2nd War 1863-64

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

2nd War 1863-64

Postby DavidB » 17 May 2008 18:29

The second war was very much a phoney war. Not a shot was actually fired. The British governor, Richard Pine, marched men of the West India regiments to the Prah River in a show of force (to fly the flag essentially). Strategically however it was a bit of a nonsense, as the Ashanti armies could quite easily have bypassed the British positions to attack the British protectorate on the coast if they felt so inclined.
As the rains arrived, the men gradually went down with malaria and dysentery. The entire force eventually left to march back to the coast, having achieved nothing of any real purpose. They destroyed and left behind much of their stores, ammunition and artillery pieces. The retreat very much damaged British prestige.

The following passage is the experience of a couple of companies of 1WIR, which typifies the experience of many more.

"In preparation for an expedition against Coomassie, two companies of the 1st W.I.R (under Captain Alexander Bravo and Captain Hopewell Smith) marched 74 miles through heavy jungle and in torrential rain to the Prah River. The force reached the river at the Prahsu Ford, and here, in primeval forest and in pestilential surroundings and without proper food or shelter they set up camp and remained for nearly three months. By the end of the first month, out of the seven officers and 214 men who had left Cape Coast Castle, four officers and 102 men were sick. There was little proper medical care and the sick had to lie on damp ground, which, with the torrential rain, was rapidly turning into a swamp. Food was very poor and cooking difficult in the unending downpour. With no communication with the outside world and lack of activity, moral began to suffer. Had the enemy appeared, the small and weakened force would have been hard pressed to put up much of a fight. On 30 May 1864 Captain Hopewell Smith took his company back to the coast, leaving Captain Bravo with his - about 100 men at the Prahsu Ford. By 18 June over half were sick. Finally the Imperial Government ordered the local authorities to cease operations against the Ashantees and news of this reach Captain Bravo’s force on 26 June. Several days were spent destroying stores, guns and ammunition that had been stockpiled for future operations. Finally on 12 July 1864 Bravo led his men back to the coast where the survivors embarked for the West Indies."
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Re: 2nd War 1863-64

Postby Athelstan » 21 Aug 2010 14:38

Hi amoaful73

With regard to this campaign, apparently they "secretly buried" two 12-pounder howitzers but the officers who were later involved in the 1873 / 74 campaign could not identify the location, much to Captain Brackenbury's exasperation. They also had, I think it was, 10 rocket launchers plus rockets. They apparently threw over 240,000 rounds of ball cartridge into the Pra ( nice case of lead poisoning ).

I've tried to gain info on the Heritage Village and Museum that apparently stands on sight today to try and find out what is exactly there. Sadly it's difficult to get any info out of anyone over there. Does anyone out there happen to know if these howitzers have ever been found? I've not come across anything to say they ever were at the moment.

Any help would be gratefully recieved.

Mel.
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