Fighting the Asante

Edward M. Spiers

in The Victorian Soldier in Africa

Published by Manchester University Press

Published in print September 2004 | ISBN: 9780719061219
Published online July 2012 | e-ISBN: 9781781700556 | DOI:
Fighting the Asante

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This chapter presents the initiatives taken by Sir Garnet Wolseley, who was appointed by the British Government as administrator and commander-in-chief on the Gold Coast on 13 August 1873. He was despatched with twenty-seven special-service officers to work with the local Fante tribesmen to resist the Asante. He promptly requested British reinforcements after his arrival in September, planned a short campaign over the less hazardous months of December, January and February, and then decisively defeated the Asante in battle before sacking their capital, Kumase. His skepticism about the resolve, reliability and martial prowess of the coastal tribes, particularly if required to fight in the bush, was widely shared by British officers and men. He continued to employ native auxiliaries and requested the dispatch of British soldiers. He accepted Cardwell's instructions that ‘every preparation should be made in advance’, that the forces should not be disembarked until the decisive moment occurred, and that they should operate only in the most favorable climatic conditions, namely the four months from December to March.

Keywords: British Government; Fante tribesmen; Victorian age; British officers; hazardous months; Sir Garnet Wolseley; British reinforcements

Chapter.  7296 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Colonialism and Imperialism

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