CAPT. F.J. MACE.
[Image of page 470]
[Image of page 471]
CAPT. F.J. MACE.
CAPTAIN MACE, who had been a resident in Taranaki for some years, distinguished himself so conspicuously on the outbreak of the war in that province by his intrepid conduct, as to merit from the Government of the colony the highest military distinction they could bestow on a colonial officer, viz., the New Zealand Cross, which honour was conferred upon him for conspicuous bravery in the performance of his duty throughout the war; for most valuable and efficient services in conveying despatches through the enemy's country, and in acting as guide upon many important expeditions. Notably his conduct at the Kaitikara river, on the 4th June, 1863; at Kaitake, on the 11th March, 1864; and at Warea, on the 20th October, 1865. Captain Mace served from the commencement of the war in 1860 under Captain Burton, watching for two days the enemy's approach to Waireka, thereby saving the lives of many of the outsettlers, who were collecting their cattle for safety. He acted as one of the guides to Captain Cracroft's party, who so gallantly carried the Waireka pa on the 28th March, and for this service the Government of the day presented Mace and his brother guides, Charles and Edward Messenger, with a revolver each. He then joined the Mounted Troop, and served through the Waitara campaigns under Generals Pratt and Cameron, he and his company's services being publicly noticed by both Generals on several occasions. He was further sent for and thanked personally by Governor Browne for his action at the capture at the Peach Grove. Captain Mace subsequently served under Colonel Warre, and was employed carrying despatches between New Plymouth and Opunake, twenty-five miles of which was through the enemy's country, where no troops were stationed. This service he performed several times, accompanied by twenty-five of his troopers as an escort. His troop was in every engagement and most of the skirmishes that took place, and was mentioned in most of the military despatches, and twice brought before the special notice of the Government by
[Image of page 472]
Colonel Warre, and in a letter from the Defence Minister (Colonel Haultain) to Colonel Lepper he acknowledged that the past services of Captain Mace's troop were second to none in the colony. He had one horse killed under him at the taking of the Ahu Ahu pa and two others wounded under heavy fire on other occasions. In July, 1863, he was sent by the Government to Dunedin to raise men as Military Settlers, and returned with 215, these being the first landed in Taranaki.
EXTRACTS FROM DESPATCHES IN THE NEW ZEALAND GOVERNMENT GAZETTE.
[COLONEL WARRE TO MILITARY SECRETARY.]
(No. 23, 1863.)
"As I consider Mr. Mace's conduct deserves special notice, I beg to state that he has lately been in charge of the mounted orderlies as ensign in the Taranaki Militia and has frequently been of great service to me since I have been in command of the outposts. His courage is proverbial, and I myself saw him gallop after three or four Maoris and shoot one of them."
[COLONEL WARRE TO ASSISTANT MILITARY SECRETARY.]
(No. 53. 1863.)
"I must also beg to be allowed to mention the excellent conduct of Captain Mace, who with his troops were unceasing in their efforts to assist the wounded and distribute ammunition."
[COLONEL WARRE TO ASSISTANT MILITARY SECRETARY.]
(No. 4, 1864.)
"The mounted men under Captain Mace did the skirmishing through the thick scrub and fern for the troops."
[COLONEL WARRE TO QUARTERMASTER-GENERAL.]
(No. 11, 1864. )
"And especially to bring to the notice of the Governor the gallantry of Captain Mace, who on this occasion, with trooper Antonio Rodriguez, so nobly assisted the wounded men."
[MAJOR BUTLER TO COLONEL WARRE.]
"The Mounted Volunteers who accompanied me behaved throughout with their usual conspicuous courage and coolness. Of these I beg to name Captain Mace and Antonio Rodriguez, the latter of whom again distinguished himself by carrying the wounded men to the rear under heavy fire."
[Image of page 473]
DR. GRACE arrived in the colony in the month of July, 1861, with a detachment of engineers and infantry, who were landed at Taranaki. The following day he was placed in charge of the town hospital to attend the wounded consequent to Major Nelson's attack on Puke-te-Kauere. On General Pratt's arrival from Australia the doctor was attached to the Flying Column under Major Hutchinson, which had its headquarters at Waireka camp, from which point these flying columns swept the whole country round about, being daily engaged with the natives in preventing a concentration of their forces against their contemplated attack on the township of New Plymouth. Dr. Grace was also present at the attack made on the pa erected on Dr. Rawson's land, and from his kindness of disposition and readiness to give his services to all, he became a great favourite with the whole colonial force. Being now on the General's staff he was more or less present in every affair that took place at this period, and was soon after placed by Dr. Mouatt in charge of the field hospital at Waitara, where the first ambulance corps was organised. On the 28th of December he marched with the advanced guard of the 40th Regiment to Matarikoriko. The skirmishers had taken up their position at dawn of day so well supported both in rear and flank, as to give them that feeling of security that for a moment they piled their arms, but they had hardly done so when the natives fell upon them, rising suddenly out of the scrub immediately around them with fearful yells. Taken completely by surprise, the 40th began to waver, and would probably have fled, but were saved by the doctor, who, not daring to leave his wounded, cried out, "Tipperary boys to the rescue. Give them the bayonet. Ireland for ever!" This brought the men to their senses, and like magic the tide was turned and the credit of the British army saved. For this act of cool courage he was thanked by General Pratt in orders.
Dr. Henry, of Wellington, and Drs. Gibbs and Carroll, of New Plymouth, also saw a deal of hard service and were many times in imminent peril.
[Image of page 474]
[Image of page 475]
CAPTAIN M.N. BOWER, who had seen long service in the Crimea, on arrival in this colony, was (in June, 1863) made sub-inspector of the Colonial Defence Force, and inspector in the following year, captain in the New Zealand Militia on the 6th June, 1864, and of the Auckland Militia, on the 3rd February, 1865. He served as adjutant of the Colonial Defence Force, under Colonel Nixon, until the force was disbanded; was adjutant of the flying column under General Carey, accompanied the column, under General Cameron, from Te Rori to Te Awamutu; was present at the attack and capture of the village of Rangiaohia, and was with Colonel Nixon when wounded. He served with the 1st Waikato Regiment at Tauranga; was district adjutant at Opotiki; took over Fort Colville, Maketu, from the Imperial forces, on their withdrawal from New Zealand; served with the force under Colonel Harrington at Pye's Pa, and attack and capture of the village of Ake Ake and others. He also served with Lieut.-Colonels McDonnell and St. John, as district adjutant and quartermaster of the field force expedition to Ohinemutu, Rotorua, and to the field force at Wairoa, Hawke's Bay. He was ordered to Poverty Bay after the massacre, and served until the fall of Ngatapa under Colonel Whitmore. He was afterwards made adjutant of the Waikaremoana field force under Colonel Herrick; and, lastly, served as adjutant and quartermaster of Taupo field force, under Lieut.-Colonel Roberts, until the force was disbanded.
[Image of page 476]
SERGEANT HILL, of No. 1 division of the Armed Constabulary, obtained the New Zealand Cross for his intrepid conduct at the relief of the Jerusalem Pa, at Mohaka, on the 10th of April, 1869. Constable (now sergeant) Hill accompanied the Wairoa natives, who, under their chief, Ihaka Whanga, proceeded to relieve Mohaka, then under attack by Te Kooti. Constable Hill volunteered with a party to run the gauntlet of the enemy's fire, and dash into the pa, then so sorely pressed. This was a desperate and dangerous service, and it was in a great measure due to the example set by Constable Hill (who led the party) that it was successfully carried cut. During the subsequent portion of the siege, Hill so animated the defenders by his exertions, that the repulse of Te Kooti may be attributed to him; his conduct being spoken of with admiration by the natives.
[Page 477 is blank]
[Image of page 478]
[Image of page 479]
EVERYONE acquainted with the late Dr. Webber, of the Taranaki Military Settlers, knew him to be one of the bravest of the brave, and to such, the following anecdote will not be needed to convince them of the fact, that though an excellent surgeon, he was by no means at heart a non-combatant officer.
In 1865, while quartered at the White Cliffs, Taranaki, a subaltern and twenty men (whom he accompanied as medical officer, were sent down to the wrecked steamer Alexandra to save her from pillage by the natives in the district, and while dispersing some Maoris on the beach, were suddenly fired upon by a party in ambush from the cliffs above. Finding themselves between two fires, and at a disadvantage owing to their exposed position with a hidden enemy in their rear, the officer in charge took prompt steps to get his men under cover. To do so a projecting cliff had to be repassed, as it stood between them and the camp, in rounding which they would again be exposed to the close fire of the ambush party in addition to the fire from the natives in front, who were now fast returning. Consequently our men had to run the gauntlet. The doctor being appointed to the command of the first party of five to make the trial rounded the point safely, when the supposed non-combatant was seen returning alone, and taking up a position on the point of the cliff, defied the rebels to hit him, while he coolly emptied his revolver in return. Luckily for him, at this moment he was seized by the second party on return, and quickly dragged into safety, with a brief but terse reminder, that it was not a part of his duty to be shot at. This brave and generous doctor, gallant and genial soul, beloved alike by officers and men, has finished his earthly campaigning, but his memory lives in the affections of every member of his company who survives him.
[Image of page 480]
[Image of page 481]
LIEUTENANT GUDGEON, the author, arrived in New Zealand on the 10th of January, 1850, having resigned a Government appointment, after seven years' service in the Income and Property Tax Office, Somerset House, London. He took his passage in the good ship Berkshire, which vessel being laid on for Taranaki direct, he made that district his home for the first ten years of his pilgrimage, settling down as a bush farmer on one of the furthest back sections in the district, six miles at least from the township. Finding his family increasing, with no chance of educating them, he, in 1859, removed to Wanganui. He had not been there many months when the war in Taranaki broke out, and he had just cause to congratulate himself on his removal, as the two little boys, Pote and Parker, who were the first to fall under the tomahawk of the natives, were the daily companions of his children, going to the same infant school together, their parents occupying the adjoining sections.
The war after a time left the district of Taranaki and travelled northward to the Waikato, and in 1864 broke out in Wanganui, when all capable of bearing arms were called upon to enrol, and he soon found himself in the enviable position of a full private in the Wanganui Militia, doing alternate night picket duty until he was appointed quartermaster and commissariat officer to the colonial forces with rank of lieutenant. Being on the commanding officer's staff, he was one of the first to hear of the movements and disposition of the colonial forces, and every circumstance as it occurred, having oftentimes the painful duty of conveying very sad news from the front to the wives and children who remained in the township. The Maori war was very distasteful to the Imperial forces, and no wonder either, as most of the regiments had come flushed with victory, direct either from the Crimea or the Indian Mutiny, and were disgusted with the guerilla bush fighting of New Zealand. As they had not suffered by the rebellion they had nothing to avenge. No hard earned property destroyed; no homes broken up; no wives and children slaughtered; no honour to gain. Consequently they looked upon the Maori as a foe unworthy of their steel. This feeling it was that led eventually to the withdrawal of the Imperial forces. Then it was that the Government fought the natives with our colonial lads, who were
[Image of page 482]
as much, at home in the recesses of the New Zealand forests as on the open plain. They soon terminated the war, which but for the attempt to capture Te Kooti would have come to a close long before. In September, 1869, the war being virtually over, Lieutenant Gudgeon applied for and obtaining leave left Wanganui for the Thames goldfields, residing there till the end of 1879, when he settled down in the city of Auckland, and collecting together his manuscripts, published his reminiscences of the war, the doings of the Maoris from 1820 to the signing of the Treaty of Waitangi in 1840, and this present volume; and if, in so doing, he has passed by anyone whose deeds deserve recording, or has been guilty of errors, either of commission or omission, in the descriptions he has given of the services he has chronicled, let it be attributed principally to the innate modesty of the colonial forces, who, in most instances, referred the author to their comrades for the information he sought rather than give it themselves. The author trusts, therefore, that whatever mistakes may be found in these biographies they will be looked upon as unintentional, and not arising from any want of inclination to do justice to all the men who so gallantly defended New Zealand.