Diary of Cyp
Major Commanding 58th Regiment
personal diary of Lt Bridge involving his time in the New Zealand Wars of 1845-46,
in which our ancestor Pte. Jamie Sinclair was also involved.
Published with permission from the Russell Museum, New Zealand.
Te Whare Taonga O Kororareka.)
(According to our Ancestor Jamie Sinclair's(1811-1850) military records when he retired from the army on the 12th March 1847, “it appears that his conduct has been that of a tolerably good Soldier – was present at the asault of Ohaeawai Pah on the 1st July 1845, also at the taking of Kawiti's Pah on the 11th Jan, 1846.” signed by Lt Colonel Jackson 99th)
APRIL 4th 1845: Received orders to hold the Head Quarters of the 58th Regiment, stationed at Parramatta, in readiness to embark on the shortest notice for New Zealand, on special service, alarming accounts having just been received from thence of another outbreak amongst the natives, and the total destruction of one of the principal Settlements in the Bay of Islands, and the company of 13 Europeans killed and 19 wounded.
APRIL 10th: Embarked at Sydney on board the Slains Castle, freight ship, with the Headquarters as per margin, (Offrs. 10 S. 20 C. & P. 177 Drs. 8) for Auckland. I had a most excellent run to the North Cape of New Zealand, making it on the 6th day, when the wind failed us, and the weather became foul.
APRIL 18th & 19th: Becalmed outside the Gulph of Houraki
APRIL 20th: Were beating it through the Great Barrier Reef and Cape Colville about 10 p.m., when the wind died suddenly away and left us becalmed close under Cape Colville. Saw some fires on shore, and, not knowing what might be the disposition of the natives towards us, or whether they might feel disposed to come after us, and attack us, I turned up the Watch with their arms and ammunition to be prepared. Breeze sprung up about 1 a.m., and we beat into the Gulph.
APRIL 21st: Wind dead ahead. Still beating up the Gulph. Fine stiff breeze – expect to reach the harbour before dark. Wind died away in the evening. Obliged to drop anchor outside, about 4 miles from the proper harbour.
JUNE 15th: Sunday. Very Heavy rain most of the night and morning - cleared up about noon- was in hopes we should have gone up to the Kidi-Kidi to-day, but they are busy getting out the horses and stores from the Sovereign, and she will have to be hove down and repaired before she will be fit to receive troops to put to sea again. This unlucky accident will detain us some time. We ought to have been in Waimati this afternoon had it not happened.
JUNE 16th: Sailed for Kiri-Kiri at daylight. Reached the anchorage about 11 a.m. After getting ashore on a rock and sticking there about 10 minutes – troops landed as soon as possible – last Division marched off about 5 ½ p.m. And reached Kiri-Kiri 7 ½. Slept at Mr Kemp's
JUNE 17th: Marched from Kiri-Kiri to the Waimati about 1 noon. Had a most tedious and harrassing march owing to the heavy loads of ammunition, camp equipment, stores and guns – 2 drays broke down and the barrels of small arm ammunition had to be carried in by the men on their backs. A Captn., Subt. And 50 men remained out all night to guard one of the Drays. A similar party was left with the other, and a subaltern and 20 men remained with a gun which could not be brought on, the bullocks and horses being quite done up. I came on with the Advanced Guard, and brought in 30 casks of ammunition, and reached Waimati about 12 at night. Col. Despard and the Main Body came in about an hour after, Lt. Col. Hulme and Capt. Grant's party not till 2 ½ a.m., bringing in only one cart out of 4 – found good accomodation for the men and officers, but before we got them all housed, and I, as F.O. of the day, had posted the Piquets, it was past 4, and I laid down quite exhausted with the day's work, having been on my legs from 7 a.m. On the 17th till 4 ½ a.m. On the 18th, and wet through, without the means or opportunity of changing.
JUNE 18th : A beautiful morning – one gun came in early and another about noon, and in the course of the afternoon all the other carts and stores were brought up, having sent off fresh teams of bullocks and horses and the guards with them – the latest about 4 p.m., having been out all night without food or covering of any description for 29 hours! Tamati Waka and other Friendly Chiefs visited us, and their people came loaded with potatoes, pigs, duck, geese, etc., for the use of the troops. In the evening, Pomare and another Chief arrived from Kawa Kawa, to join Waka, and to show their allegiance to Government, carrying a fine white flag with the Union Jack in one corner of it. Pomare brought a letter from Capt. Milne of British Sovereign, stating that he had recd. every assistance from him in the overhauling his vessel, and that Pomare had left 20 or 30 of his men at Whapao (?Te Wahapu) to assist and protect him. The vessel had not received much damage. A European arrived from Hokianga, and reported that he had seen at least 100 of Heki's men on the hills near this, watching our movements. Indeed Mr Burrows had seen many on a hill within a mile all day yesterday and this morning, also evidently watching us.
JUNE 19th : Very wet morning. It was reported that Heki, who had been away to some hot springs, had returned to his Pa, and was determined to hold out to the last against the troops – his strength computed at 5 or 600 – Kowitti's not included – sent drays to Kiri for more supplies.
JUNE 20th : Had another visit from Waka who wished to see the whole of the soldiers paraded. Col. Despard promised to let him see them tomorrow – sent off an escort of a Captn., Subn,. And 100 R. & F. to meet the drays on the Kiri-Kiri Road, and assist them in. A small party of Friendly natives accompany'd them. They returned about 7 p.m. All safe, after having had some trouble in getting the drays along, and one or two upsets.
JUNE 21st : Another wet morning, and showers all day, so that Waka and his people did not come in to see the troops. I had a small field day of my own, and the natives were much pleased at the movements to the bugle sound. Reported to-day that Heki had again left the Pa, and that Kowitte said he was tired waiting for us, and if we did not come soon, he would be off too.
JUNE 22nd : A report to-day that Heki was dead - that he died last Thursday, and had been carried to Kai Kohe, and that they wished to keep it secret. All the troops went to Church except a reconnoitring party of the 2 Light Companies. These Col. Despard took with him to examine the state of the road leading to Heki's Pa. Mr Burrows read prayers and preached a very good sermon. A letter from Waka himself was received confirming the report of Heki's death. God grant it may be true, and that peace may soon be restored to this fine country and the natives become more civilised.
JUNE 23rd : All turned out at 3 a.m. - was near 5, however before all was ready to march to Ohaiawhi – Heki's Pa. Commanded the Advance Guard, being F.O. of the day. The road was so bad and some of the streams so difficult to get the drays over that we did not reach the Pa (which is only 6 miles) till 3 p.m. Waka's men had a skirmish with the enemy just as we approached the Pa. They drove them out of a wood in which they were laying in ambush for us, and a small village, into the Pa. We took possession of the village, which was within 400 yards of the Pa on the crest of a hill, and on this site we pitched our tents, under the brow of the hill. The enemy did not fire a shot, nor did we. During the night our pioneers threw up a breastwork and battery for the 4 guns, about 60 yards nearer the Pa than the camp. Unfortunately, no better or more distant position for them could be taken up, except on the high hill to the right, which Waka had taken up his position on, and which might be about 600 yards – point blank – from the top of it to the Pa. This appears to be a very strongly built stockade of an oblong shape, with a double fence all round, closely loop-holed at the bottom and thickly barricaded on the outer fence with the Phormium tenax (native flax) and with flanking angles on every side.
JUNE 24th : The action commenced this morning on our side. The 4 guns battery opened its fire on the Pa, but did no execution. The enemy never returned a shot for some time. About 10 a.m. they commenced, and musket shots were exchanged, but all their balls passed over our heads. One volunteer was hit in the battery, and one on the hill, and one of our Light Company men was shot through the wrist, by his lefthand man, by accident. A native too was wounded on the hill. A constant fire was kept up by the guns, of shell, ball and grape, till dusk. Many hit and burst into the Pa, and I fancy they must have lost many men – all quiet during the night, and, altho' our Pioneers and working parties were throwing up a breastwork and battery for the guns in another position, more to the right and nearer the Pa, they never molested them.
JUNE 25th : The guns, being brought into the new battery, within 200 yards of the Pa, great hopes were entertained that a breach would soon be made. The natives fired the first shots from the Pa this morning, and the guns commenced about 8 a.m., and made some very good practice, both from the hill and the new battery. Many shells burst in the ditches and the Pa, but owing to the elasticity and tenacity of the flax, which closes up as the ball goes thro' it, it was impossible to see what extent of damage was done to the fences, and no practicable breach was made, owing, I think, to the shots not being all directed to the one point, and to the fire not being kept up - ½ an hour elapsing between each shot, but the Col. Despard's directions – lost one of my Grenadiers to-day. He was shot a little to the right of the battery, where I had posted about 15 good marksmen to fire at anyone that showed themselves in the Pa. The shot came thick enough about us in the battery, but the mantle of the flax protected us. Some balls came in at the port holes thro' which the guns fired, and strange they hit no one. Poor Doherty was the only man hit to-day. The Col., finding it impractable to breach it, determined on storming the Pa to-night, and ordered ladders etc, to be ready at 2 in the morning. The forlorn hope and attacking parties, one of which I was to command, and supports were told off, and I lay down to sleep with no pleasurable sensation as to the occupation of the morning, doubting the successful issue of the night attack, although British valour generally carries everything before it – still there must be a frightful sacrifice of life. It rained very heavily after midnight, and at 1 when the piquets were called in to form the storming parties, it was raining so hard that the attack was countermanded, much to my satisfaction – hope some less hazardous mode of attacking the Pa may be fixed on.
JUNE 26th : Very wet morning. The guns kept up a fire on the Pa all day, every ½ hour, and the Colonel commanding, Engineer and Artillery officers were reconnoitring the ground for a new spot for a battery. They fixed on one close to the right flank of the Pa, and the Battery was to be constructed during the night – some smart firing on our Battery and advanced Piquets, but without doing any injuries.
JUNE 27th : Visited my piquets early this morning, which were extended as far as the place where they were erecting the new Battery - so close to the Pa that I was surprised the enemy did not make an attack on them – reinforced the guard over the working party before daylight. The Battery was completed about 8 a.m., and opened its fire, so did the other Batteries, for they had divided the guns (a very bad plan I think). This brought on a very hot fire on the new Battery, which was so close that many of our men were wounded, and one sailor shot dead at the gun. The storming parties were all brought down and formed in rear of this Battery, under cover of a wall, and the crest of the hill, to wait a favourable opportunity for making a rush on the Pa, as it was believed the guns would soon make a breach. The bullets were flying over us all the time, and we could not move without a shot being fired on us. We lay there for 2 or 3 hours, and at length about 3 p.m., we received orders to return to the camp. No breach was made, and the storming was again given up. About 5 or 6 p.m., the enemy made a sortie from the Pa to endeavour to cut off the guns (whilst the guns were being withdrawn) and party in this Battery but were repulsed. 2 more of our men were wounded and one volunteer, and the enemy must have suffered – 3 men were seen to fall. The whole of the troops were under arms, and we expected a general sally from the Pa, but the fire gradually ceased towards dark, and after that, Tomati Waka and other Chiefs informed us that they had got information of an intended attack on our camp at night. Every necessary precautions were taken to guard against surprise, and we passed rather an anxious night. Had they done so there must have been terrific slaughter, for we had no breastworks around us to defend us, and our tents being pitched in a hurry, without any order, were so crowded up with the huts that the men could not find room to form, and would not have been able to act. The Colonel determined on altering the position of the encampment next day.
JUNE 28th : All passed off quitely during the night, except that one of the sentries of the Piquets was fired at. Another gun was taken up the hill, and these kept up a fire during the day. Whilst the troopers were occupied in striking and repitching their tents, forming a street between them for the men to fall in. The day was fine, except a few showers towards evening. Went of the hill and reconnoitred the Pa. There appeared a good deal of damage done to it, altho' no breach was discernable. A few men and women were seen moving about. Very few shots were fired from the Pa to-day – our guns did good execution – nearly every shot told – a very wet stormy night, with thunder and lightning.
JUNE 29th : Sunday. About 2 a.m. Two shot or shell were fired into the Pa from the hill, which must have astonished the weak minds of the natives. About 8 a.m. An alarm was given that the enemy were making a sortie. The whole turned out and fell in in a very few minutes. After a short time it was proved to be a false alarm – only a small party of natives were going out to get potatoes and firewood, who, when fired on, returned into the Pa. Soon after this I was sent for by Col. Despard, who informed me it was his intention to take the Pa by storm before daylight the following morning. God grant we may be successful, but it is a very hazardous step, and must be attended with great loss of life. The enemy did not fire a shot at us to-day, but we heared their bell ringing, and these savages showed more respect to the Sabbath day than did our soldiers. Ascended the hill in the afternoon and saw a few cannon shot thrown into the Pa with great precision, but from the elasticity of the flax, which closed up as the shot passed thro' it, the extent of the damage done to the Palisades could not be seen. Mr Turnour returned from Kiri Kiri with the good news that the 32 pounder which had been sent for was at Waimati, and would be up before morning – thought it was a pity, as it was so near at hand, that the attack ahould be made on the Pa before it arrived as it might open up a breach for us, and be the means of saving many lives. Finding this was the general opinion, and that I was requested to suggest the same to Col. Despard, I consulted the Commanding Officers of the other Corps, Lt. Col. Hulme and Brevet-Major McPherson, who agreed with me, and the proposal was made, and after some objections Col. Despard entered into our views, and the assualt on the Pa in the morning was countermanded.
JUNE 30th : The enemy sallied out this morning and attacked our piquets to the right and left – some very smart skirmishing on the right and a party of Friendly Natives, under Moses Tawhi, went round thro' the wood, and attacked them in flank, which soon drove them back. After this a very smart action took place between Moses's party and the defendants in rear of the Pa, which I had the satisfaction of witnessing from the top of the hill – a pretty specimen of native skirmishing, at which they are very efficient – whilst a hot fire was kept up on Moses's party from the rear face of the Pa. Many of the enemy were seen to steal out at the left rear angle of it, and, under cover of a low hill and scrub, they advanced on and attacked Moses in flank, on which he retired in very good skirmishing order to the wood from where he had made his approach, and returned to his Pa, He had 2 or 3 men wounded, but none killed. A hot fire was kept up all day upon us from every face and angle of the Pa, as if to make amends for yesterday's silence. One Grenadier of the 99 th was killed, and one native was shot thro' the back whilst standing near the hospital tent, where a crowd had collected by the arrival of the drays containing the 32 pounder and carraige on which on seeing the bullocks the enemy poured in a hot fire on them ; the attacking parties, one under my command and the other under Col. Hulme, we were all marched off to our respective stations, preparatory to making our attack. I was posted under cover of a thick clump of trees, in front of the left angle of the Pa. the point of attack, and whilst here, there was an awful pause – the defendants ceased firing, and not a sound was heard except the occasional report of a cannon from the hill, the Colonel having ordered a few shot and shell to be thrown in before we sounded the “Advance”, when we were all to rush rapidly on the Pa and endeavour to force an entrance. What were then the thoughts of many a brave fellow, whose spirit might soon be wafted into eternity? As for myself, I thought only of my darling wife and poor old mother, and how deeply they would feel my loss if I fell in this engagement, and I offered up a prayer to Almighty God to grant me His protection for their sakes, unworthy as I am, and with a full reliance on my fate being in His hands, did I calmly await the signal to advance. After waiting about ¼ of an hour, I was asked by the Brigade Major if I was ready and answered “yes”, and shortly after the bugle sounded the “advance”, and with a hearty British “hurrah”, on we rushed, and so quickly did we follow up Major McPherson's party (according to order) that the foremost men were at the Pallisades as soon as his. For the first 5 or 6 minutes – although I always had my misgivings as to our success – I thought it was all right, and that we should force our way in, but when I got up close to the fence and saw the strength of it, and the way it resisted the united efforts of our brave fellows to pull it down, and saw them falling thickly all around, my heart sank within me lest we be defeated. The Militia Volunteers too, who carried the hatchets, bill-hooks and ladders, would not advance, but laid down on their faces in the fern. Only one ladder was placed against the fence, and this by an old man of the Militia, and a sailor was shot dead endeavouring to climb over the pallisade by it, and fell inside the Pa. Scout officers were cutting ties with their swords, and pulling up a portion of the fence which they had partially loosened, when a bugle in rear sounded “Retreat”. This at first was thought to be a mistake, and was not attended to, for all went to work supposing the Pa must be taken, or die in the attempt. After a little it was repeated, and then all that were left prepared to obey its summons, carrying off the wounded with us. We had suffered very severely, and many were killed and wounded whilst retiring, as the enemy increased their fire upon us, as soon as they saw us retreat. This failure is attributed by Col. Despard to the ladders and axes not having been brought up by those appointed to carry them, but in my opinion we should not have succeded if they had been brought up, but possibly have lost more men. The fact is, the attack, (which, with the small force we had, ought not to have been made at all), was directed …......... (part of sentence missing) gun was, however taken up thro' it all to its intended position on the side of Waka's hill. In the evening the drays were sent back to Waimati, with as many wounded as could go in them, under the escort of Lt. Morgan and 5 sailors of the Hazard who came up with the gun. The piquets were increased to-night, and a man of every tent kept on sentry, an attack was apprehended at night.
JULY 1st : A beautiful morning. The defendents commenced the action this morning by firing on our piquets and the party engaged completing the Battery for the 32 pounder, also on those on the hill-top. Mustered my men this morning. It was about 11 a.m. before the 32 pounder opened its fire. After it had fired several rounds with good effect, a sudden attack was made on Waka's position on the hill, from the thick bush in the rear, and so bad a lookout had his people kept that they were completely surprised. The sentry of the 58th Regt. at the gun was shot and young Mr Clarke, the Interpreter wounded before they knew whence the shots came, then a general retreat commenced, Waka's men and women running down in the greatest consternation, and carrying our people with them. Col. Despard happened to be in the lower battery at the time, and he ran down towards the encampments where the troops had already fallen in, bearing the “alarm”, and, seeing the hill was taken, calling out for me and the 58th , and ordered us to charge up the hill immediately and retake it. This we did in double quick time, cheering all the way, and carrying the hill in a few minutes, under a hot cross fire from the Pah as well as those who had possesion of it, We had 2 men wounded going up, and the sentry killed on the top – found one of Heki's slaves dead on the top and a poor women of Waka's tribe was shot thro' the body. Her husband was absent at the time the hill was taken, with Waka in the bush. On finding his wife wounded on his return, he was nearly frantic, and was nigh putting an end to himself – he had to be held. It was a most affecting sight. The object of this attack was evidently to get possesion or to kill Waka, for 3 men rushed immediately to his hut, and pointed their muskets at the very corner he always occupied, and so intent were they on shooting him that they let his wife and a European escape from the hut, whilst they satisfied themselves that he was not lying under the blankets. It was fortunate for Waka, and us too, that he had gone out with about 20 of his men to try and cut off some of the enemy's foragers, for they had come out and either shot or taken prisoner a man of the Light Company of the 99th this morning, who had ventured too far, whilst foraging for potatoes. Col. Despard desired me to leave Capt. Thompson and 60 men on the hill and to march the rest of my men back to camp. After this he informed me it was his intention to storm the Pah at 3 o'clock. The men were ordered to get their dinners, and we all sat down to ours and made a hearty meal, notwithstanding the feeling that it might be our last. At 3 all fellin, and the 2.............(part of sentence missing) on the strongest part of the stockade, where the guns had done no damage, when 50 or 60 yds. to the right, the fence was very much battered by the cannon shells. Had the Force been double what it was, we might have tried storming, for then we could have sent a fresh party to support and assist the first, which, in all probability, would have intimidated the enemy and made them leave the Pah in disorder. This he was unable to do, as he had but 80 men in his Reserve. Poor Grant was shot thro' the head close to the Palisade (I brought his Forage Cap off the Field). Lt. Phillpots also fell close to him shot thro' the heart. Bt. Major McPherson was wounded in the back, and Lieut. Beatty in the right side, and Ensign O'Reilly had his right arm shattered just at the elbow joint.
It was a heartrending sight to see the numbers of our gallant fellows left dead on the Field, and to hear the groans and cries of the wounded for us not to leave them behind. Several fine fellows behaved very well in returning two or 3 times to bring off a wounded comrade, thro' a hot fire, and one man in particular (Private Whitethread of 58th ) carried off 5 or 6 not only of his own Regt., but the 99th as well. Lt. Col. Hume covered our retreat in very good style. After we got off all the wounded we could get at, Mr Williams, the missionary, who was in the camp, came and asked the Colonel's permission to carry a flag of truce towards the Pa to get out dead, and having got it he went towards it, but the savages would not allow him to approach, and told him to go back and come next morning, After this, they assembled and danced one of the most savage and frightful war-dances I ever heard, in exultation of their victory and defiance of the Pakehas (the white people). It was nearly dark before we returned to Camp, tired and dispirited and disgusted beyond expression at having been defeated by a mob of savages, and with such fearful loss too. Exclusive of officers, there were found to be 74 N.C. Officers and Privates wounded, and 36 killed or missing. The two surgeons were employed more than half the night attending to the wounded. Many were very severe, and several amputations were performed. I went round the tents, in almost all of which there were 2 or more wounded men, to see if I could be of any use, whilst the doctors were engaged with the most serious cases. We passed a wretched night, during the whole of which the savage enemy were yelling and shouting and threatening to attack us in the morning, and make Kiki (food) of us all, whilst now and again the most frightful screams were heard to issue from the Pa, as if from some poor wretch being tortured. These horrid sounds positevely struck terror and dismay into the hearts of the men on piquet, some of whom actually left their posts and came into the Camp. They were so horrified by these dreadful cries.
JULY 2nd : After a most anxious night, we turned out an hour before daylight. No attack was made. Both Mr. Williams and Mr Burrows returned from Waimati this morning, and went over to the Pa to endeavour to get our dead delivered over to us, but they refused to give them up unless we would sign a treaty of peace for 4 days, at first, but afterwards not till we agreed to go away and promise peace for one month, but this, of course, was refused, and the corpses laid exposed another day where they fell. Poor Grant and Phillpots lie close to one another, near the left fence of the Pa. Grant is stripped of his red jacket and belts.
We remained quiet today, In the evening the enemy danced a War Dance in the Pa, and afterwards all the friendly tribes collected and danced in front of our camp. They mustered about 300 and made a fearful noise. After it was over, they fired one shot over the Pa in defiance. About 8 o'clock the enemy fired several shots at our piquets and camp – were all turned out, but it was not kept up long. Passed another anxious night, fully expecting an attack before morning. All passed off quietly, however.
JULY 3rd : About 10 a.m. A white flag was seen displayed over the Palisades and one of the enemy waving it and calling out to us to send over Mr. Williams for our dead bodies. Waka answered him from his hill and proposed that they should carry them half way towards our camp, and that we would bring them the rest of the way. To this they agreed and we were occupied at this mournful task almost the whole day. It was most disgusting too see the manner in which some of the bodies were mutilated, and the want of respect shown to some of them, even by our own natives. Poor Phillpots was scalped and had his head severed from his body – another the skull battered in – and a third had the flesh all burned and torn off his thighs, and a hole in his body, with his clothes and flesh singed, proving that a red hot iron had been thrust into him. His arms were extended, stiff over his head, and his wrists and ankles bore the marks of having been tied together with flax. This was the poor fellow of the 99 th who was missed on the 1 st July, and who had evidently been taken prisoner, and put to death and tortured in this inhuman and savage manner, and whose screams were heard the whole night of the 1 st. All the dead were brought away except poor Grant, and his body was not to be found. They said they had buried it and would not give it up – went to Col. Despard to report this, and request he would ask Tamati Waka to write to Kowitte or some Chief in the Pa, and endeavour to get poor Grant's body given up to us – met with a most ungracious and unfeeling reception, and was told I was too fond of “interfering”. As every one who is rash enough to offer an opinion generally is by him. Waka, however, did write, and Mr. Williams went again to endeavour to get them to give up the body, but without success. They persisted in saying they had buried it, and would not let us have it unless we agreed to go away and make peace, nor would they show Mr. Williams where he was buried. In the evening we followed the remains of the poor fellows whose bodies we recovered to the grave. It was a melancholy sight to see 30 fine young fellows, cut off in the very prime of manhood, and in the midst of health, buried in one grave. Mr Williams read the funeral service over them in a very impressive manner. Poor Phillpot's body was reserved, to be taken to Waimati, and buried there in consecrated ground.
Tamati Waka received information this evening that the enemy intended to attack us at night, as well as his Pa on the hill. The attack would be made from three quarters at once, and the signal for the rush on the camp would be one gun fired from the Pa. The piquets were posted with care, and cautioned to be very vigilant. Were turned out shortly after dark by a shot, which proved to be a false alarm, and twice more during the night were we all turned out by shots firing which we found were by the friendly natives – it rained heavily all night. Major McPherson was sent off to Waimati this evening – hope he'll reach it in safety.
JULY 4th : All quiet in the Pa this morning – our men occupied in throwing breastwork of scoria around the camp. Poor Beatty not so well this morning. He is a most excellent patient and bears his severe wound with greatest cheerfulness. The drays expected from Waimati did not come in till late, which caused us some alarm, lest they might have been cut off, as well as our unfortunate wounded at Waimati, and we have 19 yet to send down – think they will not be safe at the Waimati unless we follow to protect them, and what good we are doing remaining here inactive I cannot see.
JULY 5th : Proposals were made this morning to the Friendly Natives to carry down the remainder of our wounded, but they would not do it without being promised 4 blankets each. This exorbitant demand was, of course, refused and stretchers are being made to enable us to carry them ourselves, the Colonel, at least having come to the determination of leaving the place, fearing some attack might be made upon our sick if unprotected at the Waimati, and that the enemy might cut off the communications and our supplies – was summoned to attend a meeting of the Friendly Chiefs, who Col. Despard had sent for to inform of his intention of breaking up the camp and returning to the Waimati, explaining to them that we could do no good by remaining where we were, that our men would be getting sick by being longer exposed to such hard duty, cold and wet, and that our wounded were not safe in the Waimati, without our being there, nor had we any means of sending the remainder down, and we must take them ourselves. This intimation seemed to displease them exceedingly, and several of them made some very violent speeches, using most insulting gestures and language. As to the number of our wounded, and the prospect of our men getting sick, they said. “What matter? Are we not all alike”, and when we talked of our unfortunate wounded being cut off at Waimati: “Oh! Never mind your wounded, let them die and rot.” and such brutal remarks. They evidently care nothing about us, or what becomes of us as they get what they want the lands and the plunder of their enemies, and we are to stop and keep guard over them, and force the enemy to leave the Pa that they may take possession and derive all the benefits. A more selfish, covetous, ungrateful race I believe never existed. We certainly are in no very enviable position, and have a very difficult card to play – surrounded by savages and cannibals – those professing to be our friends scarcely to be depended upon, who at the slightest cause of offence, might turn against us. It was, therefore, after due consideration considered politic by Col. D. to yield to them a little, and he told them he would wait 2 or 3 days more and see what the enemy would do. And they promised to attack the next day. Had another false alarm this nigh – proved to be some firing of Waka's men on the hill.
JULY 6th : Sunday. After morning prayers, read by the Colonel, went over to see Mose's Pa in our rear. Waka to-day quite changed his note, and came to the Colonel to say he was quite right, and we had better go away. He has some motive for this I've no doubt. Lt. Clark of H.M.S. Hazard arrived this afternoon to replace Lt. Phillpots, killed, and take back the 32 pounder. Colonel Despard notified his intention of going back to Waimati on the 8th inst. - had an alarm to-night and turned out. Waka applied for a guard to protect him on the hill, which was granted.
JULY 7th : The finest day we have had since we disembarked. Waka came down from the hill and said he meant to send some of his people thro' the woods to the back of the Pa to try to cut off some of the enemy whilst out in search of firewood and water. I was sent off to order the Right Piquet to support him, and fire on the enemy they saw running in to the Pa. At one o'clock a shot was fired from the 32 pounder, and one is ordered to be fired ever hour till the 4 remaining over are expended – great folly I think. What good can this do? It was supposed these 4 shot or shell did some execution in the Pa and killed some people, for they heard weeping during the night.
JULY 8th : The Chief has again altered his plans, and intends to stand his groundm and has at last done what he ought to have done a week ago – sent down to the shipping for more shot and shell for the 32 pounder, and provisions for the men. It is thought the defendants will not hold out much longer. Some of Waka's and Rippa's men went out again to-day to try and cut off some of the enemy, which brought on some sharp firing from the Pa on our Advanced Piquets and Camp – were turned out, and one of our men was wounded in the back in the camp by a spent ball. Rippa declares he killed one of the enemy - a Chief. Poor Beatty and O'Reilly and the remainder of the wounded men were carried down Waimati by the Volunteers – very glad they are all gone.
The drays with the ammunition arrived this evening. There was more
firing from the
Pa to-day, but no one was hit.
JULY 10th : Another gun was taken up the hill to-day (a 12 pounder) under a heavy fire from the Pa, which did no damage. About 10 o'clock the guns on the Hill opened fire, and continued all day and did good execution. Only one shot missed the Pa. About 11 this night some of the Chiefs came in to the Camp and told the Colonel that the enemy were leaving the Pa. They knew by the howling of the dogs.
JULY 11th : About 2 a.m. On the 11 th some of the Friendly Natives crept up to the Pa, and, hearing all quiet, went in and commenced plundering right and left. It was soon made known that they were inside the Pa, and the enemy had abandoned it, but the Colonel would not allow any of the troops to enter before daylight. When we marched in we found the natives in possession of everything, and even made a favour of letting the soldiers have some potatoes, altho' there were tons of them in the Pa. The Enemy must have made a most precipitate retreat, for they left behind them all the arms, accoutriments, &c., taken off of our kill'd on the 1 st inst., and some of their own ammunition and guns, firelocks and tomahawks, boxes of plunder from Kororareka, and potatoes and Indian corn enough for 6 months' consumption. An old woman was found asleep in one of the underground places. She was deaf and had not heard them go away – also one dead woman unburied. Some of our natives were on the point of putting the old woman to death, but were prevented by Mr. De Mulin, one of our Commissariat Officers. After the troops and natives had carried out all the potatoes, &c. worth taking, the Pa was set fire to in several places, and kept burning all day. An accident happened whilst this was going on. 2 women of the friendly tribes quarrelled over a double-barrel gun that was found in the Pa. And began wrestling for it, when it went off and shot one of them thro' the body, and kill'd her on the spot. This created a great disturbance for a time, but soon blew over. Soon after this, some of our people who went into the bush at the back of the Pa to burn some huts there were fired upon by some of the Enemy who were lurking in the neighbouring woods, and a fire was kept up for about a ¼ of an hour on the Pa, which was returned by our men who were on piquet inside of it, whilst it was being destroyed. It was a remarkably strong and well defended place, very clevererly fortified with trenches inside a double row of strong palisades, bombproof pits, huts with side walls of stone and loopholed, embankments, &c. Some of the posts of the fences were as thick as a stout man's body. I think this will be a lesson to us not to make too light of our Enemy, and show us the folly of attempting to carry such a fortification by assault, without first making a practicable breach. The 32 pounder was sent down to the ship and despatches recd. from Auckland. - Col. Despard empowered to send to Sydney for a further reinforcement or not, as he might think fit, and to return to Waimati. He withheld the application for more troops and decided on retiring in Waimati till further orders, having reported the operations that I hope we may all be recall'd to Auckland.
JULY 12th : A lovely day – occupied in completing the destruction of the Pa.
JULY 13th : Sunday – after Divine Service struck our tents and built a temporary Wari to sleep in, in order to be ready to march early next morning.
JULY 14th : After destroying all the breastworks and huts, marched for Waimati, but owing to being short of Bullocks was left with ½ the force to follow. Did not get away till 10 a.m. and reached Waimati about 3 p.m. Delighted to get back again, even to such indifferent quarters, having been 3 weeks under canvas and crowed, with 9 officers in one small Subaltern tent. Enjoyed a thorough good wash, a luxury I had not had for 3 weeks, during which time I never had my clothes off.
JULY 15th : The remains of poor Grant and Lt. Beattie, who died on 13th , were interred in the Waimati churchyard, with military honors. Grant's body was found, buried a few inches below the surface of the earth outside the Pa, and the flesh had all been cut off from the buttocks and thick part of the thighs, and roasted and eaten I suppose by these brutal cannibals! Poor Phillpotts too was buried in the same place. His body had been kept to be buried here, and was brought to Waimati by his own men.
July 16th : This morning at daylight a party of 200 R. & F., under Lt. Col. Despard and Lt. Col. Hulme, marched to Paeraker to attack a Pa belonging to a rebel chief – name Aretua – about 6 or 7 miles off. They found it deserted, and after destroying it, returned to Waimati about 4 p.m. Despatches arrived from Auckland and the recall of Col. Despard and Lt. Col. Hulme and the 96th , leaving me in command of the 58th and 99th , much to my disappointment and that of my poor wife, who had been fully expecting my return to Auckland.
July 17th : Col Despard and 96th Detachment marched for Auckland.
July 18th : Great sensation was created in the cantonment by a native riding in, and giving the men to understand that Heki had been taken prisoner by Waka, but alas! It proved to be not quite such palatable news. It was that Heki and Kowiti were bringing their assembled forces up to attack Waka and the troops at Waimati, and were within 3 miles. This also turned out to be a false alarm. It proved to be a party of Moses Tawai's people on their return from Hokianga that had been mistaken for the enemy.
JULY 19th : Troops marched to church to hear Divine Service performed by Rev. R. Burrows.
JULY 21st : To-day a report was round that the bridge was destroyed on the Keri Keri road – turned out to be false as usual.
JULY 27th : Wet Sunday – no church parade.
AUGUST 1st: My wedding day. McLean returned from the shipping this evening – brought me the joyful news of the arrival of my dear wife from Auckland. 58th from Auckland, to replace the 99th who are to proceed thither, and they would all be up to-morrow.
AUGUST 2nd: Matson and his men arrived about 2 p.m. As my dear wife did not accompany him, I rode out to meet her – went the wrong road and missed her – on my return found her safely housed at Mr. Burrows', who had been kind enough to give us apartments in his house, and he started himself to-day for Auckland to bring up his own wife, who had been down there for some time during the disturbances.
AUGUST 22nd : A party of 99th arrived from Auckland, under Lt. Blackburn. Recd. another report of Heki and Kawiti coming to attack me with their combined forces. These stories, together with the false alarms and turns out at night are very annoying and harassing, My dear wife bears them most heroically. Still, I cannot but feel uneasy and have serious thoughts of sending her down to the Keri Keri.
AUGUST 25th : Changed my mind about sending my wife away. She fretted so at the idea, besides I do not believe any attempt will be made to attack us.
AUGUST 26th : Troops turned out again to-night. Were kept under arms some time until the cause of the alarm was ascertained. Some sentries had fancied they saw Maoris approaching their posts, and had fired, having heard much talking at a distance. Their nerves were rather excited. The talk was in a neighbouring Pa, belonging to some Neutral Tribe. Thought proper to double all the sentries, and turned in again.
AUGUST 28th : Walked over to see Wi How's Pa with my wife and the Burrows – bought some fowls and eggs.
AUGUST 29th : Heard of the arrival in the Keri Keri of the Slains Castle and H.M.S. Daphne from Valparaiso – got English letters by Turner and De Mulin, who returned from Keri Keri.
SEPTEMBER 3rd : Went down to Keri Keri with Nugent.
SEPTEMBER 4th : Returned to Waimati,
SEPTEMBER 18th : Sir Evard Home Bt. arrived and dined with me.
SEPTEMBER 19th : Walked over to Ohaiawhi, and the scene of our action, accompanied by Sir E. Home and Col. Despard and 150 men as Escort.
SEPTEMBER 20th : Went to Many with Sir E. Home – got wet.
SEPTEMBER 22nd : Sir E. Home returned to the ship North Star.
OCTOBER 6th : Lt. Col. Wynyard arrived at Waimati to assume command of the 58 th Regt.
OCTOBER 22nd : Col. Despard, 99th and 96th Detachments and 3 Field pieces marched for Keri Keri to embark for Kororareka.
OCTOBER 24th : Marched in command of remainder of the Force, and embarked in the North Star and Slains Castle for Kororareka. My wife went in the Slains Castle, I in the North Star.
OCTOBER 25th : The whole of the ships sailed and dropped anchor off Kororareka.
OCTOBER 26th : Sunday.
OCTOBER 27th : Disembarked and encamped on the beach.
OCTOBER 29th : H.M.S. Hazard sailed for Wangarea, &c.
OCTOBER 30th : Osprey sailed for Wangarea, &c.
NOVEMBER 5th : Govt. Brig arrived from Auckland with Capt. Reed and Detachment of 99th Regt. And stores from Sydney, also Actg. Brigade Major O'Connell. British Sovereign sailed for Auckland.
NOVEMBER 7th : H.M. Brig Osprey returned from Wangarow.
NOVEMBER 8th : H.M.S. Hazard sailed for China, and was cheered by the sailors and soldiers on her departure. H.M.S. North Star sailed for Auckland to receive His Excellency the New Governor on his arrival.
NOVEMBER 23rd : H.M.S. Racehorse and North Star arrived from Auckland incompany with the Hon.ble E.I.C. Cruizer Elphinstone, having on board His Excellency, Captn. Grey, the new Governor of New Zealand. The latter did not reach the anchorage till midnight. The North Star got aground, but sustained no injury.
NOVEMBER 24th : His Excellency landed and was recd. by the whole Camp under arms, and a guard of honor and the usual salute from the Men of War, as well as the guns on shore. Held a service and then recd. all the Native Chiefs, who assembled their people and danced a War Dance in honor of his arrival, and made several speeches. His Excellency fix'd on a day when we would all see all the Chiefs who were loyally disposed, and when he would address them.
NOVEMBER 28th : His Excellency landed again, under the usual salute, to receive the Friendly Chiefs. Many spoke and all were warlike. His Excellency told them he was sent here by Her Majesty the Queen to endeavour to settle their differences, and he hoped to make peace, but if the Rebellious Chiefs, Hehe and Kawiti, did not give a favorable answer to the Terms that had been already proposed to them by his predecessor, Captn. Fitzroy, and that by Tuesday night next, he would have nothing more to say to them, and, as he had heard many Chiefs, professing to be neutral, had allowed their followers to fight with the Rebels, and had indirectly assisted them, he would, if this continued, treat these deceitful Chiefs as enemies. All the Friendly Chiefs seemed much pleased with his speech, and expressed their earnest wish that he would remain amongst them and not return to Auckland. The Governor and suite and Heads of Departments dined with the Officers of the Camp at a Garrison Dinner.
NOVEMBER 29th : His Excellency came on shore at 11 a.m. The Troops were paraded to receive him, and accompany him up to one of the high hills near to reconnoitre the position or direction of Kawiti's Pa. Returned about one o'clock. The Brig Osprey and the Racehorse went out of harbour on some secret service.
DECEMBER 4th : Racehorse returned and North Star went up the River Kawa Kawa with Elpinstone and H.E. the Governor and Col. Despard – supposed to meet Kawiti at Pomare's Pa, but these Chiefs were afraid to come down to meet him, so they returned at night, leaving the North Star up there.
DECEMBER 5th : His Excellency landed, and sent a message to me that he was going to Auckland, and would take my dear wife round with him, and place her in Govt. House in Mrs. Grey's charge – that he was going up again to the Kawa Kawa to see if Kawiti, Heki and Pomare would come down and meet him, as they had promised, and if not he intended to return immediately and sail for Auckland in the Elphinstone, and leave orders for the troops, under Col. Despard, to proceed up the river and take up a position at Puku Tutu's Pa, so that it would be impossible for my wife to remainin at Kororareka, and therefore decided in acceptping His Excellency's very kind offer, and took her on board about 9 p.m. (the Governor having given up his own cabin to her and servants), as His Excellency had failed again in seeing the Rebel Chiefs, and the ship sailed at daylight the following morning.
DECEMBER 6th : Elphistone sailed.
DECEMBER 7th : Lt. Col. Wynyard and 300 men sailed up to the mouth of the Kawa Kawa, to where Pomare's old Pa stood, there to encamp till the remainder of the force followed. Sent remainder of my baggage on board the Slains Castle, and removed my quarters to those vacated by Col.W. on the shore.
DECEMBER 9th : Embarked with rest of the troops – I and my Detachment in H.M.S. Racehorse – and got up the mouth of the Kawa Kawa about 11 a.m. - found Col. W.'s party encamped on the site of Pomare's old Pa. Sir Everard Home and Col. Wynyard had gone up river as far as Puku Tutu's, where the next encampment was to be formed. They returned in the afternoon and reported the passage as quite open, and that there was a road along the left bank of the river, across the hills, by which a part of the force might march.
DECEMBER 10th : Lt. Col Wynyard's Detachment proceeded up the river, part by land and part by water.
DECEMBER 11th : The remainder of the force landed and march'd up to Pukututu's with 250 men of 58th and 99 th, under my command, except sufficient to act as Baggage Guard on the boats with stores, &c. - found the Advanced Party encamped on a slope on the side of a pretty valley about 6 or 7 miles up the river, close by Pukututu's Pa. The road we marched, being across the hills, was very severe, and the day was very hot. Got a view of Pomare's new Pa from a hill on the march – a very strong position. It was up a creek to the right of the Kawa Kawa river.
DECEMBER 12th : Col. Despard march'd out to reconnoitre Kawiti's position accompanied by 300 men, under Lt. Col. Wynyard. Sir E Home came up and brought the cheering intelligence of the arrival in Auckland of a Man of War from China, and that the War Steamer Driver was daily expected, as well as 2 more Man of War from England with more troops.
DECEMBER 13th : Thus morning some of the sailors from North Star, Racehorse and Osprey arrived under command of Commander Hay of Racehorse, also some volunteers from Auckland, under Captain Atkyns. The force now may be estimated at -
642 Bayonets of 56th and 99th Regts.
159 Sailors, Marines and Gunners of E.I.C. Service
Had an alarm last night, and were turned out for nothing.
DECEMBER 14th : Wet Sunday.
DECEMBER 15th : Rainy morning – cleared up towards noon – all still a mystery as to our movements – the Governor anxiously expected from Auckland as well as the Castor with more men. Had another alarm last night by firing amongst the sentries of the outlying piquets – turn'd out and on enquiry one of the sentries was found to be drunk on his post, and who had amused himself by firing 4 or 5 shots at imaginery enemies – was confined of course.
DECEMBER 16th : The culprit who created the false alarm was tried – cold, windy, rainy day – one of the officers tents blown down.
DECEMBER 17th : The prisoner tried yesterday for creating alarm in the camp, and being drunk on piquet, was flogged in presence of the whole of the troops. Went out to shoot wild ducks on the banks of the river – saw many, but only killed one – had another alarm and turn out to-night. It proved to be a party of our natives, under the Chief Rippa, who, having quarrelled with Tamati Waka, had taken their canoes and were going away, and fired some blank cartridges on leaving,
DECEMBER 18th : This morning a gentleman arrived at the camp, who had just returned from Sydney. He told us there had been a mutiny amongst the soldiers of thr 99th there, in consequence of the ration of spirits having been discontinued, and that to keep them quiet the General had directed it to be issued to them again, also some report of the same having taken place amongst our men at Parramatta, which I hope is not the case. Captn. Graham of H.M.S. Castor arrived with Sir E. Home. They said a ship was in sight, supposed to be the Elphinatone from Auckland with the Governor. It was also reported that a schooner and Brig was seen passing the Bay, towards Auckland, supposed to be the vessels with the Norfolk Island Detachment on board. In the afternoon boats came up the river with news of the Governor's arrival, and that the Elphinstone had lost her Mainyard in a gale. Went out in a canoe down the river to shoot ducks, but could not get near them – saw a great number.
DECEMBER 19th : H.E. Captn. Grey arrived at the camp – brought me a letter from my dear wife, who is well thank God. Went out to............ (part of sentence missing) and Pukututu's Pa, returned to the ship – had another turn out to-night, by the sailors piquet firing, at some pigs or dogs in the bush, I fancy, as no shots were returned.
DECEMBER 20th : Recd. letters and papers from Sydney.
DECEMBER 21st : Sunday – service as usual – Governor came up again to-day. A Whaler arrived in the Bay.
DECEMBER 22nd : The 1st Division marched at 7 a.m., under Lt. Col. Wynyard, viz. 300 of 58th , 100 seamen, some artillery men and volunteers, as far as Waiamio, about 5 miles.
DECEMBER 23rd : Marched with remainder of the force to the new Encampment at Waiomio, a very beautiful spot, on a low hill in a valley – could see Kawiti's position from hence.
DECEMBER 24th : The Governor and Col. Despard went to reconnoitre the road and the Pa, accompanied by 600 men, some rockets and 12 pounder howitser. I was left in command of the Camp – could see the party winding along over the hills nearly the whole way, and when they got as near to the Pa as the wood would permit, could see the rockets fored as several shells thrown from the 12 pounder. One of the rockets fell in the wood, and accidently amongst a party of the enemy and sent them flying and firing off their guns at random. It is said to have kill'd a Chief. About 5 in the evening the party returned, without having been attacked. Orders issued for the march of the troops to the new position to-morrow morning, i.e. 700 men and 2 12 pounder Howitsers, the remainder to be left under my Command. The 2 32 pounders were to be taken up! More folly. I hoped the Chief had got a lesson at Ohaiawhi, but it will be the same thing over again if he goes to work in this hurried and unprepared manner.
DECEMBER 25th : A miserable wet morning – Xmas. The Advance is countermanded, much to every ones satisfaction, as it had rained heavily all night, and the roads would have been in a fearful state, it would have been madness to have attemped to move on, without the 32 pounders, with very few days provisions, heavy roads and insufficient number of drays and bullocks, besides Xmas Day should be a day of rest, and the natives themselves all object to move to-day, showing greater respect for it than their more enlightened allies. Had a long conversation with the Governor, and expressed my opinions very plainly as to the expediency of getting up the heavy guns before we moved on to the Pa. He is quite of the same opinion, and determined they shall be taken up with us.
DECEMBER 26th : The 32 pounders were sent for, pursuant to the Governor's wishes, and got up with great ease – orders to march to-morrow morning.
DECEMBER 27th : The Advance, consisting of 650 men, 2 32 pounders, 2 12 pounder cannonades and one 6 pounder and nearly all the Friendly Natives. One of the drays broke down soon after starting, and it was after 4 p.m. before they got up to the new position – about 5 miles. A party of sailors..…..(part of sentence missing) the bullocks would never have got them on. A native on horseback came from Macquarrie to tell me Heki had left his Pa at Hikoranghi to join Kawiti with 200 men, and had left 100 of them in the bush to harass us on our march – was left in command of the Reserve Party to bring up the rest of the stores and ammunition – saw 2 or 3 shells and rockets thrown into the Pa by the 12 pounder which got up to the new position about 12 o'clock – thought we heard some shots returned by the enemy. 1 Captn., 4 Subn. and 105 of the Norfolk Island party marched this evening. A very reasonable reinforcement.
DECEMBER 28th : Sunday – recd. Orders to send on the Detachment that arrived last evening to the Advance Camp.
DECEMBER 29th : Forwarded the 18 pounder and all the drays laden with stores escorted by the remainder of the seamen. Hope the drays will return to take the remainder of the ammunition, camp equipage, &c. this evening to enable us to join the advance – recd. orders to make all possible despatch in joining the Head Qr. Division, but the bullocks and drays did not return – suggested the propriety of sending back the tents and 6 pounder feld piece as useless lumber.
DECEMBER 30th : Recd. orders to send back the Field Piece and tents to the Kawa Kawa, and move on with my detachment and the rest of the stores to the Advanced Camp – started about 8 a.m. and reached it without interruption about 11 a.m., during a very hot fire from the enemy on our advanced post – Recd. orders to push on with my party without halting at the encampment – found they had taken up a position and established a Battery about 900 yards from the Pa, on a knoll in the centre of a wood, with a deep ravine between it and the Pa, The 32 pounder, 18 pounder and 12 had opened fire on it, and the enemy had opened a hot fire of musketry on it, but from the distance had hit no one. Most of their shot fell short, except some rifle balls which wizzed over our heads, whilst our guns and rockets were making good practice – saw 3 rockets and 3 shells from the 12 pounders thrown into the Pa, which got the fellows running out helter skelter, but they always came in again as soon as the guns ceased fire, to put out any fire or repair any damage done to their fences. This is not the way I had hoped to see the Pa attacked. There is no use firing shot till all the guns, ammunition &c. are up, and everything prepared to carry on the attack with vigour. An incessant fire should be kept up by all the guns and rockets till the Pa is set on fire or so battered that by taking immediate advantage of their confusion a part of the Force might rush in before they could return to their defences, whilst the remainder should be posted so as to cut off their retreat into the woods. Alas! How deplorable it is to see such ignorance, indecision and obstinacy in a Commander who will consult no one, or attend to any suggestions made to him, and who, in consequence, has neither the respect nor the confidence of the troops under his command. Everyone looks disheartened at such a beginning, and aprehensive of the result – came on to rain in the evening, and continued drizzling all night – had 2 false alarms during the night, by the sentries of the piquets firing on what they thought were Maoris creeping up to them in the bush. Most likely dogs or pigs, as no fire was returned.
DECEMBER 31st : The day commenced with a thick fog which cleared up a little after 9 a.m., when the guns and rockets commenced again firing a shot or two at a time at intervals. Whilst at breakfast, a sharp fire was heard to the left of the Rocket Battery in the ravine, which, on enquiry, proved to be a party of the enemy, who had crepted up close to the pioneers who were at work, and finding one a short distance apart from the rest, who had gone unarmed to get some water from a stream, they most barbarously and dastardly shot him in 3 or 4 places and then made off. The Friendly Natives immediately sallied out to endeavour to intercept their retreat into the Pa. A party under Rippa came up with them and had a brush. The poor fellow returned with the loss of 3 of the fingers of his left hand from a musket shot. Kawiti hoisted his flag to-day for the first time since we came up to this position, which signifies his readiness to fight, that our shells and rockets must have kill'd some of his people and put his blood up. But our shell and shot are all being fritted away and wasted in this absurd manner, instead of keeping up a constant fire, whilst the enemy find out where they are safe, and shelter themselves whilst the fire is kept up, and then return to their trenches to await our assualt, which they expect is our mode of warfare, fully convinced they will serve us the same as they did at Ohaiawhai. Some excellent shots were made by Lt. Bland of H.M.S. Racehorse with the 32 pounder, and one cut down the flagstaff with the enemies colours, and went thro' the rear face of the P. behind which most of the natives were congregated at their dinner. The poor volunteer that was shot (a black man) died of his wounds 2 hours after he was brought in. He was completely riddled, and the savages who committed this cold blooded murder must have been close to him for some parts of his clothes were burned and blackened with the powder.
JANUARY 1st, 1846 : A party of our natives went out this morning and had a skirmish with the enemy to get “payment” for the loss of the Chief Rippa's fingers. Wm. Waka kill'd a man with Rippa's gun, and they returned in great glee at having taken satisfaction for the injury done to Rippa, and danced a War Dance. Captn. Patten of the “Osprey” came up to the Camp from the Bay with mail bags brought out from England by the “Calliope” Man of War, Captn. Stanley, Commander. He and his men are on the march up – another addition to our force – very opportune, as the officers and men belonging to the Osprey were ordered to re-embark to proceed to Kurianga, where the Governor was apprehensive of an attack. A very curious and uncommon phenomen appeared to-day about noon in the heavens. A young moon with a bright star near it was distinctly visible at the same time as the sun shone brightly. This some of our Maoris who are very superstitious interpret into a good omen for us, and say it is Kawiti's flag (which has a sun, moon and star upon it) that we knocked down gone up to the sky. Others said it was favourable to Kawiti, as the star was on his side of the moon amd not on ours. This remains to be proved, but I believe they all look upon the fall of their flag as fatal to their cause. I hope it may dishearten the savages, and make them take themselves off, for I am heartily sick of this life. This the Governor wishes as he wants to take possession of the Pa without any loss of life on either side, thinking that will be sufficient punishment for them, and prove to them that they cannot resist us. The Marines of the Calliope arrived, but the seamem are to come up to-morrow as escort to the drays with ammunition. Captn. Stanley arrived with one of his officers to see the Pa, but returned again to Kawa Kawa. A good shot, shell and rockets fell in the Pa to-day, and towards evening several huts in the Pa were on fire, but as usual the fire ceased to allow them time to extinguish them, Had no less than six alarms during the night. All turned out to be false.
JANUARY 2nd : A position having been chosen 4 or 500 yards nearer to the enemy's Pa, where a Battery was to be errected, the pioneers &c. commenced putting up a stockade under cover of the wood – no firing from the Batteries till the afternoon, when some excellent shots were made. A 32 pounder shell was thrown amongst a crowd of them seen outside the Pa. which sent them running in all directions, and shortly after this they made a sortie on some of Waka's people who were in the bush to the left of the Pa, and a very smart skirmish took place which lasted till dusk, when Waka was victorious, and drove in the enemy to the Pa with the loss of 7 killed – Chiefs – whilst had only 5 wounded. Whilst this was going on, I was sent out with a strong piquet of 200 men to occupy the stockade, which was about half completed, and arrived there during the action. The balls were whistling over our heads in the stockade, the skirmish between the natives being in front and on the right of it. After sunset all of Waka's people came in and went to their Pa on the right of our encampment, and we were left to pass the night on the bare ground, with a fence on one side of us, and only a small trench on the other. After placing my sentries, we all laid down and kept ourselves as quite as possible, and after dark we heard the enemy searching for their dead, and those in the Pa talking over the fight. They acknowledged to have got the worst of it, and lamenting that none of Waka's people had been killed, but the Chiefs were trying to encourage them by telling them they would be successful to-morrow or the next day they fought, exhorting them to be strong, firm and brave, and they would serve as they had at Ohaiawhi yet, whilst those that were seeking for the killed were distinctly heard conversing and missing 2 of the bodies, saying they supposed they had been carried away by Waka, and little thinking that we were so close to them. They did not come near enough to us for us to see them, and we were not disturbed during the night, altho' some of the sentries fired at some imaginery sounds in the bush – passed a wretched night and did not sleep at all till morning - was not relieved till 9 o'clock.
JANUARY 3rd : Nothing particular occurred to-day. A few of the enemy were seen out in the morning, but on our firing on them, they soon returned into the Pa and could not be induced to come out again. The stockade was completed nearly and the 32 pounder taken out, and Lt. Col. Wynyard and 200 men occupy it to-night.
JANUARY 4th : Slept very soundly last night – Sunday – a day of rest – occupied myself in sketching the Pa and our encampment or huts – having no tents we build ourselves small huts about 5 feet high and 6 feet long to sleep in, and lie on a bed of fern – went to reconnoitre the Pa from the ground on which the skirmish of Friday evening took place – got within a couple of hundred yards of it to a small mound where a Battery might be placed with advantage – heard that the enemy had 7 killed and 13 wounded on Friday evening, and that many had been killed inside the Pa by shells, and that the one that cut down the flagstaff killed a woman and child in her arms – a grandchild of Kawiti's and a man also – went on piquet in the stockade again to-night. All passed quitely.
JANUARY 5th : The chief Maxquarrie, who had remained at Waimati to watch Heke's movements and keep him in check, arrived to-day to join Waka with 70 men. They went out to try and induce the enemy to come out of the Pa again and have another skirmish, but they did not seem at all disposed to do so. It came on to rain heavily about 3 p.m., and drenched us all in our huts, or Wharies as the natives called them, which lasted nearly all night. The work in the stockade, however, was carried on, and they commenced felling the trees in front of it so as to get a good view of the Pa, and some shots were fired on the workmen. Captn. Hay, R.N. Was also fired at on going too near to the Pa to reconnoitre the left face of it, but they hit no one. One of the 32 pounders and the 18 pounders were taken out to the stockade, and I hear another 32 pounder is to be sent for.
JANUARY 6th : A miserable, cold, wet day. The piquets came in in a wretched plight – getting on with the stockade Battery and clearing away the trees in front – before dark and a clear view of the Pa – rather injudicious I think to open the wood so much until the Battery is quite ready to commence firing – another 32 pounder sent for from the Kawa Kawa – heavy rain again this evening – happy to say the puquet in the stockade is reduced to a Captain's party. We were to have had everything ready to commence work to-day in earnest, but it will take 3 or 4 more yet I expect.
JANUARY 7th : The enemy opened the Ball to-day by firing his 9 pounder gun twice at our stockade, but did no injury. Some pieces of shells were returned to us. He was soon silenced by a few rounds from the 32. A large piece of one of these shells which burst over the Pa flew back into our stockade at least 450 yards. Our Pioneers &c. were employed clearing a space for our Advanced Battery, only 100 yards from the left face of the Pa, and about 300 in advance of the stockade, and the enemy allowed them to carry on this work without attempting to molest them. The 32, sent for yesterday, arrived and was placed in position in the stockade in less than 24 hours from the time it was written for.
A sergt. and 12 men were sent on piquet to the advanced post from the stockade, and during the night saw a firestick approaching them, as well as the sound of men creeping up, on which they fired a volley on them, and they soon dropped their torch and retreated into the Pa. A number of Maoris, about 80, were seen crossing some hills to the left of the Pa this morning early – supposed to be a party sent out to try and cut off our supplies, or to get supplies for themselves or that they were sending away women and children. About 10 o'clock there seemed to be a bustle inside the Pa, Numbers were seen running in and out and manning the trenches, whilst a women with a flag of truce made her appearance outside the Pa and walked down towards the Maoris, who were in advance of the stockade. This was the wife of a young Chief, named George King, a ½ caste woman whose mother was amongst Waka's people. The poor thing came to tell our natives that she wants to get out of the Pa, but that they will not let her. She said the party that went over the hills this morning will not come back again. A Chief accompanied her of the name of Hara, and appeared very much disgusted, and asked what more we wanted. We had been a month here, he said, roasting them with iron and killing their people, and we are not satisfied. He was told that we should should not be satisfied until they left the Pa, and we got possession of it, and the Governor sent a message to Kawiti to request he would send away all his women and children, as he did not come here to hurt them, and to express his sorrow that the women and her child had been killed in the Pa on the 1st of the month. I fancy they are leaving the Pa by parties, and they will shortly all bolt, but I hope not before our Batteries open up on them, as it is better that we should drive them out than that they should go of their own accord, just to show them what we can do and to take the conceit out of the Rascals.
JANUARY 9th : There was a good deal of firing during the night by our sentries but turned out nothing. It was reported that 30 more men had left the Pa this morning, and our Maoris think they are going down to attack our drays &c. on the road. A strong Escort was sent out to meet them of 100 men, besides 100 or upwards of the natives, as the remainder of the shot and shell for the 32 pounders and 18 are coming up and the Batteries will be ready to open to-morrow.
JANUARY 10th : The whole of the Batteries commenced firing at 11 a.m. and continued all day, smashing the fences and huts right and left. Much execution must have been done by the shot and shells. About 3 p.m. The natives were seen running out of the Pa with loads on their backs, and returning again for more, and also arms (most likely of the kill'd and wounded) evidently preparing for a start. About 4 p.m., a considerable breach having been made in the fence opposite the stockade, a party of 200 men were ordered down for the purpose of assualting the Pa at this point, but this measure was strongly opposed by our native allies, and Waka and Moses told the Colonel if he attempted to storm he would only lose his men as he did at Ohaiawhi, but if he waited till to-morrow, he would get the Pa ( which was only a bundle of sticks after all, and not worth the sacrifice of life for nothing) as the enemy they were sure would be gone. This good advice was fortunately taken this time by our sapient leader, and the party ordered back to Camp, and the guns kept up a fire on the breaches all night to prevent any attempt at repairing them.
JANUARY 11th : Anxious glasses were turned on the Pa this morning to see if the enemy was still in it. Being Sunday, we thought nothing would be done. However, about 10 o'clock we observed some of our Maoris stealthily creeping into the breach, and looking cautiously round then beckoning and waving us to follow, when, thinking the Pah was evacuated, many soldiers and sailors ran off from the camp without arms or ammunition. Lt. Col. Wynyard ordered out the Inlying Piquet, and took it down himself, ordering me to remain and guard the Camp. Col. Despard, who was in the stockade at the time, ordered 50 men under Capt. Denny, from the Advanced Battery, and 50 more from the stockade to advance into the Pa, but no sooner had they got inside than they were received by a volley from the far side of it. It appears the enemy, possibly thinking we would not molest them on a Sunday, had assembled on the far side, to be out of the way of the shot and shells from the guns, and some were at prayers when our natives entered, one of whom incautiously rang the bell they had in the Pa, which gave them the alarn. Our natives turned and ran out immediately thay were fired on, but our men, being in, were determined to keep possession, and pushed on to the far side, followed by the Inlying Piquet, and a very hot engagement commenced. The enemy fought most desparately and gallantly to regain their Pa, but were driven into the wood, where they kept up a destructive fire upon our people for about 4 hours. Our men could not be kept inside the fences and many a brave was killed..........(part of sentence missing)from which they at length drove the enemy leaving 6 or 7 of their own dead behind them. Their wounded, with the exception of one, they contrived to carry off with them. Had our men kept within the defences of the Pa, our losses would have been trifling. As it was we had 12 killed and 29 wounded, but only one officer was hit – a midshipman of the North Star, who was wounded in the mouth. The sailors of the Castor suffered the most. About 3 p.m. Col Despard having returned to the camp, I got permission to leave it. I had been under arms all the time, expecting an attack would be made on the rear, it having been reported that Heki was in the bush with his men for the purpose of attacking our camp as soon as we made our attack on the Pa. I found the Pa much stronger in its interior defences than the one at Ohaiawhi, but the outer fences and ditches were nery similar, and all the fences were flanked. There were also deep holes underground all over the Pa, which were so constructed to be bomb-proof, in which the men screened themselves from the shot and shell – and cross fences and breastworks inside, so that a fire could have been kept up on us even had we succeeded in forcing the outer fences by storm, as we advanced into the interior of the Pa, which must have proved destructive had we not taken them so much by surprise – took a rough sketch of the Pa for a ground plan, and returned to camp. Lt. Col, Wynyard and 250 men remained in the Pa all night.
JANUARY 12th : Commenced pulling down and burning the Pa . The Governor, Capt. Graham of the Castor and Captn. Young of the Elphinstone left the camp for the shipping, His Excellency to return to Auckland as soon as possible. Before Dark, not only the Pa was destroyed, but also our two stockades, having previously brought in all our guns and ammunition. A few natives were seen prowling about in the neighbourhood of the Pa – possibly some of Kawiti's men looking for their dead or watching our movements.
JANUARY 13th : As the Pa was destroyed and nothing more to be done, I obtained a months leave to proceed to Auckland to join my dear wife, who is expecting her confinement daily – did not get it in time to accompany the sailors who marched down in the morning, therefore had to start alone about 3 p.m. accompanied by a Maori lad, carrying my bedding, being anxious to get down before the Elphinstone sailed with the Governor, Captn. Young having kindly offered me a passage in her – reached the Kawa Kawa all safe about 6 p.m. And found one of the North Star boats there, which took me down the river and put me on board the Elphinstone by about 10 p.m. On my way down I went into a burying place of Kawiti's, and picked up a skull which I brought away with me.
JANUARY 14th : Sailed for Auckland.
JANUARY 15th : Still light winds and calm.
JANUARY 16th : Do. Very tantalising.
JANUARY 17th : Drop'd anchor about 6 a.m. In Auckland Harbour - accompanied His Excellency the Governor on shore – met my servant on the beach who informed me my dear wife was just taken ill. I knew she expected her confinement daily, and thence my anxiety to reach Auckland – found all going well, and about an hour and ½ after my arrival, she presented me with a fine son and heir.
JANUARY 19th & 20th : Some of the Men of War and Transports arrived from the Bay with the troops, and on the 21st the Driver Steamer from China, so long expected and very seasonably, as the Governor intends sending a large force down to the Southward. The remainder of the Norfolk Island Detachment of 58th Regt. also, under Major Army, arrived about the same time, so that a very considerable force of Army and Navy is now assembled in Auckland.
JANUARY : Lt. Col. Despard took his departure for Sydney, much to the satisfaction of the troops in N.Z. land – Lt. Col. Hume again left in command.
FEBRUARY : The expedition to the Southward having been determined on, the force re-embarked on board the “Castor”, “Driver Str.”, “Calliope”, Slains Castle Transport and Govt. Brig Victoria, under the command of Lt. Col. Hulme, 96th, the 99th under Major Last, and 58th under Major Army, Royal Artillery under Captn. Henderson, and proceeded to Port Nicholson, Lt. Col. Wynyard remaining in command at Auckland – 200 of the 58th left in the Bay of Islands to be under my command, whither I am to return on the expiration of my leave. H.M.S. Sloop Racehorse was left in Auckland and H.M.S. Brig “Osprey” in the Bay. About the end of Feby, the Osprey (Capt. Patten) came to Auckland for supplies, and he very kindly offered Mrs B. and self a passage to the Bay.
MARCH 1st : Embarked about noon, Lt. Col. Wynyard also accompanying us, and had a delightful passage to the Bay. Reached it about 2 or 3 the following day (2nd. ) - found the Detach. encamped on a point of land opposite to Kororareka – belonging to a Mr. Busby - named Victoria – whose house, or what remained of it, was occupied by the officers. It was in a most delapitated state – without doors or windows and the roof not water tight. However, much as it was, I had to inhabit 3 rooms, there being no other house in the neighbourhood nearer than the Missionary Settlement at Pahia, too far for me to live away from my men, and when I was refused accomodation for my wife and child for a few nights only by the Archdeacon's wife, altho' there was a house belonging to the Mission laying empty at the time.
MARCH 4th : Lt. Col. Wynyard returned to Auckland in the Govt. schooner Alert. Nothing of consequence ocurred during my residence at Victoria. In the month of May His Excellency the Governor came into the Bay in H.M. Steamer Driver, and remained a few days, then proceeded to the north to visit Te Nopera. The Castor also came in, en route to Sydney..............
The wonderful staff at the Russell Museum, New Zealand who were most helpful with all my enquiries.
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