Battle of Kassassin
28th August 1882

Battle of Kassassin, 28th August 1882

At Kassassin on the 28th August, General Graham's force was vigorously attacked by the Egyptians. He signalled for assistance, which was afforded him by the Life Guards and the Blues with the Horse Artillery, and the 7th Dragoon Guards. Then came the so-called "Midnight Charge". Considering that the attack was not seriously begun till 4.30 p.m., and that General Graham ordered a general return to camp at 8.45 p.m., the title is certainly a misnomer. When they arrived near enough to the scene of the conflict for bullets to drop among the troopers, they halted just to breathe the tired horses, and then came the order to charge. Like a thunderbolt, furious and irresistible, the heavy troopers rode for the enemy. A terrible scene of slaughter and confusion ensued; the enemy fled in great disorder, and the battle was won.

OUR RECOMMENDATION FOR THIS BATTLE

Charge at Kassassin, 1882 by Henry Dupray (P)

HD24. Charge at Kassassin, 1882 by Henry Dupray.

Antique print c.1890 mounted on thick card at the time.

Image size 12 inches x 8 inches (31cm x 20cm)

Price : 80.00

Battle of Kassassin Art Prints

At Kassassin on the 28th August, General Grahams force was vigorously attacked by the Egyptians. He signalled for assistance, which was afforded him by the Life Guards and the Blues with the Horse Artillery, and the 7th Dragoon Guards. Then came the so-called Midnight Charge. Considering that the attack was not seriously begun till 4.30 p.m., and that General Graham ordered a general return to camp at 8.45 p.m., the title is certainly a misnomer. When they arrived near enough to the scene of the conflict for bullets to drop among the troopers, they halted just to breathe the tired horses, and then came the order to charge. Like a thunderbolt, furious and irresistible, the heavy troopers rode for the enemy. A terrible scene of slaughter and confusion ensued; the enemy fled in great disorder, and the battle was won.The Charge of Drury Lowes Cavalry at Kassassin, August 28th 1882 by Christopher Clark.Click For DetailsANT0095
At Kassassin on the 28th August, General Grahams force was vigorously attacked by the Egyptians. He signalled for assistance, which was afforded him by the Life Guards and the Blues with the Horse Artillery, and the 7th Dragoon Guards. Then came the so-called Midnight Charge. Considering that the attack was not seriously begun till 4.30 p.m., and that General Graham ordered a general return to camp at 8.45 p.m., the title is certainly a misnomer. When they arrived near enough to the scene of the conflict for bullets to drop among the troopers, they halted just to breathe the tired horses, and then came the order to charge. Like a thunderbolt, furious and irresistible, the heavy troopers rode for the enemy. A terrible scene of slaughter and confusion ensued; the enemy fled in great disorder, and the battle was won.Kassassin Charge of the Household Cavalry by J Richards.Click For DetailsDHM0124
HD24.  Charge at Kassassin, 1882 by Henry Dupray.  Charge at Kassassin, 1882 by Henry Dupray (P)Click For DetailsHD0024
OUR RECOMMENDATION FOR THIS BATTLE

Kassassin Charge of the Household Cavalry by J Richards.

DHM124. Kassassin Charge of the Household Cavalry by J Richards.

At Kassassin on the 28th August, General Grahams force was vigorously attacked by the Egyptians. He signalled for assistance, which was afforded him by the Life Guards and the Blues with the Horse Artillery, and the 7th Dragoon Guards. Then came the so-called Midnight Charge. Considering that the attack was not seriously begun till 4.30 p.m., and that General Graham ordered a general return to camp at 8.45 p.m., the title is certainly a misnomer. When they arrived near enough to the scene of the conflict for bullets to drop among the troopers, they halted just to breathe the tired horses, and then came the order to charge. Like a thunderbolt, furious and irresistible, the heavy troopers rode for the enemy. A terrible scene of slaughter and confusion ensued; the enemy fled in great disorder, and the battle was won.

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Open edition print.

Image size 23 inches x 15 inches (58cm x 38cm)

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Battle of Kassassin

When the Arabi rebellion broke out in Egypt in June 1882, almost absolute anarchy reigned in Cairo and Alexandria. At that time there were computed to be living in Egypt 37,000 Europeans, and the fortifying of Alexandria continuing to be proceeded with in spite of the protests of the English and French governments, the late Admiral Beauchamp Seymour, afterwards Lord Alcester, threatened to bombard the forts, after the English people had be warned to leave the country. All the world knows how this threat was carried out, and the subsequent proceedings in which the Life Guards bore a distinguished part.

At Tel-El-Mahuta, on 25th August, Arabi had succeeded in constructing his first dam across the Suez canal in pursuance of his design for cutting off the principal supply of water to the greater part of the country. The troops under Wolseley consisted of three squadrons of Household Cavalry, two guns and about 1,000 infantry; the force opposed to them was about 10,000. The water in the canal was getting dangerously low. Sir Garnet as he was then, determined to capture the dam and sent two squadrons against it. They dashed at the task with such fiery elan and with such success that Wolseley was moved to admiration, and recorded the fact in his dispatch describing the affair. "Under the bursting shells the colossal troopers sat like statues amid a conflagration" (this was at the beginning of the battle, and some of the men and horses had only been landed the day before) "as quietly as they had been wont to sit a short time before in the arched gateways of Whitehall." It was said that Wolseley had no great opinion of the Life and Horse Guards' powers of endurance, or indeed of their use at all, and it was with the idea of proving them that he directed them to charge and take Arabi's dam.

At Kassassin on the 28th August, General Graham's force was vigorously attacked by the Egyptians. He signalled for assistance, which was afforded him by the Life Guards and the Blues with the Horse Artillery, and the 7th Dragoon Guards. Then came the so-called "Midnight Charge". Considering that the attack was not seriously begun till 4.30 p.m., and that General Graham ordered a general return to camp at 8.45 p.m., the title is certainly a misnomer. When they arrived near enough to the scene of the conflict for bullets to drop among the troopers, they halted just to breathe the tired horses, and then came the order to charge. Like a thunderbolt, furious and irresistible, the heavy troopers rode for the enemy. A terrible scene of slaughter and confusion ensued; the enemy fled in great disorder, and the battle was won.

The decisive battle of the campaign was fought on the 13th September at Tel-el-Kebir. The Life Guards bore their share in the fight, which was chiefly confined to the pursuing and the cutting off of the enemy. The battle, however, was not of lengthy duration. From the time the enemy opened fire until he was in full retreat, only about half an hour elapsed; but into that short space a deal of hard and splendid fighting took place. The Egyptians were certainly taken by surprise, despite the fact that they slept fully armed and behind earthworks, for Arabi told the officer who took him to Ceylon as a prisoner, that when our men delivered the attack he himself was in bed; and complained that they did not leave him time enough even to get his boots on. Arabi's army was in consequence of this crushing defeat, completely broken up, and the British entered Cairo the next day. In October the Life Guards returned to England.

In 1884 they went again to Egypt and took part in the Nile Expedition, mounted on Camels. Their uniform when actually on service in Egypt consisted of grey "jumpers," yellow cord breeches, dark blue "putties" and white helmets, brown ankle boots and belts. It did not take long for the gallant troopers to get used to the "gawd-forsaken oont" although the beast was not looked upon altogether with favour. Of course the camels were used simply as a means of locomotion and not as chargers.

The Life Guards shared with their comrades the sickening jam produced by the fanatics' rush on the square at Abu Klea, when it was desperate hand to hand fighting. The Heavy Camel Corps composed of detachments from the Life Guards and other heavy regiments occupied the rear face of the left rear angle of the square, when the troops moved to within 500 yards from the enemy's position, as marked by their flags, a horde of Arabs rose suddenly out of cover and went straight at the square. The Mounted Infantry, on the left face, poured such a scathing fire upon them that they swerved round the left flank and dashed furiously upon the Life Guards. The onslaught was so tremendous that the Guards and their comrades were borne back and their line assumed the form almost of a semicircle. Only sheer bayonet work was possible. The crush was terrific, numbers of camels were killed, and were used as rallying points and as shelter by the soldiers; and the reek of powder and clouds of dust added to the confusion. For about 15 minutes this lasted, and during that time Colonel Burnaby, who went into action with a double-barrelled sporting gun, was killed, his jugular vein being cut through by a spear. Support was forthcoming, however, and shoulder to shoulder the gallant British soldiers simply swept back the black stream, and killed every single man that had penetrated their lines. After the Arabs were driven off 800 of their dead were found inside the square. The British loss was very heavy, for out of 1,800 men there were 9 officers and 65 men killed, and 85 wounded, among the latter being only 2 officers of the Life Guards. But the heaviest loss fell upon the Heavy Camel Corps, six of whose officers were killed. A portion of the Heavy Camel Corps took part in the march of Stewart's Column across the desert from Corti to Metammeh and back which no less an authority but Von Moltke declared to be the work not only of soldiers, but of heroes.

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