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Manipulating The Modern Curse Of Armies: Wolseley, The Press, And The Ashanti War, 1873–1874

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Chapter Summary

The Ashanti (Asante) War of 1873-1874 was arguably the first Victorian colonial campaign to really catch the public's imagination, and certainly the first to do so in the post-Cardwellian period. This chapter examines first, Garnet Wolseley's relations with the press on the Gold Coast; second, the means available to Wolseley to influence opinion; and third, how Wolseley manipulated the image of one particular aspect of the campaign, namely transport problems. Wolseley set out with thirty-six special service officers in September 1873, but from the beginning he believed that only British battalions could do the job and only by marching on the Asante capital at Kumase. The Crimean War had been effectively the first British campaign covered in the new more popular national press and had established the pattern, but there had been little British military conflict of note since the Abyssinian campaign of 1867-1868.

Keywords: Ashanti (Asante) War; British battalions; Garnet Wolseley; national press; post-Cardwellian period; Victorian campaign



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