Chapter

The Gordon relief expedition

Edward M. Spiers

in The Victorian Soldier in Africa

Published by Manchester University Press

Published in print September 2004 | ISBN: 9780719061219
Published online July 2012 | e-ISBN: 9781781700556 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.7228/manchester/9780719061219.003.0007
The Gordon relief expedition

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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

Chapter.  9343 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Colonialism and Imperialism

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