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

















































 -  There was, indeed, no course open
to them but retreat. Once the army was concentrated with sufficient
supplies at Akasha - Page 170
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There Was, Indeed, No Course Open To Them But Retreat.

Once the army was concentrated with sufficient supplies at Akasha, their position was utterly untenable. The Emir-in-Chief, Hammuda, then had scarcely 3,000 men around his flag. Their rifles and ammunition were bad; their supplies scanty.

Nor could the valour of fifty-seven notable Emirs sustain the odds against them. There was still time to fall back on Kosheh, or even on Suarda - anywhere outside the sweep of their terrible enemy's sword. They would not budge. Obstinate and fatuous to the last, they dallied and paltered on the fatal ground, until sudden, blinding, inevitable catastrophe fell upon them from all sides at once, and swept them out of existence as a military force.

CHAPTER VI: FIRKET

June 7, 1896

Since the end of 1895 the Dervish force in Firket had been under the command of the Emir Hammuda, and it was through the indolence and neglect of this dissipated Arab that the Egyptian army had been able to make good its position at Akasha without any fighting. Week after week the convoys had straggled unmolested through the difficult country between Sarras and the advanced base. No attack had been made upon the brigade at Akasha. No enterprise was directed against its communications. This fatal inactivity did not pass unnoticed by Wad Bishara, the Governor of Dongola; but although he was nominally in supreme command of all the Dervish forces in the province he had hardly any means of enforcing his authority. His rebukes and exhortations, however, gradually roused Hammuda, and during May two or three minor raids were planned and executed, and the Egyptian position at Akasha was several times reconnoitred.

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