The Afghan Campaigns of 1878-1880


The Afghan Campaigns of 1878‒1880 is a two-volume account of the Second Anglo-Afghan War (1878–80) by Sydney H. Shadbolt, a London barrister and the author of works on imperial subjects. The first volume, entitled “Historical Division,” includes a sketch of the war and the movements of the forces, illustrated by maps. The second volume, entitled “Biographical Division,” contains albumen photographs and short biographies of the 140 British officers, along with a small number of civilians from the diplomatic service, who died in the campaign. The men are listed alphabetically. Most were killed in combat, but those who died of typhoid, cholera, and other causes also are included. The longest biography in the book is that of Major Sir Pierre Louis Napoleon Cavagnari, the French-born British military adviser who negotiated the Treaty of Gandamak in May 1879 and who was killed by mutinous Afghan troops in Kabul in September 1879, while serving as envoy and minister plenipotentiary of the British government to the court of Amir Ya‘qub Khan. The concluding section of the biographical volume lists the 13 men who were awarded the Victoria Cross (the highest military honor awarded for bravery in the British Army) and provides accounts of the acts of valor for which they were recommended for this honor. This list includes mainly officers, but also a gunner, a sergeant, and a lance corporal.

Last updated: July 27, 2016