National History Museum

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Digital Resources

29 june '20

The ports

Ivan Vazov wrote about the preparations of the Botev’s cheta: “The boys dispersed to the towns along the Danube river: Oltenitsa, Giurgiu, Zimnicea, Turnu Mǎgurele… in order the preparation of the cheta as well as its embarkation on the ship to be a secret. They kept a big secret. But when the activity could not be concealed, they confidentially whispered that this cheta was going to Serbia...But only Botev, its voyvoda, and two, three his comrades knew the real secret: the plan of the cheta to pass through the Bulgarian riverside.”

The necessity of keeping the intentions secret was obvious, and few people were initiated into the plan to capture the ‘Radetzki’ ship as well as the cheta to disembark on the Kozloduy riverside. Many revolutionaries really thought that they were travelling to Serbia, but most of them had never seen their voyvoda. All groups of revolutionaries, dresses as ordinary passengers, together with weapons, ammunition and uniforms, which were hidden in packing cases and trunks, without pretending to know each other, embarked from Giurgiu, Zimnicea, Turnu Mǎgurele, Corabia and Bechet. 

The revolutionary Spas Sokolov reports: “This is how clever and carefully the plan was thought out – a few boys and weapons embarked from each port. If the plan was thought out how we all to embark from one port, naturally, we would arouse the Captain’s suspicion. Then the Captain of the steamship would easily turn us over to the Ottomans while still in Ruse or in Nikopol. But whose head, whose brain laid those plans? The inimitable genius of Botev!”