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The Story Of Gate Pa, April 29th, 1864

A Sad Spectacle

A Sad Spectacle.

When the troops took possession in the morning a sad spectacle presented itself. A correspondent (Mr Wilkinson) thus describes the scene:—

“Three men of the 43rd L.I. were lying dead against the inner paling of the fence. On entering the Pa, within a few yards the bodies of four Captains of the 43rd were lying, and further on in line with the others, Colonel Booth of the same regiment was leaning against the rear palisade of the Pa, his spine smashed by a big Tower musket ball, and his arm broken. He was still living, and on being carried out saluted his General, and expressed his page 16 regret at not having succeeded in carrying out his orders. Officers of the ships were lying stark dead in line with the others in the same trenches, and as they were alone must have been in advance of their men and fell while nobly leading them. Captain Hamilton, H.M.S. “Esk,” and Captain Muir of the 43rd, lay in the same trench, having fallen while leading their men. Captain Hamilton, of the 43rd., was lying against the fence, and was still breathing. He had been mortally wounded and left lying in the Pa all night amongst the enemy. Close by him were the bodies of Captains Glover and Utterton of the same regiment. In the centre rifle pit lay Lieutenant Hill of H.M.S. “Curacoa,” who was the senior surviving officer of H.M.S. “Orpheus,” lost on the Manukau Bar, February 7th., 1863. Poor Hill had lived long enough to bind up his wounds with strips of his handkerchief, though shot through the centre of the neck and both cheeks. The dead body of a sailor lay in the second trench, the head split in two across the face by a tomahawk blow, entirely emptying the brain. The Gunner of H.M.S. “Miranda,” (Mr Watt) had his head severed from crown to lower jaw by one cut from a tomahawk, the cut passing straight through the nose. Captain Hamilton, H.M.S. “Esk,” lay with a gun shot wound in the temple through which the brain was protruding, but still alive.”

The rings, watches, money, trinkets, clothing, etc., of our dead, were untouched. This was the finest action of the enemy through the struggle. No one expected it, or could have believed that the exultant rebels would refrain from satiating their passion for revenge by mutilating the helpless bodies. But thank God; it was not so. They had previously determined on a chivalrous and honourable method of carrying on the war, and most scrupulously observed it.