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The Victorian Soldier in Africa$
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Edward M. Spiers

Print publication date: 2004

Print ISBN-13: 9780719061219

Published to Manchester Scholarship Online: July 2012

DOI: 10.7228/manchester/9780719061219.001.0001

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Fighting the Asante

Fighting the Asante

(p.20) Chapter One Fighting the Asante
The Victorian Soldier in Africa

Edward M. Spiers

Manchester University Press

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

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