[2nd AFGHAN WAR]. Series of 18 autograph letters, the majority signed, by Sidney Parry to his father during the 2nd Afghan War, Simla, Cawnpore, Rawalpindi, Peiwar Kotal, Peshawar, Kurram and elsewhere in Afghanistan, 22 September 1878 - 9 November 1879, approximately 76 pages, 8vo, a few cross-written (a few tears and splits to folds).
Letters from an artillery officer with Sir Frederick Roberts's force. Parry describes his temporary appointment to G Battery, 3rd Brigade Royal Artillery, and his posting to the column at Kotal; there is a good description of the defeat of the Emir's forces at Peiwar Kotal, not without some criticism of General Roberts ('most rash & foolhardy'; the victory 'probably the biggest fluke in the annals of war'); the following months bring much suffering with the cold ('a sort of damp, feverish cold that feels as if it were coming off a snipe bog'; 'it is out of the question trying to write until noon' because of frozen ink). Later in the series, descriptions of Roberts are much more favourable ('a universal favourite'), though Parry is not so impressed by Sir Louis Cavagnari, the ill-fated envoy to Kabul, when he escorts him to the Afghan lines (he 'does not give me the idea of being the clever man he is said to be'); the last letter describes the entry into Kabul after the massacre of Cavagnari and his party - 'we have been unable to find any of the bodies of the late embassy ... hanging, etc was going on gaily, but not enough of it to my thinking ... Cabul [is] not worth seeing'. The series, written in a consistently lively and vivid style, to a father with a good knowledge of military matters, ends with Parry's transfer to the Horse Artillery and departure from Afghanistan. (18)