7 MARCH 1896, Page 1

NEWTS OF THE - mum T HE Italians have suffered a great

disaster in Abyssinia, one, indeed, greater than has ever occurred in modern times to white men in Africa. General Basatieri, the officer in supreme civil and military command there, either fearing the advent of the rains, or afraid of commissariat difficulties, or -determined to anticipate a superior officer who was on his way to supersede him, decided on February 29th to attack Adowa with his whole force,-10,000 Italians and from 7,000 to 8,000 drilled natives. As Adowa is 6,000 ft. above the sea-level, and was defended by 100,000 Abyssinians posted on the heights around it, the enterprise was an arduous one, but the Italian army, divided into three columns, reached the ridges among which the town stands, safely enough. Then the first column, consisting chiefly of natives, made some sort of rush, got too far forward, and were crushed by a charge of the Abyssinians. The second column advanced to their support, but getting "huddled" in a space too small for action, were also crushed, and finally all three columns were driven in such headlong rout that they abandoned their guns, fifty-two in number, and fled across the plain to Adigrat, seventy miles off. It is not really known what number of men were killed, accounts varying from three thousand to ten thousand, but it is not questioned that the army, as an army, has been destroyed. It is believed that all " Erythrea," the Italian Colony, must be abandoned, and that General Baldissera, the new Commander- in-Chief, must form a new army from Italy before he can even begin to repair the disaster. A defeated General is, of course, always in the wrong; but in Berlin and Vienna, where they understand tactics, the Italian army is held to have been wretchedly mismanaged.