What was the march from Kabul to Kandahar?
On 27th July 1880 British troops under General Burrows were totally defeated by Ayub Khan at Maiwand in the biggest British disaster, and the greatest Afghan victory, of the conflict. Ayub then besieged the remainder of the garrison at Kandahar. General Roberts set out with his army of 10,000 from Kabul on 8th August to relieve Kandahar which lay over 300 miles away.
Why is the march so famous?
The march from Kabul to Kandahar was quite a feat in that it moved so many men such a distance and in a relatively short period of time. They marched through terrific heat and dryness, not knowing what resistance they would meet on the way, including the possibility of Ayub Khan on his way to Ghazni or Kabul. It had heroic aspects in that it was a rescue mission and the day after Roberts arrived, on September 1st, he defeated Ayub Khan and the Afghan army, effectively ending the conflict of the Second Afghan War. A medal struck specially for the march heightened its renown. As well as being a real military and logistical success, it was inspiration to an empire and became the stuff of Boys' Own adventure. I don't think it would be untrue to say, with echoes of Rorke's Drift in relation to Isandlwana, the march and following battle were heightened over Maiwand. This does not lessen its achievement, but neither should Roberts' march overshadow the other events of the war (including Stewart's riskier march from Kandahar to Kabul five months earlier). See article.
How can i tell if my ancestor served in the Second Anglo-Afghan war, or was on the march to Kandahar?
See the Afghan War database and the notes on that page.
What regiments served in the Second Anglo-Afghan War?
See regiments that served.