Letter from the Secretary of the Navy, transmitting, in compliance with resolution of January 27, report of Lieutenant Taunt of a journey on the river Congo
Letter from the Secretary of the Navy, transmitting, in compliance with resolution of January 27, report of Lieutenant Taunt of a journey on the river Congo, pp. -42 ff.
JOURNEY ON THE RIVER CONGO. of these had been notified of our approach by the signals and war-drums from below. The din of the yells, mingled with the drums and horns, was something terrific, for each village in turn had contributed to the number of yelling savages that followed us. After passing the Jast town I calculated that we were followed by from two to three hundred men, some in canoes, and the others running along the banks. To add to my anxiety, I found that we were running short of wood, and I knew that if we were obliged to anchor in the chan- nel it would be a hard fight all night, and a harder one in the morning when we attempted to land for wood. Fortunately, however, about 6 p. m. we ran out into the river, having just one-half hour's wood left on board, and anchored in lee of one of the many islands of the Congc. it came on to blow hard, with rain, about 7 p. m., and I did not think 1he canoes would be able to follow on account of the sea that was running in the river. Shortly. after 8 p. in., to our surprise, we were again greeted with the yells and war-horns, and I found that we were sur- rounded by from ten to twenty war-canoes filled with men. It was some time before we drove them off, and they finally took refuge on the islands near us. We could hear them all night, but they drew off at daylight. These people had no fire arms, and I am sure that a few well-directed shots when we were first attacked in the channel would have saved us any further trouble, but I yielded to the entreaties of the missionaries not to fire except as a last resort. On the night of August 14 we were anchored among the islands some miles above a large village, Yosaka. Here we were again surrounded by war-canoes. During the night, while I was forward, my Zanzibari discovered a canoe when only a few feet from the stern of the launch, evidently trying to board us. These savages above Bangala seem ab- solutely indifferent to danger, and it is only after many of them are shot down during the fights that they will draw off. At midday August 15 we passed the mouth of the Arroowimi River, and met with much the same reception from the natives here as we had received below. The Arabs, under the famous chief "Tippoo Tib," had raided down as far as the Arroowimi in the early spring of 1885, and had burned the villages on both banks, taking captured slaves and ivory back to Stanley Falls. This raid of the Arabs had not been alto- gether successful, as they had lost over once hundred men. Small-pox broke out among them, then threatened starvation forced them to re- turn to Stanley [alls. Shortly after passing the Arroowimi, the Royal and whale-boat were sighted just ahead, coming down the river. We dropped our anchor, and they were soon alongside. The Royal, with thirty men, jn charge of Mr. Harris, an Englishman, had been sent by Mr. Deane, from Stanley Falls, to warn me against the hostile natives, and to render such assistance as I neededfut, as I had passed the most dangerous localities, their assistance was D-'t required. I learned from Mr. Harris that a few days before, Deane and his men had camped on shore, in the narrow channel, a few miles below the village of Monongeri. The Royal was made fast to the beach. Deane sent his native guide, in a canoe with two other men, to the village to buy food. They pad- dled up to the village, the guide going on shore. He was at once sur- rounded, killed, and arrangements made to eat him. The two mien escaped in the canoe, and brought the news down to Deane's camp. Axs
Copyright 2004 Board of Regents of the University of Wisconsin System