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"Battle of Boulcott Farm" Topic

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EdDowgiallo09 Jul 2011 3:51 p.m. PST

I've just been reading up a bit on the Battle of Boulcott Farm and have a few questions I hope the forum can answer.

Lieutenant Page took half his force and counterattacked, a fairly gutsy decision. He deployed his force in skirmish order. As I read the description of the battle, 25 British troops in skirmish order successfully counterattacked a force of 200 Maori. What were the mechanics of the situation that allowed him to do this? How much faster was the British rate of fire than that of the Maori? The Maori force is reported to have had at least 50 guns. Any idea how many of the Maori were armed with guns?

In general, what proportion of a Maori force would likely have firearms? What proportion of muskets to shotguns?

Is it known what the construction details of the British stockade were at Boulcott's farm?

Was the British force entirely composed from the 58th or were there also soldiers from other regiments? One description of the battle mentioned wounded from the 99th.

Thank you,

Arteis09 Jul 2011 8:42 p.m. PST

I might be able to throw some light on a few of your questions:

According to 'To Face the Daring Maori' by Michael Barthrop:
"The buildings included Boulcott's cottage, where Page set up his headquarters, a few outhouses and a large barn, around which a stockade was built, loopholed for musketry."

Here is a painting of the stockade at Boulcott's Farm:


Here's the traditional tale of the Battle of Boulcott's Farm, as described by James Cowan:

And also here:

James Belich's TV series "The New Zealand Wars" takes another look at Boulcott's Farm. I haven't got the video here in front of me, but it is likely that Belich would have picked apart some of the claims from the traditional story.

Arteis10 Jul 2011 2:04 a.m. PST

Here is the inscription on the memorial stone that stands near the site of the Battle of Boulcott's Farm in Lower Hutt, New Zealand:

"To the glory of God and in Memory of men of the Imperial and Colonial Forces who fell in the Hutt Valley during the Maori War 1846.

"This stone marks the site of Boulcott's farm stockade, the most advanced post of the regular troops in 1846. Here 200 natives on the 16th May under Rangihaeata's orders and led by Te Karamu of the Ngati-Haua-Te-Rangi Upper Wanganui were repulsed by a garrison of 50 men of the 58th Regiment. The bodies of six imperial men who fell, rest nearby.

"Killed in action at Boulcott's Farm 58th Regt. L/Cpl Jas. Dockrell. Pte Thos. Bolt. Pte Wm Allen. Pte J. McFadden. Pte Robt. Brett. Pte T. Sonham. Died of wounds and buried at Wellington. L/Sgt E. Ingram. Pte Jas. French. 58th Regt. 99th Regt. Accidentally killed. Sgt Hicks. Pte J. Swan. Armed Consty. Hutt Militia."

Note that the last two were accidental deaths of colonial soldiers who were killed elsewhere in the Hutt Valley, so were not part of the Boulcott's Farm incident.


EdDowgiallo10 Jul 2011 1:56 p.m. PST


This painting appears in a number of places, and shows the stockade as it was rebuilt after the battle to include all the buildings.

Are you aware of any drawing or paintings that would give a better view of the buildings? All we really see in this painting are the roofs.

Thank you,

Arteis10 Jul 2011 10:47 p.m. PST

That's the only painting I've seen, Ed. I wasn't aware it was done afterwards, but you could be right. When you think about it, painting a picture of a nondescript farm before it became famous in a later battle would've been an unlikely subject for an artist.

It may be that you only have the written descriptions to go by, if no other pictures exist.

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