Изображения страниц

tiers of Egypt. It is situated on houses and palm-groves along the the right or eastern bank of the edge of the Nile. At the south Nile, and covers a perfect rectangle end of the village, where there of 1600 yards by 400 yards, with is a small fort with deep water the long side along the river's edge. in the Nile under the river's bank, It lies in the middle of a rather a range of hills between 200 and extensive plain, and has clear open 300 feet in height touches the ground unencumbered with trees river, and gradually recedes until, or houses for about 1000 yards opposite the middle and also the round the outer walls. In places north end of the village, it is two there is a ditch. There are quarters miles off. There are two or three for a regiment of infantry outside gaps in the range, and behind one the south side, for another regi- of these, about three miles from the ment outside the north side, and river, is a broad undulating valley a third inside the fort 'itself

. On in which Wad - el - Najûmi subthe river face there is no wall. sequently pitched his camp. ComAcross the river is a hospital and ing down from the hills towards small fort. Two small detached the village, there is a rocky plateau forts lie between Halfa and the about a mile in breadth, and then hills to the east; while at the a drop on to the level of the culti. mouth of the Khor Musa and the vated ground, with two or three foot of the second cataract, about ranges of low sand-hills, then a 4 miles to the south, are two strong stretch of level ground about 200 forts on the eastern bank and one yards in width, and then the vil. on the western bank of the Nile. lage on the edge of the Nile. The general appearance is that of These sand-hills afforded magnia dusty Indian cantonment, with ficent shelter to the enemy, and roads well lined out, and scarcely enabled them to come within 200 any trees, though these latter at yards of the village before they an infant stage now receive con- could be touched. An extensive siderable attention. Near the sand-shoal lies between the village centre of the town on the river's and the low-water channel of the edge is the terminal station of the river along the whole of the vilrailway to Sarras. The whole place lage except the southern end; where strikes one as very smart. The there is deep water. best officers in the Egyptian army On the 29th June, the day fol. have had their hands in making it lowing Wad-el-Najûmi's arrival at what it is, an impregnable post on Matûka, Wodehouse Pasha sent the extreme south of Egypt. the 13th battalion under Kempster

Knowing that Argin was the Bey, with Bimbashis Cunningham object of Wad-el-Najůmi's first at- and Judge, to reinforce the half tack, Wodehouse Pasha had station- battalion at Argin. They occupied ed there half the 9th battalion the middle of the village and inunder Bimbashi Mitford, with two trenched themselves, loopholing machine - guns. They had been the walls of the houses. It is a posted in a solid house at the north fact worth noting in this kind of end of the village, and had loop- warfare, that loopholing the walls holed the walls and cleared the of houses is not of much use : it ground in front of them. Argin is infinitely better to build a low is a long straggling village, about battlement above the roofs of the 3 miles in length and 100 houses, station the troops there, yards in breadth, studded with and fire from off the roofs. At

[merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

Hunter's Square Wodehouse's advance 1to relieve Hunter




Halfa llouse from

Line of advance of Cavalry and camel Corps from Halfa


Egyptians in the field
Najůmi's force.


He re

7.30 A.M. on the morning of the At daylight the Intelligence 2d July, Wad-el-Najûmi's advance officer at Fort Barrow, near guard, about 1500 strong, began Matûka, had heard of Wad-elto appear on the crest of the Najůmi’s march, and forwarded hills overlooking Argin. Wad-el- the information to Halfa. The Najůmi took up his position on a cavalry and camel corps had been prominent hill opposite the middle immediately moved across the of the village, and directed the river to the west bank, on which operations in person. At 8.30 A.M. the enemy were, while the other he sent a detachment of his troops troops had_hurried on to the northwards, as though he intended steamers. They arrived opposite attacking the position held by the Argin between 9.30 and 10 A.M., 9th battalion, but, deflecting them to find the enemy occupying the to the south, threw them against the level ground overlooking the vilweaker position of the 13th. Here lage. Wad-el-Najůmi's practised he made a very determined effort eye soon discovered that in the to dislodge the Egyptian troops. southern half of the village was Again and again the dervishes a place where the sand-hills apstruggled to reach the intrenched proach the houses so closely post, but were mowed down by that he could enter the village the heavy musketry-fire. Finding without being subjected to the his efforts so far of no avail, Wad- fire he had suffered from in the el-Najůmi sent one of his men, who open ground surrounding the 13th was admitted into the Egyptian battalion. This place is now known position as a deserter.

as the “Hugûm il Dervesh.” Here ported to Kempster Bey that the he hoped to make a lodgment, and dervishes were bringing up their to retain the position till night, artillery, and had already put a when he would be able to strongly gun in position behind one of the intrench himself, and gain a footsand-hills some 200 yards off, and hold on the river's bank. In order were going to open fire on him. to withdraw attention from the Kempster Bey immediately led out spot, he divided his men into three a half company toward the place companies, and sent them against pointed out by the so-called de- different parts of the village, while serter, in order to capture the gun. he kept pouring, men into the He had advanced only a short dis- houses he intended occupying. To tance into the open when he was the north of these houses he put a subjected to a heavy fire, and gun in position on the river's bank. twelve of the fifty men with him Wodehouse Pasha took up his posifell, most of them severely wounded. tion with his artillery and three Recognising the fact that he had companies of the 9th battalion, been led into an ambush, he hurried- under Lewis Bey and Bimbashi ly withdrew his men, but was able Nason, on the east bank of the to retire in good formation and river, opposite the enemy's gun, prevent the enemy from entering and soon silenced it, and made it along with them. Just then impossible for the enemy to bring Wodehouse Pasha arrived opposite any more guns into position. He the village with his infantry and ordered Hunter Bey to proceed artillery on board the armed with the 10th battalion, under cruisers, and Wad-el-Najûmi with- Donne Bey and Bimbashis David drew to the plateau overlooking and Fenwick, in the Metemma the village.

cruiser, and prevent the enemy from occupying the north of the the enemy's force appeared on the village, which they seemed to be hills and began to take up their threatening. They landed, and position on the rocky plateau opened fire on the enemy, who above him. These were fully 2000 were 1200 yards off, and who strong, and had composed the rearwithdrew immediately. On this guard of the dervish army as it Wodehouse sent Lewis and the advanced from Matûka to Argin. half of the 9th on board the Teb They looked a dense, imposing to order Hunter to the southern mass of men, with countless banhalf of the village. Hunter took ners, ready to swoop down on the with him half of the 10th under small force in the plain below. Fenwick, and proceeded to the Hunter immediately drew up his south end of the village, where men into as strong a position as there was deep water, against the he could find, with two long houses river's bank. He landed the half at right angles to each other on battalion, and told Fenwick to his left and rear, forming two sides begin clearing the village. Fen- of a square, while he put his men wick was met by such a superior into position along the other two force of the enemy's infantry and sides. In spite of his being in cavalry, that he had to take shelter this strong position, he would below the bank. Meanwhile Wode certainly have been attacked by house had directed the other half the enemy had not Wodehouse, of the 10th battalion under Donne who had seen the first appearance to land on the immediate south of of this force from the opposite side the position held by the 13th, and of the river, and crossed over to capture the enemy's gun. This Hunter's assistance, just then come they did. He then sent the three up with the half battalion of the companies of the 9th to support 10th under Donne, the cavalry Fenwick. They landed on the under Beech, and all the troops extreme south of the village with not actually occupying intrenched Hunter, who also took with him positions. Wad-el-Najûmi had Dunning and the dismounted before this brought only his adcamel corps, and advanced towards Vance-guard into the field, while Fenwick. On coming up to him, he had evidently kept his rearHunter drew all his men into the guard concealed behind the hills, plain between the sand-hills and in order to bring them out unexhouses, and forming them up two pectedly at some favourable modeep, with a company in support ment during the engagement, and of the left flank, he set himself to by their sudden and formidable clear the village in earnest. The appearance, to surprise the Egypenemy's cavalry charged them tian forces into a backward movethree times, appearing suddenly ment of some kind, when he would through the gaps in the sand-hills have fallen on them in their dison their left; while the enemy's organised state. This was the infantry threw themselves on their supreme moment of the day. A right flank as they passed each set false move now on Wodehouse's of houses. Hunter practically an- part would have met with one of nihilated the dervish cavalry, and those disasters of which the hiswas making a steady though slow tory of oriental wars is so full. progress towards the houses Wad. Any backward movement would el - Najûmi intended occupying, have demoralised his men while when suddenly the main body of in the presence of an enemy who VOL. CXLVII-NO. DCCCXCVI.



had the better position, and who sand-hills. Najůmi covered their outnumbered them as two to one. retreat with his rear-guard, which He had, however, fully grasped all this time had remained stationthe situation: he hastened up to ary. At about half-past three WadHunter and ordered him to take el-Najůmi withdrew his men; while the three companies of the 9th the whole village was completely battalion under Lewis Bey, and cleared of the enemy by five o'clock continue the clearing of the village and occupied by Wodehouse. as before, while he put himself in The dervishes left 900 dead on command of the remaining troops, the field of battle, but this was and advanced boldly on the left not known definitely till the folof Hunter in the face of the der- lowing day. On the evening of vish force. Tactics such as those the 2d, the day of the fight itself, of Wad-el-Najůmi were of no there were considerable differences avail, while his opponents re- of opinion among the different mained firm and undaunted, and officers as to the number of the he wisely refrained from attacking enemy's dead. The lowest estithem. By his masterly disposal mate was 600, while the highest was of his troops during the afternoon 1200. In a manner characteristic Wodehouse more than redeemed of him, Wodehouse Pasha decided the waste of time of the forenoon. that there should be no exaggeraHe was enabled to snatch a brilliant tion, and reported 500 men victory from a very able opponent, killed. On the following day he who outnumbered him, as already was able to rectify this. On the said, as two to one, and who had Egyptian side 11 men were killed had years of experience of this kind and 55 wounded. The disparof desert warfare to guide him on ity is too great to be passed by withthat day. Hunter did his part out an explanation.

While the of the work well. He kept thirty Arabs will persist in arming only yards off the outer line of houses, the blacks with rifles, and fighting set fire to the roofs, shot down the themselves with swords and spears, enemy as they rushed out from the against well - appointed troops burning houses, or charged from armed with the most improved behind the enclosures. At this modern weapons, there will always kind of work, which is one unin- be this same disparity in the numterrupted series of surprises, there bers killed on the two sides. Their are no better troops in the world only chance lies in being able to than the Sudanese, with their come to close quarters, when their complete ignorance of fear. The great strength, skill, and bravery 9th battalion well sustained its are really formidable. On the day high reputation. The enemy in- of Argin they were opposed to exside the houses made their last perienced officers like Wodehouse stand at the position chosen by and Hunter, who had on previous Najůmi, where the sand-hills touch fields gauged the distance within the houses. The fire of the 13th which these desert troops were battalion prevented them from dangerous, and by carefully placadvancing northwards, while the ing their men, had never allowed troops under Wodehouse barred the enemy to come to close quarthe way to the south. After hesi- ters, except as single combatants tating a few minutes they took or in very small numbers. The advantage of their well-chosen least confusion or timidity disposition, and, to the number of played in the face of the Arabs about 600, escaped through the would have been fatal.

« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »