Egypt and Sudan
Wood was given command of a brigade in the Egyptian expedition to suppress the Urabi Revolt. However, his brigade remained behind in Alexandria, so he missed the Battle of Tel el-Kebir.
After a brief visit to England in November 1882 he returned to be Sirdar (commander) of the Egyptian Army from December 1882 until 1885, during which period he thoroughly reorganised it, with Francis Grenfell and Kitchener working under him. He had 25 British officers (given extra pay and Egyptian ranks a grade or two higher than their British ones) and a few NCOs, although to Wood’s annoyance Lt-Gen Stephenson, commander of the British occupation forces, was confirmed as his senior in June 1884. During the cholera epidemic of 1883 British officers earned the respect of Egyptian soldiers by nursing them. Wood gave Sundays off from drill as well as Fridays (the Muslim holy day), so that Egyptian soldiers would see that their British officers took their own religion seriously.
In the Gordon Relief Expedition (see Mahdist War) Wood was in charge of the line of communication. He commanded the British at the Battle of Gennis. He was the only officer to be given an important command despite advising against Wolseley’s choice of the Nile route. Wood briefly took Redvers Buller’s place as Chief of Staff as Buller had to take charge of the desert column after Stewart was mortally wounded at Abu Klea. In this job Wood became unpopular for employing female nurses (against the advice of army doctors at that time) and quarrelled with his friend Buller when Wood recommended a more cautious advance which would give time to build up supply depots.
By this stage Wood was so deaf that Wolseley complained he had become hoarse from shouting at him. Wolseley wrote of Wood that “he has done worse than I expected” and in his journal described him as “the vainest but by no means the ablest of men. He is as cunning as a first class female diplomatist … (but has not) real sound judgement…… intrigues with newspaper correspondents … he has not the brains nor the disposition nor the coolness nor the firmness of purpose to enable him to take command in any war … a very second rate general … whose two most remarkable traits (a)re extreme vanity & unbounded self-seeking" although a letter to his wife (complaining that Wood was “a very puzzle-headed fellow”, wanting in method and vain) suggests that Wolseley still bore Wood a grudge about the peace after Majuba Hill.
Ill once again, Wood handed over the job of Sirdar to Francis Grenfell. To his annoyance, he received no honours from the Nile expedition.
Other articles related to "egypt and sudan, egypt, sudan":
... A political crisis in Egypt, the Urabi Revolt, led Britain to intervene in 1882 ... the Khedive Tewfik Pasha and established control over much of Egypt's policy ... See also Mahdist War This also forced Britain to intervene in Egypt's nominal dependency, the Sudan ...
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