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A 4pp ALS from General Charles Gordon while building the forts that guard the Thames
"Written from Gravesend addressed to Nugent dated January 14, 1866 reads in part, ""Since I wrote, the foreign officer applied for an officer to build the Consulates in China and Japan and Corpsman has taken it. The berth will be for about two or three years. No one is around to succeed him at W. office. Division comes back next month and I expect he will succeed in J.B. - which case I so not think Jervois will stay at W. Office for he has involved himself with granite too much as to render it difficult to retract. Ward has come back, but only to complete a certain term when he will leave & go back to Australia . . . Very bad news from Olivia, although not confirmed positively, it appears they have dismissed Hart! This and other indications look as if they were indeed to give trouble to us. There are two parties in China as in Japan. The one favorable to . . . and which is the weakest, and the other unfavourable to . . . which is the strongest . . . I know no details of Hart's dismissal, it has evidently been very sudden. I did not understand his . . . paragraph unless he had some . . . The forts are in status quo and not likely to be touched. I will conclude this . . . with and will write Dr. whenever I have any news. Believe my dear Nugent Yours very sincerely, C. Gordon."" The Hart mentioned could be Sir Robert Hart who was appointed Inspector General of China's Imperial Maritime Custom Service to collect customs duties for the Chinese Government. General Gordon lived in Gravesend during the construction of the Thames forts. For six years he devoted himself to the welfare of the towns poor boys, establishing a Sunday school and providing food and clothes for them from his Army wage. In command of the Royal Engineers from 1865-71, he was responsible for the forts that guard the Thames downstream from Gravesend, New Tavern Fort in the town, Shornemead Fort on the south bank, and Coalhouse Fort on the north. Lt. Col. William Drummond Jervois R.E Jervois joined the army in 1839, and was educated and commissioned as a Royal Engineer. After service in South Africa, he became an expert on land-based fortifications of cities against naval attack, and proposed several options for a ring of defenses around London. In 1864-1865, he reviewed fortifications in Canada, submitting what became a politically controversial report that stated that the Great Lakes and Upper Canada were not defensible. Later in his career, he became governor of several colonies-the Straits Settlements (Penang, Singapore and Malacca), South Australia, and then New Zealand. The letter is most likely addressed to Lt. C. Nugent who led the 7th Company of Sappers and Miners."
      [Bookseller: University Archives]
Last Found On: 2014-12-15           Check availability:      Biblio    

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