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- REAL SOLDIERS OF FORTUNE - 3/25 -
immediately MacIver appears as one of the Goicouria-Christo expedition to Cuba, of which Goicouria was commander-in-chief, and two famous American officers, Brigadier-General Samuel C. Williams was a general and Colonel Wright Schumburg was chief of staff.
In the scrap-book I find "General Order No. 11 of the Liberal Army of the Republic of Cuba, issued at Cedar Keys, October 3, 1869." In it Colonel MacIver is spoken of as in charge of officers not attached to any organized corps of the division. And again:
"General Order No. V, Expeditionary Division, Republic of Cuba, on board _Lilian_," announces that the place to which the expedition is bound has been changed, and that General Wright Schumburg, who now is in command, orders "all officers not otherwise commissioned to join Colonel MacIver's 'Corps of Officers.'"
The _Lilian_ ran out of coal, and to obtain firewood put in at Cedar Keys. For two weeks the patriots cut wood and drilled upon the beach, when they were captured by a British gun-boat and taken to Nassau. There they were set at liberty, but their arms, boat, and stores were confiscated.
In a sailing vessel MacIver finally reached Cuba, and under Goicouria, who had made a successful landing, saw some "help yourself" fighting. Goicouria's force was finally scattered, and MacIver escaped from the Spanish soldiery only by putting to sea in an open boat, in which he endeavored to make Jamaica.
On the third day out he was picked up by a steamer and again landed at Nassau, from which place he returned to New York.
At that time in this city there was a very interesting man named Thaddeus P. Mott, who had been an officer in our army and later had entered the service of Ismail Pasha. By the Khedive he had been appointed a general of division and had received permission to reorganize the Egyptian army.
His object in coming to New York was to engage officers for that service. He came at an opportune moment. At that time the city was filled with men who, in the Rebellion, on one side or the other, had held command, and many of these, unfitted by four years of soldiering for any other calling, readily accepted the commissions which Mott had authority to offer. New York was not large enough to keep MacIver and Mott long apart, and they soon came to an understanding. The agreement drawn up between them is a curious document. It is written in a neat hand on sheets of foolscap tied together like a Commencement-day address, with blue ribbon. In it MacIver agrees to serve as colonel of cavalry in the service of the Khedive. With a few legal phrases omitted, the document reads as follows:
"Agreement entered into this 24th day of March, 1870, between the Government of his Royal Highness and the Khedive of Egypt, represented by General Thaddeus P. Mott of the first part, and H. R. H. MacIver of New York City.
"The party of the second part, being desirous of entering into the service of party of the first part, in the military capacity of a colonel of cavalry, promises to serve and obey party of the first part faithfully and truly in his military capacity during the space of five years from this date; that the party of the second part waives all claims of protection usually afforded to Americans by consular and diplomatic agents of the United States, and expressly obligates himself to be subject to the orders of the party of the first part, and to make, wage, and vigorously prosecute war against any and all the enemies of party of the first part; that the party of the second part will not under any event be governed, controlled by, or submit to, any order, law, mandate, or proclamation issued by the Government of the United States of America, forbidding party of the second part to serve party of the first part to make war according to any of the provisions herein contained, _it being, however, distinctly understood_ that nothing herein contained shall be construed as obligating party of the second part to bear arms or wage war against the United States of America.
"Party of the first part promises to furnish party of the second part with horses, rations, and pay him for his services the same salary now paid to colonels of cavalry in United States army, and will furnish him quarters suitable to his rank in army. Also promises, in the case of illness caused by climate, that said party may resign his office and shall receive his expenses to America and two months' pay; that he receives one-fifth of his regular pay during his active service, together with all expenses of every nature attending such enterprise."
It also stipulates as to what sums shall be paid his family or children in case of his death.
To this MacIver signs this oath:
"In the presence of the ever-living God, I swear that I will in all things honestly, faithfully, and truly keep, observe, and perform the obligations and promises above enumerated, and endeavor to conform to the wishes and desires of the Government of his Royal Highness, the Khedive of Egypt, in all things connected with the furtherance of his prosperity, and the maintenance of his throne."
On arriving at Cairo, MacIver was appointed inspector-general of cavalry, and furnished with a uniform, of which this is a description: "It consisted of a blue tunic with gold spangles, embroidered in gold up the sleeves and front, neat-fitting red trousers, and high patent-leather boots, while the inevitable fez completed the gay costume."
The climate of Cairo did not agree with MacIver, and, in spite of his "gay costume," after six months he left the Egyptian service. His honorable discharge was signed by Stone Bey, who, in the favor of the Khedive, had supplanted General Mott.
It is a curious fact that, in spite of his ill health, immediately after leaving Cairo, MacIver was sufficiently recovered to at once plunge into the Franco-Prussian War. At the battle of Orleans, while on the staff of General Chanzy, he was wounded. In this war his rank was that of a colonel of cavalry of the auxiliary army.
His next venture was in the Carlist uprising of 1873, when he formed a Carlist League, and on several occasions acted as bearer of important messages from the "King," as Don Carlos was called, to the sympathizers with his cause in France and England.
MacIver was promised, if he carried out successfully a certain mission upon which he was sent, and if Don Carlos became king, that he would be made a marquis. As Don Carlos is still a pretender, MacIver is still a general. Although in disposing of his sword MacIver never allowed his personal predilections to weigh with him, he always treated himself to a hearty dislike of the Turks, and we next find him fighting against them in Herzegovina with the Montenegrins. And when the Servians declared war against the same people, MacIver returned to London to organize a cavalry brigade to fight with the Servian army.
Of this brigade and of the rapid rise of MacIver to highest rank and honors in Servia, the scrap-book is most eloquent. The cavalry brigade was to be called the Knights of the Red Cross.
In a letter to the editor of the _Hour_, the general himself speaks of it in the following terms:
"It may be interesting to many of your readers to learn that a select corps of gentlemen is at present in course of organization under the above title with the mission of proceeding to the Levant to take measures in case of emergency for the defense of the Christian population, and more especially of British subjects who are to a great extent unprovided with adequate means of protection from the religious furies of the Mussulmans. The lives of Christian women and children are in hourly peril from fanatical hordes. The Knights will be carefully chosen and kept within strict military control, and will be under command of a practical soldier with large experience of the Eastern countries. Templars and all other crusaders are invited to give aid and sympathy."
Apparently MacIver was not successful in enlisting many Knights, for a war correspondent at the capital of Servia, waiting for the war to begin, writes as follows:
"A Scotch soldier of fortune, Henry MacIver, a colonel by rank, has arrived at Belgrade with a small contingent of military adventurers. Five weeks ago I met him in Fleet Street, London, and had some talk about his 'expedition.' He had received a commission from the Prince of Servia to organize and command an independent cavalry brigade, and he then was busily enrolling his volunteers into a body styled 'The Knights of the Red Cross.' I am afraid some of his bold crusaders have earned more distinction for their attacks on Fleet Street bars than they are likely to earn on Servian battle-fields, but then I must not anticipate history."
Another paper tells that at the end of the first week of his service as a Servian officer, MacIver had enlisted ninety men, but that they were scattered about the town, many without shelter and rations:
"He assembled his men on the Rialto, and in spite of official expostulation, the men were marched up to the Minister's four abreast--and they marched fairly well, making a good show. The War Minister was taken by storm, and at once granted everything. It has raised the English colonel's popularity with his men to fever heat."
This from the _Times_, London:
"Our Belgrade correspondent telegraphs last night:
"'There is here at present a gentleman named MacIver. He came from England to offer himself and his sword to the Servians. The Servian Minister of War gave him a colonel's commission. This morning I saw him drilling about one hundred and fifty remarkably fine-looking fellows, all clad in a good serviceable cavalry uniform, and he has horses."'
Later we find that:
"Colonel MacIver's Legion of Cavalry, organizing here, now numbers over two hundred men."
"Prince Nica, a Roumanian cousin of the Princess Natalie of Servia, has joined Colonel MacIver's cavalry corps."
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