Samuel White Baker

I had long since determined to explore the sudd, or obstructions of the main Nile, in the hope of discovering some new passage which the stream might have forced through the vegetation. A Shillook, named Abdullah, closely connected with Quat Kare, had promised to accompany me, and to supply the necessary guides. The river was full - thus I started on 11th August, 1870.

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.

December 11. - The first division of the fleet, composed of eight vessels, had started, according to my previous arrangement, on 1st inst. Every third or fourth day another division followed the advance, until on the 11th I brought up the rear, and completed the departure with twenty-six vessels, including the No. 10 steamer and my diahbeeah. The wind was fair from the north.

MY losses from the 8th June to the 24th had been ten killed and eleven wounded. Every officer and soldier had thoroughly done his duty, having displayed admirable coolness and courage upon many trying occasions. None but black troops could have endured the march of about eighty miles with heavy weights upon their heads, in addition to their usual accoutrements.

I at once set to work to build a new station, and with the old wood that had formed the fence of Suleiman's zareeba, I commenced a defensive arrangement.

After the usual voyage upon the White Nile, during which we passed the Bohr and the Shir tribes, and had excellent sport in antelope shooting when the steamer stopped at forests to cut fuel, we arrived opposite the old mission station at Gondokoro on April 15, 1871.

The death of the unfortunate Dr. Gedge, my chief medical officer at Tewfikeeyah, added to the retirement of one of the Egyptian surgeons from Gondokoro, had left me with so weak a medical staff that I had been unable to take a doctor from head-quarters. I therefore was compelled to perform all necessary operations myself, and to attend personally upon the wounded men. In the late encounter, although I had not actually lost a soldier, seven were badly wounded. One had a broken thigh, and the bullet remained in the leg.

Our enemies were not confined to the land only: the crocodiles in the neighbourhood of Gondokoro were exceedingly ferocious. As the natives were so much in the habit of swimming to and fro with their cattle, these wily creatures had been always accustomed to claim a toll in the shape of a cow, calf, or nigger. Two of Abou Saood's sailors were carried off on two consecutive days. One of my soldiers, while engaged with many others in water, only hip deep, was seized by a crocodile.

On 25th November, 1872, I started Wat-el-Mek to Gondokoro with a force of irregulars, in addition to a captain and twenty regular troops in charge of the post. His party consisted of 100 men.

On July 30, 1871, I was astonished by the arrival of the tall sheik, Niambore, with whom I had left an officer and six men in the Shir tribe, to superintend the cultivation of corn. This fine-looking fellow was introduced, accompanied by five of his principal advisers. He shortly told me his story. He had been four nights on the road, as he had not dared to travel by day, fearing the Baris: thus, in the dark, he had frequently wandered from the track. In the daytime he had slept in the concealment of forests.

ON 15th January, 1873, the sentry on the rock citadel reported a party arriving from the Unyoro road. Shortly after, the reports of guns were heard, and it was made known that envoys had arrived from M'tese, the king of Uganda, together with an escort of natives, and two of my soldiers from Rionga. M'tese's people were armed with guns.

The envoys were quickly ushered into the new divan, which was a circular, lofty building, twenty feet in diameter, neatly plastered, and painted light grey with a mixture of wood-ashes.

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