Monday, March 17, 2014

Victorian War Correspondents

Januarius MacGahan (1844–78), a gentleman reporter of the old school, describes his journalistic equipment for a trip into Central Asia to cover the Russian invasion of Khiva in 1873.
"Being a man of peace, I went but lightly armed. A heavy double-barrelled English hunting rifle, a double-barrelled shotgun – both of which pieces were breech-loading – an eighteen-shooter Winchester repeating rifle, three heavy revolvers, and one ordinary muzzle loading shotgun – throwing slugs – besides a few knives and sabres, formed my light and unpretentious equipment. A hundred rounds for each of my guns and revolver were equally divided, with many other little traps, among the four saddle-horses.   
Nothing was farther from my thoughts than fighting. I only encumbered myself with these things in order to be able to discuss with becoming dignity questions relating to rights of way and of property with the inhabitants of the desert, whose opinions on these subjects are somewhat peculiar."
Campaigning on the Oxus, and the Fall of Khiva, p.146.