Native American Veteran and Canadian aboriginal veteran List.

Nile expedition

1884 - 1885



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The Nile Expedition, sometimes referred to as Gordon's Succession Expedition (1884-85), is a British mission designed to relieve Major-General Charles Gordon in Khartoum, Sudan. The latter had been sent to Sudan to help the Egyptians evacuate Sudan after the United Kingdom decided to abandon the country following the self-proclaimed Mahdi rebellion, Mahommed Ahmed. A contingent of Canadians was recruited to help the British navigate their small boats on the Nile. The Nile Expedition was the first overseas mission of Canadians in a British Empire conflict, even though the Nile travelers were civilian employees not wearing uniforms.

British pride demanded that everything be done to save Gordon, a British war hero. General Garnet Wolseley, of the Red River Expeditionary Force, sent to Manitoba after Riel's Resistance from 1869 to 1870, was put in command of the English expedition to save his old friend Gordon.

Wolseley's use of Aboriginal and French-Canadian travelers to bring his forces from Thunder Bay to the Red River in 1870 had inspired great admiration for their ability to navigate difficult waters. Since a land route to Khartoum across vast expanses of desert would prove too difficult to provide and maintain, Wolseley recommended moving an army up the Nile. This plan was based on the skills of Canadian travelers.

But many things had changed since the Red River expedition and it was simply impossible to recruit 300 travelers . In 1884, paddling specialists, who had long professed to transport individuals and equipment over long distances, had for the most part given way to the railway. The last of them worked only in northern Manitoba and the Northwest Territories, in addition to some Kahnawake Indians who still knew how to do it.

Denison centralized operations in Ottawa and divided Eastern Canada into three parts, with Ottawa, Trois-Rivières, and Kahnawake as his recruiters. The Ottawa area provides the largest group because it was the center of the lumber trade. A total of 267 men were recruited, including 86 Aboriginal people from Quebec, Ontario and Manitoba.





Unfortunately, the crossing of the Atlantic was darkened by the death of one of the Jumping Indians. On the 24th of September, Richard Henderson was seriously ill with an abscess in his ear; he died two days later and was buried at sea.

It was not until January 24, 1885, that the expedition reached Khartoum. The city was in the hands of the Mahdists and Gordon was dead. The Wolseley Expeditionary Force had arrived 56 hours too late.

A general retreat was ordered on February 24th.

Those smugglers who reached Khartoum were granted the KIRBEKAN bar and the THE NILE medal (1884-1885). Sixteen Canadians, including a Jumbo and two Kahnawake Indians, lost their lives. Six were drowned in the cataracts of the Nile, two were killed when they fell from a train in Egypt, and eight died of natural causes. The compensation was generous according to the standards of the time. The families of the disappeared smugglers received the balance of the wages that these men would have received if they had lived to the end of their contract. If, moreover, the disappeared left a widow or had been the support of their widowed mother, one granted a special grant.