The British Empire at war in the deserts of Egypt and the Sudan
This special Leonaur edition combines into a single volume two works concerning the campaigns of the British Army in Egypt and the Sudan during the later Victorian era. The text is supported by maps sometimes absent in other editions of the text. The first work concerns the Egyptian Campaign of 1882, sometimes referred to as the Anglo-Egyptian (or Second Anglo-Egyptian) War. The motivation for the conflict arose from a military coup by Egyptian army officers against the Khedive, in the form of Tewfik Pasha, which led the British to believe their own essential interests in the region would be destabilised. In response a substantial naval and military force was despatched which resulted in the bombardment of Alexandria. The British army under Wolseley marched on Cairo and won a decisive victory at the Battle of Tel-el-Kabir which led to a period of occupation of the country. The second work in this substantial book concerns the various campaigns against the Mahdists of the Sudan from 1884 to their final defeat at Omdurman in 1898. This is well known period of British imperial history. Even casual students of the period are aware of the rise of the Mahdist movement, the siege of Khartoum held by the enigmatic General ‘Chinese’ Gordon, the slaughter of Hicks Pasha and his army, the abortive race to relieve Gordon and monumental battles such as El-Teb, Tamai, Abu Klea and Atbara. These were iconic times for the British Empire when ‘the Gatling jammed and the colonel was dead’ and the ferocious ‘fuzzy wuzzy’s’ achieved the unthinkable and broke the British infantry square. Two excellent histories and highly recommended.
Leonaur editions are newly typeset and are not facsimiles; each title is available in softcover and hardback with dustjacket.
At one p.m. a crowd of native children carrying a green flag passed down the Rue Cherif Pasha beating petroleum tins and calling on God and the Prophet. During the day many of the houses in which Europeans were seen on the terraces or roofs, watching the bombardment, were surrounded by soldiers, who, under the pretext that the inmates were signalling to the fleet, forced them to descend and accompany them to the police-stations. Eight or ten Europeans were dragged from their dwellings and set upon in the streets by the mob. As soon as they fell into the power of the latter, they were forced along by soldiers towards the Moharrem Bey Gate, and struck with the butt ends of rifles, and received blows from naboots. As they passed along they were subjected to every species of ill-usage. On their arrival, covered with blood and in a wretched condition, fresh troubles awaited them. They were cast indiscriminately into cells with natives, and endured the vilest usage.<br>
A mob of natives in the course of the day broke into the German Hospital, where there were many European refugees as well as the patients. The inmates ran for the cellars, where the invalids had already been placed for safety. The Secretary of the German Consulate was the last to flee, and as a final effort he fired a shot from his revolver. The effect on the crowd was magical. They drew back, and contented themselves with demanding that the flag which was flying over the hospital, and which they imagined was being used for signalling to the fleet, should be given up to them. This was acceded to, and they then dispersed.<br>
The Danish Consulate was surrounded by soldiers and a mob of Arabs, who required the consul to haul down the flag flying over the house. This he courageously refused to do, and whilst the dispute was at its height, three Arabs were killed by shells almost at his door, and the rest fled.<br>
At three, the fire of the ships, which had in the meantime slackened, was resumed with great vigour. One shell burst at Moharrem Bey Gate, and killed two officers and six men of the police.
According to Arabi’s statement, he received during the day several messages from the khedive, congratulating him on the behaviour of the troops. Shortly after four o’clock Arabi left the town in a carriage with an escort of soldiers, taking the route by the Rosetta Gate.<br>
About this time the Inflexible and Temeraire were observed to approach Fort Pharos and reopen fire on the batteries there, and a great number of their shells were seen to strike the rocks, raising clouds of débris, and bounding in repeated ricochets over the face of the water. Towards five o’clock the picturesque mosque in the fort fell, burying in its ruins a number of the wounded who had taken refuge behind the walls. The two ships at the same time pitched a few shells at Fort Silsileh. The firing continued, at intervals, until past five o’clock, when it ceased altogether.<br>
As soon as the cannonade was over, the exodus of natives from the town recommenced, and the streets were again filled. The desire of all was to escape from the town as soon as possible. Along the banks of the Mahmoudieh Canal, and the line of the railway to Cairo, was one vast stream of fugitives, which only ceased as night fell.<br>
Then a great stillness came over Alexandria.<br>
The night was calm. The gas was not lighted, and the city, plunged in darkness, resembled a vast necropolis. The only sounds heard from time to time were the plaintive howlings of forsaken dogs. A few fugitives ventured into the streets, and encountered only the sentries and patrols.<br>
On the morning of the 12th, the movement of the natives recommenced. All those who had remained in the Ras-el-Tin and other quarters endeavoured to get out of the town with their luggage and effects. It was rumoured that the bombardment was to recommence, and the terror of the people was indescribable. The trains from Moharrem Bey Station were thronged with fugitives, who not only rode inside, but on the roof, the steps, and even the buffers of the carriages.<br>
In the Place Mehemet Ali a regiment of infantry were scattered about, the men, with arms piled, seated or lying on the ground, tranquilly smoking their cigarettes. A few of the bowabs were seen going to the bazaars and returning to the houses with small stores of meat and other provisions. Amongst the Europeans, the greatest anxiety prevailed, and everyone was asking when the disembarkation would begin. The soldiers on duty became more and more threatening, and the supplies of provisions began to run short. Gangs of disorderly natives from time to time appeared and made violent demonstrations in front of such houses as were known to shelter Europeans.<br>
>From early morning, bands of natives ran through the streets with soldiers at their head, looking for any Europeans who might be concealed. At a little before eleven the cannonade recommenced, and a dozen reports were heard coming from the westward. There was then a silence, and all wondered what next would happen.<br>
As soon as the cannonade ceased, the troops at Moharrem Bey and Rosetta Gates precipitated themselves into the streets, calling on the natives to flee, as the dogs of Christians were going to disembark and massacre the Mussulmans. The news soon after spread that the convicts in the Arsenal had been let loose, and were going to pillage and fire the town.<br>
An hour later, part of the garrison left the town by the Rosetta Gate, taking the road to Ramleh. The first of them marched in fours in fairly good order, and were followed by 1,500 more who passed in gradually increasing disorder, until they became confused with the rabble of fugitives who crowded the roads.<br>
At one o’clock the soldiers in the street received the order to eat their midday meal, and, each opening his haversack, set to work with an appetite indicating hours of abstinence. When the men had finished their repast, mounted mustaphazin and officers, amongst whom was Soleyman Sami, appeared, and gave hurried orders to the soldiers at the various posts. It appears that these orders were for them to abandon the town, and retire outside. The military at once formed at certain given points, such as the Place Mehemet Ali, the Place de l’Eglise, and the Place de la Mosque d’Attarin, and shortly after the evacuation commenced the greater part of the soldiers proceeded to the Mahmoudieh Canal.<br>
Then arose a general cry of “Death to the Christians!” People were heard hammering at the doors and windows of the houses. This was followed by the sound of falling shutters, and the crash of broken glass. Infuriated crowds appeared on the scene, armed with heavy sticks, with which they carried on the work of destroying and plundering the shops and dwellings. The soldiers, too, broke from the ranks and joined in the looting, and with the butt-ends of their rifles assisted in forcing open doors and windows.<br>
Continuous lines of soldiers and civilians staggered past laden with plunder. In a short time the streets were literally blocked by the mob.