Harry George Wakelyn Smith.

The autobiography of Lieutenant-General Sir Harry Smith, baronet of Aliwal on the Sutlej, G.C.B.; online

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THE AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF
LIEUTENANT-GENERAL

Sir Harry Smith

BART, G.C.B.



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THE AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF

LIEUTENANT-GENERAL

Sir Harry Smith

BARONET OF ALIWAL ON THE SUTLEJ
G.C.B.

EDITED

WITH THB ADDITION OP SOMB SUPPLBMBNTA&T CHAPTERS

By G. C MOORE SMITH, M.A.



IN TWO VOLUMES
VOL. 11.



WITH PORTRAITS AND ILLUSTRATIONS J^ r.^^



LONDON

JOHN MURRAY, ALBEMARLE STREET

1901



+-



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PKINTED BY

WnXlA»I CLOWBS AND SOMS, UMtTED,

LONDON AND BECCLES.



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CONTENTS OF VOL. II.



CHAPTBB

XXXII.



XXXIII.



XXXIV.



XXXV.



Voyage to the Cape— Military Duties and
Sport, 1829-1834— Sir Benjamin D'Urban
SUCCEEDS Sir Lowry Cole as Governor of
THE Colony ... ... ... ... i

Outbreak of a Kafir War— Harry Smith's
Historic Ride to Grahamstown— On his
Arrival he proclaims Martial Law— Pro-
vides FOR the Defence of the Town-
Attacks the Kafirs and rescues Seven
Missionaries ... ... ... ... 11

Harry Smith Chief of the Staff under Sir
Benjamin D'Urban— He makes Two Forays
into the Fish River Bush and One into
the Umdizini Bush— The Force under Sir
B. D'Urban marches from Fort Willshire
to the Poorts of the Buffalo, from

WHENCE HaRRYSMITH BiAKES ANOTHER FORAY



Over the Kei into Hintza's Territory—
War declared against Hintza— His Kraal

BEING destroyed THE CHIEF COMES IN, AND

agrees to] [the terms of peace— he
remains as a hostage with the british
Force, which biarches back to the Kei—
Harry Smith marches under Hintza's
Guidance into his Territory to recover
THE Stolen Cattle — Near the Xabecca
Hintza tries to escape, and is shot



24



32



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VI



CHAPTER

XXXVI.



CONTENTS.
March across the Bashee to the Umtata

AND BACK TO THE BASHEE— DEATH OF MAJOR

White— Difficult March from the Bashee
TO rejoin Sir B. D'Urban on the Kei—
Annexation of the Territory called
THE "Province of Queen Adelaide," and
Founding of its Capital, ** King Wiluam's
Town ** — Return of the Governor to
Grahamstown



50



XXXVII. Harry Smith left in Command of the New
"Province of Queen Adelaide » at King
William's Town— Death of Lieutenant
bailien-harry smith joined by his wife
—Forays on the Kafirs— Conclusion of
Peace



62



XXXVIII. Harry Smith's Attempts at civiuzing the
Kafirs— The Chiefs made British Magis-
trates—A Census taken— A Police Force

ESTABLISHED— A GREAT MEETING OF CHIEFS

—Witchcraft forbidden— A Chief pun-
isHED FOR Disobedience— A Rebellious
Chief awed into Submission— Agriculture
and Commerce introduced- Nakedness
discountenanced- Burial of the Dead
encouraged— Buying of Wives checked—
Hopes of a General Conversion to Chris-
tianity ...



72



XXXIX. Lord Glenelg orders the Abandonment
of the Province of Queen Adelaide, and
appoints Captain Stockenstrom to succeed
Harry Smith on the Frontier— Grief of
the Kahrs at the Change— Journey of
Harry Smith and his Wife to Cape Town
—He is exonerated by Lord Glenelg,

AND receives TESTIMONIALS FOR HIS SER-
VICES TO THE Colony— LEAVES Cape Town



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CONTENTS.



VII



JUNB, 1840, ON BEING APPOINTED DEPXJTY

Adjutant-General of the Queen's Army
IN India ...



94



XL. Voyage from Cape Town to Calcutta-
Harry Smith's Disappointment at not
receiving the Command in the Afghan
War— His Criticism of the Operations... hi

XLI. Sir Hugh Gough succeeds Sir Jasper Nicolls
as Commander-in-Chief in India— Affairs
IN Gwauor— Battle of Maharajpore— -
Harry Smith made K.C.B. ... ... 122

XLI I. Affairs in the Punjaub— Sir Henry Har-

DINGE succeeds LORD ELLENBOROUGH AS

Governor- General — Outbreak of the
First Sikh War— Battle of Moodkeb ... 139

XLI 1 1. Battle of Ferozeshah (or Ferozeshuhur)
21ST December, 1S45, ^^^ Resumed Battle
OF 32ND December— The Army moves into
Position at Sobraon ... ... ... 149



XLIV. Sir Harry Smith detached from the Main
Army— He reduces the Fortresses of
Futteyghur and Dhurmcote— Combines
with Colonel Phillips at Jugraon, and
after changing his Route to Loodiana
encounters the enemy at budowal, and
LOSES Some Part of his Baggage— He re-
UEVES Loodiana, and, being reinforced
AND THE Enemy having retreated, occu-
pies HIS Position at Budowal ...



Its



XLV. The Battles of Auwal and Sobraon— End

OF Sir Harry Smith's Autobiography ... 178



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Vlll CONTENTS.

CHAPTEK PAOB

XLVI. {Supplementary,) Honours and Rewards, and

Knitting of Old Friendships ... ... 196

XLVII. {Supplementary,) In England once more— A
Series of Ovations— London, Ely, Whit-
tlesey, Cambridge— Appointed Governor
OF THE Cape of Good Hope ... ... 213

XLVHI. (JSuppUfnentary,) SOUTH Africa in 1847 — Sir
Harry's Reception at Cape Town and on
THE Frontier— End of the Kafir War-
Extension OF THE Boundaries of the
Colony and Establishment of the Pro-
vince OF "British Kaffraria*'— Visit to
THE Country beyond the Orange and to
Natal— Proclamation of the "Orange
River Sovereignty"— Triumphant Return
TO Cape Town— Disaffection among the
Boers in the Sovereignty— Expedition
thither and battle of boompla ats— re-
TURN TO Cape Town ... ... ... 224

XLIX. {Supplementary,) THE Question of the Estab-
lishment OF A Representative Assembly
in the Cape Colony— The Convict Ques-
tion—Kafir War— Recall of Sir Harry
Smith— His Departure from the Cape ... 251

L. {Supplementary.) Again in England — Last

Years, 1852-1860 ... ... ... ... 294

APPENDIX I. — Memorandum addressed to Sir B.
D'Urban on the Diet and Treatment of
Soldiers in Confinement ... ... 333

APPENDIX II.— Extracts from Harry Smith's Letters

TO his Wife during the Kafir War, 1835 33^

APPENDIX III.— Address of Colonel Smith to the

Caffer Chiefs, tth January, 1836 ... 378



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CONTENTS. IX

PACK

APPENDIX IV. — Extracts from Sir Harry Smith's
Letters from India, to his Sister, Mrs.
Sargant ... ... ... ... ... 384

APPENDIX v.— Sir Harry Smith's Recall from the
Cape—

A, Eai'l Gre^s Despatch ... ...^ ... 400

B. Sir Harry SfmWs " Memoranda " in Reply 405

INDEX 413



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LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS.

VOL. II.



Sir Harry Smith

{Fhm a ficturt painted by Ltvin about 1856.)

Cape Town and Table Mountain

{From a Htkcgrapk, 183a.)

Map to illustrate the Sutlej Campaign, 1845-6
Plan of the Battle of Aliwal
'*Aliwal," Sir Harry Smith's Charger...

(From a picture painted by A. Cooper, R,A. , 1847.)

Government House, Cape Town

(From a lithograph, 1839.)

Map op South Africa, 1847-1854

Plan of the Field of Action at Boomplaats ...

Map of the Eastern Frontier of the Colony
OF the Cape of Good Hope (Seat of the
Kafir War, 1850-1853)

Lady Smith

{Pirom a drawit^ by Jniiem C, Brewer, 1854.)

Sir Harrys Chapel (in St. Mary's Church,
Whittlesey)

(From a vfater^olour by Mrs, B, S. Ward,)



Frontispiece

To /ace p. 12

^ 140
,. 178
►, 218

», 326

., 236
II 242

►, 262
» 300

» 326



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THE AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF

Lt.-Gen. Sir Harry Smith,

BARONET OF ALIWAL, G.C.B.



CHAPTER XXXU.

VOYAGE TO THE CAPE — MILITARY DUTIES AND SPORT,
1 829-1 834 — SIR BENJAMIN d'uRBAN SUCCEEDS
SIR LOWRY COLE AS GOVERNOR OF THE COLONY.

The stormy element, as if to atone for the violence
with which it treated us on our voyage from Nassau,
now behaved most moderately. We had a strong
breeze across the Bay of Biscay, but as it was abaft
the beam we did not feel it, and our whole passage
was one of fine and moderate weather. This was
very fortunate, as the brig was so heavily laden, that
at the beginning of the voyage her main chains
were positively under water. We were well found
in everything, and had the whole after-cabin to
ourselves. The captain was an able navigator,
both nautical and astronomical. He gave me a list
of his stock on board, and requested me to manage
dinner, etc, saying, " There is, I think, plenty, so
that if we live badly you will be to blame ; but die

VOL. II. B



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2 LIFE AT THE CAPE. [Ch. XXXll.

brig is deep and no great sailer at any time, so
calculate on a three months' passage, to make sure.*'

The captain was a most excellent and kind-
hearted man, a regular British tar. During the war
he had been in the Navy, and prided himself on
having been the coxswain of Captain Seymour on
a frigate whose name I forget. "Lord, Sir," he
would say, '' he was a proper taut hand, but a real
gentleman."

During the whole voyage our captain, who had
a studious turn for mathematics and astronomy, was
always hard at work, and highly delighted to explain
the methods of his nautical calculations. He would
exclaim, " Oh ! if I had been so lucky as to have
had a real education, I think I should have made a
mathematician and astronomer.'* He was a large
powerful man, and had a forehead as clear and as
prominent as that of Dr. Chalmers.

Our voyage was more fortunate than the captain
had anticipated, and in eleven weeks we anchored
in Table Bay. I had never been at the Cape
before, but I had heard much of it from part of my
Corps which touched there years before [March,
1807] on their way to Buenos Ayres, and as I had
read every book about it which I could lay my
hands on, I was scarcely in a foreign land. As
soon as I landed, I found that the Governor, my
old and noble General, Sir Lowry Cole, was not at
Government House, but residing in the country. I
then went to look for my dear old friend John Bell
and his noble wife. Lady Catherine. They were in



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1829-34.] Sm LOIVRY COLE. 3

an excellent house of their own, and as rejoiced to
see me as I was to see them. John and My Lady
would hear of nothing but our putting up with them,
Johnny saying, " Harry, you and I and Juana have
fared more sparingly together than we will now."
The carriage was ordered, and John and I went on
board to bring the wife ashore, all delighted at our
happy union after an absence of years.

Next day John and I drove out in his buggy
to breakfast with the Governor. He and Lady
Fiances, that noble and accomplished woman, were
delighted to see me, but oh, how she was altered ! ^
When I first knew her in 1815, a few days after
her marriage, she was in the prime of life, a full-
blown beautiful woman, and the most interesting I
ever knew. As soon, however, as my old recollec-
tion of her was somewhat subdued, I found her
ladyship everything I had a right to expect, the
mother of six beautiful children, whose education
she conducted herself, and my gallant General all
kindness and hospitality.

He and I had a long walk in the garden, when
he said, '' I shall appoint you Commandant of the
Garrison. You are ex officio^ as second in command
to me, the senior Member of Council, and, if any
accident happened to me, the administration of the
government would devolve on you — John Bell, your
senior officer, being Colonial Secretary and holding
no military position."

No man was ever more happily placed than I
was. The quarter in Cape Castle forming the



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4 UFE AT THE CAPE. [Ch. XXXII.

residence of the Governor was excellent, with a
little square in the rear with capital stables and
out-offices. The garrison consisted of one company
of Artillery, the 72nd Highlanders, a magnificent
corps, and the 98th, very highly organized, con-
sidering the short period they had been raised.

My first object was to visit and reduce the
guards, which I soon did very considerably on a
representation to the Governor. The next was to
do away with guards over convicts working on the
road. This could not be effected at once, but such
a friend to the soldier as Sir Lowry was, readily
received my various representations of the ill effects
on discipline of these guards, and, so soon as
arrangements could be made, these were also
abolished. The next guard to dispose of was one
of one sergeant, one corporal, and six privates at
the Observatory, four miles from Cape Town, and
it was not long before the building, or the star-
gazers, discovered that their celestial pursuits could
be carried on without the aid terrestrial of soldiers.

Some months after my arrival, the Kafirs being
on the eve of an outbreak, the Gove£nor,_Slr Lowry
Colej went to the frontier. He requested me to
remain at Cape Town unless a war began, when I
was inunediately to join. I frequently had the
troops bivouacked, and taught them to cook in camp,
piquets, eta, and every other camp duty. On one
occasion I had ball cartridges, every company at
its target, and I had out two six-pounders with their
target. I manoeuvred the troops, so moving the



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1829-34.] HARRY SAfTTH*S DUTIES. 5

targets as to be in their front, and I never saw half
so good target practice with muskets before. The
men were delighted and emulous beyond measure.
The six-pounders, too, made excellent shots, and I
had not a single casualty.

About this time that noble fellow, General
Lord Dalhousie, arrived on his way out to India as ^
Commander-in-Chief. I gave him a capital sham
fight, concluding by storming Fort Amsterdam, at
which he was highly amused. I knew his Lordship
in America,^ and we then and now had many a laugh
at our performances at Vittoria, previously related.

The Kafir war ended in patching up old
treaties, and the Governor returned. About this
time I actbd as Military Secretary and Deputy j
Adjutant-General, holding the appointments of/
Deputy Quartermaster-General and Commandant ; |
and ultimately the appointments of Deputy Adjutant-
General and Deputy Quartermaster General were
blended, and I held both, being called Deputy.
Quartermaster-General.

Horses at the Cape are excellent The breed
had been much improved by Lord Charles Somerset,
the former Governor, by the importation of some
mares and several of the highest-bred English
thoroughbred sires. I soon had a most beautiful
stud. The sporting butcher Van Reenen had an
excellent pack of fox-hounds, which he virtually
allowed me to hunt, and many is the capital run we
had, but over the most breakneck country that

* See vol. i. pp. 340 and 97, 98.



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6 LIFE AT THE CAPE. [Ch. XXXII.

hounds ever crossed — sands covered with the most
beautiful variety of the erica^ ox heath, and barren
hills of driftsands. These are dug up by moles
literally as big as rabbits. Their ordinary holes on
hills and under-excavations no good hunter will fall
in, but in their breeding-holes I defy any horse to
avoid going heels over head, if his fore-legs come
on them, although many old experienced hunters
know them and jump over. I had one little horse
not fourteen hands, descended from Arabs; he
never gave me a fall, and I never failed to bring the
brush to his stable when I rode him ; but with all
other horses I have had some awful falls, particu-
larly after rain, when the sand is saturated with
water and very heavy. Falls of this description are
far more serious than rolling over our fences at home,
where activity enables you to get away from your
horse, as h^ is some seconds or so coming down,
but in a mole-hole you fall like a shot, the horse's
head first coming to the ground, next yours, and he
rolls right over you. When a horse's hind legs go
into a breeding-earth the sensation is awful, and how
the noble animals escape without breaking their
backs remains one of the wonders.

Every shooting-season I made a capital excur-
sion, first to my sporting friend's, Proctor's. He
was a retired officer of the 21st Dragoons, a capital
sportsman, an excellent farmer, a good judge of a
horse, and a better one of how to sell him to those
whom he saw he could make money of. He had a
family of thirteen children ; his wife was a Dutch



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1829-34] SHOOTING. 7

lady, still good-looking. My wife always accom-
panied me, as well as my friend Bob Baillie, of the
72nd Regiment, who was subsequently celebrated
in the sporting magazines as a rider. We started
with an immense waggon, eight horses, every de-
scription of commissariat stores, greyhounds, pointers,
setters, retrievers, terriers, spaniels, and, under
Proctor's guidance, we had capital sport

The partridge-shooting was nearly as good as
grouse-shooting ; the bird, called the grey partridge,
very much resembled the grouse, and was a noble
sporting bird. There is also the red partridge,
large, but stupid to shoot The best sport with
them is to ride them down with spaniels. There
are several sorts of antelopes, which lie in the bushes
and jump up under your feet as hares do. These
you shoot with buck-shot. Near Cape Town there
is only one sort of antelope "on the look-out" like
our fallow deer, grey, very handsome, and fleet,
called by the Dutch the rhee-bok. On the frontier
and in the interior there are a great variety of this
gazing-deer, the most remarkable being the spring-
bok, which is exceedingly swift, parti-coloured or
pied, and they almost fly from you. They have the
power of expanding their long hair on the top of
the back, like opening and shutting a fan. The
bonte-bok is in very large herds. These you are
prohibited to shoot without a special authority from
Government, and the number even which you may
shoot is limited.

The variety of modes of shooting these antelopes



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8 LIFE AT THE CAPE. [Ch. XXXIL

is highly amusing. To shoot the eland, the largest
species, as big as a two-year-old heifer, you go full
speed in a waggon over ground so rough that, what
with the speed, you can hardly hold on and preserve
your guns. The animals, hearing all the noise, stop
to gaze. The waggon is instantly pulled up, and
you fire balls. After such a jolting, he is a steady
fellow who fires with any precision.

You have pheasants, too, inmates of very stiff
and thorny-bushed ravines ; they afford good sport,
but you must shoot them dead, or you will never
find them. There are also several species of the
bustard genus, but near Cape Town only the black
and grey khoran, so called. On the frontier you
have the ordinary bustard, a noble bird and excellent
eating, weighing from 9 to 1 2 lbs., and a species of
great bustard, weighing from 20 to 25 lbs. The latter
is eatable, but coarse. These you shoot with balls.
On the frontier, too, you have buffaloes, elephants,
lions, camelopards, ostriches, etc., so well described
by Major Harris that it is impossible to add to his
faithful account.

Coursing at the Cape is not good. I pursued it
much for the sake of hunting four or five couple of
spaniels. Hares there never sit in the open as in
Europe, but in low stunted bushes — half rabbits.
However, this sort of coursing with the spaniels and
greyhounds teaches your horse to become a hunter,
and by rushing him after hares, he well learns how
to tumble or to avoid tumbles.

In the course of our sporting tour, I used to



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1829-34.] HORSE-BREEDING. 9

visit the breeding establishments (then called kraals)
of all the great breeders, I think, Melk, Kotze,
Proctor, Van Reenen, Van der Byl, etc. Melk has
six hundred mares, all running out in unenclosed
fields. With such an establishment you would
expect that he could show you three or four hundred
one, two, and three year olds (for they are all sold
by this age). He can never show more than seventy
or eighty colts of the year, and the rest of the
breeders can show no higher proportion. The
di(Ht>ughbred mares are invariably in miserable
condition, the cock-tails fat and sleek. Many of the
mares, etc., are afflicted with a disease from an ac-
cumulation of sand in their stomachs and intestines.
It was thought far beneath the dignity of a
gentleman at the Cape to ride or drive mares, but
seeing that the niares were far finer and larger than
the horses, and one-fifth of the price, I bought from
Proctor two immense mares, as like English hunters
as possible, for ;^45 ; a thoroughbred mare, 16 hands
high, four years old, for my wife (a beautiful creature
which very much delighted Lord Dalhousie) ; and
another thoroughbred mare, 15 J. They were the
four finest horses in Cape Town. One of the
carriage mares ruptured her bladder in the carriage,
and died in a few hours. The large thoroughbred
got a most tremendous fall out hunting, nearly broke
my neck, and was chest-foundered ever afterwards.
The other two I sold remarkably well. By some
accident I never set up mares in my establishment
again, but I was never so elegantly horsed.



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lO LIFE AT THE CAPE. [Ch. XXXII.

What with my military duties and those of
Council, I led a far from idle life, and there is an
elasticity in the atmosphere at the Cape which
conduces to a desire to take violent rides. The sun
never heats you. I have ridden 140 miles in thirty
hours to go to look at a horse or buy one, or to
look at a particular line of country. I have been
out shooting in the middle of the summer from day-
light to dark, the sun like a furnace, the pummel of
the saddle like a red-hot poker, your gun-barrel,
after a few rapid shots, so heated you almost fear to
reload, then come home at night (or slept out in



Online LibraryHarry George Wakelyn SmithThe autobiography of Lieutenant-General Sir Harry Smith, baronet of Aliwal on the Sutlej, G.C.B.; → online text (page 1 of 32)