Dervenakia (or Dervenaki for singular) are small hamlets in the prefecture of Corinth, in northeastern Peloponnesus (southern Greece). The name is derived from the Turkish word derven, meaning mountain pass.

From July 26 up until July 28, 1822, the nearby pass of that name was defended by the Greek revolutionary leader Theodoros Kolokotronis with some 2300 irregular troops against the advance of the Turkish general, Mahmout Dramali Pasha, who was moving south with 24000 infantry and 6000 cavalry. While the Turkish guard consisting of about a thousand Albanian skirmishers advanced, the main body of the Turkish army was brought to a halt and suffered a major defeat at the hands of Kolokotronis’ men. Dramalis’ expeditionary corps was effectively destroyed, but granted the Greeks much-needed breathing space. On this occasion at least, the victory was a vindication of the tactics used by Greek irregulars, which consisted of firing their long muskets (kariofilia) at a distance from behind small individual stone fortifications, then slowly drifting uphill into the glens in the face of counter-attack, keeping up a steady and relatively accurate fire as they went. Faced with this war of movement and attrition, and unable to bring their cavalry properly into action in the very broken terrain, the Turks were steadily weakened without ever managing to inflict serious casualties upon their enemies.

Statue of Kolokotronis at Dervenakia

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