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women's quarter, when Captain Gordon first descended. among the people on the lower decks. A few words sufficed to quiet them, and from that moment their patience and submission never faltered.
"By half-past three P.M. the bilged and broken wreck was abandoned with all the stores and baggage -public and regimental-to the fast-increasing gale, and to the chances of the approaching night."
The following letter ordered that this narrative should be entered in the Record Book of the regiment. Captain Bertie Gordon received the appointment of Major of Brigade to the North-western District, and the Acting Sergeant-Major alluded to was made a Yeoman Warder of the Tower immediately on his discharge, with a pension.
"Horse Guards, 5th January, 1849.
SIR,-I have had the honour to lay before the Commander-in-chief your letter of the 19th ultimo, with its enclosure from Major Bertie Gordon, at present in command of the first battalion of the Ninety-first Regiment, at Gosport.
"In reply to which I am directed to acquaint you, that his Grace has been pleased to desire that the whole of the report relating to the wreck of the Abercrombie Robinson' transport, off the Cape of Good Hope, in August, 1842, shall be minutely detailed, and entered in the Record Book of the Services of the Ninety-first Regiment, together with the opinion expressed by his Grace, in laying Major Gordon's report before her Majesty, of the admirable conduct of the officers and men under his command
upon the occasion alluded to, as well as that the situations to which Major Gordon and the Acting Sergeant-Major were appointed in consequence, may be specified in the record of the regiment.
I have, etc.
"JOHN MACDONALD, Adjutant-General.
"General Gordon, Colonel of the Ninety-first Regiment."
The Duke of Wellington ordered that the correspondence relative to the conduct of two companies of the Sixty-fourth Regiment, under the command of Captain Draper, when wrecked on their passage from Halifax, should be published to the army; and this shows how anxious his Grace was to hold up for imitation such instances of fortitude and discipline.
"Horse Guards, 13th September, 1843.
SIR,-I have the honour herewith to transmit, by the Commander-in-chief's desire, copy of a correspondence which has taken place relative to the conduct of two companies of the Sixty-fourth Regiment, under the command of Captain Draper, lately wrecked on their passage from Halifax.
"His Grace is desirous that you should communicate the contents of these documents, confidentially, to the commanding officers of regiments and depôts. serving under your orders, with a view to their making the same known to the troops, in order that Captain Draper's exemplary conduct upon the occasion alluded to may be appreciated as it deserves by every officer, non-commissioned officer, and soldier; and that the advantage of the maintenance of disci
pline and subordination, under all the most trying circumstances, may be fully seen. “I have, etc., "JOHN MACDONALD, Adjt.-Gen."
' Portsmouth, 1st September, 1843.
"DEAR LORD FITZROY,-I hope I do not transgress when I call the attention of his Grace to the exemplary conduct of two companies of the Sixtyfourth Regiment, under the command of Captain Draper (1829), lately wrecked on their return from Halifax.
'The Alert,' a private ship, in which they embarked at Halifax, was fitted out with unusual haste; they struck soon after sailing, upon a reef, quite out of the proper course, about two o'clock A.M., and it was soon evident the vessel was sinking.
"The natural impulse of the men was to reach the deck, but the commander (who after the accident appears to have behaved very well) declared that the transfer of such a weight from below-above two hundred people would cause the ship to labour so that she must founder; the officers explained this to the men, and remained with them below. The deck on which they stood soon partially blew up, and the water gradually gained the ankles and knees of the men; all remained steady; when the vessel beached.
"From the order maintained the party landed without the loss of a man, and immediately measures were taken to ensure life on the desolate spot they had reached-Goose Island-uninhabited.
"Sheds were erected from the spars and sails, provisions were recovered from the wreck, and much baggage, in an uninjured state, was saved.
"The party finally reached Halifax, after ten days' severe trial, without a sick man, or any flagrant breach of discipline.
Captain Draper commanding, is a captain of 1829, and senior captain of the regiment.
Having stated the case, I do not presume to add a recommendation, but submit it to the consideration of the Commander-in-chief.
"I have, etc.,
"HERCULES PAKENHAM, Major-Gen.
"Lieut.-Gen. Lord Fitzroy Somerset,
A letter from the Military Secretary, Lord Fitzroy Somerset, in reply to the report from Sir Hercules Pakenham, completed the correspondence; in which the Duke's appreciation of the behaviour displayed by the troops, as already given, is reiterated.
Another officer of the Ninety-first had an opportunity of distinguishing himself on the occasion of the wreck of her Majesty's steamer "Birkenhead," which had been despatched with reinforcements for the troops engaged in the Kaffir war.
The scene of this terrible calamity was at Danger Point, not far from Simon's Bay, where the steamer, after a prosperous run of forty-eight days from Corkwhich she left on the 7th of January, 1852-arrived on the 24th of February, and landed a portion of the reinforcements on board. She left on the following evening at seven o'clock, to proceed to Algoa Bay and the Buffalo River, with the rest of the troops destined for the war; and her commander, Captain Salmond, in his anxiety to make as quick a passage as possible,
kept to the shore so closely, that the steamer, during the night, got among the rocks which line the coast, and struck with a violent shock at two o'clock in the morning of the 26th of February, seven hours after she had steamed out of Simon's Bay. The speed at which she was going-eight and a half knots an hour -drove her with such force on the rocks, that within a few minutes after she struck she broke in two, and went down, carrying with her several of the persons on board.
The coolness and steady obedience to orders which the troops manifested on that awful and trying occasion present an instance of one of the noblest results of discipline. All the women and children were removed in time to secure their entire safety, and then the officers and men tried to save themselves in the boats, and by whatever means they could obtain.
The following report, addressed to the Commandant of Cape Town by Captain Wright, of the Ninety-first Regiment, one of the survivors, gives a graphic narrative of the disaster
"Simon's Bay, March 1, 1852.
SIR, It is with feelings of the deepest regret that I have to announce to you the loss of her Majesty's steamer 'Birkenhead,' which took place on a rock about two and a half or three miles off Point Danger, at two A.M., 26th February.
"The sea was smooth at the time, and the vessel steaming at the rate of eight knots and a half an hour. She struck the rock, and it penetrated through her bottom just aft of the foremast. The rush of water was so great that there is no doubt that most of the