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The Victorian Soldier in Africa$
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Edward M. Spiers

Print publication date: 2004

Print ISBN-13: 9780719061219

Published to Manchester Scholarship Online: July 2012

DOI: 10.7228/manchester/9780719061219.001.0001

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The Gordon relief expedition

The Gordon relief expedition

(p.112) Chapter Six The Gordon relief expedition
The Victorian Soldier in Africa

Edward M. Spiers

Manchester University Press

This chapter focuses on the accomplishments of Gordon, once appointed governor-general of the Sudan. Gordon felt compelled to remain in Khartoum and the Government did not have courage order him to withdraw. The Government endorsed the plans of Wolseley and his Red River veterans for an expedition up the Nile as a purportedly less expensive, less risky and less difficult option than constructing a railway from Suakin to Berber, with another 200 miles upstream to Khartoum. The ensuing expedition involved the despatch of 9,000 men and 40,000 tons of stores and munitions up the Nile. Wolseley arrived in Cairo on 9 September 1884, with plans to send his soldiers by train and steamer to Wadi Halfa, then south of the second cataract by specially designed whale-boats. Wolseley's forces remained in the Sudan until mid-summer despite failing to relieve Gordon, who was killed in the storming of Khartoum (26 January 1885), and Graham commanded another 13,000 soldiers in operations near Suakin.

Keywords:   Red River veterans, whale-boats, Wolseley's forces, Mahdists, Thomas Cook steamers, Sudan

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