The Ashantee War

Poem By William Topaz McGonagall

'Twas in the year of 1874, and on New Year's Day,
The British Army landed at Elmina without dismay,
And numbering in all, 1400 bayonets strong,
And all along the Cape Coast they fearlessly marched along,
Under the command of Sir Garnet Wolseley, a hero bold,
And an honour to his King and country, be it told.
And between them and Coomassie, lay a wilderness of jungle,
But they marched on boldly without making a stumble,
And under a tropical sun, upwards of an hundred miles,
While their bayonets shone bright as they marched on in files.

Coomassie had to be reached and King Coffee's power destroyed,
And, before that was done the British were greatly annoyed,
Lieutenant Lord Gifford, with his men gained the Crest of the Adenisi Hills,
And when they gained the top, with joy their hearts fills.

Sir John McLeod was appointed General of the Black Brigade;
And a great slaughter of the enemy they made,
And took possession of an Ashantee village,
And fought like lions in a fearful rage.

While the British troops most firmly stood,
And advanced against a savage horde concealed in a wood,
Yet the men never flinched, but entered the wood fearlessly,
And all at once the silence was broken by a roar of musketry.

And now the fight began in real earnest,
And the Black Watch men resolved to do their best,
While the enemy were ambushed in the midst of the wood,
Yet the Highlanders their ground firmly stood.

And the roar of the musketry spread through the jungle,
Still the men crept on without making a stumble,
And many of the Black Watch fell wounded and dead,
And Major Macpherson was wounded, but he rallied his men without dread.

The battle raged for five hours, but the Highlanders were gaining ground,
Until the bagpipes struck up their wild clarion sound,
Then the dusky warriors fled in amazement profound,
Because their comrades were falling on every side around.

Sir Archibald Alison led on the Highland Brigade,
And great havoc amongst the enemy they made,
And village after village they captured and destroyed,
Until King Coffee lost heart and felt greatly annoyed.

Sir John McLeod took the command of his own regiment,
And with a swinging pace into the jaws of death they went,
Fearlessly firing by companies in rotation,
Add dashed into a double Zone of Fire without hesitation.

And in that manner the Black Watch pressed onward,
And the enemy were powerless their progress to retard,
Because their glittering bayonets were brought into play,
And panic stricken the savage warriors fled in great dismay.

Then Sir Garnet Wolseley with his men entered Coomassie at night,
Supported by half the rifles and Highlanders- a most beautiful sight,
And King Coffee and his army had fled,
And thousands of his men on the field were left dead.

And King Coffee, he was crushed at last,
And the poor King felt very downcast,
And his sorrow was really profound,
When he heard that Coomassie was burned to the ground.

Then the British embarked for England without delay,
And with joy their hearts felt gay,
And by the end of March they reached England,
And the reception they received was very grand.

Comments about The Ashantee War

And many of the Black Watch fell wounded and dead, And Major Macpherson was wounded, but he rallied his men without dread.


Rating Card

2,8 out of 5
33 total ratings

Other poems of MCGONAGALL

A Humble Heroine

'Twas at the Seige of Matagarda, during the Peninsular War,
That a Mrs Reston for courage outshone any man there by far;
She was the wife of a Scottish soldier in Matagarda Port,
And to attend to her husband she there did resort.

A New Temperance Poem, In Memory Of My Departed Parents, Who Were Sober Living & God Fearing People

My parents were sober living, and often did pray
For their family to abstain from intoxicating drink alway;
Because they knew it would lead them astray
Which no God fearing man will dare to gainsay.

A Christmas Carol

Welcome, sweet Christmas, blest be the morn
That Christ our Saviour was born!
Earth's Redeemer, to save us from all danger,
And, as the Holy Record tells, born in a manger.

A Tale Of The Sea

A pathetic tale of the sea I will unfold,
Enough to make one's blood run cold;
Concerning four fishermen cast adrift in a dory.
As I've been told I'll relate the story.

A Descriptive Poem On The Silvery Tay

Beautiful silvery Tay,
With your landscapes, so lovely and gay,
Along each side of your waters, to Perth all the way;
No other river in the world has got scenery more fine,

An Address To The Rev. George Gilfillan

All hail to the Rev. George Gilfillan of Dundee,
He is the greatest preacher I did ever hear or see.
He is a man of genius bright,
And in him his congregation does delight,