Page:Dictionary of National Biography. Sup. Vol II (1901).djvu/348

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search
This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.
Graham
Graham
336

where he remained for the next six years. In the autumn of 1877 he was selected to accompany General Richard, Lord Airey [q. v.] to the German army manoeuvres, after which he visited and reported upon the defences of Metz, and of Coblentz and Ehrenbreitstein. In the following year he officially attended the Swiss army manoeuvres.

From 18 Dec. 1877 until his promotion to the rank of major-general in October 1881 Graham was assistant director of works for barracks at the war office. In the summer of 1882 Sir Garnet (now Viscount) Wolseley selected him for the command of the second infantry brigade of the first division in the expedition to Egypt to quell the rebellion of Arabi Pasha. He sailed with Sir Garnet and the advanced force from Alexandria on 19 Aug., and, arriving at Port Said on the morning of the 20th, was despatched in a gunboat with six hundred men along the canal to Ismailia, where he landed late at night, and on the following morning pushed on in advance to seize the railway and Sweetwater canal as far as Kassassin lock. He was engaged in a successful affair at Magfar, and, having been strongly reinforced, seized the important lock and bridge of Kassassin on the 26th. He commanded at the victorious battle of Kassassin on the 28th, when he was attacked by a vastly superior force of the enemy, his own troops having been severely tried by exposure to the sun and want of food. Sir Garnet Wolseley, who came up the following day, in his telegraphic despatch announcing the victory, said, 'General Graham's dispositions were all that they should have been, and his operations were carried out with that coolness for which he has always been so well known.'

On 9 Sept. another attack on Kassassin was repulsed, and the Egyptians were pursued to within range of Tel-el-Kebir. At the battle of Tel-el-Kebir on 13 Sept. Graham led his brigade to the assault, and in his despatch stated that 'the steadiness of the advance of the second brigade under what appeared to be an overwhelming fire of musketry and artillery will remain a proud remembrance.' At the conclusion of the campaign, by the surrender of Arabi, Graham moved to Cairo, and commanded a brigade of the British army of occupation in Egypt. In Sir Garnet Wolseley's despatch of 24 Sept. 1882, he wrote that the brunt of the fighting throughout the campaign had fallen to Graham's lot, and that it could not have been in better hands, adding : 'To that coolness and gallantry in action, for which he has always been well known, he adds the power of leading and commanding others.' For his services in this campaign he was repeatedly mentioned in despatches (ib. 8, 19, and 26 Sept., 6 Oct., and 2 Nov. 1882), was thanked by both houses of parliament, received the medal and clasp and the bronze star, the 2nd class of the order of the Turkish Medjidie, and on 18 Nov. 1882 was made a K.C.B. In the summer of the following year he visited England on short leave of absence and was much feted.

At the end of January 1884 Graham accompanied his old friend and comrade, Major-general Charles George Gordon [q.v.], from Cairo as far as Korosko in his last journey to Khartoum. On returning to Cairo Graham found himself appointed to command an expedition to the Eastern Soudan to relieve Tokar and destroy Osman Digna, a follower of the Mahdi, who had recently annihilated an Egyptian army under Valentine Baker [q. v. Suppl.] at El Teb. Having arrived at Suakin on 22 Feb., Graham at once transported his force of some four thousand men and fourteen guns to Trinkitat, a post on the Red Sea south of Suakin, and on 29 Feb. fought the second battle of El Teb. He handled his troops very skilfully and defeated the Arabs, occupying their whole position, and the next day entered Tokar. The British loss at El Teb was 34 killed and 155 wounded, while the loss of the enemy was estimated at two thousand killed out of a strength of six thousand.

Having moved his force back by sea to Suakin, Graham commenced operations towards Tamai, and on 13 March fought the successful battle of Tamai, burned the village, destroying a quantity of ammunition found there, and returned to Suakin. His loss at Tamai was 109 killed and 112 wounded, while that of the enemy was about two thousand out of an estimated force of twelve thousand men.

As early as 5 March Graham had urged upon the government the importance of opening up the Suakin-Berber route, and of so reaching out a hand to General Gordon, who strongly supported the proposal ; and, although the suggestion was negatived, a scheme was prepared and a reconnaissance made as far as Tambouk. After the successful battle of Tamai, Graham again urged the importance of sending troops from Suakin to Berber, and Sir Evelyn Baring (afterwards Lord Cromer), the British minister at Cairo, made repeated representations in favour of opening up this route and of helping Gordon from Suakin. But it was all to no purpose, and after Graham had occupied