This Information Was Soon Confirmed By Mahmud
Hussein, An Egyptian Officer, Who With An Irregular Patrol Advanced Boldly
The infantry needed a short rest to eat a little food,
and Sir Reginald Wingate ordered Colonel Mahon to press on immediately
with the whole of the mounted troops and engage the enemy, so as to prevent
him retreating before an action could be forced.
Accordingly cavalry, Camel Corps, Maxims, and irregulars - whose fleetness
of foot enabled them, though not mounted, to keep pace with the rest -
set off at their best pace: and after them at 9.15 hurried the infantry,
refreshed by a drink at the water tanks and a hasty meal. As they advanced
the scrub became denser, and all were in broken and obstructed ground when,
at about ten o'clock, the sound of Maxim firing and the patter of musketry
proclaimed that Mahon had come into contact. The firing soon became more
rapid, and as the infantry approached it was evident that the mounted
troops were briskly engaged. The position which they occupied was a low
ridge which rose a little above the level of the plain and was
comparatively bare of scrub; from this it was possible at a distance of
800 yards to overlook the Dervish encampment huddled around the water pools.
It was immediately evident that the infantry and the battery were arriving
none too soon. The Dervishes, who had hitherto contented themselves with
maintaining a ragged and desultory fire from the scrub, now sallied forth
into the open and delivered a most bold and determined charge upon the guns.
The intervening space was little more than 200 yards, and for a moment
the attack looked as if it might succeed.
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