Second year, battles in Epirus, Rumeli, Moreas - Dervenakia

Suli

The fall of Ali Pasha (January 1822) reversed on the detriment of the Greeks the correlation of power among the warring parties in both Epirus and west-central Greece and in the other areas. Thousands of armed Ottomans could now head southwards and be used for the repression of the Revolution. Hursit pasha was able to assemble a force estimated at 30000 men. Only Souliots were continuing to fight endlessly for two years against superior forces of turkoalbanians. Battles which had taken place around Suli, hadn't made brave Suliots to surrender. Omer Vrionis, Keser Ahmet pasha and Ago Mouhourdar were the generals of the enemy and Drakos, Daglis, Zarmpas, Koutsonikas, Tousas Zervas, Zugouris Tzavelas, Nasos Fotomaras, Perrevos, Markos Botsaris and Notis Botsaris were the leaders of Suliots. Suliot women also fought side by side with their men. But in the summer of 1822, Suliots were forced in the fortresses of Kiafa, Navariko and Chonia. Their situation was desperate and the Greek side decided to organize an expedition aiming at Arta since it constituted the most important military base of the Ottomans in the south regions of Epirus. Apart from the armatolos and the chieftains of the greater region (Varnakiotis, Bakolas, Iskos, Makris, etc.) the majority of the Philhellenes which had come to the revolted areas in the previous months participated in the expedition as well. The expedition, the general direction of which was undertaken by the president of the government Alexandros Mavrokordatos, who had no idea of military tactics, began in the beginning of June with the occupation of positions and the composition of encampments near the fortified town.

Kyriakoulis Mavromichalis Philellenes - European volunteers from France, Germany, Italy, Poland had formed a body under the command of german Norman. Colonel of the regular regiment was the italian Tarella and Gubernatis was appointed as lieutenant. Peta, a village near Arta offered a position in which the philellenes regulars and the greek irregulars under the command of Gogos Bakolas, Markos Botsaris and Georgios Varnakiotis, were entrenched in the tampouria. Mavrokordatos withdrew to a village about ten kilometers away from Peta. In the dawn of 4 July, Turks advanced on the Greek positions. During two hours they repeated their assaults without success. However some fifty of the attacking Albanians scaled the ridge at a point which Bakolas had left unguarded. This was the crucial point. Albanians raised their flampoura and when the Greeks saw the enemy flags, they assumed that the battle was lost and retreated. The Europeans were cut off, and turkish cavalry poured on them. Dania, Tarella and most of the officers were killed. Of the volunteers dead, thirty four were German, twelve Italian, nine Polish, seven French, three Swiss, one Dutch and one Hungarian. The prisoners were forced to carry the heads of their comrades to Arta, where they also were beheaded. Norman, wounded at Peta, died in Mesologhion at November. So the dream of the philellene volunteers that they might play a noble part in the liberation of Greece came to an end. Bakolas, later was accused as a traitor for his failure to hold his position and he went over to the turkish side. The same day another casualty occured to the Greek side. At Splantza, a beach near Parga, Maniats under the command of Kyriakoulis Mavromichalis had landed there, in an effort to reach Suli and help the besieged Suliots. In the battle that followed Kyriakoulis Mavromichalis was killed. So Maniats regretful for the loss of their leader left for their homeland. Suliots left alone and without any exterior help, capitulated and left with their families for Assos, a town located in Keffalinia island, which was then under the british rule.

In Eastern Rumeli, Odysseas Androutsos was the leading captain of revolutionaries and he fought against the enemy, who tried to send reinforcements to Peloponnese. So Ilias Mavromichalis, son of Petrobey Mavromichalis, came to Rumeli to help the greek forces. On 5 January he landed to Griponissi, modern Evoia, with 600 Maniats. But on the battle that followed on 11 January, near Karystos, Ilias Mavromichalis with seven of his men were surrounded by enemy forces and were killed. His head was sent to the sultan in Constantinople. Dimitrios Ypsilantis and Nikitas Stamatelopoulos came to Rumeli on March 1822, with 700 men. But Ioannis Koletis who controlled the government had concetrated every effort to eliminate Odysseas Androutsos. He had sent to him a letter saying that Nikitaras was coming to kill him. When the three men were met they realized the filthy plot that was planned by Koletis and promised each other friendship. At the end of March 1822, the greek forces, under the command of Androutsos, Duovouniotis, Nikitaras and Nakos Panourgias decided to attack Neai Patrai, modern Ypati. But turks had superior forces and Greeks retreated. Androutsos defended the village of Aghia Marina with very few men. When he asked for supplies and ammunition from the government, there was no reply to his appeals. It seems that the greater enemy of the revolution was the malevolent government that was controlled by politicians and rich dignitaries who cared only for the power that they would seize after the war. Androutsos with his men fought for 13 days and they just escaped through the night of 15th April. Later Androutsos sent a letter to the government resigning for his services. According to the Makrigiannis' memoirs, Koletis promised the leadership of Eastern Rumeli to Nikitaras, if he killed Androutsos. But Nikitaras was a good and honest man and rejected the offer, enraged with Koletis. In June 1822, Koletis sent Christos Palaskas and Alexis Noutsos to arrest and kill Androutsos. When they arrived to Drakospilia, the hideout of Odysseas, they lied to him saying that they were just passing by, but they changed direction and attacked to him. The men of Androutsos arrested Palaskas and Noutsos and they both were executed. On 10 June 1822, after many months of siege the 1160 Turks of Athens capitulated. Bishop of Athens Dionysios raised the greek flag with the cross on the Acropole. The representatives of the national government and turkish leaders signed the capitulation agreement, but the mood of the people of Athens after the arrival of refugees from Chios, was ugly. They didn't respect the agreement and murdered half of the turkish prisoners. But the remainer, with the help of the government and the European conculs were transferred with ships to the coast of Asia Minor. During June of 1822, Androutsos, Gouras, Makrigiannis and other Greeks of Eastern Rumeli blocked the way to the supplies that were sent to Dramali pasha, who with a huge army of 40000 men was already at Corinth of Peloponnese, ready to crush the revolution.

Mahmut pasha or Dramalis who had already suppressed the revolution in Thessaly advanced with his huge army and after burning the city of Thebes he seized the castle of Korinthos. The govenrment had appointed as garrison commander Achilleas Theodoridis, who deserted his post when he saw the enemy soldiers coming. Initially all went well for Dramalis. His next objective was to occupy Argos and to relieve the Turks besieged in Nauplion. All the members of the government proved to be cowards as they fled and embarked on the ships which were outside Nauplion. Greeks were in desperate position and only one man could help them and this man was Theodoros Kolokotronis. Popular song

Kolokotronis the military leader in Moreas, had not good relations with the government which in every way tried to disgrace him. He wasn't allowed to organise a long besiege for the fortress of Patras which was vital for the good development of the revolution. Nevertheless he had attacked on February to the Turks of Patras, with a force of 2000 men, but without success. With him was Plapoutas, his son Genneos Kolokotronis, Petmezas, Kanellos Deligiannis, Lontos, Zaimis and Sekeris. The crucial battle had taken place at Saravali, Girokomion and Eglykada on 9 March 1822. When he was informed about the coming of Dramalis he reached Argos and gave orders to burn all the crops and contaminate the wells, around Argos. He left a garisson in the castle of Argos, and left for Muloi outside Nauplion. Dramalis, having reached Corinth and occupied its citadel so easily, was now faced with a choice. This was debated at a council of war which was joined by Yussuf Pasha, the turkish commander at Patras and Ali, commander of Argos. They proposed that, provided that Akrokorinthos was strongly garrisoned to protect their rear, the army should split into three sections, one to press on towards Tripolis, a second to occupy the region around Kalavryta and a third to move to Patras. Thus the Turks would be marching on the Peloponnese on a far broader front, would force the Greeks to divide their much smaller forces, and crucially would have a better chance of finding provisions. But Dramalis insisted to lead the whole army to Tripolis. So he entered Argos on 12 July and spent his time besieging the citadel which was defended by maniat Karigiannis. Kolokotronis also had a meeting with the other commanders and suggested that they all should wait Dramalis at Dervenakia, which was a narrow passage, because he propably would return to Corinth to get provisions for his men. Petrobeys insisted that Dramalis would advance to Tripolis, according to a letter that they had seized from a prisoner. But Kolokotronis had sensed that the letter was false. So Geros tou Moria left, accompanied with Nikitaras the Tourkophagos, Ypsilantis and Papaflessas for Dervenakia, while he heard the other leaders mocking him saying that 'Kolokotronis became again klepht and is going to the mountains'. Meanwhile Dramalis' difficulties were multiplying. The army had luck of food and water and diseases had spread to the soldiers. The supplies from Rumeli were cut off, and the other pashas didn't help him especially because he would gain favor from the sultan if he succeded. The fires that Kolokotronis had set on the route to Tripolis made Dramalis believe that the road to Tripolis was blocked. His only choice was to lead his army back to Corinth.

Nikitaras at Dervenakia On 26 July the troops started to advance to Corinth. The army was so huge that when the forefront reached Dervenakia, the last soldiers were getting out of Argos. The Greeks were waiting and when the turkish column was well inside the passage they opened fire from the rocks above with devastating effect. Hand to hand fighting followed, in which Nikitaras took the lead. Some of the Turks got through and some retreated towards Argos, leaving in the ravine abandoned weapons, dead horses and human corpses. Dramalis lost his sword and his turban but he managed to reach Corinthos. More than 3000 Turks were killed and the turkish army was dissolved. On 12 August, Turks advanced to Vasilika near Kiato, in an effort to reach Patras but they were defeated in the battle which followed where Anagnostis Petmezas and his seventeen years old son were killed. Of the 40000 men only 6000 survived and also Dramalis himself died of fever at Corinth, while Hursit the overall commander of Turkish forces fearing the sultanic rage, commited suicide and died at Larisa. Halet bey, a general in Constantinople had accused him to the sultan for the failure to suppress the revolt of giaour. Later sultan beheaded also Halet bey.

Fisa maistro drosere ki aera tou pelagou,
na pas ta xairetismata stou Dramali ti mana.
Tis Roumelis oi beydes, tou Dramali oi agades
sta Dervenakia keitontai, sto homa ksaplomenoi.
Stroma ehoune ti mavri gi, proskefalo litharia
kai gia apanoskepasmata tou feggariou ti lampsi.
Ki ena poulaki perase kai to suhnorotane:
Pouli, pos paei o polemos, to kleftiko ntoufeki?
- Mprosta paei o Nikitaras, piso o Kolokotronis
kai parapiso oi Ellines me ta spathia sta heria

On 30 November 1822, the feast day of Snt Andreas, during the night, Staikos Staikopoulos with 200 men managed to climb to the fortress of Palamidi at Nafplion. Turks surrendered and Kolokotronis made the arrangements for the safe transportation of the prisoners to Smyrna. Thus the Greeks took control of Nafplion, which was to become the first capital of independent Hellas. The architect of the Greeks 's victory against Dramalis was without doubt Theodoros Kolokotronis. It was thanks to him that the Greeks assembled in sufficient numbers to confront the Turkish army, it was he who burnt all the fields and left the huge army without provisions, it was he who blocked the passes from Argos to Corinth and crashed the turkish army. So his name became a legend for the greek people who sung ballads in his honour and his name is connected most with the liberation of Greeks from the ottoman invaders.

At Eastern Rumeli or modern Sterea Ellada, on August 1822, the Athenians offered the command of the castle of Acropolis to Odysseas Androutsos. He accepted the offer and became the commander of the fortress, organising its defence. But his rule, according to Macrygiannis' memoirs, was not a fair one. His deputy commanders, Gouras and Mamouris terrorized the people of Athens, stealing their property. They were also accused for the murder of Meletis Hasiotis and Saris. So when another turkish army of 12000 men, was advancing from Larisa, under the command of Kiose Mehmet and Tselelentibey, Greeks in Rumeli were divided and some of their leaders cared only for their personal ambitions and fortune. Androutsos moved with 1200 men and camped to the village Dadi. In the battle that followed Greeks were defeated and Androutsos, who was famous for his speed, just escaped from the enemy soldiers who pursued him. So Androutsos pretended that he would abandon the war against Turks if he kept his armatoliki - region, as it was before the war. This method that was used from Armatoloi, (men who were used as policemen by turkish authorities), of contacting Turks and negotiating with them just to earn some time was called kapakia. When Turks sent to him proskunoharti, a paper to sign confirming his homage, he refused to sign it alone, promising that he would make all the leaders and notables of Eastern Rumeli to sign it. Kiose Mehmet believed him and returned to Zitouni, modern Lamia, with all his army. So Greece at that difficult time was saved from the enemy invasion, But the political enemies of Androutsos and especially Koletis accused him as traitor. Mesologhion

After the defeat at Peta, Greeks under Mavrokordatos, Markos Botsaris, Georgios Kitsos and Athanasios Razikotsikas were gathered in the city of Mesologhi. The armed men were only 360. Omer Vrionis and Kioutahis pasha with an army of 9000 Turkoalbanians started the siege of Mesologhion, on 25 Octobe 1822r. Yusuf pasha with a small fleet blockaded the city from te sea. With them were also Greeks proskinimenoi - traitors, under the command of Varnakiotis, Iskos, Valtinos and Ragos. Vrionis who was not a cruel man like Kioutahis, wanted to take the city through negotiations. So Markos Mpotsaris did again kapakia, started the discussions, waiting for reinforcements. On 8 November, the greek fleet appeared and the turkish ships fled with direction to the port of Patras. 1500 Peloponnesians under Kanellos Deligiannis, Andreas Zaimis and Petrompeis Mavromichalis arrived in the city. Mpotsaris sent a letter to Vrionis saying:'If you want Mesologhi, come and get it'. Ottomans attacked the city which was surrounded by a low wall, but they had no success. Through the winter, Turks had difficulties because of the cold and the heavy rain. So they decided a final attack the night of Christmas, on 25 December. A christian servant of Omer Vrionis, named Giannis Gounaris, although his wife and children were kept in Arta as hostages, informed the Hellenes about the turkish plan. Greeks were prepared and waited during the Holy Night. Actually, the enemy attacked but had heavy losses, about 500 dead, whereas only 4 Hellenes were killed. They abandoned the siege and the proskinimenoi Greeks Ragos, Valtinos and Iskos changed sides and returned to their compatriots. Later Turks massacred the family of Giannis Gounaris who became a monk. But their troubles were not over yet. Through heavy rain, Turks who were pursued now by Greeks, tried to retreat through Acheloos river but 500 of them were drowned. Also 3000 of them tried to cross Agrafa, the region which Georgios Karaiskakis had under his control. Karaiskakis had also done kapakia with Hursit. They had agreed that Agrafa should remain under the control of Karaiskakis and nobody was allowed to enter this province. So he fought against the Turks at Agios Vlassis, on 15 January 1823, killing 200 of them. Karaiskakis himself in a duel killed the captain Hatzibey Beto. Later he sent a message to the turkish commander in Larisa saying that he had kept his promise and hadn't allowed some thieves to enter the sultanic province which was under his command.

Bibliography
Constantine Paparhigopoulos - History of Helenic Nation
Spuridon Trikoupis - History of Greek Revolution
Kolokotronis' memoirs
Makrygiannis' memoirs

Fall    of Constantinople - 400 years opression March 25, 1821    - The outbreak
Battles    in Moreas - 1821 Battles    in Roumeli, Epirus, Macedonia, Crete - The first Government
War at Sea    - Hydra, Spetses, Psara Second year,    battles in Epirus, Rumeli, Moreas - Dervenakia
Greeks    divided - Death of Markos Mpotsaris Genocide    of Kasos, Psara 
Ibrahim's    invasion - 1825 Exodus    of Mesolonghion - Eleutheroi Poliorkimenoi
Yeorgios    Karaiskakis Naval    battle of Navarino - Arrival of Ioannes Kapodistrias
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