News reached the Queen today about the fall of Fort El-Ziab along the banks of the Nile. The fort lying deep within hostile territory had survived because of it's good defensive position. Pictures have recently arrived to indicate that this position was not as well defended as first thought. Stragglers have been arriving in the upper Nile delta all of last week, many of the officers died in this fight and it is expected that many awards will be granted by the Queen for this heroic encounter. A large force has been mobilised in Cairo with instructions to head south and find this army. We expect to hear word within the next two months as to the success of this expedition .
The Mahdist battle lines could be seen as a dust cloud for miles and the protection offered by the sand dunes helped protect most of the advance from the barrage of artillery fire. the Royal Artillery did manage to take out both Mahdist artillery batteries that were a possible threat.
The British forced lined the breadth of the zariba in the hope of stopping the attack before it could ever reach the fort. Both flanks were protected by the cavalry brigade present. The Lancers were positioned to the extreme right supported by the garrison on the right fort, or so they thought. It came to be found that traitors within this fort had allowed a large Mahdist force to enter and capture the garrison during the night. This proved to be a thorn in the side of the British position.
The rifles were loaded and ammunition runners could be seen all around as it was expected that the rifles would be hot and the pile of cases knee deep before the day was over. The opening sound of Mahdist cannon resound around the field but to little effect the steady eye of the artillery officers soon silenced these cannons.
The Mahdist war machine rolled forward as the steady British line awaited the expected charge. On the British right the Mahdist from the fort launched their attack and the Lancers headed back to protect the rear flank.
The bulk of the attack fell on the center and right of the line while the Mahdist made best use of the dunes to cover their approach as the moved steadily forward to the British left force. The Mahdist no longer had the support of their artillery after having the Egyptian gunners run after the initial British volleys. The rifles within the ranks of the Dervish could not hit a barn door at 2 yards and failed to inflict any casualties. The constant volley of British rifles soon drove them back behind the cover of the dunes.
The Mahdist even after suffering heavy loses charge on mass to the zariba, the British fire continually at the columns but still they break the line but are repelled by some desperate fighting from Colonel Winks, reknown for his famous ten in a row dead shot rifle. Again and again the lines clashed throughout the center and the right and yet again and again the British held.The Dervish fought with vigor, causing the defenders line to fall back in places only to find themselves entangled in the thorns of the zariba.
On the left the somewhat scattered attack of the Dervish was proving more successful, the initial thrust would take the casualties while the second wave cleared the zariba and lunged through to attack. The nerve of the British soldiers were never in questions and whole battalions were massacred to a man as they stood their ground. In the distance the horn of the steamer Entrepid could be heard but never arrived to help.
The battle raged on for hours and as the dust settled the Mahdist had lost over 10,000 warriors on the center and right flags. The British themselves were in full retreat having seen the Lancers surrounded by warriors from the fort. The lines were now bare with the zariba gone and the reserves committed the battle appeared to be hopeless. The survivors headed towards the docks to board the available boats to head to safety.
On the right the battle turned nasty as the weight of the Mahdist force started to encircle the too few troops, The British retreated in line keeping up a steady fire to allow the woman and children to leave the fort before the Mahdist force could plunder.
The British reports that out of 4,742 officers and privates reporting for duty 2,345 are reported dead or missing. The Secretary for Foreign Affairs has sent a letter to the supposed Government of the Mahdist Al-Kalif Mustaffa to formally announce that the campaign for the retribution of lands once and still owned by the combined Government of Britain and Egypt will once again be reclaimed.