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
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|
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.
*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 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.
In the meantime orders had been sent back to R
The Natal Carbineers and Mounted Police under Major
In going up, we could notice that the Mounted Infantry under Colonel R
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
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
Over sixty were then killed, and we only know of one man who escaped.
At ten o'clock the General and his Staff made a halt at the top of the valley for breakfast; and shortly afterwards Captain
Those officers who had accompanied the General for a ride only here left him, and
The General only remained for a short time, to receive from Major
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.
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
No signs of firing, or of an engagement
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
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
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
as dark as it ever became
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
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
It was 8 or 9 p.m. by the time our little force had ascended the ridge: we received orders to
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
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.
Happily, in this instance, our fears were vain. After lying down for a while close to the General and his
The corpses of our poor soldiers, whites and
The dead bodies of the men lay as they had
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,
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
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
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
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.
For my part, I consider that every native that had fled from
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
These doubtful points remain to be cleared up. Between
All my old friends were
I had every reason to feel flattered with the meed of r
My duty did not end therewith, for I was specially charged with letters to His Excellency Sir
Of the list of those missing from the fa
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
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 citizen
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
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
At this time we perceived the Zulus collecting in force to the north of the c
The Zulus were then seen coming in force over a ridge about a mile and a half distant. At eleven Colonel
and the Infantry cheeked the progress of the Zulus for about an hour, but were forced to fall back on the camp, as the
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,
On reaching the Buffalo, at a spot where t
The attacking party of Zulus consisted of about 20,000 men, and they took possession of
The spot crossed by the retreating party is about five miles below R
It says: " " We slept the night before the battle in a V
Our day was
They fired, and all at once the main body of the Zulu army arose in
On their seeing we were t
This was on the left, and
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
They fired so heavily we had to retire; we kept lying down and rising again. The
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
At this time many of the soldiers had retired from the positions where they had gone to attack u
When the soldiers retired on the camp, they did so ru
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,
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
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
Four shots were fired at the
There was something wrong with the rocket battery. Two of the mules got on the top of a
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
They mounted their horses, which they had drawn into the donga with them. The Carbineers were still fighting when the
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
as they could lay hands upon and carry away. All the dead bodies were
The dead Zulus were buried in the grain silos in two kraals; some in dongas, and elsewhere. Zulus died all round
There was a long line of stragglers, as we supposed, making for Jim's house. The other
We who had fought at
Another good piece of news had also just come down
An eye-witness gave the following account of the patrol: " "" On Friday, the 14th of March, a party of
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
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 w
Horses and mules were
They were all in and about the camp, or down the
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
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
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
During the week following my journey back to
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
''A Court of Enquiry is now sitting here on the loss of the camp at
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
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 R
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
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
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
The party consisted of seventeen volunteers, mostly officers, under Colonel Black,
They started at 4 a.m., every precaution being taken to guard against surprise, and after a brisk ride through the
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."
Great Firing. Relieved by 1.24th. Alarm.
3 Columns Zulus and mounted men on hill
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,
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
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
The look-out men at the signal station reported that some small bodies of Zulus, some of them mounted, had come into view at
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
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 R
No very strong body of the enemy had lately been seen anywhere in the neighbourhood; but
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
Then signal-fires were seen on the hills to the right, and spread quickly along the course of the river, to the
Pushing on steadily and carefully we reached the plain of
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
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.
The body of
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
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 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
" 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 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.
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.
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.
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
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
' 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
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
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
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."