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Samuel White Baker

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.

The amount of corn collected by the troops, now in the magazines, was only sufficient for two months' consumption at full rations.

There was a spirit of general disaffection among the officers and troops.

Although I had worked with them in every difficulty and led them invariably to success, there was a general dislike, not to me personally, but to the system of rigid discipline that I was determined at all hazards to enforce, and to the general object of the expedition.

The foregoing chapters will have afforded a sufficiently distinct view of the expedition to enable the public to form their own opinion of the position of the slave trade.

ON 6th November, 1871, Lieutenant Baker returned from Gondokoro with four noggurs, and the entire detachment of Lieutenant-Colonel Achmet. The news was as follows:-

After the departure of Major Abdullah, the natives had attacked the camp of Colonel Achmet, and had wounded him in the back with a barbed arrow, which had to be cut out. Another arrow had passed through the heart of his servant, killing him on the spot. Several soldiers had been wounded, but not seriously. The corn had been delivered from his station to the magazines at Gondokoro.

A few extracts from the valuable work of Dr. Schweinfurth will throw a light upon the spirit which animated the authorities, all of whom were incensed at my having presumed to understand the Khedive's orders literally respecting the suppression of the slave trade.

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