Charles Gordon, a British general became a national hero after distinguishing himself in the Crimea War, his exploits in China in suppressing the Taiping uprising, after which he was dubbed ‘Chinese Gordon’, and his ill-fated defense of Khartoum against Sudanese rebels led by Muhammad Ahmad al-Mahdi.
After Khartoum had been under siege for a month, the Mahdi’s forces broke through into the city, killing Gordon on 26 January 1885.
The British relief force arrived two days later. His strong Christian faith led to a outcry at news of his death, in which Gordon was martyred as a warrior-saint, and the government, particularly William Gladstone were blamed.
Later, historians have criticized Gordon’s role in the loss of Khartoum and ultimately his own death, by suggesting that he defied orders and refused to evacuate even when it was still possible late into the siege.
George W Joy’s popular and romanticized portrayal of Gordon’s death – General Gordon’s Last Stand, 1885