Following the overthrow of Queen Liliʻuokalani in 1893, the Committee of Safety established the Provisional Government of Hawaiʻi as a temporary government until an assumed annexation by the United States.
The Provisional Government convened a constitutional convention and established the Republic of Hawaiʻi on July 4, 1894. The Republic continued to govern the Islands.
From January 6 to January 9, 1895, patriots of the Kingdom of Hawaiʻi and the forces that had overthrown the constitutional Hawaiian monarchy were engaged in a war that consisted of three battles on the island of Oʻahu, Hawaiʻi.
This has frequently been referred to as the “Counter-revolution”. It has also been called the Second Wilcox Rebellion of 1895, the Revolution of 1895, the Hawaiian Counter-revolution of 1895, the 1895 Uprising in Hawaiʻi, the Hawaiian Civil War, the 1895 Uprising Against the Provisional Government or the Uprising of 1895.
In their attempt to return Queen Liliʻuokalani to the throne, it was the last major military operation by royalists who opposed the overthrow of the Kingdom of Hawaiʻi. The goal of the rebellion failed.
The chief conspirators who conducted the planning were four: CT Gulick, a former Cabinet Minister of Kalākaua, an American; Samuel Nowlein, a hapa haole, former Captain of the Queen’s Guard; WH Rickard, an Englishman long resident in Hawaiʻi; and Major Seward, an American long domiciled with John A Cummins, a wealthy hapa haole.
For three months, these four held frequent meetings at Gulick’s house and settled upon a plan for the capture of the city and public buildings.
Capt. Nowlein was to be commander of the rebel forces. Major Seward was to procure arms, Rickard was generally useful and Gulick was the statesman of the party.
Gulick, with the others, drew up a new Constitution, wrote a Proclamation restoring the Queen’s Government and prepared written Commissions for a number of chief officials.
On December 20th, after several days watching by five of Seward and Cummins’ men on Mānana (Rabbit Island, near Waimānalo,) the schooner signaled and was answered. The men gave the pass word “Missionary.”
They received two cases containing eighty pistols and ammunition which they first buried on the islet, but afterwards carried to Honolulu. The schooner then lay off outside for twelve days.
On the 28th, the little steamer Waimānalo was chartered by Seward and Rickard, and on New Year’s Day intercepted the schooner about thirty miles NE of Oʻahu, and received from her 288-Winchester carbines and 50,000-cartridges.
Captain Nowlein had secretly enlisted Hawaiians in squads of thirty-eight. About 210 of them assembled at Waimānalo during Saturday night and Sunday, the 6th. They captured and detained all persons passing or residing beyond Diamond Head.
Robert Wilcox, of former insurgent fame, had joined the rebels, and was placed in command under Nowlein.
Beginning on the night of January 6, 1895, several skirmishes ensued, with slight victory for the Royalists. However, their benefit of surprise was now lost and they were out-numbered and out-gunned.
On January 7, 1895 martial law was declared in Hawaiʻi by Sanford B Dole.
Three major battle grounds were involved. First, Wilcox and about 40 of his men were on the rim and summit of Diamond Head firing down on the soldiers.
Seeing no tactical importance in remaining on Diamond Head, Wilcox ordered his men to retreat to Waiʻalae. The new strategy was to move north into Koʻolau mountains then west, avoiding the Government forces in the south.
On January 7, the Royalists moved into Mōʻiliʻili where they were involved with additional skirmishes. Then, on January 8, Wilcox and his men were discovered crossing into Mānoa Valley (they were hoping to get above the city, as well as rouse more supporters.)
Wilcox and his men then escaped up a trail on the precipice to the ridge separating Mānoa from Nuʻuanu. On that ridge his men dispersed into the mountain above; Wilcox and a few others crossed Nuʻuanu that night, eluding the guards.
Some 400 of the Government forces guarded the valleys from Nuʻuanu to Pālolo for more than a week, and scoured the mountain ridges clear to the eastern Makapuʻu point.
This resulted in the capture of all the leading rebels.
As evidence against conspirators accumulated, some forty whites and 120 Hawaiians were arrested. Four foreigners and 140 Hawaiians were taken prisoners of war. The prisons were supplemented by the use of the old Barracks.
Liliʻuokalani was put under arrest on the 16th, and confined in a chamber of ʻIolani Palace.
A tribunal was formed and evidence began to be taken on the 18th. Nowlein, Wilcox, Bertelmann and TB Walker all pleaded guilty, and subsequently gave evidence for the prosecution.
On January 24, 1895, in an effort to prevent further bloodshed, Liliʻuokalani executed a document addressed to President Sanford B Dole, in which she renounced all her former rights and privileges as Queen and swore allegiance to the Republic. The president pardoned the royalists after serving part of their prison sentence.
Convicted of having knowledge of a royalist plot, Liliʻuokalani was fined $5,000 and sentenced to five-years in prison at hard labor. The sentence was commuted to imprisonment in an upstairs bedroom of ʻIolani Palace.
After her release from ʻIolani Palace, the Queen remained under house arrest for five-months at her private home, Washington Place. For another eight-months, she was forbidden to leave Oʻahu, before all restrictions were lifted.
Lots of the information here comes from an article in The Friend, February, 1895.