The Gordon Relief Expedition (1884–85), was a British mission to relieve Major-General Charles George Gordon at Khartoum, Sudan. Gordon had been sent to the Sudan to help Egyptians evacuate from Sudan after Britain decided to abandon the country in the face of a rebellion led by self-proclaimed Mahdi, Mahommed Ahmed.

Not wanting to be involved in the costly suppression of the rebellion led by Mahommed Ahmed, the United Kingdom ordered Egypt to abandon its administration of the Sudan in December 1883. The British government asked General Gordon, former Governor-General of Sudan, to go to Khartoum and aid in the evacuation of Egyptian soldiers, civilian employees and their families. Travelling from London, General Gordon reached Khartoum on 18 February 1884. He immediately began sending women, children and wounded soldiers back to Egypt as the military situation deteriorated in the Sudan and the south of the country was in danger of being cut off from Egypt by the Islamic Mahdist army. Britain withdrew its troops from the Sudan until Khartoum was the last outpost remaining under British control.

Gordon differed with the British government's decision to abandon the Sudan. He thought that the Islamic revolt had to be crushed for fear that it might eventually overwhelm Egypt. He based this on the Mahdi’s claim of dominion over all Islamic lands. Defying orders from the British government to withdraw, General Gordon, leading a garrison of 6,000 men, began the defence of Khartoum. On March 18, 1884, the Mahdist army laid siege to the city. The rebels stopped river traffic and cut the telegraph line to Cairo. Khartoum was cut off from resupply, which led to food shortages, but could still communicate with the outside world by using messengers. Under pressure from the public, in August 1884, the British government decided to reverse its policy and send a relief force to Khartoum.

In mid-November, the expedition received word from General Gordon that he could only survive the siege for another forty days. The expedition was attacked by rebels at Abu Klea and Abu Cru, but was able to repel the rebels both times. Progress up the river was slow and often the boats had to be pulled through rapids by rope from shore. Realising that time was running out for General Gordon in Khartoum, Wolseley split his force into two columns. He sent 2,400 men by camel on a 280 km shortcut across the desert to avoid the Great Bend of the Nile and reach the city sooner. The remaining 3,000 soldiers continued up the river.

On 26 January 1885, Khartoum fell to the Mahdist army of 50,000 men. At that time of year the Nile was shallow enough to cross by wading and the Mahdists were able to breach the city’s defences by attacking the poorly-defended approaches from the river. The entire garrison was slaughtered, including General Gordon. His head was cut off and delivered to the Mahdi. Two days later the relief expedition entered the city to find that they were too late.

The Anglo-Egyptian conquest of Sudan in 1896–1899 was a reconquest of territory lost by the Khedives of Egypt in 1884 and 1885 during the Mahdist War. The British had failed to organise an orderly withdrawal of Egyptian forces from Sudan, and the defeat at Khartoum left only Suakin and Equatoria under Egyptian control after 1885. The conquest of 1896-99 defeated and destroyed the Mahdist state and re-established Anglo-Egyptian rule, which remained until Sudan became independent in 1956.

The defeat of the Khalifah's forces at Omdurman marked the effective end of the Mahdist state, though not the end of campaigning. Over 11,000 Mahdist fighters died at Omdurman, and another 16,000 were seriously wounded. On the British, Egyptian and Sudanese side there were fewer than fifty dead and several hundred wounded. The Khalifa retreated into the city of Omdurman but could not rally his followers to defend it. Instead they scattered across the plains to the west and escaped. Kitchener entered the city, which formally surrendered without further fighting, and the Khalifa escaped before he could be captured.

Source - Wikipedia

Michael McGuire

Michael McGuire is a Captain in the Royal Irish Fusiliers, stationed in Cairo in 1898. He didn’t start out that way. He was arrested in his native Dublin for stealing a loaf of bread to feed his starving mother and sister. Found guilty he was given the choice of the “Queen’s Hard Bargain”, go to prison or join the army. McGuire chose the army and joined the Grenadier Guards in Dublin Castle as a private. He found that he liked the life and became a useful soldier. He was selected to join the Gordon Relief Expedition to march to the relief of Khartoum.

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The Nile Expeditions

The Gordon Relief Expedition (1884–85), was a British mission to relieve Major-General Charles George Gordon at Khartoum, Sudan. Gordon had been sent to the Sudan to help Egyptians evacuate from Sudan after Britain decided to abandon the country in the face of a rebellion led by self-proclaimed Mahdi, Mahommed Ahmed.

Reviews - No Road to Khartoum

Sweeping Epic Military Fiction

No Road to Khartoum: From Dublin to the Sands of the Desert (Part I of The Michael McGuire Trilogy) is a sweeping epic military fiction by Nigel Seed. Set in Egypt and the Sudan from 1883 to 1898, it recounts major events of the Sudan Campaign, beginning with the massacre of an Egyptian force and the later fall of Khartoum to the Mahdi, and ending with the retaking of Khartoum years later.

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Well written and extremely well researched

After having read the Jim Wilson books, I was very interested to hear that Nigel had written an historical Trilogy. starting with the war in Sudan and the fall of Khartoum and the Battle For Omdurman.. And I was not disappointed!

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This really is a cracking read!

This really is a cracking read! Having been made an offer he can’t refuse, Dubliner Michael McGuire enlists in the British Army.

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If you like Wilbur Smith, you will love this

Do not pick this book up if time is short, you won’t be able to put it down, If you like Wilbur Smith, you will love this, please bring out the next book in the series now

If you like historical military novels this is a beauty

If you like historical military novels this is a beauty. The characters are well rounded and believable and the action is fast paced. Cannot wait for the Reconnaissance troop to ride again

Swap your armoured personnel carriers for camels

Swap your armoured personnel carriers for camels and follow the compelling story of Michael Maguire who took the Kings shilling instead of prison and made a name for himself in the British army in the middle east fighting the crazed local tribesmen. The author has gone to great pains in his authentic recollection of the campaigns in Egypt and the harsh conditions in the army. Readers with a particular interest in military history will enjoy this book, I needed to know how young Maguire got on and was intrigued by his adventures.

If you're a fan of historical fiction, this is for you

If you’re a fan of historical fiction with a complex and well-paced plot that will keep you engaged from start to finish, No Road to Khartoum is for you. Michael McGuire is a perfect military protagonist.

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