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WITH KITCHENEE TO KHARTUM



BY THE SAME AUTHOR.



EGYPT IN 1898. With Illustrations. Crown 8vo.

" Set forth in a style that provides plenty of entertainment.
Bright and readable." — Times.



THE LAND OF THE DOLLAR. Third Editiou.
Crown 8vo.

"One of the smartest books of travel which has appeared for a

long time past Brings the general appearance of Transatlantic

urban and rural life so clearly before the mind's eye of the reader,
that a perusal of his work almost answers the purpose of a personal
inspection. New York has probably never been more lightly and
cleverly sketched." — Daily Telegraph.

"WITH THE CONQUERING TURK: Confessions

of a Bashi-Bazouk. With Four Maps. Small demy 8vo.



" The most entertaining of the volumes we have had about the

Ten Weeks' Campaign in the spring It gives brightly, and

without any desperate striving after realism, a vivid idea of what
a correspondent with the Turkish forces in Thessaly went through."
— Times.



WITH

UTCHENER TO KHARTUM



BY

G. W. STEEVENS

AUTHOR OP

'EGYPT IN 1898,' 'the land of the dollar,' 'with THfi

CONQUERING TURK,' ETC.



WITH MAPS AND PLANS



NEW YORK
DODD, MEAD & COMPANY

1898



DT-/0Z5 ——



Copyright, 189S,
By Dodd, Mead & Company.



INTRODUCTORY NOTE.



Me. Steevens' earlier work, " With the Conquering
Turk," was received with such cordial recognition that
it is perhaps unnecessary to refer to his qualities as a
war correspondent or to his literary gifts. The Anglo-
Egyptian expedition is a greater theme, and the writer
of these pages has the advantage of a wider experi-
ence. He has a broader comparative basis for his ob-
servation, and his criticism, which he always offers
modestly and as an " amateur," has a higher value. At
the same time the power of vivid narration and keen
characterization is quite as striking. As one of the most
remarkable campaigns of history the Sirdar's move-
ment on Khartum would be an interesting topic at
any time, but just now it has a special claim to atten-
tion in this country. A fresh experience of war, with
the criticism of its management now ringing in our
ears, naturally gives an incentive to a comparison
which, as a whole, defies the criticism even of non-
combatants. How far such a comparison is justified
will appear from these pages. The marvelous, ma~
chine-like precision of the Sirdar's movements is



'JAN 2? 1SS0



INTRODUCTORY NOTE.

described by Mr. Steevens with accuracy and graphic
presentation of detail, but lie shows with the same
clearness the dark background of delays and blunders
and futilities in the years that preceded. It was not
an affair of one summer. In being at the right place
at the right time, and in missing nothing of importance,
Mr. Steevens shared in the luck which he attributes
to the Sirdar's star ; but he had to work for it. He
joined the expedition early in 1897, and he toiled along
with it to the end. He went through the battles of
the Atbara and Omdurman. He entered Khartum
with the conquerors, and he saw the raising of the
Union Jack on the spot where Gordon fell.



CONTEXTS.



I. HALFA TELLS ITS STORY.



PAGE



The romance of the Sudan in brief —The rise of the Mahdi — The
second act of the drama— The first Anglo-Egyptian strategi-
cal victory — The defeat of Nejumi — Tlie turning-point of
the drama — Convict labour — The taming of the Sudan — The
cemetery 1



II. THE EGYPTIAN ARMY.

The growth of sixteen years — The smallest <uid best paid of
conscriptive armie3 — The Sudanese battalions — A perennial
schoolboy — Inconstant warriors —Polygamy — Uniform and
equipment — Cavalry and artillery — British officers and
native troops — The merits of "Sergeant Whatsisname" — A
daily heroism — Bey and Bimbashi— Rapid promotion — Oue
of the highest achievements of our race , • • • 11



III. THE S.M.R.

The deadliest weapon against Mahdism — An impossibility real-
ised — A heavy handicap — The railway battalions — Arab
views on mechanics — Engines of shreds and patches —
Bimbashi Oirouard — An engineering triumph — A subaltern
with £2000 a-year — Saloon passengers — A journey through
the desert — A desert railway station ..... 22



Vlll CONTEXTS.



IV. THE CORRESPONDENT'S PROGRESS.

An outcast in the Sudan — The significance of a "line of com-
munications" — The old and the young campaigner — A varied
equipment — The buying of camels — An energetic Least — A
doubtful testimonial — A waiting game — A hurried depar-
ture—A happy thought 31



V. I MARCH TO EERBER.

The hiring of donkeys — Arab deliberation — A wonderful horse
— The procession starts — The luxury of angarehs— A dis-
reputable caravan — Four miles an hour — The desert tread-
mill — A camel ride to Berber ...... 39



VI. THE SIRDAR.

Irrelevant details — The Sudan Machine — The harvest of fifteen
years — A stroke of genius — An unsuccessful enterprise — A
diplomatic skirmish with the Khedive — Swift, certain, and
relentless — A stern regime — A well-trusted general — A legi-
timate ambition — The Anglo-Egyptian Mahdi . . . 45



VII. ARMS AND MEN.

Major-General Hunter — The sword-arm of the Egyptian Army
— A nineteenth-century crusader — An officer renowned for
bravery — A possible new national hero — l.ieut.-Col. Hector
Macdonald — Lieut. -Col. Maxwell — Lieut. -Col. Lewis —
Lieut. -Col. Broad wood — Lieut. -Col. Long — General Gatacre
— The soldier's general — Arab notions about figures — Osman
Digua — Colonel Wingate ....... 53



VIII. IN THE BRITISH CAMP.

A great march under difficulties — A gunner's adventure — The
boot scandal — Official explanations and admissions — Making
the men hard — The general's morning ride — The camp in a
dust storm — A badly chosen site ..... 66



CONTENTS



IX. FORT ATBARA.

Dinner in the Egyptian camp — Under a roof again — A Band-
storm— The Fort — A revelation of Egyptian industry — The
Egyptian soldiers on fatigue duty — A Greek caf<5 — The gun-
boat fleet — Crossing the Fourth Cataract — The value of the
gunboats — War, blockade-running, and poaching combined . 75



X. THE MARCH OUT.

The beginning and end of the Berber season — A palatial house
— Berber, old and new — The value of angarebs — The appre-
hensions of the Greek merchants — A splendid black battalioa
— The crossing of the luck token — "Like the English, we
are nut afraid" — A flattering belief ..... 85



XI. THE CONCENTRATION.

The restrictions laid on correspondents — Loading the camels —
Arab ideas of time — Impartial stupidity of the camel — Peri-
patetic Christmas trees — The brigade on the march — The
result of General Gatacre's methods — Zariba building —
Counting the dervishes from a watch tower — A daring feat
of a gunboat •••.•■•••92



XII. AT KENUR.

An ideal residence for correspondents — Arrival of the Seaforths
— Daily manoeuvres — A stately spectacle — Native ideas of
distance and number ........ 100



XIII. ON THE ATBARA.

A veritable paradise — Sambo and the dom-nuts — A land without
life — A cavalry skirmish — A strong reconnaissance — A falsa
alarm— The real enemy — The want of transport begins to be
felt — What officers had to put up with — Dervish deserters—
A bold stroke ......... 105



C0NTEXT3.



XIV. THE RAID ON SHENDI.

The virtues of bottled fruits— A liquor famine— The Sudan
Greek's commercial instincts — A Nansen of trade — Inter-
rupted festivities atShendi — A speedy victory — The Jaalin's
revenge — The vicissitudes of married life in the Sudau — The
cook's grievance ..... ... 116



XV. REST AND RECONNAISSANCES.

Mahmud stale-mated— The Egyptian cavalry— Dispiriting work
— General Hunter's reconnaissance — Mahmud marked down
— Rumours aud surmises — Reasons for storming the zariba 124



XVI. CAMEL-CORPS AND CAVALRY.

Camel-corps luck— Distant firing— The hall-mark of the Sudan
— The second and third class passengers of the desert —
Traces of a dervish raid — A cavalry fight — The vindication of
the Egyptian trooper — A cheerful camp .... 131



XVII. THE BATTLE OF THE ATBARA.

A march by moonlight — Twelve thousand men move forward

The first gun— An hour and twenty minutes' bombaidinent
— The Camerons' advance — A rain of fire — The zariba de-
molished — A wild confusion of Highlanders — "A very good
fight"— How our blacks fought— A masterpiece of a battle 140



XVIII. LOSSES AND GAINS.

From boys to men— Mahmud and the Sirdar— The Camerona'
losses— Crossing the trenches— General Gatacre's bugler—
Hair-breadth escapes— A cheap victory— The Khalifa's losses
—The Baggara cavalry— Ferocious heroism— Counting the
dead — Perfect strategy 152



CONTENTS. XI



XIX. THE TRIUMPH.

The blacks returning from battle — A song of thanksgiving —
"They're lovely; they're rippers "— General Hunter con-
voying the wounded — How the injured took their fate —
Church-parade — The return to Berber — The captive Mahixiud
— The fiuest sight of the whole triumph . . . .161



XX. EGYPT OUT OF SEASON.

Port Sairl in summer — Cairo, a desolation — The Arab overcome
— The Continental Hotel — Nileless Egypt — The keys of the
Nile 163



XXI. GOING UP.

On the Cairo platform — The worst seventeen hours in Egypt —
The line at Luxor — The price of victory over the man-eating
Sudan — The Nile-flood — Haifa — Dervish recruits — Three
months' progress at Atbara — The master - toast of the
Egyptian army ..... .... 173



XXII. THE FIRST STEPS FORWARD.

The force for Omdurman — The Egyptian division — The
Warwicks — Cavalry and artillery — The new gunboats —
Slatin Pasha — What the Khalifa's refusal to fight would
mean . . . . ... . . . . . ISO



XXIII. IN SUMMER QUARTERS.

The one important question — Sport on the Atbara — A pessim-
istic senior captain — The Atbara Derby — A varied conversa-
tion — The recruit aud the mirage — Facetious Tommiea IS?



Xll C0NTENT3.



XXIV. DEPARTURES AND ARRIVALS.

How the blacks went up the river — The most business-like
business in the world — The Rifles' first experience — Two
favoured regiments — Amateur and professional transport —
The perfection of method . ..... 192



XXV. THE PATHOLOGY OF THIRST.

The Sudan thirst — Some fine distinctions — The diversions of a
correspondent — The Sirdar at work — How to concpuer the
thirst — A sweet revenge — The momeut of the day . . 198



XXVI. BY ROAD, RIVER, AND RAIL.

Fort Atbara becomes a British camp — A record for marching—
The gyassas fight the wind — Shipping the 40-pounders — The
Irish Fusiliers — The effect of lyddite — The arrival of the
Guards — British subalterns — One more incarnation . . 205



XXVII. THE LAST OF FORT ATBARA.

The restrictions of the modern war-correspondent — Scenery
finer than Switzerland — Two limp battalions — The Sirdar's
lightning movements — A dress-rehearsal of camels — Tardy
vengeauce for a great humiliation 212



XXVIII. THE DESERT MARCH TO OMDURMAN.

A young regiment — First impressions of cavalry in the field —
A piquant contrast — A masterpiece of under-statement — A
military cireus — Camping on an old cotton-field — The
vagaries of the Nile — A pleasant camp — The traces of
Mahdism 218



CONTEXTS. xiii



XXIX. METEMMEH.

A sign-post in the wilderness — The massacre of the Jaalin —

Makinud's forts — Mahmud's camp — The cenotaph of a tribe 226



XXX. A CORRESPONDENT'S DIARY.

little world full of life — The best storm of the season —
"In the straight" — A standing miracle — A disaster to a
gunboat — Not a white man's country — The Intelligence
Department , . 233



XXXI. THE RECONNAISSANCES.

With the 21st Lancers — Dervishes at last I — The lines of
Kerreri — The first shot — Kerreri abandoned — Omdurman
in sight — The Khalifa's army — A perfect reconnaissance . 249



XXXII. THE BATTLE OF OMDURMAN.

The position — The first attack — " Rearer party there ! " — On to
Omdurinan — The second attack — Broadwood in difficulties
— The Lancers' charge — Three against three thousand — The
third attack — Macdonald and his blacks — The last Dervish 259



XXXIII. ANALYSIS AND CRITICISM.

An appalling slaughter — Our losses — Casualties among corres-
pondents — The Khalifa's blunders and probable fate — The
battle of Gedaref — Our mistakes and our merita , , 284



XXXIV. OMDURMAN.

The destruction of the forts — The white flag — A squalid capital
— A huge harem — Through the breach — In the Khalifa's
citadel — Imposing on the savage — Gone! — Testing the
Khalifa's corn — Dog-tired — Flotsam of civilisation — Filth,
lust, and blood 297



XIV CONTEXTS,



XXXV. THE FUNERAL OF GORDON.

The Avengers — The seal on Khartum — The Bervice — In Gordon's

garden — We leave hiin with the flag ..... 810



XXXVI. AFTER THE CONQUEST.

A tragedy played out — The vindication of our national self-
respect — The trade of the Sudan — Fat Egypt and the lean
Sudan — Beggarly, empty, miserable — Egyptian officials —
"What Egypt has gained by the conquest — The future of
the Egyptian army — Aa empty limbo of torment — Naked
nature •••.317



LIST OF MAPS.



General Map — Egypt to Uganda . At the beginning

Sketch Map op the Nile and Atbara, to illustrate

the operations against Mahmoud . . To face p. 78

Sketch Plan of the Battle op Atbara . n 144

The Nile — Metemmeh to Khartum . . n 220

Khartum and Omdurman .... u 246

Battle of Omdurman, Phase One, 7 a.m. . n 2C0

it ii ii Two, 9.40 a.m. ii 263



tr Three, 10.10 a.m. »



278



THE CHIEF EVENTS IN THE ATBARA AND

OMDURMAN CAMPAIGNS.



Sirdar asks for reinforcements of British

troops .......

British brigade starts for front from Aim Dis

M ii reaches Dibeika, beyond Berber

Sirdar leaves Berber
Concentration at Kenur
Army moves up the Atbara . .
First contact with Dervish cavalry
Shendi raided and destroyed .
General Hunter reconnoitres Mahmud's zariba
Second reconnaissance : cavalry action before

Mahmud's zariba .....
Battle of the Atbara .
Sirdar's triumphal entry into Berber
Railhead reaches Abeidieh : construction of

new gunboats begun ....
Railhead reaches Fort Atbara . . .
Lewis's Brigade leaves Atbara for south
Second British brigade arrives at Atbara .
Sirdar leaves Atbara for front
Last troops leave Atbara ....
Final concentration at Gebel Royan
March from Gebel Royan to Wady Abid (eight

miles) .......

March from Wady Abid to Sayal (ten mifTs)

ii Sayal to Wady Suetne (eight miles )

Kerreri reconnoitred and shelled .
March from Wady Suetne to Agaiga (six miles);

Omdurman reconnoitred and furts silenced
Battle and capture of Omdurman
Funeral of Gordon
Sirdar starts for Fashoda
Battle of Gedaref .
Sirdar returns from Fashoda .



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GENERAL MAP-EGYPT TO UGANDA




..-'^ *-



WITH KITCHENER TO KHARTUM.



HALFA TELLS ITS STORY.

To walk round Wady Haifa is to read the whole
romance of the Sudan. This is the look-out whence
Egypt has strained her vision up-Nile to the vast,
silent, torrid, murderous desert land, which has been
in turn her neighbour, her victim, all but her undoing
and is now to be her triumph again. On us English,
too, the Sudan has played its fatal witchery, and half
the tale of Haifa is our own as well as Egypt's. On
its buildings and up and down its sandy, windy streets
we may trace all the stages of the first conquest, the
loss, the bitter failures to recover, the slow recom-
mencement, the presage of final victory.

You can get the whole tale into a walk of ten
minutes. First look at that big white building : it is



HALPA TELLS ITS STORY.



the Egyptian military hospital, and one of the largest,
solidest structures of Haifa. In shape and style, you
will notice, it is not unlike a railway-station — and
that is just what it was meant to be. That was the
northern terminus of Ismail Pasha's great railway to
Khartum, which was to have run up-river to Dongola
and Debbeh, and thence across the Bayuda, by Jakdul
and Abu Klea to Metemmeh. The scheme fell short,
like all Ismail's grandiose ambitions ; Gordon stopped
it, and paid for his unforesight with his life. The
railway never reached the Third Cataract. The upper
part of it was torn to pieces by the Dervishes, who
chopped the sleepers into firewood, and twisted the
telegraph-wires to spear-heads ; the part nearer Haifa
lay half-derelict for many years, till it was aroused at
length to play its part in the later act of the tragedy
of the Sudan.

Now, twenty yards along the line — in this central
part of Haifa every street is also a railway — you see
a battered, broken -winded engine. It was here in
1884. That is one of the properties of the second act
— the nerveless efforts to hold the Sudan when the
Mahdi began to rip it loose. For in the year 1881,
before we came to Egypt at all, there had arisen a re-
ligious teacher, a native of Dongola, named Mohammed
Ahmed. The Sudan is the home of fanaticism: it
has always been called " the Land of the Dervishes,"
and no rising saint was more ascetic than the young
Dongolawi. He was a disciple of a holy man named



THE BEGINNING OF THE MAHDI.

Mohammed Sherif, and one day the master gave a feast
at which there was dancing and singing. Such friv-
olity, said Mohammed Ahmed, was displeasing to
Allah; whereat the Sherif was angry, cursed him,
and cast him out. The disciple sprinkled ashes
on his head, put a yoke on his neck, and fell at his
master's feet, imploring forgiveness. Again Moham-
med Sherif cursed him and cast him out.

Angered now himself, Mohammed Ahmed joined a
new teacher and became a straiter ascetic than ever.
The fame of his sanctity spread, and adherents flocked
to him. He saw that the people of the Sudan, smart-
ing under extortion and oppression, could but too easily
be roused against the Egyptian Government : he risked
all, and proclaimed himself El Mahdi el Muntazer,
the Expected Guide, the Mussulman Messiah. The
Governor - General at Khartum sent two companies
to arrest him : the Mahdi's followers fell on them
unawares and destroyed them. More troops were
sent ; the Mahdists destroyed them : next came a
small army, and again the Mahdists destroyed it. The
barbarous tribesmen flocked to the Mahdi's standard,
and in September 1882 he laid siege to El Obeid, the
chief city of Kordofan. His assault was beaten back
with great slaughter, but after tive months' siege the
town surrendered ; sack and massacre taught doubters
what they had to expect.

The Sudan doubted no longer : of a truth this was
the Mahdi. Hicks Pasha's army came down from the



4 UALFA TELLS ITS STORY.

North only to swell the Mahdi's triumph to immensity.
Unorganised, unwieldy, afraid, the Egyptians crawled
on towards El Oheid, harassed by an enemy they
never saw. They saw them at last on November 4,
1883, at Shekan : the fight lasted a minute, and the
massacre spared only hundreds out of ten thousand.
The rest you know — Gordon's mission, the loss of
Berber, the siege of Khartum, the massacre of Baker's
levies at El Teb, Graham's expedition to Suakim, and
the hard-fought fights of the second Teb and Tamai,
Wolseley's expedition up the Nile, with Abu Klea and
the Gubar and Kirbekan, the second Suakim cam-
paign and M'Neill's zariba. Everybody knows these
stories, so gallant, so futile. I remember thirteen
and fourteen years ago being enormously proud and
joyful about Tamai and Abu Klea. I was very young.
Read over the tale again now — the faltering and the
folly and the failure — and you will feel that if Egypt
has Baker's Teb and Hicks's ruin to wipe out, Eng-
land was not so very far from suffering precisely the
same humiliations. And in the end we failed, with
what loss we still remember, and gave the Sudan
away. The second act is not a merry one.

The third was less tragic, but it was perhaps even
harder to play. We pass by a mud-walled quad-
rangle, which was once the artillery barracks ; through
the gateway you look across sand to the mud ram-
parts of Haifa. That is the stamp of the days of
reorganisation, of retrenchment, of difficulties and



THE FIRST ANGLO-EGYPTIAN VICTORY. 5

discouragements, and unconquerable, undisappointed
work. Those were the days when the Egyptian
army was in the making, when Haifa was the fron-
tier fortress. There are old barracks all over it,
where the young fighting force of Egypt used to sleep
half awake. The brown flanks of those hills beyond
the rifle-range, just a couple of miles or so desert-
wards, have seen Dervishes stealing up in broad day
and insolently slashing and stabbing in the main
streets of the bazaar. Yet this time was not all un-
avenged insult: the long years between 1885 and
1896 saw Egypt defended and its assailants smashed
to pieces. Little by little Egypt — British Egypt now
— gained strength and new resolution.

Four battles mark the stages from weakness and
abandonment to confidence and the resolution to re-
conquer. At Ginnis, on the last day but one of 1885,
came the first Anglo - Egyptian strategical victory.
The Mahdists had been tactically beaten before — well
beaten ; but the result had always been that we fell
back and they came on. After Ginnis, fought by the
British army of occupation, aided by a small number
of the new Egyptian army, we stood firm, and the
Dervishes were washed back. There were men of
the Cameron Highlanders on the Atbara, who had
fought in that battle : it was not perhaps a very
great one, but it was the first time the enemy had
been brought to a standstill. He retired behind the
Third Cataract.



HALFA TELLS ITS STORY.

Then followed three years of raid and counter-raid.
Chennside cut up their advance-guard at Sarras ; they
captured the fort of Khor Musa, and Machell Bey of
the 13th Sudanese drove thern out within twelve
hours. On the Suakirn side the present Sirdar made
head against Osman Digna with what irregulars and
friendlies he could get together. Then in 1888 Osman
waxed insolent and threw up trenches against Suakim.
It became a regular siege, and Dervish shells fell into
the town. But on December 20 Sir Francis Grenfell,
the Sirdar, came down and attacked the trenches at
the battle of Gemaizeh, and Osman fell back shat-
tered : never again did he come so near his soul's
ambition.

Meanwhile Wad-en-Nejumi — the great Emir, the
conqueror of Hicks and the captor of Khartum — had
hung on the southern frontier, gathering strength for
his attack on Egypt. He came in 1889, skirting
Haifa in the western desert, striking for a point in
Egypt proper above Assuan. His Emirs got out of
hand and tried to get to the Nile; in a hard day's
tussle at Argin, Colonel Wodehouse and the Haifa
garrison threw him back into the desert again. Ne-
jumi pushed on southward, certain of death, certain of
Paradise. At Toski Grenfell brought him to battle
with the flower of the Egyptian army. At the end of
the day Nejumi was dead and his army was beginning
to die of thirst in the desert. Egypt has never been
attacked since.



THE TURNING-POINT OF THE DRAMA. 7

Finally, in 1891 Colonel Holled - Smith marched
against Osman Digna's base outside Suakim, the oasis
of Tokat. The Dervishes sprang upon him at Afaiit,
but the days of surprise and panic were over. They


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