Ashantee Medal 1873 - 74
on the 1st June 1874 for award to British, Colonial and allied native
forces deployed against the army of the Ashanti King Koffee Kalkalli,
which was threatening the British Gold Coast Protectorate. As the C-in-C
of the main British operations, Sir Garnet Wolseley put it : "An invading army of Ashantis numbering between twenty and thirty
thousand men, having overrun the Fanti territory, has occupied
threatening positions within an easy march of Her Majesty's Forts at
Elmina and Cape Coast Castle. The country is filled with alarms of
intended attacks upon our settlements ; public confidence in us is at a
very low ebb, every movement on our part is known to the enemy,
regarding whose intentions, movements, numbers, or even exact position,
little information is possessed by our authorities."
A few minor actions took place in the latter half of 1873
against the Ashanti that had crossed the Prah river into British
controlled territory. In early 1874 after a build up of forces a
campaign was launched to drive back and punish the Ashanti. The coup de grâce
was delivered on the 31st January at the battle of Amoaful - after many hours of heavy fighting - in which the Black Watch (42nd Regt) was
the prime mover. Immediately after this the capital Coomassie was
occupied, and an (intentionally unacceptable) ultimatum was put before
the Ashanti King by Wolseley - to surrender his mother and brother as
hostages to the British or see his capital Coomassie destroyed. On the
6th February Coomassie was razed to the ground. Peace was agreed on the
13th February 1874 via the Treaty of Fommanah which included the Ashanti
king paying the British 50,000 ounces of gold and halting the practice
of human sacrifice.
Description: Obverse; the diademed, veiled head of Queen Victoria
and the inscription VICTORIA REGINA. Reverse; a scene of bush fighting
between British and Ashanti, as inspired by the campaign. (this reverse
was use on other medals - see Poynter above)
Clasps: one, COOMASSIE this was awarded to those present at
Amoaful and the capture of the capital, or those protecting the lines
communication north of the Prah river.
engraved quite neat square looking serif capitals, character height about half the rim width. The vertical parts of the letters are quite thick in appearance. Lettering was originally blackened in, but
frequently this does not survive the passage of time.
Ribbon: yellow with black edges and two narrow
black central stripes.
Medals of the Regiments for qualification by regiment for
Infantry and Cavalry units.)