The 'Kordofan Field Force,' as its officers called it,
was formed as follows:
Commanding: COLONEL KITCHENER
Assistant Adjutant-General: LIEUT.-COLONEL MITFORD
Deputy-Assistant Adjutant-General: MAJOR WILLIAMS
Two squadrons Egyptian Cavalry
Two galloping Maxims
Two mule guns
One company Camel Corps.
Camel transport was drawn from the Atbara and from the Blue Nile.
The troops were conveyed by steamer to Duem, and concentrated there during
the first week in 1899. The camels were collected at Kawa, and, although
several of the convoys had to march as much as 400 miles, the whole number
had arrived by the 10th of January.
The prime difficulty of the operation was the want of water.
The Khalifa's position was nearly 125 miles from the river. The intervening
country is, in the wet season, dotted with shallow lakes, but by January
these are reduced to mud puddles and only occasional pools remain. All the
water needed by the men, horses, and mules of the column must therefore be
carried. The camels must go thirsty until one of the rare pools - the likely
places for which were known to the native guides - might be found.
Now, the capacity of a camel for endurance without drinking is famous;
but it has its limits.