Cape of Good Hope 1878 9th Border War Campaign Letter

  • written by "F Smith, Lt. Commanding, Burns Hill" during the Ninth Border War
  • a few days before the infamous Battle of Makabalele Ridge.
  • Entering the mails at Alice with VF oval datestamp 17 APR struck at lower left
  • the letter was endorsed "Free" and erroneously franked 1d notwithstanding the Sender being of Officer rank.
  • Cape Town transit cds AP 25 and Petersfield UK arrival backstamp.
  • An exceedingly rare letter from this Frontier War period.
  • Superb, an exhibition piece.
  • Ex Johnson & Dillaway.
  • The war had started in August 1877 and ended with the final surrender of the Xhosa on 29 June 1878. This was the last of the Frontier Wars and known also as the War of Ngcaycibi or the Gcaleka War of 1877. It was the only named conflict of the many Frontier skirmishes during the Rectangular period. The seeds of battle had been sown many years before but war erupted between the Xhosa and the Fingo tribes. Against his will the Xhosa Paramount Chief Sandile became involved and a full-scale war between the tribes started. The Cape Government used both Imperial Troops and Colonial Forces consisting of 5000 infantry and 200 mounted troops with the assistance of 3700 Fingo tribesmen to finally end the war with the death of Sandile who was killed in the Perie Bush 12 miles from King Williams Town. The death of the Paramount Chief heralded the end of an era and a legend spread over 50 years.

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