SOME REMINISCENCES. (To the Editor.) Sir,—l request your permission to make a few corrections in the account which appeared in your paper of Tuesday last of the military services of my old friend, Mr McKenna. His first experience of Maori warfare was not in Waikato, but in Taranaki, where, in the campaign against Teira and Wi Ivingi, the 65th repeatedly distinguished itself: but my chief object in troubling you with this letter is with regard to your account of the fight of Captain Swift's Company with the Maoris near Tuakau, in September, 1863. As to my competency to do so, I would say that though I was not tho "man on the spot." I was not far off, and I had good opportunities of knowing what was going on. I then commanded the Auckland battalion of Rifle Volunteers, and was myself stationed in a redoubt at Papakura, but some of my men were stationed at Drurv, four miles further on the road to Waikato, where I had to go frequently. Col. Wyatt, commanding tho 65th Regiment, commanded the Drury district, hut I do not think he had more than three companies of his regiment with him, the remainder being at Queen's Redoubt, close to the Waikato river. Whether Captain Swift started from Queen's Redoubt or Drury I ealinot remember. It was reported that the Maoris were crossing the river in small numbers, and his orders Ave re to ascertain the truth of this, and to warn the few settlers who still clung to their farms of the risk they were running.
The Maoris who had crossed were in greater numbers than was supposed, and they must have been informed of Swift's movements, for ho suddenly round himself- under fire from three or patches of bush, and he ordered his men to seek shelter in some recently felled bush, where they had some protection, and from whence the fire was returned, and the Maoris held in check. "Their fire was. however, so heavy, that all three officers were almost immediately liors do combat, Swift being killed, and his subalterns, Butler and Talbot, both severely wounded ; the command devolving on Colour-Sergeant McKenna. It was then late in the afternoon, and a hot fire was kept up on both sides till dark, a good many casualties occurring on our side. It was subsequently known that the Maoris crossed the river soon after dark, fearing that, the report of the firing would brine help to Swift. At daylight McKenna became aware that his enemy had disappeared, and lie resolved to make his way to Drury, which was not many miles off. But there was no i; rearguard action " about it! For that would imply retreat, and he had held his ground, and he marched into Drury carrving all Ill's killed and wounded w'th him. 1 knew both the wounded officers well. s'"d thev were very emphatic as to MfXennn's conspicuous gallantry, and his judgment and resource—nn onin'on that was evidently shared by Sir Dunenn Cameron, as he recommended him for a commission and the "Victoria C'ros-s for his conduct on that dav—both of which he received.—l am, etc. F. E. CAMPBELL. Awaburi. June I.lth, IPOS.
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CORRESPONDENCE., Manawatu Standard, Volume XLI, Issue 8606, 12 June 1908
CORRESPONDENCE. Manawatu Standard, Volume XLI, Issue 8606, 12 June 1908
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