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Fire and Sword in the Sudan

Fire and Sword in the Sudan by Rudolph Carl von Slatin
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Major-General Rudolf Anton Carl Freiherr von Slatin, Geh. Rat, GCVO, KCMG, CB was born on 7 June 1857, in Ober-Sankt-Veit, Hietzing, Vienna, Austria. When Slatin was 16 and studying at the Viennese commercial academy his father died. And so Slatin began the first steps that initially took him to Alexcandria to work in a bookshop and then travelling with the German businessman and consul Rosset to Khartoum. From there Slatin went through Kordofan to Dar Nuba, exploring the mountains of that region with the German explorer and ornithologist Theodor von Heuglin. A rebellion by local arabs forced his return to Khartoum where he met "Emin Pasha", and with whom he intended to visit General Charles George Gordon at Lado, who at the time was Governor of the Equatorial Provinces. Slatin, however had to return to Austria in 1876 to fulfil his conscription order in the Austrian army with the 12.Feldjägerbatallon. A year later he was promoted to a Lieutenant in the reserves of the 19th Infantry Regiment of the Austro-Hungarian Army. In 1878, while Slatin was serving as a lieutenant in the crown prince Rudolf's regiment in the Bosnian campaign he received a letter from Gordon inviting him to the Sudan, where Gordon had become the Governor-General. He arrived in Khartum in January 1879. After a brief period as financial inspector, he was appointed Mudir (governor) of Dara, the south-western part of Darfur, a post he held until early in 1881, when he was promoted Governor-General of Darfur and given the rank of Bey. Early in 1882 the Rizeigat tribesmen of Southern Darfur rebelled, led by Sheikh Madibbo ibn Ali. Slatin defended his province and though successful in many battles he gradually lost ground. At the battle of Om Waragat he lost 8,000 of his men in the first 20 minutes and was wounded three times but he managed to fight his way back to Dara. Believing his troops would fight better if led by a Muslim, Slatin publicly adopted Islam in 1883 and took the Islamic name, Abd al Qadir. When the Mahdists captured el Obeid, severing all Slatin's links with Khartoum and Hicks Pasha's expedition was annihilated at the Battle of Shaykan in 1883, Slatin finally surrendered to his old enemy the Mahdist Emir Madibbo, refusing to make any further sacrifice of life in a hopeless cause. When the Mahdists reached Khartum, an attempt was made to use him to induce the commander, the legendary General Gordon, to surrender. With this failing, Slatin was placed in chains, and on 26 January 1885, hours after the fall of Khartum, Gordon's head was brought and shown to the Slatin. After the sudden death of the Mahdi the same year, Slatin was kept at Omdurman by his successor, the Khalifa Abdullahi, being treated alternately with savage cruelty and comparative indulgence. General Sir Francis Reginald Wingate, 1st Baronet GCB GCVO GBE KCMG DSO TD was born at Port Glasgow, Renfrewshire on June 25th 1861. Wingate entered the Royal Military Academy, Woolwich, and was commissioned as a Lieutenant in the Royal Artillery on 27 July 1880. He served in India and Aden from March 1881 to 1883. He then joined the 4th Battalion of the Egyptian Army with the brevet rank of Major. In the Gordon Relief Expedition of 1884–1885 he was ADC and military secretary to Sir Evelyn Wood. In 1883 he received the Order of Osmanieh 4th Class from the Khedive and in June 1885 he was Mentioned in Despatches for service in operations in the Suakin and Upper Nile regions. After holding an appointment in England for a brief period as ADC to Wood, who was now General Officer Commanding Eastern District, he rejoined the Egyptian Army in 1886 as assistant military secretary to Sir Francis Grenfell. In 1887 he received the Order of the Medjidieh 4th Class and took part in the operations on the Sudan frontier in 1889, including the engagement at Toski — for which he was awarded the Distinguished Service Order (DSO) — and in the further operations in 1891, being present at the capture of Tokar. His principal work was in the intelligence branch, of which he became assistant adjutant-general in 1888 and director in 1892. A master of Arabic, his knowledge of the country, the examination of prisoners, refugees and others from the Sudan, and the study of documents captured from the Dervishes enabled him to publish in 1891 Mahdiism and the Egyptian Sudan, an authoritative account of the rise of the Muhammad Ahmad and of subsequent events in the Sudan up to that date. In 1891 he was promoted to the 3rd Class of the Order of the Medjidieh. By 1894 he was governor of Suakin and appointed Companion of the Order of the Bath in the 1895 Queen's Birthday Honours. Wingate was promoted to Brevet Lieutenant-Colonel on 18 November 1896 and after the Battle of Atbara in 1898 he interrogated the defeated dervish commander Emir Mahmoud. Largely through his assistance, Father Ohrwalder and two nuns escaped from Omdurman in 1891. Wingate also made the arrangements which led to the escape of Slatin Pasha in 1895. He translated into English Father Ohrwalder's narrative (Ten Years in the Mahdi's Camp, 1892).

Copyright Group; September 2014
311 pages; ISBN 9781783942176
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Title: Fire and Sword in the Sudan
Author: Rudolph Carl von Slatin