site side of the gully, sometimes within one hundred yards, and a steady and busy firing went on. On the right wing, however, which consists of the grenadier company of the 40th, and part of the naval brigade, and which overlapped the head of the gully, a distressing fire was maintained from a broad ditch, and the order was given to fix bayonets and charge. The natives, lying down with loaded guns, started up when the line was within a few yards: their numbers were great, their guns double barrels, and they fairly shook the advancing party. They closed, however, and a hand to hand fight followed, in which many fell; one big fellow of the 40th is said to have bayonneted six of the enemy, and was then shot down. Some white-skinned scoundrel was among the enemy, directing them, and, I fear, escaped hanging by getting shot. The grenadier company lost thirty-three men killed and wounded, chiefly in this struggle.
Whilst this was going on, the Maories [Maoris], came pouring in from the back country, and outflanked our men, and, after holding out as long as he thought fair to the men, no reinforcement arriving, Major Nelson ordered a retreat. An attempt was made to follow by a perfect crowd of natives, when the artillery, which had been run off diagonally to cover the retreat, threw in a few rounds of grape, and one discharge made, it is said, "a lane through them" and they gave up the attempt to pursue.
The parties in the rear had meanwhile been engaged with natives on the ridge on which stands the pah, and had cut off some who were endeavouring to escape on that side; they were part of them stationed in high fern and tutu, and the crowd from inland had nearly surprised them. When the bugle sounded the retreat, they were separated from the main body by the low ground over which they had advanced. They had been taken to their position by the celebrated chief Ihaia, he is still suffering from some scorbutic complaint contracted in the long siege of the Karaka pah, and being half lame and knocked up, had to crawl back to the camp, where he arrived at eleven o'clock, covered with mud, thorns, and thistle seed. He did his duty, and it is fair to mention him here, as he might be forgotten, and his whole fierce and energetic mind is bent on aiding our cause. b His absence, however, left the rear party without a guide, and possibly was in part the reason of the loss by this rearward division. Lieutenant Brooke was killed in a swamp, fighting several natives with his sword, till a cut on the wrist disabled him, and he fell by the blows of their tomahawks. The rearward party left thirteen men on the ground; only one wounded man escaped, the whole retreat having to be hardly fought against great odds.
The whole loss on our side, was, as far as I could learn,
40th Regiment.. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. 46
Naval Brigade .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. . .. .. 10
Artillery.. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .... .. 5
Of these twenty-nine were killed and thirty-two wounded: one of the latter has since died. Among the killed was Lieutenant Brooke; and among the wounded was Captain Seymour, of the Pelorus; but I am glad to say his would is not likely to deprive us long of his invaluable
It is worth recording that the natives were observed to dispense with the ramrod in loading; their balls going easily down their guns, the butts of which they struck wo or three times on the ground. The practice has been common among French soldiers, and with double-barrelled guns, at close quarters, where precision is of little importance, it is very effective.
From the spectators of this flight, and the few who joined it of their own choice, we hear but one tale. Every one fought with steady, active courage; no one skulked; officers and men alike did their duty under great odds, and a fire at times of a fierceness that astonished veterans of the Indian service. The natives, it is said, are warriors equal to the Sikhs. I hear the names Ferozeshah, Sobraon, the Redan, used to describe the sort of conflict. It was no disgrace, then, to be repelled. We may be proud of the 27th June, at Puketakanere. One man there was, who could have made this affair a decisive victory. It was at hand, but it was withheld. Not only are the rebels unconquered, but the bodies of our dead lie unburied, or are indebted to the enemy for burial. Here was no divided responsibility, no orders to hamper, it lay in the powers of the of the Commander of the Forces, to co-operate, to succour, or promptly to retrieve. One after another he neglected or declined those opportunities as they passed. He did not create a diversion; he delayed when he should have hurried to relieve; and he marched his eager men back to quarters when he should have gone forward to renew the strife. It is true that all was quiet when he should have gone forward to renew the strife. It is true that all was quiet when he left Mahoetalu; but for aught he knew, it might be the quiet of death. I know something will be said about the town; but the town was not unprotected. Here is, roughly, the state of the force we had on Wednesday, the 27th: -
At Waitara .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. 500
With Colonel Gold .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. 300
At Bell Rock . .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. 50
At Omato .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. . . . .. .. .. .. .. 70
At Tataraimaka .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. 200
In town .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. 800
Reducing the number here stated by 100 for invalids have a force surely able to maintain itself and protect the barracks, in which on an emergency, we should secure the helpless. Nor has war yet made us so selfish that any one interested in the town can look on the brave soldiers at the outposts as strangers, or grudge some risk to ourselves that succour should be afforded them in their need. They are British citizens and subjects was well as we, and entitled to the same support as we. Where the work is to be done or the danger imminent, the force ought to be. I see no justification of the course of Colonel Gold on Wednesday. I will not fail l to give it its proper name, for here is no pleasure in using harsh words, and mild ones will not express my opinions. It is fitter for me to be a mere analyst, and easier to leave the facts without further remark to yourself and the public. In
the nature of things, it must surely be that some way exists of removing a person so unfit as Colonel Gold from a station of such great trust as he now occupies. I desire no more. And the emergency is too grave for me to hesitate about saying that this is absolutely necessary.
The officers engaged were -
Naval Brigade - Captain Seymour, wounded; 1st Lieutenant Battisomb, Midshipman Wadlow, Midshipman
Garnett, Lieutenant Morris, Royal Marine Artillery.
Royal Engineers - Lieutenant Mould.
Royal Artillery - Lieutenant McNaughten.
49th Regiment - Major Nelson, Lieutenant Brooke (killed), Lieutenants Dowman, Jackson, and Rees, Ensign and Adjutant Wheelan.
The following is the list of the killed and wounded in the two companies of the 40th Regiment, which were engaged in the recent engagement at Waitara. All the poor fellows belonged to the portion or the regiment recently stationed in Melbourne:- Grenadier Company; Killed - Corporal McBurney, Corporal Ryan, Lance- Corporal Martin; Privates:James Burns, John Downes, John Gill, James Gore, William Higgle, Adam McCann, George Marsden, Fr. Robinson, John Webber. Wounded - Private Burgess, George Fisher, A. Ford, Michael Head, Thomas Logan, L. Hogan, James Smith, John Sonmy, Light Company: Killed - Lieutenant Brooks, Sergeant O'Callaghan, Corporal Vabey, Lance-Corporal Hayes, Samuel Abery, John Allen, P. Broderick, W. Cliff, John Douglas, Thomas Dumphy, P. Eagan, James Fillingham, Charles Gallagher, George Harris, P. McCale, W. Markham, W. Perry, W. Scott, Wounded - C. Baker, T. Bryant, J. Bourke, J. Channing, L. Lucas, G. Lynch, Thomas McGuire (mortally), John McCarthy, James Molton, J. Murphy, J. Numan, J. Plunkett, C. Smith, P. O'Brien.
The following account of the battle at Waitara, contained in a letter from a private soldier of the light company of the 40th, gives some interesting particulars of the engagement. It will be seen that the writer makes no allusion to any want of support on the part of Colonel Gold, but attributes the repulse to the overwhelming number of Maories: -
"Camp Waitara, 29th June, 1860
My Dear Charlie - I should have written you before now were it not that I have been over head and ears at work.
What between fatigue duties and guards I have not had a moment's time to myself; at the same time I do not think I could have filled the first page of a sheet of note-paper with anything worth informing you of, with the exception of a stray forage for fresh beef, and then nothing to speak of. We have had plenty to do of hard work in the shape of throwing up entrenchments and building huts - called warries - for wintering in; and now we are, I am glad to say, a little more comfortable. But we have come to hard blows with the savages at last, and with terrible loss. I am sorry to say, in proportion to the numbers engaged to us. On the 27th (the day before yesterday), I went through my first battle, and had most wonderful escapes. Thank God I came out of the slaughter in safety, but if such another engagement takes place, I can hardly expect to be so lucky. At four o'clock in the morning we marched away from our camp to attack a pah, which lies about a mile and a half from ours, and situated most admirably as a position for defence - you must wait for a full description at some future period - it is, however, built on an eminence, and in the vicinity surrounding it patches of exceedingly high fern, which as long as we were under fire from the pah, afforded us a very good cover, but as you shall hear, turned out badly for us as the day advanced. We had one 24-lb. gun and a 12-lb. which took up a position within 300 yards of the pah. You must understand that in all Col. Gold's captures of pahs, he has failed entirely to invest them properly, and thus the Maories escaped by
some outlet unknown to the British. But on this occasion, Major Nelson of ours, who commanded, departed from this plan, and, notwithstanding the paucity of numbers (between three and four hundred of all arms) attempted to surround the pah. About daylight our artillery opened fire upon the Maories position, and very soon a breach was made in the wooden works; in the meantime, the plan of investment was carried on by the grenadiers advancing (under cover, and extending as they went) round the left, while our light company and No. 4 went round by the right, the latter left covering the guns. I happened to be on the right with my own company. While extending, we gradually kept closing
upon the pah, so that our company and the grenadiers might unite, thus effecting the investment. It was here that the Maories left the pah, fancying, and correctly, that their retreat would be cut off, and, under cover of the ferns, advanced in clouds upon us; at the same time, hundreds sprang up in our rear. Men who wear the Victoria cross in our regiment say they never heard such a heavy fire of musketry, while it lasted, as the did here. The Maories being accustomed to fight in the fern, which in some places was four or five feet high, had the best of it,