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

















































 -  The Atbara fort
sprang into existence.

Meanwhile the concentration was proceeding. All the troops in Dongola,
with the exception of - Page 280
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The Atbara Fort Sprang Into Existence.

Meanwhile the concentration was proceeding.

All the troops in Dongola, with the exception of scanty garrisons in Merawi, Korti, and Debba, were massed at Berber. The infantry and guns, dropping down the river in boats, entrained at Kerma, were carried back to Halfa, then hustled across the invaluable Desert Railway, past Abu Hamed, and finally deposited at Railhead, which then (January 1) stood at Dakhesh. The whole journey by rail from Merawi to Dakhesh occupied four days, whereas General Hunter with his flying column had taken eight - a fact which proves that, in certain circumstances which Euclid could not have foreseen, two sides of a triangle are together shorter than the third side. The Egyptian cavalry at Merawi received their orders on the 25th of December, and the British officers hurried from their Christmas dinners to prepare for their long march across the bend of the Nile to Berber. Of the eight squadrons, three were pushed on to join Lewis's force at the position which will hereinafter be called 'the Atbara encampment,' or more familiarly 'the Atbara'; three swelled the gathering forces at Berber; and two remained for the present in the Dongola province, looking anxiously out towards Gakdul Wells and Metemma.

The War Office, who had been nervous about the situation in the Soudan since the hasty occupation of Berber, and who had a very lively recollection of the events of 1884 and 1885, lost no time in the despatch of British troops; and the speed with which a force, so suddenly called for, was concentrated shows the capacity for energy which may on occasion be developed even by our disjointed military organisation. The 1st Battalions of the Royal Warwickshire Regiment, of the Lincoln Regiment, and of the Cameron Highlanders were formed into a brigade and moved from Cairo into the Soudan.

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