Necessary To Use Three Ammunition Barges, Which, Although In No Way
Arranged For The Reception Of Wounded, Were Luckily At Hand.
was passing, and the doctors, who worked with devoted energy, became
suddenly aware that, with the exception of a few detachments from the
British division and three Egyptian companies, there were no troops within
half a mile, and none between them and the dark Kerreri Hills.
gunboats which could have guarded them from the river were down stream,
helping the cavalry; MacDonald with the rear brigade was out in the plain;
Collinson was hurrying along the bank with his transport. They were alone
and unprotected. The army and the river together formed a huge "V" pointing
south. The northern extremity - the gorge of the redan, as it were -
gaped open towards Kerreri; and from Kerreri there now began to come, like
the first warning drops before a storm of rain, small straggling parties
of Dervish cavalry. The interior of the "V" was soon actually invaded
by these predatory patrols, and one troop of perhaps a score of Baggara
horse watered their ponies within 300 yards of the unprotected hospitals.
Behind, in the distance, the banners of an army began to re-appear.
The situation was alarming. The wounded were bundled on to the barges,
although, since there was no steamer to tow them, they were scarcely any
safer when embarked. While some of the medical officers were thus busied,
Colonel Sloggett galloped off, and, running the gauntlet of the Baggara
horsemen, hurried to claim protection for the hospitals and their helpless
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