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OFFICIAL DESPATCHES. Colonial Secretary's Office, Auckland, January 17, 1846.

The Lieutenant Governor feels great satisfaction in directing the publication of the following despatches from Colonel Despard, containing the details of the operations against the rebel chiefs Kawiti and Heke, from the 29th December last, to the 11th instant, inclusive,—operations which were conducted in a manner most highly honourable to her Majesty's Naval and Military forces, and which resulted in a series of successes which must produce the most beneficial consequences for this portion of her Majesty's dominions. By his Excellency's command, ANDREW SINCLAIR, Colonial Secretary.

Camp before the Ruapekapeka. Kawiti's Pah, Jan. 5, 1846. Sir, — In my ltetter dated the 28th ultimo, addressed to your Excellency, I had the honour of detailing the proceedings of the force under my command up to that period, and I now proceed with tbe detail of what has taken place since. Before daylight on the morning of the 29th, a party of our Native allies penetrated the wood immediately in our front, in a most praiseworthy manner, and took possession of an open piece of ground on the opposite side, sending me immediate intelligence of what they had done. I directly moved forward with 200 men to their support, and sepured the position. The 30th and 31st were principally occupied in bringing up the guns and ammunition through the woods ; a work of great labour and time, as it required between 50 and 60 men to each gun to get them through, on account of the heavy trees it was necessary to cut down, in making the road, and the steepness of the hills they had to pass over. Several rockets and shells have l)een thrown into the pah on the 31st, and each day since, with the utmost accuracy, doing great credit to the officers of her Majesty's navy who directed them, — namely, Lieutenant Egerton, ' North Star,' in charge of the rockets, and Lieutenant Bland, of the ' Racehorse,' and Lieutenant Leeds, of H. E. I. C. S. Elphinstone,' who directed the shells. On the morning of the first instant, I pushed forward a strong party into the only wood that now divided us from the enemy, and taking up a position in the centre of it on an open piece of ground, about 400 yards from the pah, a strong stockade was> immediately commenced for the purpose of covering a battery, and the work was sufficiently advanced before night to render any attempt of the enemy to drive us away, useless. This work was carried on under cover of a very thick part of the wood, which completely concealed it from the enemy, On the afternoon of the following day, the enemy made a strong sally from the pah, with a view it is supposed, of turning the flank of this advanced party of ours in the stockade, which was not yet finished ; but they wjere most gallantly opposed by our Native allies, underlie direction of Chiefs Tomaiti Waka, Nene, Noble, or $ opera, Mobi TaWhai, and pthers. who instantly das&ed <jut,-and attacked them, driving them back with some loss, supposed to amount to eight or ten killed, and between fifteen and twenty wounded; on our side five were wounded on this occasion : and one of oui mo&t active chiefs, Reppa, was severely wounded the previous day, in a skirmish with a small party of the enemy, who it appeared had come out of the pah for the

purpose of picking off any stragglers from our camp, and who had succeeded in killing one of the Volunteer Pioneers, who had gone to an unnecessary distance for water, and was shot in the act of taking it. Up to this date, no casuality, with the above exceptions, has taken place, in the European part of the force. It may be proper for me to observe, that in the action of the afternoon of the 2nd, the European troops acted only as a reserve, at the particular desire of the Native chiefs, who were fearful that their own people might be mistaken for the enemy, and fired upon. I have, &c, (Signed) H. DESPARD, Acting Colonel on the Staff, Commanding the troops in New Zealand. To his Excellency, Governor Grey, &c, &c.

Camp before the Roapekapeka, Kawiti's Pali, Jau. 9th, 1846. SlR,~In continuation of my despatch of the sili instant, I have the honour to acquaint your Excellency^ that the stockade and battery mentioned therein as being commenced, within about 400 yards of the pah, being nearly completed, I determined on throwing; up another, but much smaller, on its right flank, and considerably in advance, so as effectually to put a stop to any attempt on the paitof the enemy, at making a sally, such as took place oa the 2nd instant: as al«o entirely to cut off his toinmunuauou with the country on the side of our camp. This second work was completed tnis day, and two guns (one 18 pounder, and one 12 pound howitzer) placed in battery within it. The larger stockade is also now complete, and contains two 32-pouuders and four 5{ inch mortars. Our present position before the pah is as follows, —The main camp is placed on an open piece of ground, or rather ridge, with deep wooded valleys on either side, and thick' woods both in front and rear: the distance Irom the pah supposed to he about 750 yards. In our front are three guns, (one 32pounder, one 12 pound howitzer, and one light 6'pounder), with an apparatus for throwing rockets. From this portion several shells have been thrown into the pah, as well as rockets, and much execution must have been done by them, as they weie well directed. Wiihin the larger stockade, vrhich at the utmost cannot be more than 400 y.irds from the pah, there are two 32-pounders, and four small 5£ inch mortars; and the wood in front of these guns has been so completely cut down, that nearly the whole lace of the pah is now open to their fire. The small advanced stockade contains one 18pounder aud one 12 pound howitzer, and commands a rauge not only along the same face, (the western), that is exposed to the fire of our other batteries, but will also range along the southern face, aud I etpect destroy the defences on the south-west angle. Our progress up to this period may have been considered slow, but great difficulties have been encountered, as \our Excellency, who has been au eye witness to all our movements, will, I am sure, admit : and the decided advantage, that will arise to the colony at large, if we succeed in carrying this placo with little or no loss, has decided me in pioeeediug with so much caution. I have, &c, &c. H. DESPARD, Acting Colonel on the Staff, Commanding the Tioops. To His Excellency Governor Gey, &c, &c.

Extract from Brigade Orders, Camp before Ruapekapeka, 11th Jan., 1846. The Officer commanding the force, against the rebel chiefs Heke and Kawiti, has the greatest satisfaction in congratulating the whole of the force at the brilliant success that has attended their operations of the last two days. The capture of a fortress, of such extraordinary strength, by assault, and nobly defended by a brave and determined enemy, is of itself sufficient to prove the intrepidity and gallantry displayed by all concerned, whether Seamen, Marines, Troops of the Line, Artillery of H.E.I. C. Service, and the Volunteer Pioneers; and it will be a most pleasing part of his duty to bring such conduct to the notice of His Excellency the Governor of New Zealand, and through him to that of Her Majesty, and His Grace the Commander in Chief. The Colonel cannot conclude this order without expressing his admiration at the brave and intrepid conduct displayed by our native allies on every occasion since these operations commenced, and more particularly during the assault of the pah, on which occasion their bravery was fully equal to what might be expected from the bravest of Her Majesty's troops. The Colonel commanding feels the greatest regret at the loss of so many brave men as have been killed snd wounded on this occasion j but it will be considered as an alleviation by their friends, that they have fallen while nobly performing their duty to their Queen and country.

Camp at the Ruapekapeka, Kawiti's Pah, Jan. 11, 1816. Sir,— lt is with extreme satisfaction that I have the honour of acquainting your Excellency, that Kawiti's stronghold, or pah, at the llaupekapeka, was this day carried by assault by the force under my command, after a bold and most determined resistance on the part of the enemy, who continued the action long after he had been driven from the fortress ; but the ardour and intrepidity displayed by the British force of every description, as well as by our Native allies, overcame every obstacle, and after three hours hard fighting, the enemy was obliged to fly, and dispersed in different directions. The detail of this attack, as well as that of the preceding day's cannonade, shall be laid before your Excellency with the least possible delay. I greatly regret to add that our loss on this occasion has been heavy, as will be seen by the enclosed list of killed and wounded ; but when the extraordinary strength of the place assaulted, is taken into consideration, I am only surprised it has been so small. t have, B[c., H. DESPARD, Acting Colonel on the Staff, commanding the Troops. To His Excellency, Governor Grey, &c, &c. Return of killed and wounded of the Force under the command of Colonel Despard, 9Pth Regiment, acting Colonel on the Staff, during the assault on Kawiii's Pah, on the 11th Jan., 1846. H.M.S: 'Castor,' Killed — 7 Seamen. Wounded — 10 S&imen, and 2 Marines.

H.M.S. 'North Star.' Killed —l Marine. Wounded —2 Seamen, including Mr. Murray, Midshipman. H.M.S. 'Calliope,' Killed—l Marine. Wounded—l Marine. H.M.S. 'Racehorse.' Wounded—l Seamen. H.E.I.C S ' Elphinstone.' Wounded—l Seamen. H.M. 58th Regiment. Killed—2 Privates. Wounded —lo Privates. H.M. 99th Regiment. Killed—l Private. Wounded—l Private. Volunteer "Pioneers. Wounded—*l Private, also 2 during the previous operations, one since dead. Officer Wounded. Mr. Murray, midshipman of H.M.S. 'North Star,' severely, but not dangerously. !

Camp before the Ruapekapeka, Jan. 12, 1846. Sir,J—ln my letter of yesterday, I had the satisfaction of acquainting your Excellency of the fall of Kawiti's pah, by assault on that day, and I now proceed to communicate the detail. On the morning of the 10th instant, our advanced batteries being completed, (one within 350 yards, and the second about 160 yards off the pah,) a general fire was commenced from all the guns with a view of opening a breach into the place, and several rockets were thrown into it at the same time, for the purpose of driving the enemy out. The fire was kept up with little intermission during the greater part of the day, and towards evening it was evident that the outer works on those parts against which the fire was directed, uere nearly all giving way; but the numerous stockades inside, crossing the place in different directions, and composed of much stronger timbers, were scarcely touched. Towards evening, our fire slackened, and was only continued occasionally during the night, to prevent the enemy attempting to repair the breaches that had been made. On the following morning-, the 11th instant, no person being observed moving within the pah, a few of our Native allies, under a chief named William Wa^a, a brother ot' Toinaiti Waka Nene, went up to the place, for the purpose of observing whether or not the enemy had evacuated it. This party entered the breach unopposed which being perceived from the nearest battery, a party of 100 men ot the troops, un»li jr Captain Denny, w s pushed up rapidly, and together with the natives, gained the inside of the stockades before they were perceived by the enemy, who at the tune were sheltering themselves from the fire of our ijuns on a bio iu^ piece of ground in oue of their outworks Our parties had scarcely gained tile inside, when they were noticed by the enemy, and a heavy fire of musketry instantly poured in upon them. The stockades however, now became our protection, and strong reinforcements being immediately brought up from camp, possession oV the pi dee was secured in spite of all the efforts of the enemy to dme us back, being obliged to retreat and shelter himself in a wood opposite the east face of the Pah—where the trees being extremely large and forming complete breastworks, many of them having been cut down previously, and evidently purposely placed in a defensive position, he wa s enabled to maintain a heavy fire against us for a considerable time, until a doorway in that face having been broken open, the seamen and troops rushed out and dislodged him from his position. He, however still continued to keep up a fire from the woods, but more with a view to cover his retreat, and enable him to carry away his wounded men, than with any expectation of renewing the contest The attack commenced about ten o'clock, a. m., and all firing had ceased about two p. m. The extraordinary strength of this place, particularly in its interior defences, far exceeded any idea I could have formed of it. Every hut was a complete fortress in itself, being strongly stockaded all round with heavy timbers sunk deep in the ground, and placed close to each other, few of them being less than one foot in diameter, and many considerably more, besides having a strong embankment thrown up behind them. — Each hut had also a deep excavation close to informing a complete bomb proof, and sufficiently large to contain several people, where at night they were completely sheltered from both shot and shell, The enemy's loss has been severe, and several Chiefs on their side have fallen; the numbers I have not been able to ascertain, as they invariably carry off both killed and wounded when possible. Several of the former were however, left behind; and it has been decidedly ascer tamed from a wounded prisoner, that the chief Heke had joined Kawiti in the Pah on the afternoon preceding the attack. As your Excellency has been an eye-witness to our operations, and I may say actually engaged in the assault, it may be thought unnecessary to draw your attention to those persons who had a greater opportunity than others of distinguishing themselves; but the satisfaction 1 feel in recording the obligation I am under to those persons, makes me persevere in doing so. To the Offi ■ cers, seamen, and marines from Her Majesty's Ships, for their extraordinary exertions in dragging the guns over steep hills, and through difficult and thick woods, as well as for their distinguished bravery in action, the service on this occasion is greatly indebted. To Capt. Graham, of H. M. S. Castor,' for his co-operation, and the readiness with which he afforded every possible aid and assistance since his arrival. To Capt. Sir E. Home who had previously been the senior Naval Officer, and who, not only upon the present occasion, but on all former ones, has used the most strenuous exertions to forward all the objects of the expedition. To Commander Hay, of H. M S. ' Racehorse,' who commanded the whole of the seamen attached to the Force, and who so greatly aided our operations by his personal exertions and example, not only during the assault, but in all the previous difficulties we had to encounter To Lieut Otway, of H. M. S. ' Castor,' commanding the small armed seamen. To Lieutenant Falcon, of H. M. S. ' Castor •,' Lieutenant Bland, and Mr. Nopps, Master, of H. M. S. Racehorse; and Lieut. Leeds, H. E. I. (.. S. • Elphinstone,' who all directed the fire of the guns with such precision and excellence; and to Lieutenant Egerton, of H. M. S. ' North Star,' who directed the rockets, much of our success is to be attributed. To i Lieutenant-Colonel Wynyard, commanding the 58th i Regt., I feel the greatest obligation. His advice was of ] the utmost use to me on many occasions,and his personal exertions, whenever an opportunity offered, as well as his gallantry during the assault, mere most conspicuous. To ( aptaiii Reid, commanding the flank companies 99th Regt., and Captain Langford, Royal Marines, (attached), much praise is due. To Captain Marlow, Royal Engineers, for his exertions in constructing the

batteries } Captain Matson, 58th Regt, who acted as Deputy Assistant Quartermastef-General ; and Lieut, Wilmot, Royal Artillery, who directed the mortar battery, great praise is also due, I have also derived great assistance from the services of Lieutenant O'Connell, 51st Regt, a. d. c. to Lieut-General Sir Maurice O'Connell, and Acting Major of Brigade to this Force, And 1 must not omit to notice, in very strong terms the indefatigable exertions of Captain Atkins, arid his small corps of Volunteer Pioneers, whose conduct and services during the whole operations have been of the greatest advantage* Every kindness has been shewn to the wounded men by Doctors Kiddand Pine, the senior Medical Officers, ' and all the Medical Officers, both Naval and Military ; and I have reason to be satisfied with the exertions of the Commissariat Department, under D.A.C.G. Turner. The wounded men are generally doing well, and the only officer amongst them, a young midshipman of H.M.S. 'North Star,' Mr. Murray, whose ardour carried him too far when the enemy were driven from the woods. 1 have now only to express the peculiar satisfaction I fed, that Your Excel'ency has had an opportunity of personally witnessing the toils and difficulties that were encountered, and the cheerfulness with which every part of the Force exerted itself to overcome them, and I beg to express my own Miicere thanks for the advice and observations that you have occasionally been kind enough to iavur me with during that period. 1 should aKo wish to draw Your Excellency's notice to Mr. Edward Shortland, who was prevailed upon to act as my Interpreter, and who has rendered me many important services while acting iv that capacity. J have the honor to be, Your Excellency's most obedient servant, (Signed) H,Despard, Acting Colonel on the Staff, Commanding the Troopi. His Excellency Governor Gkey,

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https://paperspast.natlib.govt.nz/newspapers/NZ18460124.2.12

Bibliographic details

New Zealander, New Zealander, Volume 1, Issue 34, 24 January 1846

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3,060

OFFICIAL DESPATCHES. Colonial Secretary's Office, Auckland, January 17,1846. New Zealander, Volume 1, Issue 34, 24 January 1846

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