygmaeus, Dianthoides alia.
The view from this ridge is beautiful, it shows that three valleys enter
the Karabagh one about Ghuznee, the largest to the eastward; then the
Cabul one, then that of the Ghuznee river. The slope of this valley from
the mountains to the river, presents a very undulated appearance. The
cultivation is confined to the immediate banks of the river, which is
thickly inhabited, and to most of the ravines of the mountains, shewing
that water is generally plentiful. The river is to be traced a long way
by means of the line of villages and orchards which follow its banks.
The mountains are very barren, much varied in the sculpture of their
outlines, and are by no means so rugged as those of limestone in the
Turnuk valley. The lofty one which presents the appearance of a wall
near its ridge, and of snow, alluded to during the march hither on the
18th ultimo, is still visible. Considerable as is the cultivation, it
bears a very small proportion to the great extent of waste, and probably
untillable land, untillable from the extreme thinness of the soil and its
superabundant stones. Cratoegus occurred near Mahmoud's tomb, also
_29th_. - Halted: nothing new; botany very poor; poorer than ordinary.
_30th_. - Moved to Shusgao, distance thirteen and three-quarter miles,
direction still the same, or, to the north of the star Capella. The road
extends over undulating ground, is cut up by ravines, but easily
traversed, ascending and descending; then crossing a small valley, at the
north-east corner of which the ghat is visible: the ascent to the mouth
of this gorge equals apparently the height attained before descending
into the valley. The pass is narrow, the sides steep but not
precipitous; the hills are not very rugged, and they are generally thinly
clothed with scattered tufted plants; the pass gradually widens, and has
a ruin or remains of a small fort-like building as at the entrance. This
ruin, or fort, looks down into a poorly inhabited, poorly cultivated,
Khorassan valley: road good, with a gradual ascent for one and a half
mile from the exit of the pass, where we encamped, about five miles on
the Cabul side.
The Botany is rather interesting, the general features are the same as
those of the hills round Ghuznee; the most common plants Senecionoides
glaucus, Plectranthus of Mookhloor in profusion, a new densely tufted
Statice very common, Verbascum, Thapsioides, Linaria, Artemisia very
common, Cnici, two or three of large stature, Astragali, two or three,
Asphodelus luteus, Labiata of Mookhloor, Santalacea, Dipsacus, _Thymus_,
Lotoides, Staticoides major.
In the undulated ground before reaching the valley preceding the pass, a
fine tall Cnicus occurs, also Plectranthus; Peganum is very common.
About our halting place the same small Artemisia and Composita dislocata
occur in profusion; Cnicus zamiafolius, Dianthus aglaucine, _Astragalus_,
a peculiar prim-looking species. Leguminosae, Muscoides two or three,
very large Cnici, Plectranthus, Iris out of flower, Astragali alii, 2-3.
Cultivation consisting of mustard and very poor crops, of which wheat is
the principal: a few ordinary villages are seen with good and abundant
supplies of water; the country notwithstanding is inferior, as compared
with that about Ghuznee. The soil coarse and gravelly, or pebbly.
Thermometer 47 degrees at 5 A.M.
After descending from the gorge, the summit of which may be estimated at
400 to 500 feet, the ascent is considerable: barometer standing at 1.5
P.M. at 22.323; thermometer 86 degrees; so that the extreme ascent since
leaving Ghuznee has certainly been between 1,100 to 1,200 feet.
The inhabitants are coming into camp with articles for sale, as lucerne,
clover, coarse rugs, and sheep.
_31st_. - Proceeded to Huftasya, eight and a quarter miles, direction
about the same, continuing down a narrow valley with a well marked and
tolerable road, extending over undulating ground, having a slight descent
throughout: the centre of the valley is cultivated, villages extend up
the ravines of the northern side. We halted near several villages, with
a good deal of cultivation around, consisting of beans and mustard. But
few trees are seen about the villages, and there is no change in
vegetation: water abundant from covered _kahreezes_ or wells, which
generally flow into small tanks.
The slope of the southern boundary is undulated, that of the northern
though generally flat and uninteresting, yet near us becomes very bold
and rugged, but its ravines and passes are easily accessible.
Shusgao - The plants found here about the cultivation, are Achillaeoides,
Asteroides, Plantago major, Hyoscyamus, Tanacetoides, Artemisia,
Trifolium, Taraxacum, Mentha, Phalaris, Rumex, the small swardy Carex of
Chiltera, Astragalus, calycibus non-inflatis, tomentoso villoso, this
last with Composita dislocata is common on shingly plains.
On slopes of hills Leucades, Cerasus canus, pygmaeus rare, Dianthoides,
Plectranthus very common, Cnici 3 or 4, Labiata of Mookhloor,
Senecionoides glaucescens common, Artemisia, sp. very common, Staticoides
of Dhun-i-Shere, Anthylloides, Verbascum.
_Hyoscyamus_. The circumcision of the capsule of this genus is
apparently in connection with the peculiar induration of the calyx of the
fruit; its relations to the capsule is so obvious that its dehiscence is
the only one compatible with the free dissemination of the seeds, _the_
_calyx remaining entire_. _Hence_? the induration of the calyx
should be the most permanent if it is the cause, but to obviate all
doubts, both calyx, fructus induratus, and capsula circumscissa, should
enter into the generic character; the unilaterality of capsules, and
their invariable tendency to look downwards, or rather the inferior
unilaterality, may likewise reasonably be considered connected with the
same structure of calyx, as well as the expanded limb of the calyx.
The indurated calyx is the cause, because although circumscissa capsula
is by no means uncommon, and in others has no relation to the calyx, yet
in this genus it has such, and should have in every other similar case.
_August 1st_. - Hyderkhet, distance ten and a half miles down the same
valley; the road is bad and after crossing the undulating terminations of
the southern slope, very stony and bouldery; in several places it is
narrow and uneven. The country is well inhabited, and very well
cultivated, particularly towards the bed of the river, which is here and
there ornamented with trees. Numbers of villagers are seen on the road
as spectators. Beans very abundant, mustard less so, excellent crops of
wheat; the fields are well tilled, and very cleanly kept: this portion of
the valley, though small, is perhaps the best populated and cultivated
place we have yet seen: the descent throughout is gradual: the boundary
hills, at least lower ranges present a very barren character, covered
with angular slaty fragments. Some tobacco cultivation.
_2nd_. - Shekhabad, nine miles and six furlongs, direction north-east by
east. The road throughout is rather bad, particularly in places near the
Schneesh river, which has a very rapid current. We left this on its
turning abruptly through a narrow ravine to the south: towards this, the
valley narrows much; we then ascended a rising ground, and descended as
much or perhaps less until we reached the Logur, a river as large almost
as the Arghandab, this we crossed by a bridge composed of stout timbers,
laid on two piers composed of stones and bushes, and tied together by
beams: the cavalry and artillery forded below, and above the bridge.
Crossing the bed which is low and well cultivated, chiefly with rice, we
ascended perhaps 100 feet, and encamped on undulating shingly ground; we
then passed much cultivation on the road: villages are plentiful, and
often placed in very narrow gorges unusually picturesque for
Affghanistan; one scene was especially pretty, enclosed by the high
barren mountains of the southern boundary, in the distance a village or
two, and the Schneesh, with banks well wooded, and willows in the
The aspect of the hills, except some of the distant ranges, is however
changed; quartz has become very common among the shingle, with reddish,
generally micaceous, slate: the mountains are rounded, and easy of
access: very poorly clothed with vegetation. The course of the Logur is
nearly north and south.
There are some villages about this place, with lucerne, clover and
bearded rice of small stature.
The elevation of the country is here about 100 feet below our camp, which
is about half a mile from the river. Barometer 182, 23.362; thermometer
95 degrees; latitude 34 degrees 5' 30".
_3rd_. - Halted: the Logur river discharges much water; the whole of the
tillable portions of adjacent banks are not under cultivation, the rocky
sides to the south composed of micaceous slate, are very precipitous;
these mountains were originally rounded, but are now formed into cliffs;
willows and poplars are abundant along the river. But the vegetation of
the cliffy sides scarcely presents any change, except in a Salvia, a
Ruta, a small withered Leguminosa; the other plants are Polygonacea
frutex uncommon, Senecionoides, Salvia Horminum common, Artemisia two: