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Monday, February 2, 2015 AWD The Aftermath Reports to London from Isandhlwana - From some who were there - Including Zulus - John Colenso's reports to London - AWD Letters

It is impossible to think just what thought thoughts all those brave men must have had on that fateful day.  So few against so many.  Before embarking on this research, this war was just a "name", something that happened in a century or so of never-ending wars.  Perhaps none of us really understood the bravery of our military ancestors, which ever battle they fought in.

But for a moment, picture yourself in their shoes.  Starting the day, going about their business, loading the wagons and their horses, and riding off in whichever direction, probably not all that concerned at that stage, given different accounts, of lazing around, having breakfast, unaware that their every move was been watched with keen eyes.

Pockets of the enemy are seen, men rush around, some ride off to warn others, one sentry even reported that there were large number of cattle grouped.   But it wasn't cattle as he later attested to.

Reading stories, makes it difficult to fully comprehend the size of the battlefield, unlike today's Aeriel views or the big screen of the movies.

Applying logic and objectivity to events post 11.00am on 22nd January, 1879 is quite helpful.

Isandlwana from the ridge by Spion Kop Lodge .

Who went where, over what, how they went, how many streams or dongas*, would probably be depicted much better by viewing an aerial diorama, or to actually visit and take a tour.

But this family history research is not simply a version of an opinion on the whys and wherefores of a military operation, it is only based on the personality, actions and circumstances surrounding and affecting the particular relative being presented.

    *A dry gully, formed by the eroding action of running water, not a demountable building

 But the one thing that is missing is the sound!   One only has to visit the Museum in Darwin, and listen to the sounds of Cyclone Tracey to fully understand the enormity of what Mother Nature can produce.  

Research indicates that the average age of the British soldier as 23.   Suddenly they find thousands of Zulus swarming down through hills, or gaps or where ever, but did they come on tip toes?

No they came in traditional full battle mode,  maybe dressed in their adornments, carrying their shields and their spears.  Some with old firearms, and all chanting their loud battle cries. 

The effect was meant to scare and intimidate the enemy.   And it DID.

In Shaka's day, warriors often wore elaborate plumes and cow tail regalia in battle, but by the Anglo-Zulu War of 1879, many warriors wore only a loin cloth and a minimal form of headdress. 

Their shields were made in the same colour as their herds of cattle.

At Nelson Mandela funeral
Shaka revolutionised contemporary Black warfare by introducing the short stabbing spear to enforce fighting at close combat.This method proved to be so effective that the Zulus were still using it 60 years later in the war against the British. Shaka based the close combat method on the logic that it was ridiculous for a striking force to throw its weapons away, as the Zulus did before his time, by aiming and hurling the longer assegai (spear) at their opponents from longer distances. Zulu shields, made from oxhide, were used both as a protection and as a method of concealing the weapons the warrior was carrying.

That was Native custom, not only in Africa, but in Papua New Guinea.  A sing sing is great entertainment, but still manages to intimidate.

And prior to battle they "hype" themselves up, as his eyes show, different rituals in different places.

But by far, the best example of all, is the Maori.  They keep their tradition alive and perform the Haka at every international sporting event, part of their culture, whatever the colour of their skin.  The children are taught the words as part of their schooling.

Many people around the world have no idea of the meaning, but it does leave a sort of spine tingling effect.

 It's probably why Richie McCaw leads the All Blacks to so many wins in the Rugby World!

Now just imagine 20,000 screaming warriors, all heading towards a small group of 2000. (approx)
Not only were the soldiers British but locals as well.  They full well knew what to expect in such circumstances, the British had possibly never before seen so many screaming warriors coming their way.

What are the odds,  10/1.  Not good.  From the moment they saw the sheer mass of numbers, they would have realised that this would be the fight of all fights.

Would they feel surprised, threatened, intimidated, scared, confused, frightened, confronted, unsure of what to do, fear, lack of clarity, dis-oriented, anxious, nauseous?

There is no question about that at all, the answer is Yes, and would be the very same normal response to those set of circumstances then, as it is today.   And despite the "British stiff upper lip"*, those reactions are all caused by the release of the chemical adrenalin being released through-out their body.

An adrenaline rush is when your adrenal glands pump an excess amount of adrenaline into your body in response to high amounts of stress, such as when you are being attacked or responding to a disaster. After the situation has passed, your adrenaline levels go back to normal.

Adrenaline is a natural stimulant made in the adrenal gland of the kidney. Its biological name is epinephrine, from the Greek nephros for kidney. Adrenaline is carried in the bloodstream and affects the autonomous nervous system, which controls functions such as the heart rate, dilation of the pupils, and secretion of sweat and saliva.

Adrenaline is the body's activator, and is released in response to anxiety, exercise, or fear. This is the basis of the so-called 'fight-or-flight' reaction. When an animal is threatened, the options are usually either to stand its ground and fight, or run away as fast as possible. Both responses would require extra supplies of blood and oxygen in the muscles. Fright causes the brain to send signals to the renal glands which start pumping large amounts of adrenalin into the bloodstream. This increases the heart and breathing rate in preparation for the ensuing action.

*One who has a stiff upper lip displays fortitude in the face of adversity, or exercises great self-restraint in the expression of emotion.

But despite knowing this was it, did they turn and run? No each did extraordinary things in extraordinary circumstances.  And yes a few did run.  A handful, some of course wrote telling tales of their heroic escape, truth? or to hide their own actions.

The dead cannot talk, the living do, and they can then throw all sorts of allegations, maybe even to hide their own short comings, or to get over their guilt, untruths abound, would they be believable most probably not.

For those not actually on the field, but in other areas, how would they have felt when they realised that their colleagues were no more?  For some they were family, brothers, maybe sons.

Did they then follow the factors associated with the circle of grief?
Of course, because once again those feelings are governed by a chemical reaction.

Anthony Durrnford was now just a number laying on a field, on a plain at the foothills of some spectacular mountain ranges, in a far off land, and he like all the others laying around him, did the best they could, somehow, I don't think one person today, would swap places with any of them.

1329 bodies, 858 British and 471 Natives and probably the same number of Zulus.

Different sides, different odds, different cultures and different beliefs about the 2500 dead.

While there are many books, reports, transcripts newspaper articles, movies, forums all devoted to this one event, the different stories of what happened have only been presented based on research of the facts available.  Not one person survived.  The truth left with them, and even had they managed to have claimed victory most probably, each persons version of events would still differ.

It is just part of human nature -    the psychological and social qualities that characterise humankind

The following report is from an independent participant with a military background, 

 Report from the War Correspondent with the London Standard   excerpts

APA:   Newman, Charles L. Norris. (2013). pp. 255-6.

Dawn broke next day, Wednesday, January the 22nd, with heavy mists on the tops of the Indhlazakazi, Upindo, and Isilalwane Hills. Before daylight our party fell in and stood to their arms, awaiting the promised arrival of the General and reinforcements, who came up shortly afterwards. This force had left the camp at Isandwhlana at 8 a.m. and consisted of a squadron of Mounted Infantry, seven companies of the 2-24th Regiment, and four guns under Colonel Harness, B.A. Lord Chelmsford accompanied the relieving force in person, and was attended by his usual Staff and several other officers not specially on duty in camp that day, who had just come out for a ride.

In the meantime orders had been sent back to Rorke's Drift, to Colonel Durnford, R.E., to bring up his 800 mounted men at once, as also his rocket battery. Having been unable to cross at the Middle Drift, his Column was divided and coming slowly up to unite with ours. As daylight progressed we could see that the main body of the enemy had left the hills in front of us, but their scouts were visible here and there; so the following preparations were made for surrounding the position.

The Natal Carbineers and Mounted Police under Major Dartnell were started off to get round on the right flank between the position of the enemy and Matyana's stronghold; while the two battalions of the 8rd Regiment N.N.C. were ordered to advance across the valley and sweep right over the hill in front (Isilalwane), which was evidently the key of the position.

In going up, we could notice that the Mounted Infantry under Colonel Russell, four guns under Colonel Harness, and  seven companies of the 2-24th under Colonel Degacher, C.B., were steadily proceeding up the valley on our left along the road which led from our camp farther into the country, with the intention of taming the enemy's right.

An ambulance and one other loaded waggon accompanied this force. When the two battalions of the Native Contingent reached the top of the hill after a hard pull up, and no success in '' finding ebony/' a halt was called and then within a very few minutes sharp firing was heard, away on the Upindo hill to our right; and upon turning that way, we saw " not two miles o"f " a lot of our mounted men chasing some Zulus over the hill in a direct line for us. So the double was sounded, and away we went to help cut them off. Seeing this, those of the enemy who were not shot left the top of the hill, ran down the sides and took refuge in the caves and rocks abounding. We soon arrived at the spot, and after three hours' work routed all the rest out of their hiding places, shooting many and assegaing others. Lieutenant Harford, 99th Regiment, staff officer to Commandant Lonsdale, again distinguished himself by going in alone under a nasty crevice in some stones, shooting two men and capturing another. This officer did the same thing at the attack on Sirayo's strongholds, and would seem to have a charmed life. '' May he long keep it! " " was our wish at the time.

The two battalions were then got together, and prepared to march back to the camp, having killed about eighty men. At this point I left them, and galloped across to where the cavalry had re-united, and there heard the history of the whole of their morning's work. It appears that after leaving us that morning they saw a body of the enemy away still farther on the right, among whom were some mounted men, and Major Dartnell gave orders for the Carbineers and Mounted Police to ride after them. This they did, and began to open fire (greatly to the astonishment of the Zulus, who stood jeering at them) at eight hundred yards " and even at that distance succeeded in killing one or two. Seeing this, the enemy fled up the hill as hard as they could; but, as it turned out, not fast enough to escape the men of the Carbineers, who, putting their horses to full speedy  gained upon them and shot many running. Indeed, I was told by an eye-witness that dead shots were made in this manner at over six hundred yards. Three horses were captured, and the stem chase continued until they met the men of the Native Contingent, when they returned, leaving it to their sable allies to finish up the business.

Over sixty were then killed, and we only know of one man who escaped. Matyana himself was nearly caught by Captain Shepstone, N.C., who chased him for miles on horseback, and was close to him, when he jumped off his horse and dropped over a steep krantz. The horse was brought into camp. The mounted men under Major Dartnell then had tea and biscuits, and awaited the coming up of the General and Staff for farther orders. As scattered bodies of the enemy, apparently falling back on their main supports, had been seen by the other attacking parties, a general advance was ordered by Lord Chelmsford, who remained with the infantry and guns, which continued advancing up the valley to the left of the Isilalwane hill; while Colonel Russell with the Mounted Infantry went on still farther to turn the right of the Isipezi hill, and then to act as circumstances might require. The idea did not seem to have occurred to any one that the enemy were carrying out a preconceived plan.

At ten o'clock the General and his Staff made a halt at the top of the valley for breakfast; and shortly afterwards Captain Buller, Rifle Brigade, A.D.C., rode up with the information that the mounted men were engaged on the extreme right; at the same time the news first arrived that large bodies of the enemy were seen on the left of our camp. The General then ordered the l-8rd N.N.C., under Commandant Browne, to retire on the camp, and scatter any small bodies of the enemy that might be found hovering about between us and the camp. At 11 a.m., Lord Chelmsford then rode away towards the right, sending two companies of the 2-24th over the hill; and the rest went back by the road they had come, until they arrived at the place where it branched off to the site of our proposed new camping ground, to which they at once proceeded, as escort to the guns.

Those officers who had accompanied the General for a ride only here left him, and
unfortunately for themselves returned to camp. An escort of ten mounted infantry went with these officers, among whom were Captain Allan Gardner, 14th Hussars, Lieutenant McDougall, B.E., and Lieutenants Dyer, l-24th, and Griffiths, 2-24th. After passing over the Isilalwane hill, the General proceeded along the Upindo until he came up with the Mounted Police, Natal Carbineers and Native Battalion, who had been engaged with Matyana and his followers.

The General only remained for a short time, to receive from Major Dartnell his report on the morning's work, and then left us, with instructions to return two miles farther back, to the head of the Amange gorge, and there remain; his intention being that the camp at Isandwhlana should be struck that afternoon (Wednesday), and the entire force moved forward to the spot selected as our halting-ground. This intention, it is almost needless to add, was unhappily never carried into effect.

But our orders were at once acted upon, and on our arrival we found the Staff already there, looking through their field-glasses at some large bodies of Zulus, who were about ten miles away, massed in proximity to the camp. This was at about half an hour past noon; and it was then that the first uneasy suspicion was aroused in our minds, that some important, possibly sinister, events were perhaps in progress at the camp. Mr. Longcast, the General's interpreter, learned from one of the prisoners that an immense army had been expected to arrive that very day from Ulundi ; and from the enumeration of the different regiments composing it, the numbers of that force were variously estimated, by those familiar with them, at from 20,000 to 25,000.

Suddenly, during his cross-examination of other prisoners, the sound of artillery-fire was distinctly heard in the direction of the camp; and the Zulus immediately said, ** Do you hear that? There is fighting going on at the camp." This was at once reported to the General, who was by this time some way down the hill, towards the spot, near the Amange stream, where the Mounted Police and Carbineers were already off-saddled. Remaining there only for a very few moments, he passed on to the lower part of the Amange, where the road  crosses, to select a site for the new camp.

 At this juncture one of our mounted natives came galloping down from the opposite ridge, whence the camp could be seen, and reported to a Staff-officer that an attack was being made on the camp, as he had seen heavy firing and heard the big guns. On this being reported to Lord Chelmsford he at once galloped up to the crest of the hill, accompanied by his Staff, and on arrival every field-glass was levelled at the camp. The sun was shining brightly on the white tents, which were plainly visible,* but all seemed quiet.

No signs of firing, or of an engagement could be seen, and although bodies of men moving about could be distinguished, yet they were not unnaturally supposed to be our own troops. The time was now 1.46 p.m. and not the faintest idea of disaster occurred to us. It was believed that an attack on the camp had been made and repulsed, as those who knew the arrangements previously made for its defence had every right and reason to assume.

Some time was passed on the ridge, and it was not until a quarter to three that the General turned his horse's head downwards to the Amange stream. After some time had been passed on the site marked out for the new camping ground orders were given for Captain Shepstone and his Volunteers to return to the camp and ascertain the position of affairs there, and what had occurred.

I joined them, and we had not proceeded very far on the road when we met a mounted messenger, who had been sent off by Colonel Pulleine with a note to Lord Chelmsford, to inform him that the camp was attacked by large numbers of Zulus, and requesting him to return at once with all the forces at his command. Upon this we halted to await the arrival of the General, who quickly came up with us, accompanied by the Mounted Infantry, and proceeded up the valley with us to reconnoitre.

 At this time we had travelled about three miles on our return, and had passed Colonel Harness with his four guns, accompanied by a detachment of the 2-24th, the ambulance and a waggon, and the main body of the Mounted Infantry, all on their way to the new encampment. At this moment a mounted man was seen approaching, and speedily.................


as dark as it ever became throughout that memorable night. At a distance of within a mile, where the ground rose to the site of the camp, we could see, by the shadows against the horizon, on the top of the neck of land, where oar road ran back to the Bashee Valley, and so on to Rorke's Drift, that the enemy had dragged numerous waggons, so as to place a sort of barrier across our only road back. And from behind this we thought we could hear the hoarse cries of the enemy, and the rattle of their knob-kerries and assegais against their shields. A halt was therefore made to allow the guns to pour four rounds of shrapnel into the barricade, when the advance was resumed.

Meanwhile Major Black received orders to gain possession, at all risks, of the kopje on the left of the ridge; as those holding it would then be enabled to protect our flank effectually, and to command the ridge itself with a destructive fire. As the gallant Major moved off in the dark on this hazardous errand, apparently one of almost certain death, I heard him call out to his men, ''No firing, but only one volley, boys, and then give them the cold steel." After a short advance by the main body a second halt took place, and the shrapnel-fire was repeated. Afterwards all was silence, and we resumed our onward march. The 2-24th on the right were ordered to fire a few rounds, with the object of drawing the fire of the enemy, if any, but fruitlessly; and then, in silence and darkness, we moved on once more.

A little farther on, and we began to stumble over dead bodies in every direction, and in some places, especially where from the formation of the ground there was a ditch or anything like shelter, the men were found lying thick and close, as though they had fought there till their ammunition was exhausted, and then been surrounded and slaughtered. When within a few hundred yards of the top of the ridge, with the large and grotesque form of the Isandwhlana Mountain looming up in front of us, and showing clearly against the sky in the dusk of evening, we heard a ringing British cheer from hundreds of throats. We thus learnt that Major Black and his men of the 2-24th had gained the kopje without any resistance, and therefore that the enemy had retired still farther, though between us and Rorke's Drift.

 It was 8 or 9 p.m. by the time our little force had ascended the ridge: we received orders to bivouac where and as we were, on the field of slaughter, and only to move forward by daylight in the morning. Such precautions as were possible were taken to guard against a surprise; for it was known that a large  force was following in the rear; and the victorious enemy were believed to be in close proximity to our front and flanks.

 But oh  how dreadful were those weary hours that followed! while all had to watch and wait, through the darkness, with what patience we could muster, for the dawn of day; with the knowledge that we were standing and lying amid and surrounded by the corpses of our late comrades " though in what fearful numbers we then but little knew.

Many a vow of vengeance was breathed in the stillness of the night; and many and deep were the sobs that came from the breasts of men who, perhaps, had never sobbed before, at discovering, even by that dim light, the bodies of dear friends, brutally massacred, stripped of all clothing, disemboweled, mutilated, and in some cases decapitated. How that terrible night passed with us I fancy few would care to tell, even if they could recall it.

For my own part, I felt both reckless and despairing "^reckless at the almost certain prospect of an overwhelming attack by the enemy, flushed with victory" despairing, because of the melancholy scene of  which I felt awaited us at daybreak. During the night we noticed fires constantly burning in all the surrounding hills; and in particular one bright blaze riveted our attention throughout, as it seemed to be near Rorke's Drift, and we feared for the safety of those left in that small place, knowing how utterly powerless we were to aid them in any way before morning.

Happily, in this instance, our fears were vain. After lying down for a while close to the General and his Staff, I arose at about an hour before daylight, for the purpose of taking a quiet look around, to see the state of matters for myself, and recognise what bodies I could.

Nothing but a  sense of duty could have induced me to undertake the task, or sustained me in its execution so as to go through with it. Not even on the recent battle-fields of Europe, though hundreds were lying where now I saw only tens, was there ever a more sickening or heart-rending sight!

The corpses of our poor soldiers, whites and natives, lay thick upon the ground in clusters, together with dead and mutilated horses, oxen and mules, shot and stabbed in every position and manner; and the whole intermingled with the fragments of our Commissariat waggons, broken and wrecked, and rifled of their contents, such as flour, sugar, tea, biscuits, mealies, oats, ";c., "c., the debris being all scattered about, and wasted as in pure wantonness on the ground.

The dead bodies of the men lay as they had "fallen, but mostly with only their boots and shirts on, or perhaps a pair of trousers or a remnant of a coat, with just sufficient means of recognition to determine to which branch of the Service they had belonged. In many instances they lay with sixty or seventy empty cartridge cases surrounding them, thus showing that they had fought to the very last, and only succumbed and fallen, after doing their duty without flinching, find when all means of resistance were exhausted.

It seemed to me, at the time, that it was really wonderful that so small a force had been able to maintain such a desperate resistance for so long. There were, indeed, only about 900 men in camp, exclusive of our natives, who ran away, and of Colonel Durnford's mounted men, under Captain Barton; and yet, fighting in the open, without defensive works, protection or cover, they kept at bay for hours the almost overwhelming army of Zulus, by whom they were attacked and surrounded.

Captain Barton subsequently told me that his mounted men really fought well at their first charge, and until all their ammunition was exhausted; they were then compelled to fall back on the camp, where they sought for a fresh supply of ammunition. Unfortunately, this was refused them by the officer in charge, who said it would all be required by themselves.

This was assuredly a fatal error of judgment, inasmuch as a large quantity of ammunition unused fell into the hands of the enemy, together with more than 1,000 Martini-Henry rifles and carbines. Perhaps, however, though the defence might have been prolonged, the disastrous issue could not have been averted, considering the strength of the enemy.

So far as I could judge, from what I saw through my field-glass, combined with all the reliable information which could possibly be obtained at the time, and careful computation, the line of Zulu warriors, which came down from the hills on the left, must have extended over a length of nearly three miles, and consisted of more than 15,000 men.

And another large body, of at least 5,000, was held in reserve, remaining on the crest of the slope and taking no part in the first onslaught. They took part in the work of spoil and plunder at the camp, and aided in driving off the captured cattle and such waggons as had not been wrecked.

Most of the bodies of their dead were also removed by them in the waggons, so that not many were found by us on the field; this makes it difficult to form any accurate estimate of the total loss on their side, which must have been considerable. Assuming that our troops had seventy rounds each, and allowing for the effective execution of many rounds of shrapnel and case from the two guns, as well as the rockets, discharged into the dense masses at close quarters, I think the Zulu loss may fairly be set down at not far short of 2,000, an estimate which has been considered low by military men well qualified to judge.

I had scarcely returned from my melancholy round, when, just as daylight began to appear, preparations for the advance were completed, and the word was given to march. Formed in fours, not in line this time, we proceeded rapidly on our return route, with strong advanced and rear guards, and feeling well on our flanks.

On nearing the farther side of the plain, where the neck of land gives access to the Bashee valley, we saw in the distance on our left a returning Zulu impi, numbering many thousands. Judging from the numerous evidences of burning kraals bordering the Buffalo river itself, we concluded that this was a part of the victorious army which had set out from Isandwhlana, attacked the post at Rorke's Drift, and  ...........................................................

At Mooi River I found a large number of Government and hired waggons, carrying stores, "c., but all stuck there, because neither drivers nor leaders would go forward, owing to the alarming reports brought down the road by the fugitive Kafirs of the Native Contingent. The fact was, that these runaways had created almost a panic along their road of flight

 For my part, I consider that every native that had fled from Helpmakaar deserved to be shot, and certainly every white man that had left our outposts at Rorke's Drift and Helpmakaar should have been tried by court-martial for cowardice.

As far as I could ascertain, those who thus took refuge in flight had spread the most extraordinary tales about their miraculous escapes. But inasmuch as many of them passed Helpmakaar early on the day of the 22nd, and as the conflict at the Isandwhlana camp, fifteen miles away, had only terminated about 4 or 5 p.m., it seems to me that they could have seen very little of the fatal fight, and could have known nothing positive about the disastrous result.

These doubtful points remain to be cleared up. Between Mooi River and Burrup's I met the detachment of the 22bt, and gave my note from Major Grenfell to the commanding officer. Before reaching Burrup's I was caught iu one of the most severe storms of thunder, lightning, and rain that I have ever seen; indeed, the horses could not be got to face it, and there was nothing for it but to halt and submit to the drenching.

Arrived at Burrup's, I got rid of my wet clothes, rolled myself in some blankets, and after taking some hot tea " the only thing to be had " I * slept the sleep of the tired," if not of the just* The following morning early though weak and weary, I pressed on to Grey Town, which I reached at 7 am

All my old friends were rejoiced to see me alive, having been led to believe that every one with the Column, except the fugitives who had passed that way, had been slaughtered. I was glad to be able to contradict all these sensational reports, and to give the latest authentic news, painful as that was" At Mrs. Plant's, where I breakfasted, there were a number of officers of the 224th, who listened with breathless interest to my details, and to the list of killed and  missing. One of the officers of the King's Own, Lieutenant Penrose, made a sketch of the scene, which appeared subsequently in the Graphic, I had an order on the resident magistrate for fresh horses, but by this time I was so thoroughly exhausted that I could not continue my journey in the saddle. I accordingly changed my mode of travelling, and completed the rest of the distance by the post-cart.

At Pieter Maritzburg I found the most intense excitement prevailing, owing to the many alarming rumours that had been spread, and the absence of all reliable intelligence. The streets were thronged and on our arrival at the post-office I was at once recognised and most heartily welcomed; indeed, ill as I was, I was quite unable to get away until all my news had been made public.

The Natal Times, with great promptitude and enterprise, immediately published an ** Extra " with the full particulars; and although some of those too clever people, who are never lacking pretended to throw doubts upon the accuracy of my account, it was afterwards officially corroborated in almost every particular.

 I had every reason to feel flattered with the meed of rrecognition and praise generally awarded to me for my long and arduous journey to bring early and correct tidings of such deep interest and importance to the people of Pieter Maritzburg and the Colony.

My duty did not end therewith, for I was specially charged with letters to His Excellency Sir Bartle Frere, and many other officials, all of which I made an effort to deliver that same day, before returning home to enjoy well-earned and much-needed repose.

 Of the list of those missing from the fatal field of Isandwhlana, which I had myself compiled with no small trouble, and brought down so quickly, I may say that it proved too mournfully accurate; unhappily of all the brave fellows, whose names were there enumerated, not one has been heard of alive since then.

The state of consternation and excitement which had prevailed in the city for the two preceding days was unprecedented and indescribable. It was on Friday, the 24th of January, that their Excellencies the High Commissioner and the Lieutenant Governor had issued, for the information of the public, a brief  account of the reverse^ as given by Captain Stafford and Lieutenant Davis, the substance of the news being already known.

 But the public in general seemed actually to be so staggered at the gravity and painful character of the intelligence that they seemed utterly unable to give credence to the facts. A state of the utmost and most anxious suspense ensued, which increased to such a pitch as at one time almost to threaten violent measures against those who had brought the news, for it was even rumoured that, on comparison and cross examination, such discrepancies had been found in their statements as to throw doubts on their truthfulness.

This was of course quite unfounded. But before the Government were able to issue any reliable details, the excitement and anxiety for more news reached such a climax that a deputation of the citizens had an interview with His Excellency the Lieutenant* Governor (on Saturday) to request him to allay public anxiety publishing without delay all that was known.

Late in the afternoon a summary of Lord Chelmsford's despatch was posted on the notice-board at the Colonial Secretary's office; but great disappointment was felt when it was seen that this gave no detailed account or list of the severe losses. My arrival, about 6 P.M., enabled this deficiency to be supplied; but the fuller knowledge thus given of the extent of the calamity only served to deepen and intensify the public feeling.

Crowds gathered about the newspaper office, eager to scan the printed list and see whether any of those known and dear to them were among the lost, and the scene was sad and striking for those who witnessed it. Amazement, yielding to rage and grief, was eventually succeeded by vague feelings of alarm, and the public mind was rapidly disquieted by uneasy rumours of all kinds respecting the position of affairs at the front. It need scarcely be said that these fears were identified with theprobability of a border-raid by the victorious Zulus in overwhelming strength, extended possibly to the chief towns, Durban and Pieter Marits burg. The citizens went about with anxious countenances, whispering gloomily at street-comers, and crowds thronged around the Colonial Office and the newspaper offices, eager for  ...............................

CHAPTER X, The following are the best account yet given of the events of the 22nd of January at Isandwhlana, at which, fortunately for me, I was not present. But although I have therefore no personal knowledge of the facts, I need no apology for inserting them in my book, as they are essential to the history of the war.

A Government conductor of waggons has stated that " ''Between 8 and 4 a.m. the General left the camp with a column to attack 'Matyana's' location, and there only remained in the camp five companies of the l-24th Regiment and one of the 2-24th, numbering with the Staff and others about 800 Begolars, two field-pieces with the requisite artillerymen, and some mounted men. At 8 a.m. we heard firing in vollies from the General's direction, south-east of the camp.

At this time we perceived the Zulus collecting in force to the north of the camp. Our small force was ordered under arms at once, but dispersed again shortly afterwards, and the cattle belonging to the camp were directed to be brought into camp and inspanned ; this was done by half-past ten.

The Zulus were then seen coming in force over a ridge about a mile and a half distant. At eleven Colonel Durnford came into camp with 860 mounted men of the Native Contingent, and formed in front of the two guns. He advanced two miles on the left flank of the approaching Zulus, out of sight of the camp, and after a heavy fire retired, the Zulus coming on in an extended line two miles from end to end. Two companies of the l-24th marched forward to attack the right wing, supported by a few of the mounted natives, while Colonel Durnford attacked the left wing....

and the Infantry cheeked the progress of the Zulus for about an hour, but were forced to fall back on the camp, as the ZuIus had got in among them from the rear, and were fighting hand to hand. The two field-pieces were in the centre, firing shot and shell, and cutting up the Zulus by scores, but every gap made by them was filled up immediately. At half-past twelve the enemy's line had extended to about three miles to surround the camp, which they had already entered from the rear, and the officer in command of the two field-pieces was stabbed in the set of trying to spike his guns*

At one o'clock the Union Jack in front of the General's tent was pulled down and torn to pieces; but a general panic had already commenced, and I then retired from the camp in company with one Carbineer (name unknown), and one Army Staff sergeant* We galloped as fast as our horses would carry us, straight to the Buffalo, through the retreating body, consisting of Native Contingent and such of the Regulars as had escaped, all of whom were subjected to a galling fire from the Zulus on both sides, who followed us closely all the way.

On reaching the Buffalo, at a spot where there was no drift, all rushed in helter-skelter, and many men and horses were drowned, while bullets were flying in all directions. On the Natal side of the Buffalo, Captain Essex^ who had joined our party, took command, and led the white men to Helpmakaar, where laagers were formed with waggons^ the coloured men escaping to Sand Spruit and the Tugela.

The attacking party of Zulus consisted of about 20,000 men, and they took possession of everything in the General's camp. The officers and men of the 24th Regiment stood their ground, and were killed in the ranks; not one of them is supposed to have escaped, as none had arrived at Helpmakaar by seven on Thursday morning.

The spot crossed by the retreating party is about five miles below Rorke's Drift. I did not see the attack made on the small detachment stationed there in charge of the hospital and commissariat stores, but I saw fire there between eight and nine in the evening. When I left the camp Colonel Durnford was still alive, as well as a small remnant of the regulars, but they were so hemmed in that escape was impossible and their ammunition seemed expended, for artillerymen were trying to break open the cases on the waggons to supply them, but it was too late."

Another remarkable account, subsequently given in Durban by Meshla Kwa Zulu, the captured son of Sirayo, is the most detailed in its statements, and fully corroborates the preceding account of Isandwhlana. It also gives an admirable summary of what occurred at Rorke's Drift, Zlobani Mountain, and Kambula.

It says: " " We slept the night before the battle in a Valley rising from the Ngnutu range, and running eastward towards the King's kraal. It abounds with scrubby bush and small stones. We did not see Lord Chelmsford's army leave the camp on the day of the battle, but heard the report of firearms, and saw him returning. No orders were given as to the attack; it was not our day.

Our day was the following day: it being the new moon we did not intend to fight. Our intention was to attack the camp next day at dawn, but the English forces came to attack us first. Three mounted troops "white and black " attacked us first. The Zulu regiments were all lying in the valley I have mentioned, but the Umcityu made their appearance under the Ngnutu range, and were seen by the mounted men of the English forces, who made at the Umcityu, not seeing the main body of the army.

They fired, and all at once the main body of the Zulu army arose in every direction, on hearing the firing. The attention of the English mounted troops was drawn to the few men who had exposed themselves under the range, and before these mounted men knew where they were the main body of the Zulus got up and swarmed in every direction.

On their seeing we were to numerous they retired, and the Ukandapemyu regiment fired. The mounted men retired very slowly on seeing the Zulu army. On seeing the English troops retiring the Ukandapemyu regiment, called also the Umcityu, advanced. The mounted men retired and advanced four times; we just went on, and they retired before us, our Zulu army appearing to become more numerous every moment; we never stopped in our advance. There is a little red hill which overlooks Isandwhlana, within sight of the camp, and there the Ngoba" makosi, to which I belong, came in contact with two companies of mounted men.

This was on the left, and about as far from the camp as the Court House is from Fort Napier; but we were on the height looking down. Some of these mounted men had white stripes up their trousers (Carbineers); there were also men dressed in black, but none of the Native Contingent on the brow of this hill. The Ngobamakosi and Uye regiments attacked on this side.

The English force kept turning and firing, but we kept on; they could not stop us. But on the side of this little hill there is a donga, into which the mounted men got, and stopped our onward move there: we could not advance against their fire any longer. They had drawn their horses into this donga, and all we could see were the helmets.

They fired so heavily we had to retire; we kept lying down and rising again. The Edendale men were in this donga, but we did not see the Basutos. The former were mixed with the Carbineers. At this time the wings of the Zulu army were running on both sides above Isandwhlana, and below towards Rorke's Drift; the men in this donga were firing on the chest of the army. Then, when the firing became very heavy " too hot " we retired towards the left wing, towards Rorke's Drift, and they then withdrew. On seeing us retire towards the Buffalo, they retired on the camp, fearing lest we should enter the camp before they could get to it, and that the camp would not be protected. All the troops had left the camp to come and attack us, but on seeing us retiring on the camp as we did, they also retired on the camp.

The soldiers were sent out in small companies in various directions, and caused great havoc among the Zulus. The Carbineers on entering the camp made a strong stand there, and their firing was very heavy. It was a long time before they^ were over* come " before we finished them. When we did get to them they died in one place all together. They threw down their guns, when their ammunition was done, and then commenced with their pistols, which they used as long as their ammunition lasted; and then they formed a line, shoulder to shoulder, and  back to back, and fought with their knives.

At this time many of the soldiers had retired from the positions where they had gone to attack us, and the Ukandapemvu and Umbonambi regiments were killing them from the end of the Camp. The Carbineers and others were in the rear of the camp, the soldiers in the front part. The Zulu army first entered the front, where the soldiers were.

When the soldiers retired on the camp, they did so running, and the Zulus were then intermixed with them, and entered the camp at the same time. The two wings then met in the rear of the camp, and those who were in the camp were thus blocked in, and the main body of the Zulu army was engaged in chasing and killing the soldiers.

When the Zulus closed in, the English kept up a strong fire towards the Buffalo. They were concentrated near the rear of the camp, and the fire was so heavy as to enable them to make an opening, and thus a great many of the mounted men escaped through this opening.

The attention of the Zulus was directed to the killing of men in the rear, and so they did not attend to the closing up of this opening, and thus let the mounted men out. There was a mixed medley, of white men, Edendale Kafirs, and others, who managed to get out in the direction of the Buffalo. They made an opening across the neck, crossed the stream and then made for the Buffalo. This stream is that which goes through my father's kraal.

The ridge on this side is what we call the neck, the camp was on the other side. '' The resistance was stout where the old Dutch road used to go across; it took a long tyne to drive back the English forces there; they killed us and we killed them, and the fight was kept up for a long time.

 The British troops became helpless, because they had no ammunition, and the Zulus killed them. There were cannon fired at this place where the opening was; they were left in the camp. I first saw the cannon when the soldiers left the camp and came to attack us in front. There was one drawn by mules (the rocket) and two by horses. They commenced firing as we came over the small hill looking down upon the camp, and before we had entered the camp at all. They came to assist the Carbineers in the donga, and fired in the same direction from near the donga into the body of the Zulu army.

Four shots were fired at the Ngobamakosi ; they then turned and fired at the Umbonambi also. I don't know how many shots they fired at them; they fired very quickly, not at one, but at all three regiments; they must have fired from ten to twenty shots; they commenced firing when we were a long distance away " we had not got near the camp, it was as far as the Willow bridge from this Court-house, and we had to ran all that distance to the camp.

 There was something wrong with the rocket battery. Two of the mules got on the top of a boulder,and were thrown over and killed; two mules then were left, but the man could not fire it* When we really saw rockets fired was at Elambula. The cannon did not do much damage*

It only killed four men in our regiment, the shot went over us* None were killed by the Zulus between  the top of the hill and the donga; our firing was bad. When they were in the donga with the police we had to retire, because we found our losses were so heavy* When they were rising out of the donga and retreating on the camp, we shot two Carbineers, and so got from the donga to the tents

They mounted their horses, which they had drawn into the donga with them. The Carbineers were still fighting when the Edendale men got into the camp* When the Carbineers reached the camp they jumped off their horses, and never succeeded in getting on them again. They made a stand, and prevented our entering the camp, but things were then getting very mixed and confused; what with the smoke, dust, and intermingling of mounted men, footmen, Zulus, and natives, it was difficult to tell who was mounted and who was not.

The soldiers were at this time in the camp, having come back from the front, all but two companies, which went on to the hill and never returned " they were every one of them killed. They were firing on the wings of the Zulu army, while the body of the army was pushing on, the wings also succeeded, and before the soldiers knew where they were, they were surrounded from the west, attacked by the wings from the right, and the main body from the back. They were all killed, not one escaped; they tried to make an opening towards th......................

as they could lay hands upon and carry away. All the dead bodies were cut open, because if that had not been done the Zulus would have become swollen like the dead bodies. I heard that some bodies were otherwise mutilated. There was a man whose head was cut off at the entrance of the camp, where the white people held out, and formed back to back.

The dead Zulus were buried in the grain silos in two kraals; some in dongas, and elsewhere. Zulus died all round Isandwhlana. "" The men who fought at Rorke's Drift took no part at Isandwhlana ; they were the men of the Undi regiment, who formed a portion of the left wing. When the camp at Isandwhlana had been taken, these men came up fresh and pursued the fugitives right over the Fugitives' Drift into Natal.

There was a long line of stragglers, as we supposed, making for Jim's house. The other reserve regiments, intending to cut them off, crossed the Buffalo at the point where the Bashee flows into it, and came round crossing the road near the kraal of Inswarele. These reserves complained that they had had no opportunity of taking part in the battle of Isandwhlana, and therefore they went on to Rorke's Drift, and fought there. These were men with rings.

We who had fought at Isandwhlana were as tired as the Englishmen, and many more of the English forces would have escaped if the reserve regiments had not come up. ''

About Zlobani and Elambula I commence at Zlobani. The English forces went up the mountain and did not see us; we came round the mountain. Those who were on the side of the mountain where the sun sets succeeded in getting out quickly; those who were on the side where the sun rises were driven the other way, and thrown over the krantzes. There was a row of white men thrown over the krantzes,their ammunition was done, they did not fire, and we killed them without their killing any of our men; a great many were also killed on the top; they were killed by the people on the mountain. We did not go up the mountain, but the men whom the English forces had attacked followed them up. They had beaten the Maqulusi, and succeeded in getting all the cattle of the whole neighbourhood which were there, and would have taken away the whole  ..............................

Another good piece of news had also just come down "from Rorke's Drift, to the effect that, two days after I left, a party under Colonel Black had volunteered, obtained permission, and actually visited the scene of the disaster at Isandwhlana.

An eye-witness gave the following account of the patrol: " "" On Friday, the 14th of March, a party of volunteers, under Lieutenant-Colonel Black, 2-24th Regiment, consisting of Captain Symons. Captain Harvey, Lieutenant Banister, and Sergeant Tigar, of the 2-24th, Commandant Cooper, and twelve officers of the Natal Native Contingent, and ten of the Natal Mounted Police, left Rorke*s Drift, at 7 a.m., crossed the Buffalo on the pont, and rode through the Bashee Valley to make a reconnaissance of the camp at Isandwhlana.

The scouts in advance saw fires burning in the kraals in the Bashee Valley, and disturbed three armed men with guns near the drift at the foot of the Isandwhlana Hill, who ran off at the approach of the party. Arrived on the now well-known and oft-described ' ridge,' a horrible scene of desolation was spread before them, and the still highly-tainted air filled their nostrils.

After posting vedettes on all sides to guard against a surprise, they proceeded systematically to examine the whole of the battle-field. Some thirty Zulus were seen running from the kraal in front of the camp, and when out of sight they fired several shots, with the intention, no doubt, of giving the alarm, and shortly afterwards signal-fires were seen burning on the hills.

The Guard-tent of the 2-24th Regiment was first searched, in hopes of finding some trace of the two colours of the regiment, which had been left there on the morning of the 22nd of January last. The tent, colours, and belts had all been taken away. They next searched each camp in detail, and afterwards rode down by the side of the ' donga ' that ran in front of the camp; and then still farther afield, where the different incidents and phases of the terrible battle were supposed to have taken place, and observed the following:

The Zulu dead had all been removed. The waggons to the number of over 100 were uninjured, and stood for the most part where they were left. All the tents had been burnt, cut up and taken away, the poles only being left. Everything of value had been looted, and what had not been taken away had been stabbed with assegais. Sponges, boots, brushes of all descriptions, quantities of books, papers, photographs, gaiters and various other  articles were scattered about.

Horses and mules were lying still tied to the piqnet-ropes and waggons, and a good many skeletons of oxen were scattered here and there. The bodies of our poor brave soldiers showed where the fury of the enemy had overtaken them.

They were all in and about the camp, or down the path the fugitives took; not a dozen could be found in the whole surrounding of the camp, nor in the 'donga/ bearing out the testimony of survivors, who relate that while the soldiers held the donga they suffered no loss. The greatest number counted lying together within a very small compass was sixty-eighty and these were in the left rear of the l-24th near the officers' mess-tent.

The majority were 24th men, but there were some of other arms as well. As regards the state of the bodies, a subject of morbid but painful interest, they were in all conditions of horrible decay.

Some were perfect skeletons; others that had not been stripped, or only partially so, were quite unapproachable, and the stench was sickening; with but few exceptions, it was impossible to recognise any one, and the only officer that was seen was discovered by his clothes

It was considered that it would be three to four weeks before the bones could be collected and buried. Were an attempt to be made to do so now nothing could be done but to throw earth over the corpses. Close to the small heap of dead bodies before mentioned, the colour-belt of the l-24th Regiment was found by Corporal Ghroschky, Natal Mounted Police; it was the most interesting thing found, though not perhaps the most valuable, as Captain Symons found a large bundle of cheques belonging to him that had not been opened.

 Having thoroughly searched the camp, they proceeded to look for the two guns. One limber was found on the road leading down the valley towards the Izipesi Mountain, about a quarter of a mile to the front of the camp. The other limber, much broken, was found lying in the ravine where Lieutenant Curling, B.A., described the guns as having been upset and lost; and the team of six horses, all harnessed together, was lying by it; the ravine was so steep that one or two of the horses were suspended by the harness over the stream; both the guns and carriages had been  removed.

This ravine is about half a mile from ' the ridge and numbers of bodies were lying between the two. On the order to retire being given, the party returned by the same road, being twice fired upon, without effect, by two small parties of natives; once as they were leaving the ravine, and the second time from the ' krantzes ' above the Bashee Valley.*

During the week following my journey back to Pieter Maritzburg I drew out a rough sketch-plan of the camp at Isandwhlana and the surrounding country from memory, showing the positions of our various forces in the camp itself as well as indications of the defence made by its holders. This was not only published in the colony, by my permission, from the original map drawn for the London Standard (which appeared in its columns on the 6th of March, 1879), but was also copied wholesale by other papers both in South Africa and in England, without any acknowledgments of its source or recognition of its compiler.

My opinion of the disaster was written at the same time, and appeared in the same issue as the plan. And as, even now, with my more intimate knowledge of what really did occur, I find nothing to alter therein, the reproduction of a short extract will not be out of place or valueless : "

 ''A Court of Enquiry is now sitting here on the loss of the camp at Isandwhlana, and until its verdict is given it would be obviously unfair of me to lay the blame on any one individual; but whatever may be the result, the Home Government are undoubtedly to blame for having refused Lord Chelmsford's request to them to send out a regiment of cavalry; as nothing is more certain than the fact that to carry on a campaign quickly and successfully in Zululand large forces of mounted men are necessary, not only for fighting, but principally for mounted patrol and vedette work, combined with despatch carrying and keeping open communications.

It is universally admitted that what irregular cavalry we had behaved splendidly, both volunteers, police, and mounted infantry, but still we had not enough of them. '' Each successive account given by those who escaped seems to bear out more fully the opinion I expressed in my letter describing the whole affair " that, had the force in camp either acted purely on the defensive, or sent out part to keep back the onslaught until a waggon laager or entrenchment was made, not only could they have held out until the General arrived, but most probably they would have beaten off the enemy long before the evening.

That this fact must be obvious to any one may be seen from the following: " About 100 men, with a slight temporary fortification of biscuit-cases and sacks of mealies, kept off 4,000 Zulus for one whole night at Rorke's Drift, killing over 400 and wounding many hundreds more; if similar tactics had been carried out at Isandwhlana, the 900 white men, with artillery, plenty of ammunition and stores, could surely have kept off the 20^000 who attacked the camp.

And if seems to us here plain that some officer in command of the camp that day not only neglected his duty by not fulfilling the orders given, but also forgot the most simple military
rules laid down for warfare against the Zulus in a book published officially, entitled ' Regulations for Field Forces in South Africa.' The real full truth of what did take place on that ' black Wednesday ' will never be known, as not only are all the executive military officers dead; but, of the fugitives who escaped, not one was in a position to say what orders were given or from whom they were received, as they either belonged to the native infantry or cavalry, and were therefore fighting outside the camp. ''

Of course, although the reverse was a most serious one in every way, it can hardly be said to have been a defeat of one of our Columns; but as the Zulus are sure to make light of the number of their own dead " and prisoners say their losses were awful " and equally sure to exaggerate the loss on our side, the gain in prestige to our enemies amounts to something considerable. Through the arrival of the 2/24th Regiment, who have been hurried up to the front, the Head-quarters Column is now quite as strong as it was before; and the loss of camp equipments, waggons, stores, " can easily be made up in a few weeks, so that, if it were thought necessary, we could again recross and commence our march afresh, were it not for the danger of leaving a large disaffected native population close on our borders, and our inability to prevent raids being made into Natal by the small tribes of turbulent Zulus adjacent to the Tugela.

Therefore, all we have to do is to remain carefully on the defensive until the arrival of our reinforcements from home, and then we shall be able to leave a sufficient force in the Colony itself, as well as increase the strength of each Column by two regiments. After what has occurred it is useless to deny the fact that the native contingents are a failure, except those who are mounted. Therefore, when the campaign is recommenced, no dependence should be placed on them for any other purposes than scouting, fatigue parties, and cave and bush hunting." ...................

It was during this interval of preparation that a second visit to the fatal field of Isandwhlana was made from Rorke's Drift, of which I subsequently received an account from some of the officers present.
The party consisted of seventeen volunteers, mostly officers, under Colonel Black, 2-24th ; among whom were the Hons. G. Bertie, Coldstream Guards, and the Master of Colville, Grenadier Guards, Captains Symons, Bannister, Wrench, Bell; Lieutenants Mainwaring, Logan, Phipps, and Lloyd.

They started at 4 a.m., every precaution being taken to guard against surprise, and after a brisk ride through the Bashee Valley, the ridge overlooking the battle-plain of Isandwhlana was reached just at sunrise. Vedettes were posted, and the ground was carefully examined, but little of value being found. Nearly 100 waggons and N 2 other vehicles were still left, mostly in good condition.

The only discovery worthy of note was that of Lieutenant Pope's diary, in which the latest entry was as follows: " "22nd January, 1879"4 a.m." A,C,D,E,F,H Companies of ours " 'y* N.N.C. " ^mounted troops and four guns off.
Great Firing. Relieved by 1.24th. Alarm.
3 Columns Zulus and mounted men on hill E.
Turn Out.
7,000 (!!!) towre E.N.E., 4,000 of whom went round Lion's Kop.
Durnford, Basutos, arrive and pursue. " Rocket Battery.
Zulus retire everywhere. Men fall out for dinners."

 In returning, the party followed the Fugitives* path, which was easily traced by the debris and dead bodies; crossing, with some difficulty, the ravine, where the two guns had been abandoned and captured, another quarter of a mile brought them to a watercourse with steep banks, and here the party were fired upon by a small party of Zulus on the hills above, who kept well under cover and fired several shots.

The precipitous rocky bank of the river lay three miles farther on, over a very rough road and broken ground. Here the party divided and a careful search was made for the body of Major Smith, R.A., who lost his life in the vicinity. Lieutenant Mainwaring, fortunately, soon came upon the body, nearly concealed by the rank growth of grass, and clearly recognisable by the uniform. Captain Symons after a steep bit of climbing reached the top of the cliff, finding numerous bodies of men and horses, where they had crashed headlong down, sorely pressed by the pursuers.

While in the act of giving a rough burial to the remains of poor Major Smith, they were again fired on by Zulus.
Hastening up the river, they were enabled to get safely across at the Drift, where a company of the N.N.C. had been sent by the forethought of Major Bengough, and drove off the thirty
or forty Zulus who had followed up, hoping to take the party at a disadvantage while crossing.

The principal object of the expedition, namely, to search the Fugitives' path had been thoroughly carried out. A report had reached the officers of the 2-24th, that in the flight, a tall officer, on a chestnut horse, with a colour, had been seen between the battle-field and the river, on the 22nd of January; but no trace could be seen of the officer or colour, supposed to have been Lieutenant Dyer, the Adjutant of the 2-24th.

The look-out men at the signal station reported that some small bodies of Zulus, some of them mounted, had come into view at Isandwhlana, after the party had quitted the field, and had come down the Bashee Valley, whereby a rencontre, and perhaps loss of life was avoided.

On the Saturday following. May 17th, the camp was thrown into a state of great excitement, by the announcement that the General, after consulting General Newdigate, had determined to start on the Monday morning with all the cavalry for Isandwhlana, via Rorke's Drift, in order to visit the camp, bury the dead and bring away the waggons and any relics that might be found.

Accordingly, on the 19th an early start was made, the Army Service Corps, waggons, and mounted Native scouts leading the way, followed by the two regiments of Dragoon Guards, and the Lancers bringing up the rear. Strong advanced and rear guards, and flanking patrols a mile away, provided full precautions to secure our march. After bivouacking one night on the road, at Dill's House, the brigade reached Rorke's Drift between three and four, and were there joined by the Natal Carbineers, and Colonel Harness, B.A., with two guns.

No very strong body of the enemy had lately been seen anywhere in the neighbourhood; but Uie presence of an Impi of 2,000 or 8,000 Zulus near Matshana's stronghold was reported.
All the arrangements having been completed over night. General Marshall led the reconnoitring force across the river at day-break on Tuesday, having with him one regiment each of the Lancers and the Dragoon Guards, Natal Carbineers Mounted Police, Rangers, and Scouts, and two guns, with the Army Service Corps and seventy-pairs of led horses. advance was made in open order, no signs of the enemy being visible until close upon our destination

 Then signal-fires were seen on the hills to the right, and spread quickly along the course of the river, to the Inshlazagazi mountains. In the meantime, Colonel Drury Lowe had gone in advance of us, with the other regiments of Lancers and Dragoon Guards, and some Carbineers, and scouts, in order to make a circuit to the left, round Sirayo's Kraal, and intercept any Zulu force in that direction.

Bengough's N.N.G. battalion followed in their route, and Colonel Black, with four companies 2-24th, took up a position on the rising ground at the head of the Bashee Valley, to protect our rear, and frustrate any attempt to cut us off. The N.N.C., and Lowe's Cavalry Brigade were to meet us at Isandwhlana ; and as we progressed we were able to trace their advance by the smoke from the kraals to which they set fire. Away in front of us our own scouts were racing to reach the scene first.

Pushing on steadily and carefully we reached the plain of Isandwhlana between 9 and 10 a.m. I found the whole site of the conflict over-grown with grass, thickly intermixed with green and growing stalks of oats and mealies. Concealed among these, lay the corpses of our soldiers, in all postures and stages of decay; while the site of the camp itself was indicated by the debris of the tents, intermingled with a heterogeneous mass of broken trunks, boxes, meat-tins, and their contents, with confused masses of papers, books, letters, etc., scattered in wild disorder.

The sole visible objects, however, were the waggons, more or less broken up, and the skeletons of horses and oxen. All else was hidden from view, and could only be found by a close search. I had the melancholy satisfaction of discovering my own tent, or rather the disjecta membra of what had once been mine; and immediately behind it were the skeletons of my horses, with the bodies of my servants, just as I had left them picketed on the 22nd of January, when I accompanied the reconnoitring force with Lord Chelmsford.

But I could find nothing of any value remaining; my papers, letters and books were lying about, torn up. I found, and brought away with me as mementos, some of my wife's letters, a book of some of my MS. stories, and a photograph that had reached me just two days before the massacre.

While the work of harnessing the horses to the best of the waggons was being actively prosecuted, all the men, except those on duty as vedettes or otherwise, were permitted to wander over the scene of the disaster; and various interesting relics were found and brought away.

In some cases letters from those who were among the slain, addressed to their relatives at home, were obtained complete, and these would doubtless be treasured by the recipients, notwithstanding the painful re-opening of wounds scarce healed.

Captain Shepstone, with the Carbineers, after some search, came across the corpses of Colonel Durnford, RE., Captain Bradstreet, N.M.B., Lieutenant Scott, N.C., and all their slain comrades, except London, Bullock, and the few who were killed on the Fugitives* path.

Poor Durnford was easily recognisable, as he had on his mess waistcoat, from the pocket of which Shepstone took a small pocket-knife with his name on it; two rings were taken from the dead man's hand, and preserved with the knife, for transmission to his family.

The body of Durrant Scott was found, hidden partially under a broken piece of waggon, evidently unmutilated and untouched. He had his patrol jacket buttoned across, and while the body was almost only a skeleton, the face was still preserved and life-like, all the hair remaining, and the skin strangely parched and dried up, though still perfect.

All these lay together, and, judging from their position, these brave young colonists must here have made their last gallant stand, and all perished together.

Standing by one another to the last in life, without attempt at flight, so we found them still associated in death. Peace to their ashes! Having known them all well, I felt quite unequal to a minute examination, and quickly quitted that part of the field. Colonel Durnford's body was wrapped in canvas and buried in a sort of waterwash. The others were covered over with stones, in default of better burial or subsequent removal, and their names written in pencil on wood or stone close by, a too transient memorial, but all that was possible. The Royal Artillery, and Natal Mounted Police buried all the bodies of their slain comrades to be found. But those of the 2-24th alone were left untouched, at the express desire of Colonel Glynn and  the officers of the regiment, in the hope that they might themselves be enabled some day to render these last sad honours to their dead comrades.

This feeling, even if a mistaken one, merits respect and consideration. No other bodies of officers were recognised, so far as I could learn, except those of Lieutenants Gibson and the Hon. S. Yereker, N.N.C. The General being anxious, for many and obvious reasons, not to delay our return, a start was made as soon as the waggons were ready, and we reached Rorke's Drift at 8.80 p.m., without any incident. Among the forty waggons brought away there were two water-carts, three Scotch carts, one gun-limber, and a rocket-battery cart; about twenty were left behind in a more or less disabled condition, unfit for removal; consequently, some sixty or seventy more waggons were missing, and must have been removed by the enemy at different times. Among the kraals which were burnt that day, one contained signs of very recent occupation, and the staff of the Queen's Colour of the l-24th was found there. In another, about two miles away from the camp, many skeletons of Zulus were found, and in another direction some large Zulu graves were discovered; showing that the enemy, as I conjectured at the time, must have carried away many of their dead and wounded in our waggons.

On the morning after our expedition, a squadron of Lancers, with some Artillery under Colonel Harness, went down our side of the river, and crossed over at the Fugitives' Drift, returning in the afternoon, after having duly effected their object; which was to give burial to the remains of Major Stuart Smith, found, as previously narrated, by Colonel Black and his party on the 15th May

MLA:   Newman, Charles L. Norris. In Zululand With the British Throughout the War of 1879. 1880. Reprint. London: Forgotten Books, 2013. 255-6. Print.

Mr Chapman's articles are among the newspaper stories


Sometimes before moving forward in family history, it is necessary to take a step back.  John Colenso was a prolific letter writer, and he wrote back to London for years, the affairs of the Zulu.  He also wrote letters regarding the events of 22nd January, 1879.  And included are some contents between Anthony and himself.

Such with these stories from John Colenso, and his correspondence back to London with Mr Cheeson from the Aboriginal Society, who was an advocate based in London.

While he was an outspoken person with his views, his ability to learn and transcribe the Zulu language must be an outstanding achievement.

Zulu (also known as isiZulu) is one of the major languages of South Africa, an official language of that country and spoken as a first language by nearly 10,000,000 people in the eastern part of the country (primarily in kwaZulu-Natal Province). Zulu is a Bantu language, very closely related to Xhosa (as may be seen in the Xhosa BCP).

 A distinctive feature of South African Bantu languages are a series of "clicks"; these are indicated in writing using the letters c, q, and x for the different types of clicks.

The Book of Common Prayer has since gone through over a dozen editions in Zulu, of both the 1662 English BCP (presented here) and also the more recent South African BCP's. The BCP was first translated into Zulu in 1856 and was one of the earlier printed works in that language. This translation, presented here, was done by John William Colenso (1814-1883), the first Anglican Bishop of Natal. Colenso’s subsequent Zulu-language publications included a grammar and dictionary. Bishop Colenso is probably more famous for his unorthodox (for the time) theological views and subsequent refusal to resign his post, which resulted in the calling of the first Lambeth Conference in 1867. Several of his writings are online, thanks to Project Canterbury.

At the same time, the Langalibalele affair marked the beginning of a lifelong relationship between the Colenso family and the London based humanitarian organisation, the Aborigines Protection Society, and, in particular, its secretary, Frederick Chesson. 

The extracts begin with the Battle of Bushman's River Pass

Often he referred to this as merely "the affair".

Bishop Colenso travelled to England to protest to the Colonial Secretary, Lord Carnarvon, about the unjust way in which the trial of Langalibalele had been conducted. As a result, the Governor of Natal was recalled and instructions issued to the colony that Langalibalele should be released from detention and his people, the Hlubi, compensated for their losses suffered following the capture of their chief. 

This marked the beginning of a lifelong campaign by the Bishop and his family for justice for the Zulu people. But it brought the Colenso family into conflict with the Natal authorities and, in particular, it created a permanent rift between the Bishop and Shepstone.

One supporter of his was Anthony Trollope, he subscribed to an appeal to raise funds for John's appeal regarding his "see" in South Africa.

 John sent him updates as well on the situation in South Africa.  The two men had mutual respect for each other's causes and when Trollope visited in 1877, they were guests at a dinner with the Governor.

The year 1873 is thus, indeed, one of the most memorable years in his life ;  and in this year also he made an acquaintance with Major Durnford, R.E., which rapidly ripened into the most intimate friendship of his later life.  

The extracts which will be given from the Bishop's letters will tell 
in more full detail the story of the chief of the AmaHlubi, Langalibalele,
whose tribe, having crossed over into Natal " in 184S, had been placed in a
 location " under the Drakensberg Mountains, with the charge of defending
the colony from the raids of Bushmen — a charge which it is officially 
admitted they had always faithfull}' fulfilled. Like the other tribes, they
were subject to the law forbidding them to have unregistered arms.

Hurrying off in haste, Langa, on November 3, 1873, crossed the borders of 
the Natal colony, and was therefore according to Kafir law no longer under 
obedience to the Supreme Chief — i.e. to the Lieutenant-Governor. 

But a force of Natal volunteers and Basutos, under the command of Major Durnford, 
reached the Bushman's River Pass in time to come into collision, not with the main body 
of Langa's tribe, which had passed into Basutoland the day before, but
with the men who followed with his cattle. 

These carbineers had never before seen active service, and many of them were 
mere lads. Ill- officered as they were, they were seized with panic, and began 
a movement in retreat, which tempted the Hlubi men to fire. 

Major Durnford, having vainly attempted to rally them, was brought off the field,
severely wounded and fainting from loss of blood, by the Basutos who 
accompanied his force ; and three out of the four volunteers who stood 
by Major Durnford when the others insisted on retiring, fell by the bullets 
of the Hlubis. 
The death of these three young men called forth a general cry for vengeance ;
and an attempt was made to screen the carbineers by blaming Major Durnford 
for not allowing them to fire before they had lost their nerve. 

In fact. Major Durnford had strict orders " not to fire the first shot," and the
three days' truce which had been announced had not yet expired. 
" I do not see the papers," Major Durnford wrote to the Bishop, " but I am told
that I am generally abused." 
In his reply, November 17, the Bishop says, 
" You have been and are abused in some of the journals, but not in all. I send you a copy 
of the Colonist} which will show what some think of you ; and I need hardly say that we 
and a great many others perfectly well understand what was the 
real cause of the failure at the Pass, and we do not conceal our thoughts
when occasion offers." 
^ The Natal Colonist of November 14, 1873, speaking of " the foul and ungenerous 
aspersions cast upon Major Durnford," asserts emphatically "that for cool 
daring and manly endurance, for humanity and every quality which can adorn 
an Englishman and a gentleman on the field of battle, he is one of whom his countrymen 
may well feel proud." 

In the letter which called forth these words Major Durnford had shown how deeply he
felt the death of the three young volunteers. The state of the weather and
of the land made it impossible to get at Langa's tribe, and he spoke of the delay 
as terrible. 
" I have my comrades to avenge, but in this weather I am helpless ; " and again, " 
It is useless now to talk ; all that remains is to bury the dead and avenge them." ^ 
We need not say that Major Durnford had in his mind only a fair encounter with 
an enemy in an open field, and for the feeling so expressed the Bishop could make allowance. 
Not a few have thought and said that he would have made a first rate 
lawyer ; and his manifest military qualities led Major Durnford more than once
to tell him that he was a born commander. But the very warmth of the friendship 
which the Bishop felt for this excellent and most conscientious officer impelled
him to reply at once, 
*' There were one or two expressions in your letter which pained me, and I should
not be a true friend if I did not say so. I mean those where you speak of 
taking vengeance for the dead. I am not a milk-and-water philanthropist 
who would have no blood whatever shed under present circumstances, though I 
should have rejoiced if, as on two former occasions, the chief and his tribe had been
reduced and punished without it. But, where resistance is made to lawful authority,
of course the consequences must follow. 

Still, I must confess it jarred upon my mind to find you, a brave soldier and
an accomplished gentleman, talking like those whom I tried to teach on Sunday
evening, November 9,2 when I spoke of the three gallant youths who fell,
that the memory of their example should silence the cry for vengeance, 
which the blessed dead would never desire. . . . 

As for Langalibalele's men,it is impossible to help admiring the bravery they have shown ; 
and I should have thought that you above all men would have admired it 
also, and only been saddened at the thought that so many fine fellows must
be killed, not for vengeance, but because they will fight on till they are dead. ...
 I, we all, look to you to check, where it can be reasonably checked, the 
effusion of blood. God help us if men such as you will not interfere to stop
the brutal acts of such men as , who wanted to kill nine prisoners in cold blood.

Don't be angry with me because I have written as above. If I did not care for 
you and value your friendship, you may be sure I should not have done so." 
The Bishop's next letter shows how thoroughly the two friends understood each 
" I return you many thanks for your kind letter, and you may be sure that we 
have all here absolved you from the first from any desire to wage war on women and children
 and hunted men. Only your language — forced from you, it is 
plain, by the great agony through which you had to pass in seeing three 
brave fellows shot at your side — would have helped to swell the cry for
' vengeance,' which seems to me utterly out of place under present circumstances." 
must be thrown upon the gloom which has settled down upon each house- 
hold where the dearly loved face will be seen no more, by the fact that to 
the last they were good as they were true, and by their latest acts have 
left tender memories behind ; . . . that one, when it was proposed to find 
for him a substitute, refused to be relieved from the duties he had under- 
taken ; . . . that another on that terrible night went gallantly down the 
dangerous path which had been climbed with so much difficulty, to minister 
to the needs of his suffering chief, while the third discharged the same 
friendly office again and again, . . . and brought at last the friendly natives 
who bore him fainting and helpless to the summit. . . . 

Such examples as these are good for us all to think of. . . . Good above all to
check the cry for vengeance, which the blessed dead would never desire. It is one 
thing to put down with a strong hand the rebellious chief and his main supporters, 
and another to massacre his helpless tribe." 

It will be seen that both in his letters and in his sermon the Bishop was speaking under 
the impression that there was a purposed resistance to legal authority, that there was
 deliberate defiance, deliberate rebellion. Of the real grounds and
motives which determined the action of the Hlubi chief, and which will be made 
clear in the sequel, he was wholly unaware. 

When at length he got an inkling of the facts, it was, and he saw it to be, nothingless
 than his duty to unearth them and bring them to light. But although at 
the moment he had no reason for condemning the expedition itself, he did condemn 
emphatically the brutal way in which it was carried out ; and so did Major Durnford. 
" There have been," the latter wrote, " sad sights — women and children butchered by our black allies [too often, unhappily, by the permission and encouragement of the white leaders, one of whom is reported to have told his men that he did not wish to see the faces of any prisoners], old men too. It was too bad. But when one employs savage against savage, what can one be astonished at } The burnt villages — dead women — it was all horrible. And the destitution of the women and children left is fearful.  The women are all made slaves ! What will England say } Thank God, no woman or child was killed by [the force under] my command, no old man either ; but others have committed these atrocities, for which there is no defence to my mind."

Oppressed by the tidings of all these horrors and this deep distress, the Bishop 
felt that they must cause no less pain to the friend whom during the whole time
which he had spent in Natal he had delighted to think of as his colleague. 

Immediately on Mr. Shepstone's return from this scene he hastened to offer him 
in person his sympathy in this great sorrow ; but he was simply "confounded" 
on finding that it was not required or wished for. Mr. Shepstone justified 
the expedition. 

The Bishop felt that his confidence in his friend had undergone a severe blow ; 
it was to be submitted shortly to an ordeal still more severe. 
Still the trust of so many years was not to be easily shattered. Nor was he, as his letters 
will show, obliged to believe Mr. Shepstone primarily responsible for 
what had happened. 

Writing, December 2, 1873, to his 
young friend, Mr. Alfred Hughes,- and after giving a narrative of the events 
which have been already related, the Bishop adds : — 
" I will now proceed to make some comments on the above, from my own point of view,
which you and your friends will take as coming from a strong adherent 
of Mr. Shepstone, and one who believes that very serious consequences would follow from 
any rash interference with his policy, which has preserved peace
and prosperity within our border for so many years, in a population of 17,000 
whites and 300,000 natives, of whom the latter contribute in taxes, direct and 
indirect, upwards of ;^50,ooo a year.- Still you know that I have always advocated,and 
so does Mr. Shepstone himself, the gradual transfer of his personal authority 
into the hands of other Government officers ; and you know also that I have
been long strongly of opinion that this could best be done by appointing 
him Lieutenant-Governor of the colony, when the transference could be made under 
his own authority without any loss of prestige." 
To W. Shaen, Esq. 
" BiSHOPSTOWE, December 14, 1873. 

" It has just occurred to me that you are the Secretary of the Aborigines 
Protection Society, and, if so, you are the very person to see that a 
thorough Parliamentary inquiry is made into the recent proceedings in this 
colony with respect to the chief Langalibalele. .

Not content with bullying Colonel Durnford, who could not, by military etiquette,
defend himself. Sir Garnet Wolseley undertook to " snub " the Bishop whose offence was 
akin to that of Colonel Durnford. 

As the Bishop himself says : — 
" Nothing having been done after Mr. Shepstone's return to carry out Lord 
Carnarvon's instructions for the relief of Langa's tribe, I did what I could
(having, I believed, some influence with them, and having first consulted Mr. 
Shepstone and secured his apparent approval) to induce the able-bodied men 
of the tribe to engage in work for the Government upon the roads, &c.,
under the Colonial Engineer (Colonel Durnford), in the hope of saving money 
to buy land for themselves in the colony after a time. .... 
It having been reported, however, by certain officials to 

^ A Soldier's Life and Work in South Africa. - lb. pp. 122, 123. 

But John Colenso had his enemies in South Africa.

It also set the Colenso family at odds with the majority of the settler community of Natal. In early 1875, on his return from England, Bishop Colenso wrote, "I landed and found the Durbanites were in a furious state of excitement threatening all sorts of iniquities against me." 

What he was unaware of though involved Anthony Durnford.

The circumstances of the Bishop's return to Natal in 1875 presented a striking contrast to those of his landing nearly ten years before. The disaster of the Bushman's River Pass had been used to stir up in the minds of the colonists an unreasoning hatred of the Hlubi chief .

By saying anything in his favour the Bishop was regarded as taking part with a bloodthirsty ruffian ; and those of the officials who might have corrected their blunder were too much interested in securing the condemnation of Langalibalele to think of doing so. But it is a significant fact that the relatives of the three young men who fell at the Pass were not among those who were loud in abuse of the Bishop. Personal intercourse with him in their sorrow soon justified to them both his motives and his acts.

Before he landed, efforts to excite the worse part of the white population against him had been made by some who would not have been sorry if their rage had led them into tumult, and the tumult had ended in his bodily injury. In the town of Durban some of the shops were closed as a sign of mourning, and on many of the vessels in the harbour the flags stood half-mast high. 

Broad hints that the Bishop might be lynched reached the ears of Colonel Durnford and Mr.Warwick Brooks *. Without saying anything to alarm the family at Bishopstowe, these staunch friends went down to the harbour to receive him. 

The steamer had arrived late at night;and the passengers would land early in the morning. The friends were on shore close to the ship at dawn, Colonel Durnford in full uniform, and wearing his sword ;  and when, on his landing, they placed themselves one on either side, the crowd parted silently, and indulged in nothing more than black looks, of which the Bishop took no notice. All this ill-will might easily have been repressed, or even dissipated, if men in high office had not found that it would better answer their purpose to pander to it. The
most powerful influences were exerted on the other side.

" I will now tell you," Colonel Durnford wrote to his father (July 3, 1875), "what I think of Sir Garnet Wolseley and his policy here. He came out to carry some point, I imagine, not yet divulged, and from the first he went in for conciliation, and therefore, I suppose, did not desire to show countenance either to the Bishop of Natal or to myself . . .

So we two had ' cold shoulder,' nothing we could take hold upon ; we were asked to the official and public entertainments and to none others, although hospitality is the order of the day at Government House. I suppose the General feared to impair his popularity ! . . .I have, as you know, stood up for the Putini tribe, and my views have been endorsed by Lord Carnarvon. The tribe, having confidence in me, collected funds and sent them to me to purchase land for them. They could not buy direct — the white man would certainly cheat the savage. 

I ascertained that Sir Garnet Wolseley and the Secretary for Native Affairs approved of the natives procuring land, and I informed them both of the fact that the tribe were sending me money for the purpose. Well, one day I was sent for to Government House, and informed that it was inexpedient that I took any further action in native matters, and I was called upon ' on my loyalty ' to cease. I was told . . . that my usefulness as Colonial Engineer had been very much impaired by my political sympathies with Bishop Colenso, and so on. 
I resigned at once.

My resignation was not accepted. . . . Sir Garnet Wolseley told me that, with my
feelings that the Natal Government acted wrongly in the destruction of the Putini tribe, I was a traitor to that Government (as C.E.) in my action for their redress, and I should then have resigned. I rejoined, ' That is impossible, as the Queen has endorsed that action. I led the Government to the right path.' 

" He [Sir Garnet Wolseley] has treated the Bishop of Natal and myself with marked coldness ever since he came. His is a conciliating, popularity-seeking policy. 
Well, I'm in good company, better than ever I hoped for, and in a good cause. . . . 

One count against me, I find, is that I went to Durban to meet my friend the Bishop when he returned from England, thereby plainly showing my sympathy.

Some people threatened to tar and feather him, to prevent his landing ! Well, as a Government officer, I am told, I should not have gone near him. Is that not a nice creed for a gentleman to hold .'* Desert your friends when trouble comes ! " 

In his own words, he would never do anything to put his men in jeopardy, it was not in his nature.

*Warwick was the Inspector of Schools

In 1875, after his return to the colony, Bishop Colenso replied to a letter from Chesson saying "[your letter] has done me good and refreshed me and mine in the hot fight which I am sorry to say we have still to maintain in reference to the Native Questions." 3 Evidently, the Bishop realised then that he had committed himself to a long and difficult struggle.

" events have shown," the Bishop adds, " that the king was right in his suspicions of 
the good faith of the English authorities, and that from the first, and long before they 
arrived in the colony. Sir B. Frere and Lord Chelmsford did mean to invade his country, 
though Sir H. Bulwer had no such object in view." '^

BiSHOPSTOWE, December 6, 1878. 

..." I have just heard from two young officers — who have only now arrived from 
England at Lord Chelmsford's summons, with a number of others, volunteers for special 
services — that in England, when they left, even in military circles, nothing seemed 
to be known about the enormous military preparations which have been made in this colony 
for an expected war with the Zulus ; and I cannot see in the London papers which have
reached us by this mail any trace of such preparations . . . having been 
communicated to John Bull, who will have to pay for them at the rate (I know, 
from certain authority) of ;100,000 pounds per month, and I have seen it stated 
at double that amount. 

... It may be that the Aborigines Protection Society will have a very serious work 
to take in hand, denouncing in the strongest terms they can command the wicked and most 
unjustifiable war of invasion into which we are about immediately to be plunged,
if . . . the 'Jingoes' in the colony are to be believed. . . .

Yet I still cling to the hope that Sir Bartle Frere will not be guilty of
such a crime as they all complacently assume him to be on the point of 

December 19, 1878. 

..." I have detained what I wrote about a fortnight ago, being still unwilling even 
to admit the possibility that Sir B. Frere could insist on terms . . . which could 
only be a pretext for a war of invasion. Since then the ' award 'and the ' ultimatum ' 
have been published. . . . You will see that the disarmament is not insisted on ;
but two points are to be enforced, viz. the disbanding of the Zulu army, and the
abolition of the present marriage system, which may still bring on a collision 
and the shedding of blood.

I most sincerely trust, and I hope and believe, that there will be no war, and that 
the overpowering demonstration made on his border will have the effect of convincing 
the Zulu king that he had better at once bow to the decision of the superior power, 
and consent to all that is required of him.

I believe (I repeat) that he will do all this ; and as to the other points I do not 
think that there will be any difficulty. Sir B. Frere sent me a private request on Sunday
last that I would criticise his doings as severely as I thought it necessary to do. 

I called on him on Thursday, and had a long talk first with him, and then with 
Sir H. Bulwer, in which I expressed plainly what I thought. I said that I rejoiced in 
the two main requirements of the ultimatum, backed up by such a force, that I had
every reason to believe that the king would consent to them — in which case England
would have done her duty as a mighty Power, in interfering with her barbarous neighbour 
in enforcing changes in the government of Zululand which would be highly beneficial 
to the Zulu people ; and that if these were all that was contemplated (together with the 
inforcement of the rules laid down at the coronation), as the result of such an enormous
expenditure, I most heartily assented to it as a sign that England was still ready to 
discharge her duty as a great Christian people. 

I could have wished,however, that these demands had been based only on the highest
grounds, instead of importing charges of ' aggres-annexation of the Transvaal, been 
holding the land in dispute as trustees for the lawful owner, and the land being now 
declared ' by a jury carefully selected by ourselves,' in Sir B. Frere's words, 
to belong ' of strict right to the Zulus,' we were bound to hand it over to them for 
their actual occupation with such farmers as they might allow to live there " (" and I 
trust," the Bishop said, " they would be many "), " and not to say that we ' give up 
the land to the Zulu king and nation,' when we take away from them all power to use it,
or the greater part of it, for their own reasonable purposes." 

Thus steadily the Bishop met and exposed each fallacy of his antagonist, whose
arguments have been likened to a cloud of locusts, of which one or another may be 
knocked down, the cry remaining, " Still they come," — all exactly resembling one another. 

" December 29, 1878. 

' I very much fear that we are about to be plunged by Sir B. Frere into a bloody war. 
If, indeed, I believed implicitly all that I have heard in town to-day, I could no 
longer entertain a doubt upon the point, for the opinion is strong,I find, that it
is intended to force Cetshwayo into war. . . . 

Have the terms of the memorandum readied the Zulus .-' 

Has J. Dunn, or any other white man, communicated to him the language of the second 
clause, with the comments of the Mercury and Witness upon it .'' And was the possibility
of such communication contemplated when it was allowed to get into the papers, though only a 
draft of Sir B. Frere's first thoughts, or was it intended to reach him ? 

If so, it would be easy to account for his refusing all terms, and in fact he will 
have been driven to bay and forced into war. . . ." 

" BiSHOPSTOWE, /January 24, 1879.
" Terrible news from the front to-day, as I have just heard by a private note from
Sir H. Bulwer. A large body of our troops, under Ceolonel Pullein, has been attacked
by a strong Zulu force, outnumbered, and five companies of soldiers have 
been cut to pieces ; and I very much fear that Colonel Durnford also has fallen. 

Meanwhile our own position in the" colony is now somewhat precarious, as the Zulus have 
gone behind the General, who was in advance of the colonel, and himself engaged at 
the time with another Zulu force. 

And I really don't know what is to prevent their entering the colony.
It was madness (as it seems to an outsider) to think of guarding a frontier of 200 miles
with such a force, more especially when the main body had marched away inland. 

'''■ January 26. 

"The details of the late disaster have to some extent arrived, and terrible they are
even as at present known. The list of missing persons. all of whom are believed 
to be dead, though some may yet turn up who had escaped) is frightful. . . . 
It is a disaster such as has not befallen the British arms since the last Afghan War. 

" It appears that the General, having crossed into Zululand, with the third column 
under Colonel Glynn, marched forward on the 22nd, leaving the force in his camp under 
the command of Colonel Pulleine to come on with baggage-waggons and ammunition. 

An immense body of Zulus, who had heard from their scouts of this advance (what 
our own scouts were doing does not appear), fell upon the camp with irresistible 
daring, utterly reckless of their own lives, and crushing by their multitudes 
the British force. 

Colonel Durnford had been ordered to bring up from his post (the second column)
his mounted natives and rocket battery to strengthen the convoying force, but only arrived 
just as the Zulu force was arriving, and only to add his own force and himself to the 
general loss.

I mention this fact particularly, because in a telegram which Sir B. Frere 
sent to the Commodore at the Port, he says, ' You will have heard of Colonel Durnford's
 misfortune on the 22nd.' What he means by this I cannot conceive. . . . 

" I trust that when all our forces are withdrawn from Zululand they will be strong
enough to prevent any general invasion of the colony, though in my opinion — and in that of
many others now — we have richly deserved it ; for it must not be forgotten that
Cetshwayo was true to his word. He never struck a blow till we invaded his country 
and began to kill his men and plunder his cattle. . . . 

" I need not say that Sir B. Frere's plans have ended thus far in a miserable failure.
But I must leave the judgement on these to be pronounced by Englishmen at home, who will 
see that all difficulties with Cetshwayo might have been settled long ago by peaceful
means, but for the desire to please the Transvaal Boers ; and that we are now involved 
in this disastrous war by an utter miscalculation of the Zulu power." 

But I fear that, if that course is resolved on, we shall have to learn some more painful
lessons ; and the worst is that — if Cetshwayo really means to hold his hand, and 
merely desires to clear his land of the invaders, without retaliating upon us the blows we
 have struck at him — he will surely cease from such forbearance when he finds that we 
are only preparing a mightier force with which to crush him and his people utterly. 

I seriously fear that within the next two months, before reinforcements can arrive 
from England . . . we shall be invaded and the colony ravaged and ruined, that is,
if we are known to be still making preparations for renewing the war. 

It seems to me that an effort might be made — not immediately, but shortly, 
if we find that he really is acting merely on the defensive — to get our differences
settled without further bloodshed, by sending a Commission to whom he would listen. 

Of course it would be idle to suppose that Sir Bartle Frere's huge demands should 
be accepted. But I think it would be quite possible to get the consent of the king 
and nation to put a stop to killing without trial, and to admit a Resident, not clothed 
with all Sir Bartle Frere's extraordinary powers (which were, in fact, preposterous),
but to exercise a reasonable influence upon the king, and be a witness of his proceedings. . . . 
Would it be possible to press the Government, in sending the troops, to suggest 
negotiations to be tried first .'* I need hardly say that, if asked to go, I would 
go willingly myself as one of the Commissioners, but, of course, I cannot make such
a proposal. ... I have no faith whatever in the genius or power of Lord Chelmsford to 
guard effectually such a frontier as ours, ... if once Cetshwayo made up his mind to sweep 
he colony. 

' It seems to me clear that the real blame for the late disaster must attach to 
Lord Chelmsford himself, who slept in the camp the night before — nay, the two nights
previously — and left it at 4 A.M. without having made the slightest preparation for 
repelling an assault, though the Witness says positively — and apparently under
' inspiration ' — that he was well aware of a large Zulu force in the neighbourhood 
that intended to attack him, yet he had not thrown up intrenchments of any kind, 
nor parked his waggons ; and he and his force lay down as if no Zulus were near. 

He had sent on part of his force the day before to reach Matshana's country, and 
that morning he sent away another large part of his force to support the first, and 
he set off himself to join them some hours before Colonel Durnford had arrived with 
his small reinforcement of two hundred and fifty native horsemen, who found the Zulus 
advancing near at hand, and were immediately engaged in deadly fight. 

*' As I hinted in my last, I perceive an ungenerous attempt on the part of Sir Bartle 
Frere to fix the eye on Colonel Durnford, as if lie was the person principally concerned, 
instead of the General ; . . . and I see that the Witness to-day . . . tries to exculpate
the General by saying that he could not possibly expect a body of troops left in charge of 
waggons to attack the enemy — they should have stood on their defence. 

And so no doubt they would have done if they had been properly prepared for defending 
themselves, — that is, if the General had not himself neglected, or allowed 
Colonel Pulleine to neglect ^ one of the rules laid down in a printed document 
published under his own authority, and which enabled Colonel Pearson to defend himself
when attacked by a large body of Zulus.

But what were the mounted men under Colonel Durnford intended for .'' It may be that
when he arrived on the scene, at about 10.30 A.M., he became the senior in command.
I don't know this as a fact, but assume it as possible, in order to throw on him all 
the responsibility involved in the attack ; and he may have seen at once that, 
all due precautions having been neglected, a mere defence was hopeless against such 
numbers, and that the only chance of success was to be found in a bold attack 
on each wing, and he may have ordered such an attack. . . 

But the blame of all this — if it is to be blamed — must rest with those who, knowing 
that the enemy was to be expected, and even not knowing it, left the camp wholly unprotected 
during those six or seven morning hours of daylight (it is our midsummer), and during 
the whole of the day previously, and the evening before that. 

Well ! I suppose that military authorities here and at home will look into the matter. . . . 
I have heard to-day that an induna ordered a Zulu who was about to stab an unarmed (black) boy, 
one of the campfollowers, to abstain, as the king had not said that such 
should be killed, only the fighting men.

Of course this would not prevent many such men, white and black, being killed 
in the excitement, when no induna was nigh ; as the other ' word ' would not prevent 
small bodies rushing across the stream, when no one was there to check them. 

But I see ground for hoping that the king's purpose is not so bloodthirsty as is generally supposed ; 
and I think many English readers will be sickened and disgusted with the 
accounts in the papers of men killed, who were not fighting, but running away or hiding
in caves, and of small herds of cattle, e.g. eight or ten, evidently the little property
of individual kraals, being swept off by our gallant warriors, as well as hundreds and 
thousands, which are all assumed to belong to the king, or at all events to the
fighting men. 

What Zulu can possibly believe that we seek only the good of the Zulu people ? 

" In fact, if it is desired in England to avoid if possible a long, costly, and bloody 
war, the best thing to be done would be to withdraw the present High Commissioner, 
who will never consent to give up his plans, and send in his place some one who will 
look at things from an unprejudiced point of view, whose promises can be trusted, 
instead of its being necessary to ' read between the lines ' before their real meaning 
can be understood, and whose conduct shall be open and straightforward, instead of 
tortuous and sly and slippery.

*' Major Dartnell from the front has reported that the natives there say that the 
indunas had been heard calling out that the King had not ordered his men to cross 
our border (agreeing with the statement of the four waggon-drivers). 

He also transcribed the "Blue Books" the official documents sent to the Government.

" I am occupied in digesting the Blue-books for the use of M.P.'s and other friends
here and at home, who take a living interest in these affairs ; for I will defy anyone to 
get a true idea of the case from the confused despatches in the Blue-books (where 
the affairs of the Cape Colony, Eastern Frontier, Griqualand East, Griqualand West, 
Basutoland, Pondoland, Transvaal, Natal, and Zululand, are all mixed up
' higgledy-piggledy,' without any attempt at arrangement), without an enormous amount
of labour, which no public man can be expected to undertake. 

But whether I shall be able to complete my work, or to do so in time to be of any use
before the Zulu question is settled some way or other, I am very doubtful." 

 March 30, 1879. 

. . " The more I read of the new Blue-books, the more am I sickened with the evidence
it gives of Sir B. Frere's determination from the first to bring on this war and to 
crush Cetshwayo, who appears to me to have acted nobly throughout. I have now sent
a letter to Sir H. Bulwer, in which I have set forth the evidence which has satisfied my 
own mind that Cetshwayo's claim of land north of the Pongolo was thoroughly well founded.
 . . . Next week I hope to send the proofs of this in my extracts from the Blue-books." 

To F. W. Chesson, Esq. 

" April i(), 1879. 
"On Wednesday last (April 16) I called on Sir H. Bulwer, and proposed that  should be
allowed (so as not to commit the Government in any way) to send a message to 
Cetshwayo, and ask leave for me, with a party of working men (not soldiers), to go up
and bury the dead at Isandhlwana, or bring back their bones for burial in English soil 
with military honours.

Sir Henry received the proposal very' kindly, and only objected on the score of my own 
safety-, for which I should have no apprehension. ... It would, I am sure, be a 
satisfaction and comfort to many friends of the dead, . . . and it would wipe off a 
great disgrace to our arms. 

"Sir H. Bulwer's despatches are admirable, except for his very strong prejudice against
the king personally. ... I cannot help thinking that Sir Henry Bulwer was much 
offended by that formidable ' message,'  and that he cannot get over it, . . . 
and my fear is that he may have gone in with Sir Bartle Frere for the deposition of 
the king, which in my judgement would be as unwise and impolitic as it would be 
very unjust." 

F. W. Chesson, Es(^. 

"BlSHOPSTOWE,/«/)/ 12, 1879. 

^' It is a very general belief here that Lord Chelmsford has received instructions
from Sir G. Wolseley at Capetown that hostilities must be stopped, and has not chosen to 
obey them. I write this advisedly, and I hope that in England the facts will be 
brought to light. . . . 

" September 21, 1879. 

*' I have heard from an officer [ , i6th Lancers] that Colonel Harness himself told 
him the story of his recall at Isandhlwana exactly as I described it to you in a former 
letter, adding that the recall came from Lord Chelmsford upon the representations of 
Major Gossett. 

In order to have this fact upon record, will not some M.P. take a note of it to ask
whether the statement is correct, and why it was not included in the report of
the Commission of Inquiry ? ... 

It has been suggested that the reason why the Zulus fell back after their first attack . . . 
was that they saw Colonel Harness's force making for the camp."

This has since been confirmed by Zulus, who said that the resistance of the troops
who held the "neck" was so determined that, when their enemies saw " the other army
coming back" they began to draw off.
But presently this " other army " stopped, and went away again, and " then we went 
in and finished them," i.e. Colonel Durnford and his men. 

 BiSHOPSTOWE, December 21, 1879. 

. . " Not a word has been said — or perhaps allowed to be said — about the killing
of Sikukuni's women and children by dynamite. Only, where are they all ? 

It is now stated that two hundred women and girls have been captured, but no boys. 
What does this mean ? I think that this use of dynamite to blow up caves in which 
women and children are known to be hiding ... is positively diabolical." 

BlSHOPSTOWE,/^?;///^;'/ 25, 1880. 

. . . "I have now ascertained that the women and children of Sikukuni were in the cave,
and were known to be there, when the cave was blown up by Sir G. Wolseley's orders. 
How many women and children were killed in this horrible fashion no one knows ; but 
I fear there were very many." 

'■'■August 15, 1880.
" The new Commandant (Colonel Hawthorn, R.E.) and Mrs. Hawthorn are warm friends of ours,
he most friendly, and she a very superior woman, whom I found, on making my first call,
deep in Blue-books, and expressing herself in a very satisfactory way about the wrongs
of the Basutos, They are a great addition to my strength here, and they speak 
also highly of Sir H. Robinson and his lady, with whom they are intimately acquainted." 

It is a fact that Lord Chelmsford went off with all his staff to Maritzburg 
immediately after the disaster, leaving a number of mixed troops demoralised by that 
event, some panic-struck, others furious from desire for vengeance, all in great 
excitement, and without having appointed anyone to command after his departure. 

At length the senior of the officers left took the command ; but in the meantime this
great crime, for which no one was responsible, had been committed. 

One volunteer related how he had seen a comrade mount his horse, and, riding after 
the released prisoners, shoot one of them down with a revolver. 

His wife writing to Mr. Chesson, June 30, after his death said : — 
*" He died for the cause in which he has fought so long, the cause of justice, truth, 
and mercy, for truly it was the over-work in that cause, and the sorrow of seeing 
it still trampled under foot, that wore away his strength and took him from 
us. But I believe myself that he was victorious in death and that the good he sought 
to accomplish will now be brought to pass, because he has died for it, sooner than he 
could have accomplished it living." 

From  Life of Bishop Colenso writing to Mr Chessman 

The Life of John William Colenso, D.D. Bishop of Natal by The Reverend Sir George Cox 1888 W Ridgeway London and Bungay  Digitised by The Library of The University of California, Los Angeles

Frederick William Chesson (1833–1888) was an English journalist and prominent anti-slavery campaigner. He was active in the London Aborigines' Protection Society and Emancipation Committee, and met Harriet Ann Jacobs when she was in England in 1858; and was a vocal supporter of the Union side during the American Civil War.

A couple more

March 5, 1879

"It seems clear that all our panic, however natural under the circumstances, was wholly unnecessary, as Cetshwayo never intended to invade the colony.  But it seems to me certain that Sir Bartle Frere does not mean to make peace if he can help it, his "mission" being to found a great South African Province" from Captetown to Limpopo"

May 31st of General Marshall's visit to the long-neglected battle-field of Isandhlwana, the Bishop says:

"But one result has followed from this expedition, viz, the proof that Colonel Durnford must have rallied some of the carbineers and mounted police, and fought to the last, protecting as well as they could the retreat of the rest....About thirty soldiers lay dead around the Colonel and his fourteen volunteers....and (twenty) mounted police; and to these belongs the honour of a gallant struggle with death on that terrible day.

"I hear (from good authority) that General Marshall had great difficulty in getting leave at all to go to Isandhlwana, all kinds of objections have been made to his going ad that he finally left before receiving Lord Chelmsford's formal letter of leave.. After this first visit, no further objection was made to General Marshall's repeating visit.

June 8 1879

"It is now plainly stated that Cetshwayo must be brought in a prisoner to Maritzburg and of course carried on to ....

May 25  Dean Green is very annoyed that his words about the Zulu War spoken in the Debating Society have been published. However the other clergyman (of Bishop Macrorie's) wrote a letter to one of the papers signing his name in opposition to Sir B Frere's policy; and I know that one of my own clergy takes the same view....You will see that I am not quite alone among the clergy

Previously Dean Green in a letter addressed to Mr. Gladstone, which was published in the Guardian newspaper very effectively defended the Zulu King and people, and condemned Sir Bartle Frere' s policy.

September 20 1879

"Mr J Dunn's first act.....has been to refuse leave to any missionaries to settle in his territory.  This excludes Robertson, Oftebro and others who have done so much to bring this great calamity on the Zulu people, and, as far as they are concerned, they richly deserve exclusion.  But John Dunn's ukase extends to all.  And indeed I do not see how he can well do otherwise, since any missionary who might think it right to deal gently with polygamy as found among heathens or converts from heathenism, must inevitably attack the polygamous practices of a 
white man like John Dunn.  Surely the morality and Christianity of Englishmen will be shocked when it is found that we have spent many millions of money, and lost 2500 lives and killed 10,000 Zulus in order to exclude Christianity and civilisation from that part of Zululand which adjoins Natal.

(Dunn was a white man, who lived with the Zulus for 20 years and had many wives, he was given control after the Zulu Wars)

At twelve o'clock upon the day of the Isandhlawan disaster, Colonel Harness with four guns R.A. two companies of the 24th Regiment and about fifty Natal sappers, halted upon a rising ground more than eight miles from the camp, heard the firing of cannon, and saw shells hissing against the hills to the left of it.  One messenger from the camp reached him with the tidings that the camp was surrounded, and would be taken unless they were at once reinforced.

Colonel Harness proposed instantly to march back, and, although Major Gossett ridiculed the idea, he started.  Riding off to the General, Major Gossett returned with Lord Chelmsford's orders to Colonel Harness to turn back and march to the rendezvous.

The stories have been digitised and can be read on line.

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