With the Armenian Volunteers round Lake Van
This chapter describes the state of mind of the common Russian soldiers in 1915. On October 14th, the author, with his little caravan of two horses set out for the Armenian highlands. Soon after his arrival at Dilman, the whole plain of Salmas, in which the city lies, was flooded with Assyrian refugees. A considerable degree of tolerance, broken by occasional fits of persecution, was accorded the Assyrians till the rise of Islam. He continued his journey down the Zab valley, and soon came to a Russian camp, where a battalion of infantry was stationed to watch any movement of Turks from the direction of Gawer. At Van, he saw more than two-thirds of the city in ruins. On the author's second day at Van it was suggested by the Commandant that he should go out to a camp of Armenian volunteers, who were quartered near the city.