As a second lieutenant in the United States Marine Corps during the War of 1812 assigned to Marine Corps headquarters, English sailed to the Mediterranean, and was among the first citizens of the United States known to have visited Egypt. Shortly after arriving in Egypt he resigned his commission, converted to Islam and joined Isma’il Pasha in an expedition up the Nile River against Sennar in 1820, winning distinction as an officer of artillery. He published his Narrative of the Expedition to Dongola and Sennaar (London 1822) regarding his exploits.
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