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Prelude to Sagrenti War 1873-1874: Asanteman’s moral victory

 Prelude to Sagrenti War 1873-1874: Asanteman’s moral victory

1850’s British artist painting of Asantehene Kwaku Dua I aka Kwaku Dua Panyin (Kwaku Dua the Elder) (1834-1867), with the Asantehemaa Nana Afua Sarpon (1836-1857)

The abortive 1864 attack was a moral victory for Kumasi. King Kwaku Duah stated, “The white men bring many cannons to the bush, but the bush is stronger than the cannon.”

“GOVERNOR PINE’S REACTION.

Governor Pine appealed to the Home Office for logistics and reinforcement. The 4th West Indies Regiment of 850 men under Lt. Col. Conran was rushed to Gold Coast on August 13, 1863, to replace Major Cochrane and his useless Gold Coast Corps, which was subsequently disbanded. Preparations for taking back the fields were recommenced.

The British Home Office wanted the reinforcements from the West Indies to just clear the protectorate of all Ashanti elements. Governor Pine, however, wanted more; he wanted to attack Kumasi. He asked the home office for more reinforcements. He only succeeded in getting a promise of an additional 300 men from the 1st West Indies Regiment. Governor Pine was, however, given the choice of taking the battle to Kumasi, if initial attempts of achieving peace with Kumasi were not feasible.

EXPEDITION TO THE PRAH

Governor Pine established a troop supply depot at Manso (Assin Manso), and Col. Conran moved about 1000 troops from Cape Coast to Praso (Assin Praso) on February 5th, 1864. At the same time, British trained protectorate troops all stationed in Accra also moved into Akim Swedru. The troops at Praso were tasked to fortify their post, convey supplies and clear the forest around the camp, and on the banks of the Prah river. It was in the rainy season and the troops had to be encamped under shelter tents on wet grounds. Dysentery and Fever caught up with the West Indian troops, a quarter of them needed hospitalization.The 300-man troop reinforcement from the West Indies arrived on April 9th 1864.

KUMASI ESCAPES FROM BEING ATTACKED IN 1864

The home office hastily called off the assault on Kumasi, when it became alarmed at the loss of lives of troops from Dysentery and Fevers. The troops retreated back to Cape Coast on July 12th and embarked for the West Indies on July 27th, 1864. Only the 4th West Indies Regiment was left to garrison the forts. Thus, the campaign of 1864 was terminated without firing a shot.

The abortive 1864 attack was a moral victory for Kumasi. King Kwaku Duah stated,

“The white men bring many cannons to the bush, but the bush is stronger than the cannon.”

The abortive 1864 campaign made the home office rethink about the colony; it decided to gradually, withdraw from the Gold Coast, in a dignified way, because of Ashanti defiance. In the meantime, the Governments of the Gold Coast, Lagos, Gambia were placed under a Chief Governor, who resided in Sierra Leone. The Governor in chief visited his dependencies, once a year. Only the Chief Governor could directly communicate with the Colonial office.”Alfred Burdon Ellis (A.B Ellis):

By: Sankofa Asante

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