Ashantee Campaigns - Introduction

For all discussions relating to the Second, Third, Fourth & Fifth Ashantee Wars fought between 1863 and 1900.

Ashantee Campaigns - Introduction

Postby DavidB » 02 May 2008 13:07

Thought I'd start a dedicated thread for the Ashantee campaigns.
The spellings Ashantee/Ashanti/Asante are used interchangeably, depending simply on the fashion of the time.

A brief timeline:
1806-07 The British are drawn into the Ashanti-Fante War by refusing to hand over rebels pursued by the Ashanti
1811 The British are again drawn into a local conflict, Ga-Fante War, where the Akwapim captured a British fort.
1814-16 Same situation again. The British are drawn into the Ashanti/Akwapim War, during which the Ashanti invaded the Gold Coast area and expanded their empire to the sea.
1823-31 First Anglo-Ashanti War - In 1823 Sir Charles MacCarthy leads an invasion force from the Cape Coast after rejecting Ashanti claims to coastal areas. The "British" force was mostly Royal African Colonial Corps and Cape Coast Militia, with a handful of British officers. Maccarthy's force was overrun and routed by the Ashanti at the battle of Nsamankow. MacCarthy himself and Ensign Wetherall were killed, decapitated and their heads kept as trophies of war. The war flared on and off till 1831 when the Pra River was accepted as the border.
1863-64 Second Anglo-Ashanti War - Ended in a stalemate with both sides losing more men to disease and sickness than action.
1873-74 Third Anglo-Ashanti War - The British purchased the Dutch Gold Coast in 1871 including territory claimed by the Ashanti empire. When the Ashanti invaded, Britain finally lost patience and sent a sizeable force of British regulars for the first time. Sir Garnet Wolseley was appointed to command a force of approx. 4000-5000 men including a Naval Brigade from the West Africa station. The British marched from the coast into Ashanti territory, and fought many engagements including the battles of Amoaful in Jan 1874 and Ordahsu soon after. The Ashanti capital Coomassie (or Kumasi) was briefly occupied and the Asantehene (Ashanti king) forced to sign the harsh Treaty of Fomena in Juy 1874 to end the war.
1895-96 Fourth Anglo-Ashanti War - Wanting to keep French and German influence out of Ashanti territory (and off its gold), the British were anxious to conquer Ashanti once and for all. A British expedition left Cape coast in much the same way and following much the same route as in 1873-74 and arrived in Kumasi in Jan 1896, after encountering very little resistance. The Ashanti were directed by the Asantehene not to resist. The king was arrested and deposed and the Ashanti leaders exiled to the Seychelles.
1900 Fifth Anglo-Ashanti War (or War of the Golden Stool) - The remaining Ashanti court not exiled to the Seychelles attacked the British Resident and other representatives at the Kumasi fort. The attack was soon defeated. The once proud Ashanti Empire was absorbed into the Gold Coast colony on 1 Jan 1902, and is nowadays an integral part of Ghana.

That's all for now!
:D
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Re: Ashantee campaigns

Postby Garen » 02 May 2008 13:29

That's great stuff, amoaful73 - really useful and interesting - I had no idea the British had such a long involvement.

Just to show how obscure it probably is, I have received at least 3 email queries in the past, primarily to do with the Afghan War (of course), but also saying something like "my g-grandfather also served in the Ashanti campaign in India"! I gently point them to the correct continent.

I felt the Second Anglo-Afghan War was a fairly obscure campaign, so started my website and research project - things have changed since then (probably partly because the British are there again today). So, careful - next thing you know you'll be running a website! :D

Thanks again - a terrific summary.
The Second Anglo-Afghan War 1878-80 www.angloafghanwar.info
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Re: Ashantee campaigns

Postby DavidB » 02 May 2008 18:19

Hi Garen,

Obscure campaigns definitely, but I've never heard Ashanti described as being in India before! :roll:
Seriously though, if you do get queries that mention Ashanti, do feel free to pass them my way. I'm by no means an expert, but I do have ~95% of the Army medal roll for 73-74 plus a partial list of the bluejackets and marines of the Naval Brigade.

Maybe I'm wrong, but I can't imagine there being more than a handful of men who served in both Ashantee and Afghan campaigns. Firstly because of the relatively small numbers of men involved in Ashantee (4-5000), and secondly because the regiments involved in the two campaigns were different.

One I know who did serve in both was Lieut-Col Thomas Durand Baker, Wolseley's AAG and AQMG.
That's one so far! :D

Edit, OK make that a few officers that I can put in Ashantee and Afghan campaigns :D
Interestingly, several surgeons.
Lieut-Col Thomas Durand Baker, AAG & AQMG
Surgeon Charles Alfred Atkins, AMD
Surgeon James Forbes Beattie, AMD
Surgeon William Fuller Bennett, AMD
Surgeon-Major John George Faught, AMD
Surgeon Joseph Fleming, AMD
Captain A.H.A.Gordon, 84th Regt (Special Service)
Lieutenant William George Knox, Royal Artillery
Surgeon-Major Edward Litton Low, AMD
Surgeon-Major George William McNalty, AMD
Surgeon Alexander Minto, AMD
Surgeon William Venour, AMD
Lieutenant Walter Andrew Wynter, 33rd Regt (Special Service)
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Re: Ashantee campaigns

Postby DavidB » 02 May 2008 19:57

I'll share with you one of my favourite passages concerning the Ashantee War. The occasion is the issue of the Ashantee medals to the men of the 42nd Highlanders in Malta in 1875. Colonel McLeod, CO of the Highlanders, had the following to say:

42nd Highlanders – Regimental Order dated 24 May 1875
“….Sir John M’Leod believes the Ashantee War medal now received in full and issued to the regiment will be worn with satisfaction by the men. He thinks, though the expedition for which it is granted was only a little war, that the medal may take its place, not unworthily, beside the other decorations on the breast. Though little, the war had a magnitude and audacity about it to awaken the interest of the civilised world, and to exhibit in a marked degree those same qualities latent in you which sustained the corps of old in the Savannah, in Flanders, and in other unhealthy places…. There is no place in your regiment’s annals brighter than that which tells of your encounter with your savage foe in the murky bottoms at Amoaful; of the valour and discipline which carried you into the gaping chasm of the forest at Ordahsu; through the fetid Soubang swamp, headed by Colour-Sergeant Barton, who, though wounded at Amoaful, continued working hard, hardly missing a shot, never halting until you had set your foot in the market-place of Coomassie.

And on this day it is fitting to remember the distinguished conduct of Privates Alexander Hodge and John Arthur carrying Major Baird, more desperately wounded than themselves, to a place of safety, and the noble heroism of Private W.Thompson, one of the party, sacrificing himself rather than see his captain fall into the hands of the enemy, how Sergeant M’Gaw won the Victoria Cross; the sustained gallantry throughout of Privates Thomas Adams and George Ritchie; the cheerful disregard of personal danger of Sergeant-Instructor of Musketry Street, though badly wounded in the thigh; of Quartermaster-Sergeant Paterson running the gauntlet of fire upon the road for a hammock to carry the dangerously wounded sergeant-major to the rear, assisted by Paymaster-Sergeant Bateman; of Pioneer-Sergeant Gairns’ look of scorn when, disabled in the right arm, he was advised to fall to the rear! How was the flame of battle to be fed if he were at the rear and not there to serve out the ammunition? How Sergeant Butters, shot through the leg at Amoaful, marched with his company till again struck down in the gloomy pass of Ordahsu; of Sergeant Graham Gillies, and Privates Jones and John Grant of B Company, and Private W.Nichol, always to the front; how wounded Piper Weatherspoon, taking the rifle and place of dead Corporal Samuel, fought till overpowered with wounds, of Sergeant Milne and Private Hector White, and gallant Privates W.Bell, Imray and M’Phail fighting with remarkable bravery.

But the space I would allow myself is more than filled and I have before me Sergeant John Simpson, Colour-Sergeant Farquharson, Privates Calderwood, W.Armstrong, J.Miller, Peter Jeffrey, Colour-Sergeant Cooper, and Piper Honeyman, “tangled in the bush” and lost to his company; Surgeon-Major Clutterbuck, your old doctor, using few hammocks, how he marched all the way, his own recipe for surmounting all difficulties, defended successfully his helpless wounded on the roadside with his revolver; and Hospital Orderly M’Cudden – the hammock men hesitating to follow the regiment into the dread Pass of Ordahsu – encouragingly he threw aside his sword and revolver, placed himself at their head, led thus into Coomassie; and Quastermaster Forbes – unsurpassed – how, in the hottest of the fray, you had your ammunition always handy; your ration – sometimes more – ready. The first to swim the Ordah on your return, few will forget the hot tea he welcomed you with to your bivouac on that wet dreary night. Private Johnston, the last to pass over, how he lost his clothes in the dark and was sandwiched by the doctor between two hammocks, faring not so badly; and others unmentioned, generous men, and remembered. Scattered as you are at present over Cottonera, I regret I have been unable with my own hand, and the fever on me, to give to each of you his well-earned medal. But I address you, on this the Queen’s birthday, that you may be sure your good conduct is not forgotten. Wear the medal, with its ribbon yellow and black, significant colours to you. If any man ever makes away with it for unworthy ends, it will be a double disgrace to him.”
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Re: Ashantee campaigns

Postby Jonathan » 02 May 2008 20:14

An excellent and stirring passage! Thank you for sharing, amoaful. I think it is time for me to read a bit more on this campaign. :D

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Re: Ashantee campaigns

Postby Garen » 02 May 2008 22:39

That is a great passage! Anything that includes "through the fetid Soubang swamp" has to be good.

As for Ashanti and Afghan veterans, I should say that I get a lot of emails about men who 'may have served in Afghanistan' - and ended up not having done so. It's a lot of chasing around, but I always learn stuff!

My database has 5 men (officers) so far:

Thomas Durand Baker - Ashanti 1873-4
James Forbes Beattie 1873-4
Reginald Clare Hart (RE) - Gold Coast 1881
Richard Henry Frances Wharton Wilson - 1873
Walter Andrew Wynter - 1873

You can type 'ashanti' into the biographical keyword field for biographies.

http://www.angloafghanwar.info/database/main.php
The Second Anglo-Afghan War 1878-80 www.angloafghanwar.info
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Ashanti Kings & British Governors

Postby DavidB » 08 May 2008 21:15

For reference, Ashanti kings during the whole of the period
1804-24 Osei Bonsu
1824-34 Osei Yaw
1834-67 Kwaku Dua I
1867-74 Kofi Kakari
1874-83 Mensa Bonsu
1884 Kwaku Dua II (after 1 year interregnum, reigned only 44 days)
1888-1931 Agyeman Prempeh I (after 4 year interregnum; exiled 1896-1924)
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Re: Ashantee campaigns

Postby Orielbenfro » 30 Apr 2010 15:18

amoaful73 wrote: Seriously though, if you do get queries that mention Ashanti, ....................Surgeon William Venour, AMD...................

If interested Surgeon Major William Venour of the Army Medical Staff died at Netherwood on the 4th Feb 1903 aged 69 years. He is quoted as having "served in India" and of Tenby at the sale of his property of Netherwood to Sir G. Greaves.
His body was interred at St Issells churchyard Pembroke and is just 1 of my large database of military headstones of Pembrokeshire.
If you would like a copy of his grave/headstone just let me know and I can send it to you.
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Re: Ashantee Campaigns - Introduction

Postby siegebatteries » 17 Feb 2012 17:53

While surfing the 'net for something complete different, I came across this, which adds to the list of Ashantee veterans who also served in the Afghan campaign (again a surgeon!). It's an obituary in The British Medical Journal, dated 19 June 1886

Brigade-Surgeon TYLER OUGHTON has died of heart-disease. He was born in
Jamaica, in 1836, and entered the army as Assistant-Surgeon, January 24th,
1864; became Surgeon, March 1st, 1873; and Surgeon-Major, August 22nd, 1876;
retiring with a step of honorary rank, October 29th, 1881. He served in the
Ashantee war in 1873-74 (medal), and with a mountain battery of Royal Artillery
in the Afghan war, in 1879-80; and took part in the celebrated march to Candahar,
under Sir Frederick Roberts, and in the battle of September 1st .(medal with
clasp, and bronze star).


For those wishing to see the original, http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2257252/pdf/brmedj04731-0051.pdf
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Re: Ashantee Campaigns - Introduction

Postby siegebatteries » 17 Feb 2012 18:28

Although this one has already been listed, I thought people might like the outline of his career:
SURGEON - MAJOR - GENERAL JOHN GEORGE FAUGHT, M.R.C.S., died at Southsea, on June 12th, in his 78th year. He was a son of the late Rev. G. S. Faught, Rector of Bradfield St. Clare, Suffolk; was educated at King William’s College, Isle of Man, and entered the Army Medical Department as an Assistant Surgeon, January 5th, 1855; becoming Surgeon, November 9th, 1867; Surgeon-Major, March lst, 1873; Brigade-Surgeon, April 17th, 1880; Deputy Surgeon-General, September 3rd, 1884; and Surgeon-Major-General, November 13th, 1890. He retired from the service, December 15th, 1892. He was employed as Sanitary Officer, at Cape Coast Castle, during the Ashanti war in 1874, receiving a medal. He was also in the Afghan war in 1878-80 (medal); in the Egyptian war in 1882 (medal and Khedive's bronze star); in the Bechuanaland Expedition in 1884-85, as Principal Medical Officer, for which he was honourably mentioned; and again as Principal Medical Officer in the operations in Zululand in 1888. He was appointed an Honorary Surgeon to Queen Victoria in 1897.


The British Medical Journal, 18 June 1910

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2331769/pdf/brmedj07783-0073f.pdf
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