Friday, May 31

The Author - The Books ... Under Three Flags in Cuba

Under Three Flags in Cuba: a personal account of the Cuban insurrection and Spanish-American war. Published by Little, Brown and company in Boston, 1899.

M. J. L.

Preface ...
"Under Two Flags in Cuba" was to have been published in the spring of 1898; but the manuscript, together with three hundred photographs illustrative of Weyler's regime in Cuba, and some historical letters that had passed between the Captain-General and Premier Canovas, were seized in Havana with my effects when I was deported to Spain at the beginning of the war. Thus the circulation of that work was limited to General Blanco and those of his officers who understood Enghsh.
      After witnessing the triumph of the American army at Santiago, I prepared the present work, "Under Three Flags in Cuba" during a prolonged attack of fever contracted in the campaign. But again fate, acting now through the pistol of an incensed Spanish officer, delayed publication. During my convalescence from the wound, a number of books on Cuba were issued from the pens of gifted writers. In each work the primary cause of the war is omitted, and frequent criticism of the Cubans, based entirely on misconception, has tended to raise doubts of the justification of American intervention in the Island.
      Landing in Cuba, a warm sympathizer with Spain, to write upon her military failure for a British service organ, and enjoying at various times exceptional opportunity to study the question from both a Cuban and Spanish standpoint, my heart went out to Cuba in her struggle. While I held a commission in the Cuban army, stories of my fighting prowess that appeared in various Spanish papers were absolutely false. When travelling across Cuba, my escort was at times involved in skirmishes, and participated in larger fights when visiting other commands, but I was an observer rather than a warrior. I have endeavored to write the simple story without bias. Thrice a prisoner in the hands of the Spaniards, they treated me with a surprising consideration; and now that Right has triumphed and Wrong is overthrown, we can feel sympathy with the humiliated nation that, blinded by traditional pride and patriotism, cloaked and defended the policy of a corrupt faction, to its own undoing. But by that policy thousands of innocent women and children have been starved to death, and a bloody era of history has been achieved.
      On the ashes of a glorious country the United States stands as foster-parent to a new nation. Russian aggression liberated Bulgaria; American aggression, if you will, freed Cuba. But under the present regime, the Cubans have fears of the curtailment of the freedom they have given their all to achieve. As a people, they are not ungrateful ; they do not ask for the Cisalpine independence guaranteed at Campo Formio. But they have seen motives of patriot husbands and brothers impugned by descendants of Washington's followers, they have been condemned for the effect of environment from which they have been lifted. Thus they fear that the heterarchy of General Brooke is permanent, and joy at their release from Spain's mailed hand is marred by the dread of a rule by American bayonets.
      Thus I venture to hope that a plain story of the sufferings and sacrifices of the Cubans for their freedom may be of interest. A knowledge of their struggles will create an appreciation of their aspirations, and I would that an abler pen than mine had pictured them.
October 1, 1899

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Thursday, May 30

The Author - The Books ... To Kumassi with Scott

To Kumassi with Scott: a description of a journey from Liverpool to Kumassi with the Ashanti expedition, 1895-6. Published in London by Wightman, 1896.

Preface ...
The 1895-6 Expedition to Ashanti took place at a time when the British Empire was in a ferment; wars and rumours of wars abounded on all sides. Excitement ran high, and in the midst of the turmoil, the operations in West Africa were forgotten or put aside for matters of more pressing import. Newspapers were full; the international troubles caused much pressure on their space, and little beyond brief telegrams on the movements of the force, was published ; therefore, a more comprehensive account of the expedition will be of interest to many.
      The campaign was a bloodless one, but none the less heroic; for that march to Kumassi, through dense forest and deadly swamp, was fraught with perils more to be dreaded than the arms of the savage Ashantis.
      The British force marched 140 miles through the jungle, leaving numbers on the road, sick of fever and dysentery. They invested the capital; the King and his chiefs were captured, the bloody fetish power destroyed, and the force, sadly reduced by sickness, returned to the coast, having freed a large district from the tyranny of a bloodthirsty despot and opened up a vast territory to trade and civilization.
      This record of the expedition is chiefly comprised of a series of articles and letters written at different times and places on the journey from England to the Gold Coast and on the march up country, which I have endeavoured to make of general interest by touching on the habits and customs of the people, digressing somewhat from a formal account of the campaign alone. The march did not lack interesting incidents, especially as we drew near to and entered Kumassi, and I have attempted to faithfully portray these various scenes on the road.
Folkestone, June, 1896

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Monday, May 27

Forces War Records - a Surprise Package

Checking military history for a number of ancestors on Forces War Records and, although there was no record for George Clarke, I did receive a pleasant surprise when I found that he was listed in his role as war correspondent for "Black and White Budget" in February 1900.

He was assigned to cover the advance of Major General William Forbes Gatacre, Commander of 3rd Divison, South Africa Field Force, with a force of about 3,000 men, who was pushing north toward the railway junction at Stromberg, to secure the Cape Midlands district from Boer raids and rebellions by local inhabitants. However, many of the 3rd Division troops had to be diverted to Natal after major losses there, and Gatacre's reduced force arrived late. By the time they were ready to take the field, Boers from the Orange Free State had already seized the important railway junction and the town of Stormberg.

During the confusion following Gatacre's failed mission, George Clarke Musgrave was reported captured by the Boers. In the event, though, he had been separated from the main force and, travelling by night for some measure of safety, he made his way back across the two hundred miles or so to Bloemfontein, then on a transport to Durban where he picked up a passage back to England and on to New York, arriving on 14th March 1900.

All of this is fairly well documented in George Clarke's own book - In South Africa with Buller - but to my surprise, I also found the story referenced in an introduction to the war coverage of "Black and White Budget" on the historic documents section of the Forces War Records website.

Black and White Budget 3 Feb 1900

Black and White Budget - Introduction

Black and White Budget - Main Story

Black and White Budget - Portraits
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