to Mr. Evarts.
Vienna, April 9, 1877. (Received April 23.)
Sir: As there has been a considerable discussion as to the relative strength and efficiency of the Turkish and Russian armies, I send you an opinion from an American of intelligence on that subject. My informant has had an active experience in the field during our civil war, and is, therefore, entitled to credit, and the more so in this instance as he was an eye-witness to the late operations in Servia. In a letter lately received from him, he says, in reply to an inquiry of mine:
The Turks have not got 200,000 men on the Danube line. They have probably that number of regulars and irregulars on the Balkan line and Danube, and scattered in the intervening country, but the regulars are badly officered. They are splendid privates, and have good rifles and ammunition, but the quartermaster and medical, as well as commissary departments, are wretchedly organized. The irregulars are good enough scouts, but are not worth much as fighters.
I believe the Turks have about 150,000 regulars like those above mentioned, brave, patient fellows. This force of regulars is scattered over the empire. Then they have two or three hundred thousand irregulars, varying in utility from half-drilled reserves to the entirely worthless Bashi-Bazouks.
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I have, &c.,