As Soon As The Advance Masked The Batteries,
The Guns Were Run Forward With The Firing Line, In Order Effectually To
Support The Attack.
The deployed battalions opened a ceaseless and
crushing fire on the entrenchment, and as the necessity of firing delayed
the advance of the attacking columns, the pace did not exceed a slow march.
The Dervishes remained silent until the troops were within 300 yards.
Then the smoke-puffs spurted out all along the stockades, and a sharp
fusillade began, gradually and continually growing in intensity until the
assaulting troops were exposed to a furious and effective fire.
From 250 yards up to the position losses began to occur. The whole
entrenchment was rimmed with flame and smoke, amid which the active figures
of the Dervish riflemen were momentarily visible, and behind the filmy
curtain solid masses of swordsmen and spearmen appeared. The fortunate
interposition of a small knoll in some degree protected the advance of the
Lincoln Regiment, but in both Highland battalions soldiers began to drop.
The whole air was full of a strange chirping whistle. The hard pebbly sand
was everywhere dashed up into dust-spurts. Numerous explosive bullets,
fired by the Arabs, made queer startling reports. The roar of the rifles
drowned even the noise of the artillery. All the deployed battalions began
to suffer. But they and the assaulting columns, regardless of the fire,
bore down on the zeriba in all the majesty of war - an avalanche of men,
stern, unflinching, utterly irresistible.
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