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   Chapter 21 THE MARCH TO RIONGA.

Ismailia By Sir Samuel White Baker Characters: 40729

Updated: 2017-11-29 00:03

On the morning of the 14th of June, 1872, at 9.30, the advance-guard filed along the gravel path, and halted at the extremity of the station at Masindi. The line was complete, according to the orders for the march. Not a word was spoken. A light, drizzling rain fell, and the sky was a dull grey.

I looked back, and waited for the destruction of my favourite station. In our little house we had left pictures of my own children, and everything that was not absolutely necessary to our existence. Even the Queen and the Princess of Wales were to perish in the conflagration, together with much that was parted with in this moment of exigency.

The smoke now curled in thick, white folds from the government divan and our own private house.

Lieutenant Baker's new house was ignited. O ne by one every hut was fired. The rear-guard, having done their duty, closed up in the line of march.

I did not give the word "Forward!" until the flames had shot up high in the air, and the station was in the possession of the fire. At this moment a loud report announced that all the rockets had exploded. The advance-guard moved forward, and the march commenced.

We soon entered the high grass, which was reeking with the light rain, and we were wet through in an instant.

My wife was walking close behind me with a quantity of spare ammunition for the "Dutchman" in her breast. She had a Colt's revolver in her belt. Lieutenant Baker was heavily loaded, as he carried a Purdy rifle slung across his back, together with a large bag of ammunition, while he held a double breechloader smooth-bore in his hand, with a bag of heavy buckshot cartridges upon his shoulder.

Suleiman and Mohammed Haroon (our servants) were close by with my two breechloading No. 8 elephant rifles. These carried picrate of potash shells that were immensely powerful. Very little would have been left of the body of a man had one of such shells struck him in the chest.

The cattle began to cause much trouble as soon as the march commenced, and we slowly descended the knoll upon which the station stood, and in single file entered the extremely narrow path which led down to a small swamp.

Crossing the swamp, through deep mud, we arrived on firm ground, and continued to march slowly, on account of the cattle. I felt sure they would have to be abandoned. The cows strayed to the right and left, and Morgian the Bari, and Abdullah Djoor the cook, who were the drovers, were rushing about the grass in pursuit of refractory animals, that would shortly end in being speared by the enemy.

We thus marched for about a mile before a hostile sound was heard. We then distinguished the tumultuous voices of the natives in the rear, who had been attracted to the station by the general conflagration.

The slow march continued, through grass about eight feet high, and occasional forest. The rain now descended steadily, and I feared that the old muzzle-loading muskets would miss fire.

The sound of drums and horns was now heard throughout the country, as the alarm spread rapidly from village to village. We could hear the shouts of natives, and drums that were now sounding in the forest upon a hill on our right. These people were evidently in possession of a path unknown to us, which ran parallel to our route.

For seven hours the march continued with such frequent halts, owing to the straying of the cattle, that we had only progressed the short distance of ten miles, when, at 4.40 P.M., we entered the valley of Jon Joke. We saw before us the hill covered with plantain groves where we had slept when upon the march to Masindi.

The grass was very high, and the path hardly a foot wide, only resembling a sheep run. Suddenly the advance-guard opened a hot fire, and the bugle sounded "halt!"

A few paces in front of me, my favourite sailor and fisherman, Howarti, was in the line, carrying a metal box upon his head. In addition to his musket, which was slung across his shoulders, I had given him one of my double breechloading pistols, which he carried in his belt.

The word was suddenly passed that "Howarti was speared!"

Lances now flew across the path, and the line opened fire into the grass upon our right, according to orders.

I immediately went up to Howarti. I found him sitting upon the ground by the side of his box, in the act of reloading his pistol with a Boxer cartridge. A lance had struck him in the fleshy part of the right arm, just below the point of junction with the shoulder, and, passing through his body, it had protruded from his stomach. Upon feeling the wound, Howarti had dropped his load, and drawing his pistol, he shot the native dead, as he leapt from his ambush to recover the lance which was sticking in the poor fellow's body.

Here was another of my best men sacrificed. Howarti had always been a true, good man, and he had just exhibited his cool courage. He had himself pulled the spear from his body.

My wife had followed me immediately upon hearing that Howarti was injured. He had reloaded his pistol, but in reply to my question whether he could sit upon a donkey, he fainted. I roughly bandaged him for the present moment, and we laid him upon an angareb (stretcher-bedstead), but the men were so heavily laden that it was difficult to find supporters. Lieutenant Baker kindly took one end upon his shoulder, and with the assistance of the guard, we carried him forward. The bugle sounded the "advance."

Again the lances flew across the path, but a few shots with the sniders cleared the way, and leaving the narrow route, we broke our way through the tangled grass, and ascended the slope to the plantain forest. Here, thank goodness, there was no grass. The bugle sounded "halt" in the middle of the plantains.

Sentries having been posted, every man was now employed in felling the tall plantain trees, and in arranging them to form a wall around the camp.

One blow of a sharp, heavy sabre will cut through the stem, thus in a short time, as we all worked, a clearing of about an acre was made, and by sunset we had piled them so as to form a tolerable protection from lances.

Throughout the day it had never ceased raining, thus every one was soaking and miserable. Of course we had no tent, but some invaluable mackintosh camp sheets. I had examined Howarti's wounds, which I knew were mortal. The air as he breathed was rattling through the gash in his stomach. I washed and bandaged him carefully, and gave him a dose of brandy and laudanum.

No one had a drop of water to drink, neither did any one know the direction of the well; but, as all were cold and wet through, no person suffered from thirst. Fortunately, we had matches in a small silver case that had resisted the damp; and after some difficulty and delay, fires were blazing through the little bivouac, and the soldiers and women were crouching round them.

We were comfortable that night, as we had beds to lie upon; but I felt sure it would be for the last time, as it would be necessary to destroy much luggage, the men being too heavily laden.

All was at length still; the soldiers, who were tired, went to sleep, with the exception of the sentries, who were well on the alert.

As I lay on my bed, I thought of the morrow. I knew we should have a trying time, as the whole country would now be thoroughly organized against us. Our start from Masindi had taken them by surprise-thus we had not met with much resistance; but to-morrow would be a fighting day, and I made up my mind to leave the cattle to themselves, as it would be simply impossible to drive them.

The night passed without an attack.

On the following morning, 15th June, poor Howarti was evidently about to die, but the plucky fellow faintly said that he could ride a donkey if assisted. It was impossible to carry him as the path was too narrow for four people to walk beneath a stretcher. He was placed upon a donkey, and supported with difficulty by a man at his side.

I was obliged to pile upon the fire a number of things that we could not carry, including the large oaken stand of the astronomical telescope.

It was 7.30 A.M. before we started.

The troublesome cattle at once began to stray, and I immediately ordered them to be abandoned. I felt certain that in the event of a general attack they would have created great confusion, by probably rushing down the line and overturning the men.

It was the greatest relief to be rid of the animals: thus we marched on merrily at about two and a half miles an hour, through the usual narrow path amidst gigantic grass (now about nine feet high) and thick forest.

In about an hour and a half we arrived at a descent, towards a bottom in which there was a broad, open swamp, with a stream running through the centre.

The advance-guard was not more than a hundred yards from the bottom, and the line was descending the hill in close order, when a sudden uproar broke out, as though all the demons of hell were let loose. Yells, screams, drums, horns, whistles from many thousand concealed enemies, for an instant startled the troops! A tremendous rush in the grass gave notice of a general attack from an immensely powerful ambuscade. The officers did their duty.

Every load was upon the ground, and in a moment alternate files were facing to the right and left, kneeling just as the lances began to fly across the path. The bugles rang out "fire," and the fight commenced on our side.

I saw several lances pass within an inch or two of my wife's head; luckily we were kneeling on one knee. The file-firing was extremely good, and the sniders rattled without intermission. The grass was so dense, that simple buck-shot would be reduced to a very limited range, although excellent at close quarters. The servants quickly handed the elephant breechloaders, and a double shot to the right and left was followed by the loud explosion of the picrate of potash shells against some unseen objects, either men or trees.

A quick repetition of the picrate shells seemed to affect the spirit of the attack. I imagine that the extremely loud explosion of the shells in the midst, and perhaps also in the rear of the enemy, led them to suppose that they were attacked from behind.

It is difficult to say how long the attack continued, but a vast amount of ammunition was expended before the lances ceased to fly through the line, and the drums and horns were at length heard at a greater distance in the rear. The bugle at once sounded the "advance," and I marched the men forward, crossing the stream at the bottom, and gained the open, where we found ourselves in a kind of swampy field of about ten acres. "Ha!" exclaimed many of the soldiers, "if we could only get them on a clear space like this."

The men were mustered. Poor Howarti was dead, and they had left him in the grass by the roadside, as it was impossible to transport him.

The rear-guard had been hotly pressed, and the natives had rushed upon the path close to the sniders, which had punished them severely. Had we depended upon muzzle-loading muskets, the party would have been quickly destroyed; the sharp fire of the sniders at close quarters must have caused immense loss at the first onset.

I now determined to lighten the loads considerably. It was difficult to carry the angarebs, as the leas caught in the high grass. I spoke a few words to my men, who declared that they were not afraid of the natives if they were not so heavily laden.

We collected wood and made a fire, upon which I ordered everything to be burnt that was really cumbersome. The bedsteads were broken up; a case of good French cognac was committed to the flames; Lieutenant Baker's naval uniform, with box, &e.; the cocked hat frizzled up on the top of the bonfire.

The men were provided with raw hides, upon which they slept at night; these were now wet through and cumbersome: I therefore ordered them to be thrown into the high grass and abandoned.

The brandy bottles burst upon the fire. A sergeant of the "Forty Thieves," named Fadlullah, had been attending to the heap of burning materials, and I saw him stoop over the flames, as though intending to save one of the liquor bottles for himself. At this moment several burst and saturated his loose cotton trousers with blazing spirit. The man vainly endeavoured to extinguish the fire, and he danced wildly about, until I seized and threw him down in the swamp, and quickly drew the wet green grass over him and subdued the flames. He was severely burnt about the legs, from which the skin slipped off in large flakes.

I now had to doctor him, when every man's legs ought to have been in the best order. Fortunately I had a little oil (for the lamp), and the wounds were quickly dressed and bandaged with cotton wool and lint.

The force was now much relieved, as the loads had been lightened.

During the operation of burning the supplies, the best shots of the

"Forty Thieves" had been stationed to pick off any natives who attempted

to spy our movements by ascending the lofty trees.

I now gave the order for the advance, and the march recommenced. In a few minutes we were once more buried in the gigantic grass jungle.

We had hardly entered the covert when the shouts and blowing of horns and beating of drums once more commenced. This was the signal to ambuscades in front that we were moving forward.

In the course of an hour's march, the rear bugle had sounded "halt" at least half a dozen times, as two of the donkeys were weakly, and could not be driven on without difficulty.

Again the rear bugle sounded "halt!" I immediately sent the sergeant of the bodyguard, Mohammed-el-Feel, to shoot the donkeys, and to throw their loads into the high grass. Two shots announced their end.

The bugle sounded "advance", and we at length travelled comfortably. The weather was fine: we rejoiced in the sun, as it dried our reeking clothes.

Suddenly the advance-guard opened fire! then the rear-guard was closed upon by a sudden rush of the enemy, and the whole line commenced file-firing into the thick covert.

I ordered the bugler to sound "forward," and "cease firing," as the men were getting a little wild.

One of "The Forty", Ali Goboor, had been wounded by a lance through the leg, but he managed to limp along.

We now began to understand the places at which we were sure to meet an ambuscade. Whenever we descended a slope towards a marshy bottom, there was certain to be a large force concealed behind the lofty reeds that grew in the swamp. I ordered the advance-guard to fire a few shots low down in the reels whenever they should approach these places. By this plan we generally induced the enemy to throw their spears before we were in the midst; in which case we opened a heavy fire into the grass, and marched straight forward.

The ambuscades had been carefully planned. A row of grass of perhaps two or three yards in thickness was left standing in its natural position along the path; behind this vegetable wall, the grass had been either cut down or torn up, so as to afford a clear space for the natives to take a good run when throwing their lances. They accordingly waited until we should enter the snare, and they calculated their opportunity for making a combined attack when they considered that our line of march was exactly opposite. Of course they could not see us through the thick screen of brass any more than we could distinguish them.

We were at an additional disadvantage, as we were always exposed to attacks from fresh enemies; the route was occupied throughout, thus they were not cowed by the defeats of every ambuscade in the rear.

Considering the great numbers of spears that had flown like flashes of light through the line, it was astonishing that we had not had more numerous casualties. Several men had been struck on their knapsacks, which had served as shields.

We at length came to an exceedingly awkward place, that I felt sure would be well occupied. Upon our right lay a row of rocky hills, to which we were marching parallel. We had to descend through forest to low ground. To reach this it was necessary to pass between numerous blocks of granite that completely commanded the path. Each block was about twenty or twenty-five feet high, and several much exceeded this height. The base was the usual high grass and forest.

I ordered the men not to fire unless they should see the enemy, and to take a good aim.

Presently, as we descended through the pass, the attack commenced. Two spears struck Colonel Abd-el-Kader, one in the fore-arm; the second ripped his tough leather gaiter, and glanced off.

The sniders were ready, as the enemy were obliged to show their heads above the rocks, and one fellow, who was exactly above us, either lost his nerve, or received a bullet, which allowed his lance to come rattling down the rocks as a complete failure. I ordered the bugler to continue to sound "forward" (Illah Reh), as it was advisable to push through this awkward place as quickly as possible.

Directly that we were out of the pass, I tied up Abd-el-Kader's arm, and we continued the march until we halted at 2.5 P.M., in a piece of open cultivated ground, where I determined to bivouac for the night.

I had resolved always to finish the day's journey by one march, as it would afford time for erecting a protection of thorns and branches of trees to prevent a sudden night attack.

Fortunately the weather was fine. Abd-el-Kader was now faint and weak from loss of blood. I attended to his wound, which was an ugly gash, and gave him a good dose of brandy, and advised him to go to sleep.

Lieutenant Baker and the other officers assisted in erecting the defence of thorns. All the wet clothes were spread out to dry in the sun, and everything was got ready for the night. I did not care for myself, but I was sorry for the hardship that my wife must endure, without a bed or tent. My men cut two forked poles, upon which they lashed a horizontal bar, which supported a camp-sheet to protect her from rain or dew. A pile of long green grass was laid on the ground beneath, upon which was stretched a mackintosh camp-sheet, and a good thick blanket.

We had been most fortunate in having only a loss of one killed and two wounded since we left Masindi.

My men had fired away an enormous amount of ammunition during the march, as they appeared to become more and more nervous as they advanced. Every thick clump of reeds that rose a few feet higher than the surrounding grass was supposed to conceal an enemy, and it was immediately raked by a hot fire from the advance-guard.

On 16th June, the night having passed quietly, we started at 6.30 A.M., and marched silently.

There was a curious feeling upon first waking in the morning, when we rose and buckled on the ammunition-belts. Every one was aware that his nerves must be upon the stretch, and that his finger must be ready for the trigger, from the commencement till the end of the march, to act against unseen enemies.

Upon arrival at a stream in a muddy bottom, we were immediately attacked by a strong force in ambuscade. Some of the enemy exposed themselves boldly, and rushed upon the soldiers just in front of the rear-guard. Several were shot by the sniders, but one fellow, with unusual pluck, speared a soldier whose musket had missed fire, through the chest. This poor fellow, thus mortally wounded, grappled with his assailant, and tugging the spear from his own wound, he drove it through the native's heart.

The rear bugle sounded "halt," while the knapsack and cartouche-belt were detached from the gallant soldier, whose body was left by the side of his enemy.

We marched until 10.15 A.M., having fought nearly the whole way, and expended a frightful amount of ammunition. We had now arrived at our old halting-place, Chorobeze twenty-seven miles from Masindi.

My men had become so extravagant of their cartridges that I was forced to interfere. If this nervousness should continue, we should be soon left without ammunition, and every soul would be massacred.

I therefore mustered the troops, and examined all their pouches. Some of the advance-guard had fired away eighty rounds each, only during the morning's march!


had fired fifty rounds! The muskets had not used so many, owing to the greater difficulty of loading, but they also had been frightfully extravagant.

The men had come to the conclusion that the only plan of marching in safety through the high grass, which was full of unseen enemies, was to constitute themselves into a sort of infernal machine, that would be perpetually emitting fire and bullets on all sides.

This was all very well with an unlimited supply of ammunition, but we had no idea of what might still be in store for us. We were now slightly more than fifty miles from Foweera. Fortunately, in our journey from the river to Masindi, I had timed every march within five minutes, and I had all particulars in my note-book; therefore I could guess the position pretty closely during the morning's advance.

Having mustered all the men, I turned out all the ammunition from their pouches. The cartridges were counted.

I examined all the reserve ammunition.

The total, including that from the men's cartouche-boxes, was cartridges for snider rifles 4,540 and cartridges for muskets 4,330, making a total of 8,870 rounds.

I now addressed the men, and abused them most forcibly, calling them "old women," and several other uncomplimentary epithets for soldiers. I divided among them forty rounds each, and I swore solemnly by their prophet, "that I would not give them another cartridge from this spot (Chorobeze) until we should reach Major Abdullah's detachment at Fatiko."

I explained that if any man should fire away his ammunition, he should continue the march with an empty pouch-Wah Illahi! Illahi !

I gave the most positive command, that in future not a shot should be fired without orders, unless spears actually were thrown; on which occasions the troops would fire a few shots exactly into the spot from which the weapons had arrived; but on no account was a bullet to be fired at random.

I dismissed the men with this warning, and set them to work to construct a night defence as usual.

It was a most fortunate peculiarity of the Unyoros that they did not attack at night-time. This was a grievous fault upon their side. If they had surrounded us every night, they would have kept us awake, and not only would have tired the men out, but they would have caused a useless expenditure of ammunition.

On 17th of June, we started at 6.15 A.M., with the intention of reaching Koki. I recognized several villages, but we passed them without halting. We at length arrived at a fine, broad route, that was sufficiently wide for a dog-cart. This had evidently been recently prepared, and there could be no doubt that it was arranged as a snare that would lead us into some powerful ambuscade. At the same time, the compass showed that the broad path led in the right direction.

I halted the force, and went to the front to examine the road. There was no other path. It was therefore incumbent upon us to keep to the broad route, although we knew that it must lead us to a trap prepared for our destruction.

It was like walking upon ice that was known to be unsafe. We advanced.

For about half an hour we marched without opposition. This was a longer interval than usual to be free from an attack. At length we arrived where the broad road suddenly terminated. The advance-guard halted.

We searched for a path, and at length discovered the original narrow route a few paces to our left.

This had been purposely concealed by grass and boughs.

We had hardly entered this path when we were suddenly attacked. A horsekeeper was wounded by a spear, which passed through his leg, behind the knee, and cut the sinew, thus rendering him helpless. He was immediately placed upon a donkey. The unfortunate lad who led the horse a few paces before me now uttered a wild shriek, as a spear passed completely through his body. The poor boy crept to me on his hands and knees, and asked, "Shall I creep into the grass, Pacha?-where shall I go?" He had not another minute to live.

A spear struck another horsekeeper on the hip, and the soft iron point turned up against the bone in a curve like a fish-hook.

A sharp fire dispersed the enemy, who retired to a distance, yelling and blowing their whistles. The wounded horsekeeper could manage to walk forward.

There is a peculiar bird in the forests of Unyoro which utters a shrill cry, with these notes.

The natives imitate this cry with their whistles of antelope's horn. I had noticed that previous to an attack from an ambuscade, we had always heard the call of this bird.

My Baris declared that the bird warned us of the danger, and cried, "Co-co-me! Co-co-me!" which in their language means, "Look out! look out!"

My soldiers said that the birds exclaimed, "Shat-mo-koor! Shat-mo-koor!" which is the order, "Make ready;" They accordingly always brought their rifles on full cock when they heard the signal.

There was something puzzling this day respecting the distance. According to my calculation, we should leave reached Koki. Still we marched on through high forest and the interminable grass. My wife was dreadfully fatigued. The constant marching in wet boots, which became filled with sand when crossing the small streams and wading through muddy hollows, had made her terribly foot-sore. She walked on with pain and difficulty. I was sure that we had passed the village of Koki, which was surrounded by much open ground and cultivation; and I now felt certain that the broad road, which had been constructed to mislead us, had taken us by the rear of Koki, which we had thus over-shot.

We were marching forward in perfect silence, when I heard a bird cry

"Co-co-me! Co-co-me"!

That instant the spears came among us, and the rifles replied as quick as lightning!

The bugle of the advance-guard sounded "halt". I never liked to hear that order, as something must have gone wrong.

I immediately walked forward, and found that Lieutenant Mohammed Mustapha had been wounded. The spear had struck him just behind the shoulderjoint of the left arm, and had passed over the blade-bone and spine previous to making its exit by the right arm. This was a very nasty wound, and he was bleeding profusely. I made a couple of pads, and, placing one upon each hole, we bandaged him tightly.

I now went up to my poor old horse, "Zafteer". The unfortunate animal was carrying a heavy load, and a large hunting spear had struck him just behind the saddle. The weapon was so sharp and heavy, and had been thrown with such force, that it had penetrated a double blanket, and had not only passed clean through the horse's body, but had also cut through a blanket-fold upon the other side.

A large portion of the bowels protruded, and were hanging a foot below the horse's belly. The intestines were divided, thus death was certain.

As the old horse could still walk, and did not know its own danger, I ordered the advance. I intended to halt at the first convenient point.

In about a quarter of an hour we saw increased light in the distance, and we presently emerged upon a large open vale surrounded by forest. This cheerful space extended over about ten acres, in the centre of which was a well of good water, about fourteen feet deep, and so wide that a man could descend by steps hewn out of the gravel. This was a grand place for the halt.

My first duty was to remove the load, together with the saddle, from my good old horse. I returned the bowels, and having placed a strong pad over the wounds, I passed the roller round his body, and buckled it tight over the pads.

This operation was hardly completed, when a severe shivering fit seized the poor animal, and he fell to the ground to die.

With great sorrow I placed my pistol to the forehead of the faithful old Zafteer, and he died, having carried and laid down his load, together with his life, at the end of the day's march.

I was much distressed at this loss. It seemed that I was to lose all my best and most faithful followers-the good Monsoor, whom to this hour I regret as a brother; the ever-ready and true Howarti; Ferritch Baggara; the unfortunate Ramadan, besides others who were very valuable; and now my old horse was gone.

We slept that night by his body, and warmed ourselves by a fire that consumed his load-for there was no one to carry it. My despatch-box helped to cook our scanty dinner. We had marched sixteen miles.

My troops had behaved remarkably well. The scolding that I had given them had produced a good effect. Very little ammunition had been expended, and the firing had been exceedingly steady.

Although we had not been attacked at night, I never omitted the precaution of a defence of strong thorns and branches of trees.

Had this march through a frightful route of forest and high grass been made in the Bari tribe, we should not have had a night's rest.

We started at 6 A.M., with sunrise, on 18th June. The weather had been fine since the first day of soaking rain on the start from Masindi: we were thankful for this blessing, as there was no shelter for any one.

It would be fatiguing to narrate the incidents of the continual ambuscades. Every day we were attacked, and the enemy was repulsed many times. "Co-co-me! Co-co-me!" was now well understood by the troops; and although we had men wounded, the enemy invariably got the worst of the encounter. Up to the present we had been most fortunate in bringing on all our people, but I was anxious lest some should receive wounds that would actually incapacitate them from marching. Should a man be killed outright, how much soever he might be regretted, still there was an end of him; but there was no end to the difficulty of transporting wounded men in our helpless condition, without carriers.

We had rather hot work during this day's march, and four soldiers had been wounded by spears.

My wife was dreadfully tired, and sometimes the pace was too severe for her. At length she was so fatigued that she declared she must rest, if only for a few minutes. It was impossible to halt in the thick jungle and grass; therefore, as I had observed a large grove of plantains on the crest of the hill before us, I gave her my hand to assist in the ascent, and we shortly entered the dark forest of bananas, which was, as usual, clear and free from grass.

All the women were glad to rest, as the poor things were carrying heavy loads. We halted in the midst of the plantains, and every one sat down, except the numerous sentries whom I placed in concealment in various positions. I fully expected that natives might be following us, in the hopes of picking up the load of some wounded man that had been left behind.

Not a word was spoken, or even whispered.

My men were very bloodthirsty. They had been atrociously treated by the natives, and had suffered much. They longed to get their enemies fairly before them, and the "Forty Thieves" were now keenly looking out for the approach of the wily Unyoros.

We heard distant voices; they were coming nearer. A sharp clicking of locks might be heard, as the men got ready.

All Sadik was one of my best shots in "The Forty." I now saw him taking a steady aim. Saat Choush, who was the champion shot of "The Forty", had also raised his rifle, and almost immediately several shots were fired, and the troops rushed forward! Two natives had been knocked over, and some of the men returned, dragging in a body by the heels.

I now scoured the immediate neighbourhood, and discovered a quantity of dhurra that was just ripened. This was immediately gathered as a great prize.

During this interval, my men had been engaged in a most barbarous ceremony, that perfectly disgusted me.

These superstitious people had an idea, that every bullet they might fire would kill an Unyoro, if they could only devour a portion of their enemy's liver.

They had accordingly cut out the liver of the dead man, and having divided it among them, they positively HAD EATEN IT-raw! They had then cut the body into pieces with their sword-bayonets, and had disposed them upon the limbs of various bushes that overhung the path, as a warning to any Unyoros who should attempt to follow us.

I would not have believed that my "Forty Thieves", whom I had considered to be nearly civilized, could have committed such a barbarity. The truth was, that in the high grass they could not see the effect of their shots; therefore they imagined that the horrid rite of eating an enemy's liver would give a fatal direction to a random bullet.

We marched, and having had several encounters with the enemy in jungle, if possible worse than before, we halted at Kaseega.

One of my best men, Serroor, had a narrow escape; a lance went through his neck, almost grazing the jugular vein.

On 19th June, we marched at 6.5 A.M. This was one of the worst journeys, as the ravines were numerous, and the forest dark and tangled. It was difficult for our solitary horse (Jamoos) to carry his load, as it became continually hooked in the hanging loops of the wild vines. We were quickly attacked by various ambuscades, in one of which my wife suffered the loss of a great favourite. This was poor little Jarvah, who went by the name of the "fat boy." Two spears struck the unhappy lad at the same moment one of which pinned both his legs as though upon a spit; the other went through his body. This loss completely upset my wife, as the unfortunate Jarvah had upon several occasions endeavoured to protect her from danger. He was killed only a few paces behind her.

In one of the ambuscades, just as the enemy had been repulsed, Faddul, the strongest man in the "Forty Thieves", who was close to me, carrying his knapsack on his back, his rifle slung across his shoulders, and a box of 500 snider cartridges (64 lbs.) upon his head, walked up to me during the halt and reported himself as badly wounded.

A spear had struck him obliquely in the posterior, and had taken a direction towards the groin. The nian was literally bathed in blood, which ran from him in such a stream that a large pool was formed at his feet as he stood before me.

The instant that the box of snider ammunition was taken from his head, he fell apparently lifeless to the ground.

I thought that he had bled to death.

His rifle and knapsack were removed, and I examined his pulse and heart! I could not feel any movement. All I could do was to pour some brandy very slowly down his throat, and to leave him on the side of the path as another good man lost to the expedition.

We marched forward, and in about ten minutes we arrived at an open field of sweet potatoes. The change from dark jungle and dense grasses of giant height to the fresh and clear space cannot be understood, unless by those who experienced the difficulties of the march.

I halted the advance-guard in the centre of the open field, and waited for the rear to close up.

As it arrived, I saw a man staggering forward, supported by two soldiers. Upon nearer approach, I recognized my strong friend, Faddul, thus risen front the dead! The brandy had revived him sufficiently to show some signs of life, and the rear-guard had thus brought him along with them. We laid him down to rest beneath a tree that grew in the middle of the cultivation.

We were now in a sad difficulty. There were numerous roads, or rather very narrow paths, which converged from all quarters upon this potato ground. No one knew the direction. The Baris were completely at fault. The farther the people explored the immediate neighbourhood, the more helpless they became.

This was a serious matter. Up to the present time we had been most fortunate in keeping to the right path.

I now called my renowned pathfinder, Abdullah, of "The Forty".

Abdullah made a survey of the surrounding tracks, and then returned to me with the news that he had discovered the route. This he immediately pointed out.

A general exclamation of derision from the officers and many of the men was the only reward Abdullah received for his important discovery, as his path was in quite an opposite direction to the route they had anticipated.

The compass corroborated Abdullah's road, but before I adopted it, I asked him why he declared so positively that he knew the way? He replied, that when on the march from Foweera, he had observed a peculiarly-shaped tree, upon which was fastened a native cojoor, or spell. That tree was on rising ground above a ravine, and he could now show me both the ravine and the magic tree.

I accompanied him to the spot, and certainly the tree was there, with some pieces of ragged bark-cloth and some grass tied to the stem. I had often seen talismans that were fastened to the trees, and I suggested to Abdullah that there were many of them along the road. He was so confident in accepting every responsibility as guide, that I followed him without hesitation, and the march continued. The wounded Faddul was supported as before.

In a short time I myself recognized the path as being very near to Kisoona, which place we suddenly entered after a march of thirty-five minutes from the potato field. The advance-guard fired a volley at some natives, who rushed into the grass upon our unexpected arrival.

We were now in open ground, with good native huts for shelter, and a large extent of cultivation, where an unlimited supply of potatoes could be obtained.

As the rear-guard closed up, I mustered all officers and men. Having spoken a few words of encouragement, and complimented them upon their extreme steadiness since I had lectured them at Chorobeze, I congratulated them upon having advanced so far, under God's protection, through such numberless enemies, with comparatively so little loss. We were now only twenty-one miles from Foweera, and we knew the road. The news of our arrival would almost immediately reach Rionga, and I should fortify this spot and remain here for some days to allow my wounded to recover their strength. During this time all hands would be employed in preparing potatoes for store, by cutting them in slices and drying them in the sun.

I now ordered the band to strike up with the greatest vigour, to show the natives who might be within hearing, that we were in the best of spirits.

My officers and men were all delighted, and overwhelmed me with compliments. I only replied by begging them always to trust in God, and to do their duty.

I immediately started off a party to dig potatoes, while Lieutenant Baker and myself, with a number of men, slashed down with sabres the extensive grove of plantain trees, so as to have a perfectly clear space around the camp.

We made a strong defence at Kisoona, and the rest of several days was invigorating to the wounded men, and enabled my wife's feet to recover sufficiently to continue the march on the 23rd June.

I had arranged that the drums and bugles should sound the morning call at 5 A.M. daily, as though in a permanent camp. This was to assist me in a plan for avoiding ambuscades on the day of marching from Kisoona.

On the 22nd I gave orders that every man should be ready to march punctually at 5 A.M., the instant that the morning call should have sounded.

The natives, hearing the call to which they had been daily accustomed, would have no suspicion of our intended departure; therefore they would not have sufficient time to organize and man their ambuscades.

On the morning of the 23rd June we silently evacuated the camp in the semi-darkness, the instant that the drums and bugles had ceased, and thus obtained an excellent start that saved us much trouble. The attacks later in the day were feebler than usual, and after a march of fourteen miles we arrived at a well of water at 2.5 P.M., at which spot we halted for the night. During this march we had only one man wounded.

We were now within Rionga's country, but I nevertheless made a defence of thorns and branches of trees for the night.

On 24th June we started at 6.5 A.M., and after a march of seven miles, during which we were undisturbed, we arrived at the old camp of Suleiman's company at Foweera on the Victoria Nile, where we had expected to find shelter and good houses.

Everything had been destroyed by fire! Nothing remained but blackened ashes.

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