War Office, December 9, 1898.
A DESPATCH, of which the
following is a copy, has been received by the Secretary of State
for War from Major-General Lord Kitchener of Khartoum, G.C.B.,
K.C.M.G., Sirdar of the Egyptian Army :-
I HAVE the honour to report on the operations in the Soudan
subsequent to the defeat of the Khalifa at Omdurman.
Information having been received that Ahmed Fedil with a
force of 3,000 rifles had marched out of Gedarif, leaving only a
weak garrison there, and that he was moving down the Blue Nile
to support the Khalifa at Omdurman, Lieutenant-Colonel Parsons
was directed to advance with the Kassala Garrison and occupy
In pursuance of these orders, on the 7th September,
Lieutenant- Colonel Parsons left Kassala with a force consisting
The 16th Egyptian Battalion,
The Arab Battalion,
The Camel Corps,
The Arab Levies,
in all about 1,400 men.
The passage of the troops over the Atbara River in flood,
considering the means at Lieutenant-Colonel Parsons' disposal,
was carried out under Major Lawson, Royal Engineers, with great
skill and ability.
On the 17th September this force left El Fashr, and marching
up the left bank of the Atbara, met the Dervish garrison,
consisting of 1,500 riflemen and about 1,700 spearmen, at 9 A.M.
on September 22nd, two miles north of the town of Gedarif.
In the action that ensued the Dervishes made two determined
attacks on the Egyptian Forces. The first was delivered against
the left front of the column, consisting of the Arab Battalion,
the 16th Egyptian Battalion, and the Arab Irregulars. These
troops were at once deployed to the left, and repulsed the
Dervish assault with heavy loss. The second attack was directed
against the baggage column in rear, by a considerable body of
Dervishes, who had moved under cover of a hill round the left
flank of the Egyptian Force. The escort to the baggage column,
consisting of the Arab Levies and a detachment of the Camel
Corps, under Captain C. C. Fleming, Royal Army Medical Corps,
found themselves heavily engaged by greatly superior numbers,
and it was chiefly owing to the valour of the detachment of the
Camel Corps, under Captain the Honourable
A. G. A. Hore-Ruthven, 3rd Battalion Highland Light
Infantry, and the prompt assistance rendered by the 16th
Egyptian Battalion, under Captain A. de S. McKerrell, Cameron
Highlanders, that this attack was defeated.
Lieutenant-Colonel Parsons advanced and Occupied Gedarif at
mid-day, the Emir Mir Angara and 150 Dervishes with 2 guns,
surrendering to the troops.
Our losses in action during the day were 53 killed and 61
Lieutenant-Colonel Parsons and his force deserve great credit
for the excellent manner in which the difficult march of 107
miles from Kassala to Gedarif was accomplished, and for the
gallant way in which they defeated a considerably superior force
of the enemy in the field.
Lieutenant-Colonel Parsons speaks highly of the way in which
Major Lawson, Royal Engineers, commanded the irregulars, Captain
McKerrell, the16th Battalion, and Captain Wilkinson, the Arab
Battalion, and also of the services of Captain Fleming, Royal
Army Medical Corps, in charge of the medical arrangements and
Meanwhile the gunboats patrolling the Blue Nile after the
battle of Khartoum, had met Ahmed Fedil's army advancing on the
right bank, and had shelled them, the result being that Fedil's
force retired again to Gedarif.
On September 19 Major-General A. Hunter proceeded up the Blue
Nile in command of a force consisting of 2 Maxims and 20 men of
the Royal Irish Fusiliers under Captain (now Brevet Major) D.
Churcher, and. 600 men of the 10th Soudanese Battalion. He
established posts at Sennar, Karkoj, and Rosaires, and confirmed
the report that Ahmed Fedil refused all offers of peaceful
surrender, and was returning to Gedarif.
On receipt of this information I directed a force under
Major-General Rundle to proceed up the Blue Nile, to attack
Ahmed Fedil in rear, and to reinforce Lieutenant-Colonel Parsons
Prior, however, to the arrival of this force at Abu Haraz, on
the Blue Nile, Ahmed Fedil had attacked Gedarif on September 28,
and was driven off by the Egyptian Garrison with considerable
loss. The Dervishes, however, took up a position 8 miles
south-west of Gedarif, from which they were able to harass the
garrison, and being in greatly superior numbers it was not
thought advisable to attack them.
Major-General Rundle, on arriving at Abu Haraz; therefore,
was directed to detach a force under Lieutenant-Colonel J.
Collinson to proceed to Gedarif. The march was one of considerable difficulty owing
to the scarcity of water on the road, but it was successfully
accomplished, and Lieutenant-Colonel Collinson reached Gedarif or
On October 23 Abmed Fedilmade an ineffective night attack
on Gedarif, which was easily repulsed, and on the following day
(24th) a strong reconnaissance, sent out by Lieutenant-Colonel
Parsons, discovered that the enemy were retiring southwards
towards Karkoj, on the Blue Nile. A large number of Dervish
deserters were captured, Ahmed Fedil's force breaking up.
On September 10 I left Omdurman and proceeded up the White
Nile with the following force, in five gunboats :-
100 Non-Commissioned Officers and Men of the Cameron
Highlanders, under Captain (now Brevet Major) the Honourable A.
1 Battery Egyptian Artillery.
The 11th and 13th Soudanese Battalions.
At Renk, on the White Nile, a Dervish station with a
garrison of. 700 Rifles and 2 guns was met. They opened fire on
the gunboats, but were easily dispersed, and the position taken
after a short action.
A French Detachment, under Major Marchand, was found at
Having left a garrison of the 11th Battalion Soudanese and
four field guns at that place the flotilla advanced south, and a
station was formed at the mouth of the Sobat, and garrisoned by
the 13th Battalion Soudanese. The gunboats subsequently
patrolled the Sobat and Bar-el-Gazal rivers.
The Khalifa, with his son Sheikh el Din, the Emir Osman
Digna, and a small following of less than 200 adherents, retired
after the battle of Khartoum to a position about 250 miles
southwest of Omdurman, and subsequently moved in the direction
of Gebel Taaisheb, his force being harassed by the local
-tribes, and receiving no support from the Arab inhabitants in
answer to his repeated appeals.
The Khalifa Sherif, and the son of the Mahdi, having
surrendered, and the Dervish garrisons of El Fasher and El Obeid
having been driven out by the loyal Arab tribes in those
districts, the country may be said to be now practically clear
of Dervish Forces.
In conclusion, I beg to bring to your notice the names of-
the following Officers who have distinguished themselves during
the recent operations in the Soudan :-
Lieutenant-Colonel J. A. Clery, Royal Army Medical Corps.
Brevet Lieutenant-Colonel C. S. B. Parsons, Royal Artillery.
Lieutenant-Colonel N. Leader, late Royal Army Medical Corps.
Major H. M. Lawson, Royal Engineers.
Major C. O. Hore, South Staffordshire Regiment.
Major G. D. Hunter, D.S.O., Royal Army Medical Corps.
Brevet Major the Honourable A. D. Murray, Cameron
Captain St. G. C. Henry, Northumberland Fusiliers.
Captain the Honourable E. Baring, 10th Hussars.
Captain H. Slessor, Royal Marine Artillery.
Captain F. G. Anley, Essex Regiment.
Captain T. W. Hale, Wiltshire Regiment, Ordnance Officer, Fourth Class.
Captain A, de S. McKerrell, Cameron Highlanders.
Captain O. H. Pedley, Connaught Rangers.
Captain F. A. MacFarlan, Cameron Highlanders.
Captain H. G. Majendie, Rifle Brigade.
Captain E. B.
Wilkinson, Lincolnshire Regiment.
Captain C. C. Fleming, Royal Army Medical Corps.
Captain H. C. Smith, Royal Dublin Fusiliers.
Captain A. G.
Dwyer, East Surrey Regiment.
Captain A. G. Fraser, King's. Own
Captain E. G. T. Bainbridge, East Kent Regiment.
Captain the Honourable A. G. A. Hore-Ruthven, 3rd Battalion,
Highland Light Infantry.
Lieutenant F. Burgos, Gloucestershire Regiment.
Lieutenant C. J. Clerk, 21st Lancers. Lieutenant H. H. S.
Morant, Durham Light Infantry.
Lieutenant G. C. M. Hall, Royal Engineers.
Lieutenant F. Hunnard, Army Service Corps.
Lieutenant .R. L. Adlercron, Cameron Highlanders.
Sergeant A. Nicklin, North Staffordshire Regiment.
|I have, &c.,
||KITCHENER OF KHARTOUM, Major-General, Sirdar, Egyptian Army.