NADIR SHAH marches from Bokhara, He gains a victory over the Turko­mans. Some other events during his stay in Khovarezm.

NADIR SHAH’s spies came with intelligence, that a large army of Tur­komans, were advancing to attack him. Whilst he was reflecting hereon, the Kerawels* brought him word, that some of his soldiers who had gone into the distant villages to plunder wood and straw, had been taken prisoners by the Turko­mans; and that from some who had escaped, had been learnt the strength of the Khovarezm army.

Alarmed at these advices, he imme­diately confirmed Abulfiez Khan King of Mawerulnehr, upon which occasion he presented him with a crown set with stones of a considerable value, together with a magnificient dress, three ele­phants, and a horse richly caparisoned.

Immediately after the above ceremo­nies were over, he marched for Char­joo; being greatly alarmed lest the Tur­komans should sieze the bridge, and the boats loaded with grain, which would have reduced him to great dis­tress.

After a most fatiguing march he arrived at Charjoo, and there made public thanksgiving to God. The next day the Turkomans, who had come by another road with intention to have destroyed the boats, arrived also at Charjoo, and were astonished to find themselves prevented in their first design: they, however, immediately made preparations for an engagement. Nadir Shah mounted his horse, and drew up his troops in battle array. A violent conflict ensued, and during the action, the Turkomans having possessed themselves of the ground between the river Gihoon and the Persian army, the Kezlebashes being greatly dis­tressed for water, were nearly routed. As soon as Nadir Shah heard that there was a scarcity of water, he sent for the two Sucka Bashees*, and for their negli­gence ordered their ears to to be cut off. Then gallopping in the front of the line, he upbraided his officers for their back­wardness, and bid them prepare for another attack. The army, animated by his example, forgot their thirst; and rushing on with united fury, the Turko­mans were totally routed, and fled towards Khovarezm. The troops being greatly fatigued, Nadir Shah did not think proper to pursue the fugitives, but returned to his camp. Three days after the action, he sent off Reza Kuly Mirza to Meshed, with all the superfluous baggage, and the wounded men.

He now wrote to the Governor of Meru Shahjan, informing him that after the conquest of Khovarezm, he should march by the way of Meru and Kelat to Meshed. That from the river Gihoon to the borders of Meru being a sandy desert, the army could not march more than eleven farsangs a day, so that it would take them up four days to go from Charjoo to Meru. That for the first day’s march they would carry suffi­cient water from the Gihoon. That although at the second stage there is a large lake called Abissar, yet for fear it should not be sufficient for so large an army, the governor of Meru should order about thirty Baghleyeh wells to be sunk there. The well called Baghleyeh, and which is used in all sandy soils, is made after the following manner. According to the diameter of the well, they sink a frame of wood, stuffed with straw and grass, to line the inside of the well, and prevent the sand from falling into it. At the third stage he ordered him to make eighty wells of this kind. For the fourth day, he was ordered to dig a large reservoir, and to supply it with water by making a canal three farsangs in length from the river of Meru. This last stage was fifteen farsangs.

The day after Nadir Shah had dis­patched these orders to the governor of Meru, he commanded Mehdy Khan also to direct him to make a great number of water bags for camels and mules, and to borrow as many more as he could find; which were to be filled with water at the new reservoir, and sent on five farsangs, that the men might be able to allay their thirst on the march. The governor of Meru punctually executed these several commands.

I now return to speak something of the country about Charjoo, where the army halted some days. On the west is the sandy desert now described; on the south, at the distance of twelve days journey, is Balkh; on the north, at the distance of eight days journey, are the borders of Khovarezm, inhabited by the Uzbecks; the river Gihoon bounds it on the east, on whose opposite banks is the territory of Bokhara. This river runs from south to north, and is narrower at Charjoo than at Balkh; on the borders of Khovarezm it is not half so broad, and is there fordable during the winter. The reason of its being so shal­low, is the number of canals that are dug from it, and in the Desht Kipchack, and Kereh Kilpack, it is entirely expended in watering the fields; and if at any time the water swells beyond the banks, it is absorbed by the sand. Some ancient authors have falsely asserted, that the excess flows into the lake of Khovarezm. The river Sihoon (or Cydnus) which is on the east of Mawerulnehr, flows from the north of Khojend, and Benagut, com­monly called Tashkend, from whence it runs towards Turkestan, and like the Gihoon is lost in the sands. At present, the Sihoon is called the river of Khojend, and also the river of Shash. One rea­son for my mentioning these particulars, is to shew that the large canals which are dug from these two rivers, are carried different ways, and so far from extending to Mazenderan, as some authors pretend, do not even reach to the lake of Khova­rezm. The above information I obtained from some of the principal inhabitants of these countries. Another reason for my making this remark is, that the Sind, the Ganges, the Euphrates, the Tigris, and other large rivers which I have seen, discharge themselves into the sea; and on the contrary, the water of the Gihoon and Sihoon, is entirely expended in cul­tivation. On the east of the Gihoon is the territory of Mawerulnehr, comprizing Bokhara, Samarcand, Tashkend, His­sar Shadman, Kish, or Sher-Sebz, Nekh­sheb, now called Kershee, &c. The water of the Gihoon, like that of the Euphrates, and Ganges, is very whole­some. On the west of the Gihoon is Khorasan, of which Balkh is a depen­dency.

Abulhassan Beg, the officer who had charge of the boats, represented to Nadir Shah, that if the grain was left exposed to the weather it would be entirely spoilt, and that he could not procure a sufficient number of sacks to contain it. After some deliberation, Nadir Shah asked the Khansaman*, what quantity was remain­ing of the clothes that had been brought from Iran to camp for sale; who answered, that there were left fifteen thousand jackets and twelve thousand pair of long drawers. Nadir Shah ordered them all to be delivered over to the superinten­dent of the boats, to be filled with grain. This proved a most fortunate event, as I am now going to relate. After the vic­tory over the Uzbecks, they had formed a design of burning the boats, and had sent spies to bring them intelligence. These coming in the night, and seeing the clothes stuffed with grain, concluded, they were men guarding the boats, and computed their number at about a thou­sand; and at the same time observing six thousand cavalry encamped on the bank of the river, they returned with such a report, as deterred the Uzbecks from their intended enterprise; and which if they had undertaken, they would inevitably have destroyed all the boats, when the army must have perished by famine.

After the departure of Reza Kuly Mirza, Nadir Shah made the proper disposi­tions for his march to Khovarezm. The road being chiefly through wilds, and thickets, he was apprehensive that the Uzbecks, from their knowledge of the country, might lie in ambush, and sur­prize him upon the road; he therefore did not think it prudent to march with­out order, as is the usual practice. He accordingly formed four divisions, one of which marched before, and another fol­lowed the baggage, whilst two other squadrons flanked the whole with long lines. If any one suffered his horse to move out of the ranks, the Nussuckchee Bashy beat his head against the pummel of his saddle. Strict orders were given to the troops that if a party of Uzbecks should appear, not to quit the order of march, but only annoy them with fire-arms, till either they were supported by the Fouj Turreh*, or the Shah himself came up. Several times the Uzbecks appeared, but seeing the troops firm and compact in their ranks like a wall, they retired in despair. The commandant of artillery, with six thousand cavalry, was appointed to march along the side of the river, to protect the boats loaded with grain and the guns. A detached body was ordered to gain intelligence of the roads, and to hasten to the relief of any quarter that should be attacked.