Major R. S. S. Baden-Powell

Special Service Corps on the March to Bekwai  

Chapter X.

ON 8th January we interviewed a party of envoys sent from Kumassi to ask us to delay, if not to abandon, our advance upon that place. Then, after a run back down to the road to report pro­gress at headquarters (which were now at Qwisa), I pressed on with the levy in continuation of our work of road-making. One good I got out of my hurried trip to headquarters was, that I ob­tained the valuable services of Major Gordon, 15th Hussars, for the levy, in lieu of Captain Graham and the others who were still sick; but a cloud hung over that day, as I heard of the death, at Prahsu, of poor Victor Ferguson, Royal Horse Guards. " Beloved by all " stands true for him. And Prince Henry too was just struck down, and lying sick in camp.

15th January.

We have pushed on from day to day, bush­cutting, camp-building, bridging, and corduroying in the never-changing, never-ending forest. On the further bank of the Ordah River we clear a large amount of bush, to form a field of fire for a rough bridgehead, which we hastily construct of brushwood—for ’tis here we might expect to be opposed, as happened in 1874. Indeed, so hopeful are the troops at this point that the noise of our axes as we were felling trees brought up the Special Service Corps at the double, since it sounded like the dropping fire of rifles. It was here, too, that "The Sutler" reappeared, pale from his bed of sickness, but resolved to be with us for the advance on Kumassi. And how our "red-caps" cheered to see him with them once again

At Ordasu once more we meet an embassy from Prempeh. To Captain Donald Stewart, our Political Officer, they offer his submission—complete and unconditional. Alas! this looks like a peaceful end of all our work. Yet at the moment there have been the makings of a row. A panic among the attendants of the envoys induced a rush into the bush, and as they blundered through our active outposts, the latter, naturally thinking something wrong, started in chase, and chairs and stools, state swords and oof-bags were dropped in wild confusion. But confidence was soon restored, losses made good, and the sum­mary punishment of one or two detected looting put all on friendly terms again.

Yet, in spite of all assurances, we cannot trust to what Ashantis say. We know their warriors are not far away, and every care must still be taken as we near Kumassi.

The following is the formation ordered for our final advance into the place:—

The levy, being now 860 strong, is able to find two flanking parties on by-roads to the town, in addition to its main party on the central road.


    The Authors Apology to the Reader.
    Sketch Map of the March to Kumassi
I.   Reasons For The Ashanti Expedition of 1895-96.
II.   Preliminaries To The Expedition
III.   Local Preparations.
IV.    At Cape Coast Castle (with a note on the British Royal Family).
V.   The Levy Starts
VI.   In the Bush
VII.   Pioneer Work
VIII.   The Scouts
IX.   The Bekwai Column
X.   Forward Movements
XI.   In Kumassi
XII.   Preparing the "Coup"

The Downfall

XIV.   After Events
XV.   The Coastward March
XVI.   Homeward Bound
XVII.   The Formation of the Native Levy
    Sir George Baden-Powell, "Policy And Wealth In Ashanti, 1895"

Major R. S. S. Baden-Powell.
The Downfall of Prempeh, 1895-96.
Chapter XI. In Kumassi.
Major R. S. S. Baden-Powell.
The Downfall of Prempeh, 1895-96.
Sketch Map of the March to Kumassi
Lessons from the Varsity of Life
Chapter V: Soldiering
"With a Native Levy in Ashanti"
Eileen K. Wade,
The Piper of Pax: The Life Story of Sir Robert Baden-Powell, 1924
Chapter VIII. Ashanti.
The Baden-Powell Library. A Selection of excerpts from the works of Lord Baden-Powell and works relating to his life and career.
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