The River War - An Account Of The Reconquest Of The Sudan By Winston S. Churchill

 -  But the latter were far superior in rifles,
and the black infantry were of invincible valour. Nevertheless, confident
in his - Page 110
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But The Latter Were Far Superior In Rifles, And The Black Infantry Were Of Invincible Valour.

Nevertheless, confident in his strength and relying on his powerful cavalry, the Abyssinian general allowed the Arabs to toil through all the mountainous country, to traverse the Mintik Pass, and to debouch unmolested on to the plain of Debra Sin. Abu Anga neglected no precaution.

He knew that since he must fight in the heart of Abyssinia, with the mountains behind him, a defeat would involve annihilation. He drew up his army swiftly and with skill. Then the Abyssinians attacked. The rifle fire of the Soudanese repulsed them. The onset was renewed with desperate gallantry. It was resisted with equal valour and superior weapons. After frightful losses the Abyssinians wavered, and the wise Arab seized the moment for a counterstroke. In spite of the devotion of his cavalry Ras Adal was driven from the field. Great numbers of his army were drowned in the river in front of which he had recklessly elected to fight. His camp was captured, and a valuable spoil rewarded the victors, who also gratified their passions with a wholesale slaughter of the wounded - a practice commonly followed by savages. The effect of the victory was great. The whole of the Amhara province submitted to the invaders, and in the spring of 1887 Abu Anga was able to advance without further fighting to the capture and sack of Gondar, the ancient capital of Abyssinia.

Meanwhile the Khalifa had been anxiously expecting tidings of his army. The long silence of thirty days which followed their plunge into the mountains filled him with fear, and Ohrwalder relates that he 'aged visibly' during that period.

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