Ashanti War Negro Howitzer gunners on Kumasi road, antique print


Ashanti War. Negro Howitzer gunners under the command of  General Garnet Wolseley hauling guns on road to Kumasi. Original front-page from the Illustrated London News, published 1873. Approx. size of paper 16.5×12 inches. Price shown is ex VAT.

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Ashanti War Negro Howitzer gunners antique print, published 1873. The Third Anglo-Ashanti War, also known as the “First Ashanti Expedition”, lasted from 1873 to 1874. General Garnet Wolseley with 2,500 British troops and several thousand West Indian and African troops (including some Fante) was sent against the Ashanti, and subsequently became a household name in Britain. Wolseley was appointed on 13 August 1873 and went to the Gold Coast to make his plans before the arrival of his troops. The first troops arrived in late December and from 1 January 1874 started marching along the road to the front, half a battalion at a time. The troops comprised a battalion from each of the Black Watch, Rifle Brigade and Royal Welsh Fusiliers, along with the 1st and 2nd West Indian Regiment, a Naval Brigade, two native regiments, Royal Artillery, Royal Engineers and Royal Marines. By 29 January they were close to Ashanti outposts. Skirmishing between the two forces had begun. Wolseley prepared to fight a battle. The Battle of Amoaful was fought on 31 January. A road was cut to the village and the Black Watch led the way, forming square in the clearing with the Rifle Brigade, while flanking columns moved around the village. With the pipes playing “The Campbells Are Coming” the Black Watch charged with bayonets and the shocked Ashantis fled. The flank columns were slow moving in the jungle and the Ashantis moved around them in their normal horseshoe formation and attacked the camp 2 miles (3.2 km) to the rear. The Royal Engineers defended themselves until relieved by the Rifle Brigade. Although there was another small battle two days later, the Battle of Ordashu, the action had been decisive and the route to Kumasi was open. The capital, Kumasi, was abandoned by the Ashanti when the British arrived on 4 February and was briefly occupied by the British. The Asantahene, the ruler of the Ashanti, signed the harsh Treaty of Fomena to end the war. Among articles of the treaty between H.M. Queen Victoria, and H.M. Kofi Karikari, King of Ashanti were that “The King of Ashanti promises to pay the sum of 50,000 ounces of approved gold as indemnity for the expenses he has occasioned to Her Majesty the Queen of England by the late war…” The treaty also required an end to human sacrifice and stated that “There shall be freedom of trade between Ashanti and Her Majesty’s forts on the [Gold] Coast, all persons being at liberty to carry their merchandise from the Coast to Kumasi, or from that place to any of Her Majesty’s possessions on the Coast.”



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