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The Nile Expedition. J

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The Nile Expedition. J THE MAHDI PREPARING FOR¡A GRAND ASSAULT. THE ADVANCE ON KHARTOUM, A Marvellous March. » The Guards at Gakdal. Another Despatch from Lord f Wolseley. Capture of a Shel kh and 25 Natives [REUTER'S TELEGRAM.] GAKDUL WELLS (via Korti), Sunday, 4 p.m.— General Stewart's force, with its convoy of sup- plies, has arrived here. The journey of 97 miles was accomplished in 65 hours, and during that time the camels were not once watered. The road led over many rough places, where marching was very difficult. The j orce left Korti on Tuesday afternoon, at three o'clock, and did not bivouac till eight o'clock on Wednesday morning, when Abu Najki was reached. Here there was some excitement, owing to the uncertainty as to the inhabitants. Only a few huts were visible, and these were de- serted, but plenty of green fodder was obtainable, The troops remained on the spot quite undis- turbed until three in the afternoon, when a start was again made. Both men and animals were greatly refreshed by the rest, and the men an seemed to vie with with each other in the smart- ness with which they remounted when the order was given. The formation observed almost throughout the march was column of companies, and the force was so distributed that in two minutes three squares could be formed in echelon to resist any attack. All the men are full of ex- citement. There are conflicting reports as to whether our possession of the wells will be con- tested by the enemy. Everything is being done to make our position secure." General Stewart returns without delay to Korti. The supply of water is unlimited. The troops reached the first wells,called Hasheen, on Wednesday evening, but the water supply\ being scarce they moved on almost immediately. The new year was ushered in with great cheering from the men, which rang far and wide over the plains, and echoed through the hills. Hardly had the cheering ceased when there was again a cry of "wells ahead." This instantly brought the 26th Company of Royal Engineers to the front, and, under the direction of Major Dorward, the tripod pumps soon supplied the men's wants. ■ On Thursday morning at eight o'clock, the men mounted to continue their march to the L Gakdul Wells, capturing on their way a quantity of spoil and making all the natives they met prisoners. Captain Fanshawe, with a troop of the 19th Hussarj, succeeded in capturing a pro- minent sheikh, named Abu Loola, together with his family. The Mudir of Dongola once offered a thousand dollars for the sheikh's head. On Thursday night Major Kitchener, with an escort, captured five natives from a hut, whu are said to have been the Mudir s meE contractors. Gakdul Wells were secured on Friday morning at seven o'clock. The natives all disappeared. The water was found to be good. A moveable hospital accompanied the force, under Surgeon Briggs. Five more natives were captured, and brought in by Captain Walsh's division of the mounted infantry. Two of them wore the Alabdi's uniform, and all attempted to evade capture, being well armed and disposed to fight. The force, marching in ex- tended order, covered a frontage of 45 yards, with scouts as the advanced and rear guards, and presented a most formidable appearance. The natives state theMahdi's force is terrified, declaring that there is an end to the British troops. The advance to Shendy is expected shortly. Korti, Monday, 8.35 p.m.—Four of the officers who left General Stewart's force yesterday arrived to-night. General Stewart, who is on his way back from Gakdul, where he had left the Guards and a company of Engineers, will come in to. morrow. He has captured 25 prisoners, and some camels. I "TIMES" TELEGKAM.J KORTI, Sunday cvening.-General Earle with his staff and the Vakeel of Merawi, left yesterday morning in a packet boat for Handab. Six boats carrying the Black Watch have also left here for Handab. The boats with the men of the Essex Regiment and the Duke oi Cornwall s Light Infantry are arriving here in a continuous stream. All the Gordon Highlanders and many of the Royal Irish Regiment has passed Dal. Half of the Naval Brigade has passed Debbeb, and the other half is appearing above Falmeh. The last boat will pass Dal to-morrow. The contractor (Mr Rees) has offered to drive cattle across the desert with the column to Gakdui. I" DAILY XEWS" TELEGRAMS.) KORTI, Sunday.—I'ram a special source hither- to trustworthy, I learn that the Mahdi has with- drawn his forces from before Omdurman since the recent attacks on that stronghold, and is now concentrating near Metamneh, with the in- tention of awaiting the arrival of the British column there, and swooping down on it when the men are exhausted by their long march. The rebels are said to number 28,000 there. My mes- senger reports that 500 Arabs, under the uncle of Saleh Bey, have been sent by the Mahdi to inter- cept the supplies brought to our force by the Kabbalish traders. Twenty families, with much cattle and other produce, got through safely and arrived at Ambukol to-day, but others were stopped by tho rebels, and it is thought no mope would be allowed to pass by the Bayada route. This hostile band is said to be only live days' march from here. Mer- chants report that up the river close to Abuesli the enemy is strongly entrenched on a high bank above a narrow ravine. The works are occupied by 8,000 men, under the Emir of Berber. KORTI, Monday.—The rumours said to have been received of a skirmish between General Stewart's column and the rebels are not credited at headquarters. f" MORNING POST" TELEGRAM, j HAJIBOK (via Korti), Sunday.-Sir aeroert Stewart started from Gakdul on the night of the 2nd to return to Korti, taking with him all the camels. On the night of the 2nd he march two miles beyond the mouth of the gorge, and then halted from 10 n.m. to 4 a.m. on the third. He then marched on till one on bunday morning, when they reached the wells of Howeiyat. There he halted until 6 a.m., when he started, reaching this place at nine. Here he halts for two hours, and we shall, he expects, reacn Korti' to-morrow morning-, whole distance from Korti to Gakd«l and back, over two hundred miles, in less than six days. A post of the Rifles with a comPany of mounted infantry will be placed here,^ will improve the wells here and at Howeiyat.. The prisoners have been brought down with a8. h f" DAILY CHROICLE" TELEGRAM. I HANDAB, Sunday Morning.—Tile South Staf- fordshire Regiment arrived here safely on Satur- day at noon, after a very smart passage. The Gerendid Cataract was much easier than several that were passed on the way to Korti. It was not even necessary to tow, much less to portage, and we rowed through comfortably on Saturday morning. We saw very feW natIves, .and not the slightest opposition was offered, A.t! soon as we landed we set to work wIth our en- trenching tools, and our position ir, now strong enough to defy any attack. The Sheikh Omar vvill accompany ns to Abu Ahmed.

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