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the assaults of their enemies; but they soon discovered that they were in a situation, if possible, more desperate then at any former period. Scarcely had the Mamalukes regained their former position, when from a battery, hitherto concealed, and which had eight guns, they began to fire upon the French, who stood completely "exposed. At every discharge several men fell. Nothing could exceed the dreadful suspense in which Desaix was at this time placed. What orders should he issue? To remain in the same position was to expose his men to certain destrućtion, without any possibility of retaliation. To retreat was to inspire the Mamalukes with new courage, to dispirit his own troops, and to prepare them for discomfiture. To advance was to abandon his numerous wounded soldiers to infallible death. Some of these modes of ačting it was necessary to adopt without delay; and the last, though contrary to every dićtate of humanity, was thought to be most eligible. The order to advance was accordingly given; and the French, convinced that their only hope of safety depended on a complete vićtory, marched on with that resolution which desperation sometimes inspires. The light artillery proceeded. first to the attack, and being supported by a body of grenadiers, they were soon masters of the battery. The Mamalukes remained for some time apparently irresolute. Then, suddenly turning round, they fled with a celerity equal to that with which they had advanced, and, in an instant, were cut of sight. This engagement, which was distinguished by the name of the battle of Sedinan, though it terminated in the favour of the French, was not purchased without very considerable loss; so considerable, that
Desaix found it necessary to procure reinforcements from Cairo before he could continue hostilities; and, upon the whole, it added little to the real power of the French in Upper Egypt. Murad had, indeed, been compelled to retreat, but his power was far from being annihilated. He perceived, no doubt, that it was vain for him to contend with the French infantry in the open field; but he was likewise convinced that, by the celerity of his movements, he could impede all their operations; and, by continuing to harass them, without attempting any decisive action, he could gradually, exhaust their strength, and could render their condition so extremely precarious, as might, perhaps, induce them to abandon the country. He, accordingly, adopted this mode of ačting; and, after he had sustained repeated defeats, which the French had flattered themselves were decisive, he proved a more formidable foe than when his force was entire. The chief advantage which the French derived from this engagement, in which they suffered so severely, was to render . the Arabs less willing to support the Mamalukes. The French, in a short time, learnt that their apprehensions of being once more attacked in Upper Egypt, were more just than perhaps they had at first been willing to believe. A spy, who arrived in the evening, informed them that the troops which had lately come from Mecca had joined Osman; that they had intrenched themselves at Benhute, at the distance of three leagues from Keneh, and that they impatiently waited the approach of the French, for the purpose of coming to an engagement. Nor was this all. They had intercepted several of the barks while they descended the Nile; had put to death all who were
on board, and had converted to their own use every part of the lading. However unwelcome this intelligence might be, it convinced them that it was now no time to remain ina&tive. They were eager to go in quest of an enemy, of whose resistance they formed no exalted opinion; but it was requisite, in the first place, to pass the Nile, and the remaining part of the barks were still at some distance behind. They encamped for some time upon the bank of the river, waiting till the vessels should arrive; but perceiving, by the number of horsemen passing in every direction, that they were seen by the enemy, they thought it prudent to ascend the river to meet their boats, that they might cross with less interruption. In a short time the vessels were in sight, and the whole of the 9th was spent in passing the Nile. The enemy wished to meet them, and did not, therefore, attempt to prevent their landing. They again commenced their march on the 10th, and soon after arrived at Kous, where the intelligence which they had received on the other side of the river was confirmed. At Kous, which was a place of some trade, and which was inhabited chiefly by Copts, who were catholics, the French experienced more civilities than in other parts of Egypt. The sheik, or chief, had been particularly attached to Desaix, and it seems to have been in this place that Denon was informed of the appellation of the just having been emphatically applied to that general; at least he takes this opportunity of giving that part of his friend's eulogium. Whatever may have been the cause of his attachunent, the sheik endeavoured to show the sincerity cf it by giving his opinion concerning the mode in
which they ought to attack the enemy. The French, somewhat conceited of their superior prowess, seem to have paid but little attention to the advice. Hardly had they passed the remains of the ancient Copthos, of which the extensive ruins bespeak the former importance, when they were informed that the enemy was approaching. A slight repast was scarcely finished when the standards of the Meccans were in view; and by the extent of ground which they covered, denoted the number of the enemy to be considerable. The French formed themselves into a square battalion. To support their flanks they had only a small field-piece, and fifteen cavalry. The
armies were soon near each other, and the French
marksmen were sent to dislodge a party which had posted itself in a village. A vićtory without a struggle was probably expected, and the marksmen were perhaps somewhat astonished that the Meccans did not give way at their approach. Though only half armed, they maintained their ground; and though the field-piece was direéted against them, they disdained to fly. They remained unmoved till almost every one of them had fallen. The obstinancy of the first encounter was only a prelude to what was to follow. As the French advanced they found the enemy more completely armed, and more advantageously posted. They drove them, however, from village to village; and, notwithstanding a false attack of the Mamalukes, they pressed forwards to Benhute, where they knew the chief strength of the Meccans to be concentrated. From the opposition which they had already experienced, the French expected in this place to meet with a considerable resistance; but their surprise
could hardly be exceeded, when they found a battery opened upon them, from which they were cannonaded with much effect. The destrućtion which at this moment was sustained by the French, seems to have been great as well as rapid. Denon informs us, that, during a halt of ten minutes, three persons were killed while they conversed with himself. Anxious to escape from this destrućtive fire, and supposing that the cannon of the Meccans were not mounted, and that, Consequently, they could be pointed only in one direétion, the French, with all possible celerity, moved towards another position. It was soon discovered, however, that this movement was vain. The balls regularly followed them. It was necessary, therefore, to attack the battery, and, if possible, to take it by storm.” While a party of
troops proceeded on this hazardous service, the re. .
mainder of the army posted itself in the front of the village, where the action was sustained with unabated fury. The detachment no sooner advanced to the charge, than they were opposed by the Mamalukes, who seemed to be resolved to cover the battery. Always averse, however, to sustain the fire of infantry, they scon gave way. The battery was taken by storm, and all who were found near it were put to death. It was now found that the guns of the battery had been taken from the barks; and that the French had been attacked not only with their own guns, but with their own ammunition.
Flattering themselves that this advantage would so dispirit the Meccans that their discomfiture would be the consequence, or that at least they should be compelled to retreat, the French continued their exertions; but they soon found that the enemy was far