It's probably time for a confession - Before the 18th May 2014, my interpretation of the people in Anthony's life, was that he had partnered a lady in South Africa, the daughter of the Bishop, whose name was Fanny Colenso.
I thought that she was a local*, and that they had a son together called Edward. Knowing how that sort of thing would be frowned on in society, my thoughts were that while they worked tirelessly to clear his name who would believe a mixed race illegitimate young man, in Victorian England, and felt sorry for what people must have thought of him.
Our 3rd great grandfather had also married the daughter of a mulatto lady from the West Indies and Sir Patrick Blake, and that was socially frowned on as well. **
In fact when we visited the Museum in Brecon, and the staff were tying to locate any items they had of Anthony, I mentioned that to her. Well eventually she showed me their copy of the book Edward wrote, and I was quite surprised that the first page mentioned that he was his brother.
I even took a photo, of a couple of the pages of their copy.
Back in our B&B, I decided to find the book and read it, this was quite exciting.
By about page 20, I was totally lost, I had no idea what they were talking about, so I went no further, but kept it on my tablet.
How many other people perhaps thought that as well? Or find the book very hard to understand?
Probably lots. But I had no idea that 7 months later, all had been read and so much more and that I would be writing and understanding about these events associated with Anthony.
*No disrespect meant at all, but that is the terminology for our Bougainville Island family, perhaps in South Africa there is a different terminology.
Recommend the movie "Belle" which really emulated how Barbara Blake and her sisters would have been shunned!
The excerpts presented are included in the book The History of the Zulu War where Col Edward Durnford, Anthony's brother analysed the Battles. The book is available on-line and can be read in its entirety or downloaded as an e-book.
He also had access to the Government Blue-Books, and the reference to evidence contained in those books is included.
Bishop John Colenso was transcribing the details in the Blue Books, and sorting the documents into some sort of sequence. He had remarked he hoped he would complete the work before he died.
A court of inquiry, composed of Colonel Hassard, C.B., RE., Lieut. -Colonel Law, K.A., and Lieut.-
Colonel Harness, E.A., assembled at Helpmakaar on the 27th January, when the following officers gave evidence: Major Clery ; Colonel Glyn, C.B. ; Captain Gardner, 1.4th Hussars ;
Captain Essex, 75th Regiment ; Lieutenant Cochrane, 32nd Regiment ; Lieutenant Smith-
Dorrien, 95th Regiment; Captain Nourse, Natal Native Contingent ; and Lieutenant Curling,
The Evidence presented at the enquiry: Shortened but for the ease of reference.
About 1.30 A.M., on the 22nd, a messenger brought me a note from Major Dartnell, to say that the enemy was in greater numbers than when he last reported, and that he did not think it prudent to attack them unless reinforced by two or three companies of the 24th Regiment. I took this note to Colonel Glyn, C.B., at once, he ordered me to take it on to the General. The General ordered the 2nd Battalion 24th Regiment, the Mounted Infantry, and four guns, to be under arms at once to march. This force marched out from camp as soon as there was light enough to see the road. The Natal Pioneers accompanied this column to clear the road. The General first ordered me to write to Colonel Durnford, at Rorke's Drift, to bring his force to strengthen the camp, but almost immediately afterwards he told Colonel Crealock that he (Colonel Crealock) was to write to Colonel Durnford these instructions, and not I. Before leaving the camp, I sent written instructions to Colonel Pulleine, 24th Regiment, to the following effect:—" You will be in command of the camp during the absence of Colonel Glyn; draw in (I speak- from memory) your camp, or your line of defence"—I am not certain which-"while the force is out: also draw in the line of your infantry outposts accordingly; ...
Why would Chelmsford order Clery to write a statement, then change his mind and ask Crealock?
What really is the importance of who wrote the order to the enquiry?
Lieu tenant-Colonel Durnford, R.E., who now assumed command of the camp. The main body of this mounted force, divided into two portions, and the rocket battery were about 10.30 A.M., sent out to ascertain the enemy's movements, and a company of 1st Battalion 24th Regiment, under command of Lieutenant Cavaye was directed to take up a position
On looking round to that portion of the field to our right and rear I saw that the enemy was surrounding us.
I rode up to Lieutenant-Colonel Durnford, who was near the right, and pointed this out to him. He requested me to take men to that part of the field and endeavour to hold the enemy in check; but while he was speaking, those men of the Native Contingent who had remained in action rushed past us in the utmost disorder, thus laying open the right and rear of the companies of 1st Battalion 24th Regiment on the left, and the enemy dashing forward in a most rapid manner poured in at this part of the line.
In a moment all was disorder, and few of the men of 1st Battalion 24th Regiment had time to fix bayonets before the enemy was among them using their assegais with fearful effect. I heard officers calling to their men to be steady; but the retreat became in a few seconds general, and in a direction towards the road to Rorke's Drift. Before, however, we gained the neck near the Isandlwana Hill the enemy had arrived on that portion of the field also, and the large circle he had now formed closed in on us.
Edward Durnford's review of the evidence at the Office of Inquiry,
The first step in advance from Rorke’s Drift was to push forward four companies of the 2-2 4th Regiment, a battalion of Natal Native Contingent, and a detachment of Natal Native Pioneers into the Bashi Valley on the 14th January, for the purpose of repairing the road. This detachment remained encamped there until the 20th, five miles from the remainder of the column at Rorke’s Drift, and with no attempt at ” laager ” or other defence, Lord Chelmsford did not see the need of precaution, and his instructions to the officer in command were, ” Use the bayonet ” if a night attack took place.
On the 17th the General made a reconnaissance as far as Isandhlwana ; and on January 20th No, 3 Column moved from Rorke’s Drift and Bashi Valley, to the spot selected for the camp to the east of Isandhlwana Hill, The post at Rorke’s Drift (where the Buffalo was crossed) of vital importance to the safety of the column was left with a garrison of one company of l-24th Regiment, but without any attempt whatever at entrenchment : nor were any defensive precautions taken at Helpmakaar, the store depot in Natal, twelve miles from Rorke’s Drift.
The march to Isandhlwana was accomplished ” without much difficulty,” but ” half a battalion 2-2 4th was obliged to halt short of this camp owing to the oxen being fatigued.” They bivouacked for the night in the open. The position of the camp is thus described : “At the spot where our road crossed . . . we had a small kopje on the right, and then about fifty yards to our left rises abruptly the Isandhlwana Mountain . . . entirely unapproachable from the three sides nearest us, but on the farther, viz. that to the north, it slopes more gradually down, and it is there connected with the large range of hills on our left with another broad neck of land.
We just crossed over the bend, then turned sharp to the left, and placed our camp facing the valley, with the eastern precipitous side of the mountain behind us, leaving about a mile of open country between our left flank and the hills on our left, the right of the camp extending across the neck of land we had just come over, and resting on the base of the small kopje described beforehand.”
The camp was formed in the following order from left to right : 2-3rd Natal Native Contingent, l-3rd
Natal Native Contingent, 2-2 4th Regiment, Royal Artillery, mounted troops, and l-24th Regiment.
‘ The waggons were all placed between the camp and the hill at the back, and behind them, imme-
diately against its base, the head-quarters’ tents were pitched with their waggons beside them.” …” Not a single step was taken in any way to defend our new position in case of a night or day attack from the enemy.”*
On the same day (20th) the General reconnoitred on the ” waggon- track, which skirts Inhlazatye Mountain, as far as a place called Maty ana’s Stronghold,” at a distance of about twelve miles, but saw nothing of the enemy. “Not having time to properly examine the country round this peculiar stronghold,” the General ordered that next day two separate parties should move out from the camp at an early hour ; one of mounted men under Major Dartnell to reconnoitre on the road
he had taken, whilst two battalions of Native Contingent under Commandant Lonsdale worked round the Malakata Mountain : the orders being that these officers were to effect a communication on the Inhlazatye range, and then return to camp. (P. P. [C. 2252] pp. 74, 75).
At about ten o’clock the Zulus were found in force by the mounted men ; the contingent being on a range of hills distant about five miles. The enemy appeared anxious to fight, but Major Dartnell did not think it prudent to engage without supports. The Zulus occupied a large kloof, and whenever the mounted men approached they came out in large numbers. A small body were sent up close, under Mr. Mansel, to try and make the Zulus show their force, when they advanced throwing out the ” horns’ and tried to surround the party, following them down into the open, where Major
Dartnell and the remainder of the mounted troops were.
The whole then retired and joined the contingent, about three miles from the kloof.
In the evening, says Major Clery, ” a message arrived from Major Dartnell that the enemy was in considerable force in his neighbourhood, and that he and Commandant Lonsdale would bivouac out the night,” which they were permitted to do.*
The wisdom of this may be doubted, as the Native Contingent seemed particularly liable to alarm ; twice they ” were seized with panic, rushing about every-where, the night being very dark. They knocked us down,” writes an officer, ” and stampeded our horses, causing the greatest confusion. If the Zulus had come on we should all have been cut to pieces.”
That night Major Dartnell sent off messengers to Lord Chelmsford that he had marked the Zulus down in a kloof, and asked for two companies of infantry to be sent out as a support, and that he would attack the Zulus in the morning.”
Major Clery says at “About 1.30 A.M. on the 22nd, a messenger brought me a note from Major Dartnell to say that the enemy was in greater numbers than when he last reported, and that he did not think it prudent to attack unless reinforced by two or three companies of the 24th Regiment.
The General ordered the 2nd Battalion 24th Regiment, the Mounted Infantry, and four guns, to be under arms at once to march.” The Natal Native Pioneers, about 50 strong, accompanied
the force, which ” marched out from the camp as soon as there was light enough to see the road.” Lieut. –Colonel Pulleine, l-24th Regiment, was instructed to take “command of the camp during the absence of Colonel Glyn ” the force left with him consisting of 5 companies 1-2 4th and 1 company 2-2 4th Regiment ; 2 guns Royal Artillery ; about 20 Mounted Infantry and Volunteers ; 30 Natal Carbineers, 31 Mounted Police, and 4 companies Natal Native Contingent.
An order was also despatched to Colonel Durnford (at Rorke’s Drift) to move up to Isandhlwana.
Lieut-Colonel Pulleine’s instructions for the defence of the camp were, briefly, to draw in his “line of defence” and “infantry outposts,” but to keep his cavalry vedettes ” still far advanced.””
5 ” We may here note that the only country searched was that direct to the front and right
front the direction of the waggon-track although it is stated “the Lieut. -General had himself noticed mounted men in one direction (our left front) on the 21st, and in this direction he had intended to make a reconnaissance.” (P. P. [C. 2260] p. 99).
After the departure of the advance column nothing unusual occurred in camp until between seven and eight o’clock, when it was reported from the advanced picquet (on the Ingqutu range of hills, about 1500 yards to the north) that a body of the enemy could be seen approaching from the north-east : and various small bodies were afterwards seen. Lieut. -Colonel Pulleine got his men under arms, and sent a written message off to head-quarters that a Zulu force had appeared on the hills on his left front. This was received ” between 9.30 and 10 A.M.”
from Lieut. -Colonel Pulleine, that a Zulu force had appeared on the hills on his left front. The General says he at once sent his aide-de-camp, Lieutenant Milne, E.N., to the top of a high hill, from which the camp could be seen. He had ” a very powerful telescope, but could detect nothing unusual.”* Lieut. -Colonel Crealock says that all the news he gave ” was that the cattle had been driven into camp,” and he acknowledges ” our own attention was chiefly bent on the enemy’s force retiring from the hills in our front, and a party being pursued by Lieut. -Colonel Russell three miles off.”
far to the left that he ” was afraid they might be going to make a dash at the Drift.”
He took orders to Major Russell to hurry up with the rocket battery, to detach a company of Sikali men to protect the baggage, and for all to “look out to the left.
Colonel Durnford reached the camp, and received all the information Lieut. -Colonel Pulleine could afford,finding the situation to be : Lonsdale’s natives on out-post duty on the hills to the left, the guns in position on the left of the camp, and the infantry under arms. The oxen were driven into camp and Mr. Brickhill says tied to the yokes, but not inspanned. Constant reports were coming in from the hills to the left “The enemy are in force behind the hills.”
“The enemy are in three columns.” ” One column is moving to the left rear, and one towards the General.” ” The enemy are retiring in every direction.” The enemy’s force was given at 400 to 600.
On consideration, Colonel Durnford decided only to take his own men,'”” and moved out with his remaining two troops Natal Native Horse, followed by Major Eussell’s rocket battery, with
its escort of a company of Native Contingent, under Captain Nourse.
The above remarks are taken from Lieutenant Cochrane’s account of what passed ; and he says : ” I think no one lives who was present during the conversation but myself ; so that anything said contradictory to my statement is invented.”
At this time there was no expectation of an attack during the day, and no idea had been formed regarding the probable strength of the enemy.”
“about five miles from the camp,” when “the Zulu army came forward, advancing straight on towards the camp.”
Captain Shepstone ordered a retreat on the camp, and himself rode in with the warning that the
“whole Zulu army was advancing to attack it.”Captain Shepstone met Captain Gardner on reaching
the camp, and both officers then went to Colonel Pulleine, but, says Captain Gardner, the enemy were
“already on the hill on our left in large numbers.”
Colonel Durnford retired a little way to a donga and extended his men, then fell back, keeping up a steady fire, for about two miles, J when he came upon the remains of the rocket battery, which (it appeared) had turned to the left on hearing firing on the hills, been cut off, and broken up. Fighting was still going on here, but the Zulus were speedily driven back.
“This gully,” Mr. Brickhill, interpreter to No. 3 Column, says, ” the mounted force held most tenaciously, every shot appearing to take effect,” and with the havoc caused by the guns, ” a thousand Zulu dead must have laid between the conical hill and the gully. They lay just like peppercorns upon the plain.”
The two troops of native horse sent to reconnoitre the Ingqutu Hills, retired fighting before the enemy in good order a to a crest in the neck which joins Sandhlwana to Ingqutu. Leaving their horses well
sheltered here, they held this crest splendidly, keeping up a steady galling fire.” * They were eventually compelled to retire, with the loss of Captain G. Shepstone.
We must now consider what had taken place at the camp. All was quiet till about twelve o’clock, when
firing was heard on the hill where the company on picquet was stationed ; the troops were immediately
turned out and formed on the left front of the camp.
About this time Captain Gardner, 14th Hussars, arrived with an order from the General, addressed to Lieut. –Colonel Pulleine, ” to send on the camp equipage and supplies of the troops camping out, and to remain himself at his present camp and entrench it.”*
Captain G. Shepstone reached the camp with his warning about the same time. Colonel Pulleine decided it was impossible to carry out the General’s order, as the enemy were already in great force on the hills to the left. Captain Gardner sent off a message to headquarters, saying that ” our left was attacked by about ten thousand of the enemy.
One company (Captain Mostyn’s) was moved up to support the picquet ; the enemy distant about 800 yards, ,moving “towards our left.” Orders to retire were received almost immediately, and the whole retired to the foot of the slope, the enemy rushing forward to the crest of the hill as our men disappeared. Captain Younghusband’s company was at this time in echelon on the left
The guns came into action about 400 yards on the left front of the camp, “where they were able
to throw shells into a large mass of the enemy that remained almost stationary about 3400 yards off.”J
The three advanced companies of the 24th retired on the main body, when the situation was this : The two guns and the whole of the 24th in line, about 300 yards from the left front of the camp ; the natives took post on the right of the 24th ; then came Durnford’s Basutos ; and the extreme right was formed by about forty mounted Europeans*'” the force holding the only position that afforded any shelter, viz. broken ground and a ” donga ” in front of the camp ; the infantry ” in good position among the stones and boulders to the left and left centre of the camp, and who stood their ground most gallantly, “
The enemy approached to within about 400 yards, the two guns firing case. The heavy fire from the line told so upon the Zulus that they wavered and lay down ;they are said to have covered the valley in detached groups to the depth of about three-quarters of a mile.
The enemy now began to work round the rear (which they could do with impunity owing to the
formation of the ground), and Captain Essex says: “I rode up to Lieut. -Colonel Durnford, who was near the right, and pointed this out to him. He requested me to take men to that part of the field, and endeavour to hold the enemy in check ; ” but at this moment, he says,
” those of the Native Contingent who had remained in action, rushed past us in the utmost disorder, thus laying open the right and rear of the 24th, the enemy dashing forward in the most rapid manner.”
The ammunition of the mounted troops failing (supplies had been repeatedly sent for, but none came), Colonel Durnford retired them towards the right of the camp (where the waggons and ammunition of the Native Horse were), and himself galloped off to the 24th, having previously
told Captain Gardner that the position was too extended, and he desired to concentrate the force. Colonel Durnford’s intention undoubtedly was to withdraw all the troops to the rising ground on the right of the camp,to which point he had retired his Native Horse.
The Zulus rushed on the left in overwhelming numbers, completely surrounding the 24th. The guns
limbered up, and made for the Rorke’s Drift Road, but found it blocked by the enemy ; they therefore ” followed a crowd of natives and camp-followers, who were running down a ravine ; the Zulus were all among them, stabbing men as they ran.” Down this ravine the fugitives hastened, the enemy round and among them, the assegai doing its deadly work.
Lieut. -Colonel Pulleine was said by Lieutenant Coghill to have been killed, “* and during the flight Major Stuart Smith, E.A. (who had been wounded), Surgeon-Major Shepherd, and many a man, mounted and on foot, were killed. The Buffalo was gained at a point about five miles below Rorke’s Drift, and numbers of the fugitives were either shot, or carried away by the stream and
Lieutenants Melville and Coghill rode from the camp, on its being carried by the Zulus, the former
with the Queen’s colours of his regiment. These he bore into the river, but lost his horse, and was left struggling in the swift current ; Lieutenant Coghill, who had safely crossed, rode in to his assistance, when his horse was shot. These brave young officers succeeded in gaining the Natal shore, but were soon overtaken by the enemy, and died fighting to the last.
The Natal Native Horse escaped with little loss ; they assisted many in the retreat, which they covered as well as they could, especially under Captain Barton on the banks of the Buffalo. Captain Essex puts the time of the retreat from the camp at ” about 1.30 P.M.”
After this period no one living escaped from Isandhlwana, and it was supposed that the troops had
broken, and, falling into confusion, that all had perished after a brief struggle.
It may properly be here remarked that from the outskirts of the force firing had been seen at the camp
as late as nearly four o’clock ; and about six, large bodies of the enemy were seen retiring from the camp, through openings in the Ingqutu range.
When a move was first made by the General in the direction of the camp, an officer who was in advance * About this hour the tents in camp suddenly disappeared.narrates what he saw when he came to a rising ground from which the camp was first seen :
” There certainly were some tents standing then, but seemed very few, and away to the left front of the camp there was some smoke, though not much, and it was high up, just as if there had been musketry fire and the smoke had floated away; but there was certainly no musketry fire going on then. A few seconds afterwards a sergeant …. said: ‘There go the guns, sir I could see the smoke, but we could hear nothing. In a few seconds we distinctly saw the guns fired again, one after the other, sharp.
This was done several times a pause, and then a flash flash ! The sun was shining on the camp at the time, and then the camp looked dark, just as if a shadow was passing over it. (2.26 Eclipse)
The guns did not fire after that, and in a few minutes all the tents had disappeared. The sergeant said, ‘ It’s all over now, sir I said, ‘ Yes, and I hope it is the right way.’ We could see there was fighting going on, but of course did not know which way it had gone. The men all thought the Zulus had retired, but I felt doubtful in my own mind, but had no idea really of the catastrophe that had
taken place. . . . This must have been about 3 P.M.”
of us ; a few mounted men were sent out ; the men in front previously seen then took cover behind some rocks, but were fired upon by our men ; one fell, the remainder ran out in the open, throwing up their hands to show they were unarmed. On being taken prisoners, they were found to be Native Contingent, escaped from the massacre.” (P. P. [C. 2454] p. 185).
taking their last long sleep.
infantry covering the west, and the mounted troops and guns the east side. During the night there were one or two false alarms, and the whole force, at early dawn, moved off towards Rorke’s Drift, as the General was anxious about the safety of that important post; also the troops had no spare ammunition,* but little food, and ” it was certain that daylight would reveal a sight which could not but have a demoralising effect upon the whole force.” (P. P. [C. 2252] p. 76).
Nothing was known of the after-events of that fatal day for months, till, on the 21st May, the scene of the disaster was revisited, and the truth of the gallant stand made was established. This will be treated of in another chapter.
We must now turn to the movements of the column under Colonel Glyn, with the General ; and it will be most convenient to take the occurrences of the day as described by Lord Chelmsford and his military secretary (Lieut. -Colonel Crealock).
Leaving camp at daybreak,* the General “reached Major Dartnell about 6.30 A.M., and at once ordered him to send out his mounted men to gain intelligence of the enemy, whose whereabouts did not appear to be very certain.” ‘ (P. P. [C. 2252] p. 75.)
The enemy shortly after showed in considerable strength at some distance, but retired without firing as the troops advanced. Lieut. -Colonel Crealock says : ” Between 9.30 and 10 A.M. we were off-saddled some twelve miles from camp. During the three previous hours we had been advancing with Colonel Glyn’s column against a Zulu force that fell back from hill to hill as we advanced,
giving up, without a shot, most commanding positions.”(P. P. [C. 2260] p. 99.)
* Three mounted Zulu scouts were seen on the hills on the right from the rear guard, by an officer, who pointed them out to one of the staff.
* Some remarks made by Lieutenant Milne, R.N. (aide-de-camp),are worthy of notice : ” January 2lst. We then rode up to the high land to the left of our camp, the ascent very steep, but possible for horses. On reaching the summit of the highest hill, I counted fourteen Zulu horsemen watching us at the distance of about four miles; they ultimately disappeared over a slight rise.
Two vedettes were stationed at the spot from where I saw these horsemen ; they said they had seen these men several times during the day, and had reported the fact. . . . We then returned to camp, the General having determined to send out a patrol in this direction the next day.” (P. P. [C. 2454] p. 183).
January 22nd. Lieutenant Milne was sent to the top of a hill to see what was doing in camp, and says : ” On reaching the summit I could see the camp ; all the cattle had been driven in close around the tents. I could see nothing of the enemy on the left ” (ibid. p. 184). ” We are not quite certain about the time. But it is just possible that what I took to be the cattle having been driven into camp may
possibly have been the Zulu ‘ inipi ‘” (ibid. p. 187).
Lord Chelmsford then says : “It appears that the oxen were yoked to the waggons three hours before the attack took place, so that there was ample time to construct that waggon-laager which the Dutch in former days understood so well.” This
remark comes with peculiar ill – grace from Lord Chelmsford, who not only had not taken any precautions, but had not permitted any laager or other defence to be made and whose reply to a suggestion of a laager at Isandhlwana was, ” It would take a week to make.”
Also it must not be forgotten that the attack on Isandhlwana was without warning.
He next says : ” Had, however, the tents been struck,and the British troops placed with their backs to the precipitous Isalwana Hill, I feel sure that they could
have made a successful resistance.” Here again he would blame the dead to cover the faults of the living !
But even had the troops been thus placed (as some eventually appear to have been), how long could they keep at bay, when ammunition failed/” an enemy armed with
weapons they could use with fatal effect out of reach of the bayonet ?
” against a Zulu force that fell back from hill to hill ….giving up without a shot most commanding positions.”
belief that the enemy could only be in force in his front the transparent way in which he was drawn off farther from the camp the absence of any attention to the signs that something was wrong at the camp the prevention of assistance reaching the beleaguered camp when one of his officers had recognised the emergency, etc. ; to which must be added that we do not find one word of regret for the untimely fate of the gallant men who fell doing their duty.
In justice to Colonel Glyn, commanding No. 3 Column, it must be remarked that the General himself gave the orders for the various movements, etc.
And in justice to Lord Chelmsford also, we note it is asserted that the shock he experienced told severely upon him at the time ; and he may not have very
carefully studied the despatch, which was the work of his military secretary.
* The reserve ammunition is said to have been packed in waggons, which were then filled up with stores.
Before finally leaving the events of the 22nd January, we must fully notice an important episode that occurred, and which had a serious bearing on the disaster
we have to lament.
We have seen that ” the guns with an escort ” were ordered to retrace their steps … * to join Colonel Glyn at the rendezvous near the Mangane Valley. We will
now follow their movements.
When Lord Chelmsford discovered that the enemy he had come in search of had disappeared, 4 guns Royal Artillery, 2 companies 2-2 4th Regiment (Captains Church
and Harvey), and about 50 Natal Native Pioneers, the whole under the command of Lieut. -Colonel Harness,R.A., were ordered to march to a rendezvous in advance
by a different route to that taken by the remainder of the column ; this was necessary, as the guns could not go over the ground taken by the latter.
To carry out the order, they had to retrace for over two miles the route by which they had come in the morning, and then bear to the left. This was done (a short halt having first been made, to let men and horses have a rest), and about
twelve o’clock they reached some rising ground, when they again halted, not being certain of the direction of the rendezvous, to await Major Black, 2-2 4th, Assistant Quartermaster-General, who had gone on to find it.
Almost immediately after this halt the firing of cannon was heard, and looking towards the camp, about eight miles off, they saw shells bursting against the hills to the left of it. Soon afterwards a body of about 1000 natives suddenly appeared in the plain below, between them and the camp the Native Pioneers thought they were’ Zulus.
Captain Church told Colonel Harness if he would let him have a horse he would go and find out. Colonel Harness at once gave him one, and sent a mounted sergeant with him. As they galloped
towards the natives, a European officer rode out, and when they met said : ” The troops behind me are Commandant Browne’s contingent, and I am sent to give you this message : ‘ Come in every man, for God’s sake!
The camp is surrounded, and will be taken unless helped at once.’Captain Church rode back as fast as he could, and found Colonel Harness in conversation with Major Gosset (aide-de-camp) and Major Black, both of whom had come up during his absence.
Colonel Harness promptly said :” We will march back ; ” but Major Gosset ridiculed the idea, and advised him to carry out his orders. Colonel Harness then asked Major Black and Captain Church their opinions. They both agreed with him without
The latter goes so far as to say, in paragraph 17 of his statement (P. P. [C. 2260]
p. 100) : ” I am not aware what messages had been sent from the camp and received by Colonel Glyn or his staff ;but I know that neither the General nor myself had up
to this time received any information but that I have mentioned.”
This statement refers to a time after the
* The first official mention of this appears in a Blue-book of August, 1879, where Lieutenant Milne, R.N”. (aide-de-camp), says : ” In the meantime, news came that Colonel Harness had heard the firing, and was proceeding with his guns and companies of infantry escorting them to camp. Orders were immediately sent to him to return and rejoin Colonel Glyn.”
(P. P. [C. 2454] p. 184).
General had arrived at a spot about a mile from where Commandant Browne’s battalion of natives were halted,after he had received the message, ” Come in, every man, for God’s sake,”etc., and after he had met Colonel Harness on his return march to the rendezvous ; and not only that, but apparently after the receipt of a most important message from Lieut. -Colonel Pulleine, described as follows by the special correspondent of The Times of Natal (Captain Norris-Newman) : “We did halt there, and found the staff there as well, looking on through the field-glasses at some large bodies of Kafirs [Zulus], who were in close proximity to our camp about ten miles off.
The Mounted Police were ordered to halt and off-saddle ; but Captain [T.] Shepstone and his volunteers had orders to proceed back to camp to see what was up.
I joined them, and we had not gone far on the road when an officer,
with about a hundred of ” Durnford’s Horse,” now arrived, and asked for orders.
(P. P. [C. 2318] p. 80).
I am not aware what messages had been sent from ”the camp and received by Colonel Glyn or his staff; but I know that neither the General nor myself had up to this time received any information but that I have mentioned.
And on February 12th, he says : ” It is impossible to shut one’s eyes to the fact that it was, in all human probability, mainly due to disregard of the General’s orders that so great a disaster occurred ” (a little qualifying his sweeping assertion of February 3rd).
But yet again Sir Bartle returns to the charge, and says, June 30th : ” It is difficult to over-estimate the effect of such a disaster as that at Isandhlwana on both armies, but it was clearly due to breach of the General’s order, and to disregard of well-known maxims of military science.”
** By the General’s directions this statement was to be ” of the facts which came under his cognizance on the day in question.” (P. P. [C. 2260] p. 80).
On what grounds Sir Bartle Frere bases these assertions we know not- no known orders were disobeyed and in spite of the special pleading in these despatches, we must come to the conclusion that Sir Bartle Frere's remarks were penned in utter ignorance of facts, and that the accusations concerning "disregard of well-known maxims of military science' should have been applied, not to the soldiers who fell at Isandhlwana, but to those who placed them in that fatal position.
He was instructed to throw out men to watch the drifts and ponts, to check the enemy’s advance, and fall back on the post when forced to retire. These men had, however, been in the saddle since daylight, and had gone through a heavy engagement : they were quite exhausted (besides being dispirited by the loss of their beloved leader), and, after remaining a short time, retired to Helpmakaar.
gallant a stand was made ; their captain recognising the body of Lieutenant Scott, and therefore being able afterwards to identify the spot.
proved by the fact that a native groom lay for dead, although unwounded, in the camp throughout the night.
The man had feigned death when the camp was taken,and did not dare to move on the return of the General’s party, lest he should be taken by them for a Zulu, and
should share the fate of the few actual Zulus found intoxicated beneath the waggons, and bayoneted by our soldiers.
of those present at the time.
The latter,indeed, were men belonging to the Native Contingent,
The Daily News of April 8th, referring to this episode and the court of inquiry, says : ” Lord Chelmsford seems to have been as unfortunate in the selection of his staff-officers as he was in everything else.” Lieut. -Colonel Crealock’s ” statement ” is stigmatised as “palpably written to establish a preconceived theory;” and The Daily News says most justly that ” Colonel Harness should not have sat as member of the court of inquiry. How it could have been supposed that an officer who had taken so prominent a part in the doings of the 22nd January was a fit and suitable member of a court assembled even to take evidence merely, is more than we can understand. Besides, the very fact of his being a member, we are told, precluded Colonel Harness from giving his own valuable evidence.”
The Natal Witness of May 29th, 1879, makes some reflections on the same subject, which are very pertinent. We need not repeat its criticisms on the court of inquiry, etc. but it says:
Now the orders given to Lieut. -Colonel Pulleine are stated by Major Clery, senior staff-officer of No. 3 Column, thus :
Pulleine’ s tent just before leaving camp to ascertain that he had got these instructions, and again repeated them verbally to him.” (P. P.[C. 2260] p. 81).
Again, some assert that the action was brought about by Colonel Durnford’s Native Horse in the Ingqutu Hills. Even had it been so, yet this officer’s duty distinctly was to feel and reconnoitre the enemy, When the Zulu army moved forward to the attack, he, with his handful of men, fell slowly back, gaining all the time possible for the camp defenders.
Taking the whole of the circumstances of the day, we may conclude that, had the enemy remained hidden on the 22nd, we should probably have lost the entire column instead of part ; but the account given by an English Officer with one of the troops that first saw the enemy, and other accounts from Zulus, seem to make it clear that the Zulus were moving on the camp when they came in contact with the horsemen. That they had no intention of remaining hidden is shown by their unconcealed movements on the hills throughout the morning.*
1. The fatal position selected for the camp, and the total absence .of any defensive precautions.
2. The absence of systematic scouting, whereby an army of upwards of 20,000 Zulus was enabled to approach Isandhlwana on the 21st, and remained unobserved till the 22nd, although their mounted scouts were actually seen by the General and staff on the 21st, watching them.
moon. It is also said that the Zulu army came with pacific intentions, in order to give up Sihayo’s sons, and the cattle for the fine. In all probability they left the king with such orders that is to say, to
make terms if possible, but to fight if forced to it, and if the English intentions were plainly hostile.
This hostility was thoroughly proved before the morning of the 22nd, when the departure of Lord Chelmsford’s force from the camp must have been a have been a strong temptation to the
Zulus to attack the latter.
Warning of the Zulu army moving against Xos. 1 and 3 Columns was received on the border, and communicated to Mr. Fannin, Border Agent, on January 20th.
The warning stated that the whole Zulu army, over 35,000 strong (except about 4000 who remained with the king), was marched in two columns, the strongest against Colonel Glyn’s column, the other against Colonel Pearson ; this was to take up its position on the 20th or 21st January at the royal kraal near Inyezane, and the first to approach Rorke’s Drift.
The writer complains of the little and inadequate use made of the information, which might have been communicated from Fort Pearson to Rorke’s Drift in time to have averted the fearful disaster of the 22nd January. (P. P. [C. 2308] pp. 69, 70.)
One of the measures upon which great stress was laid was that of forming a native contingent to act with the British troops, The original scheme for the organisation of this contingent in case of necessity had been prepared and carefully worked out by Colonel Durnford, R.E., and was based on his thorough knowledge of the natives.
During the eight years of his life in South Africa he had had ample opportunity of learning, by experience,
how utterly and mischievously useless was the plan, hitherto invariably followed, of employing disorganised, untrained bodies of natives as troops under their own leaders, without any proper discipline or control.
But the General changed his mind, and decided to divide the native contingent amongst the various columns, the details of its distribution being as follows :
The 1st Eegiment Natal Native Contingent of three battalions (Commandant Montgomery, Major Bengough, and Captain Cherry), and five troops mounted natives formed No. 2 Column, commanded by Lieut. -Colonel Durnford.
" How is that ? ‘ was the inquiry made. ‘ Oh ! ‘ replied the youth, ‘just to get behind them with a sjambok (i.e. whip) that’s the way to do it!’ ‘All right replied the Colonel quietly ; I have just one piece of advice to give you though make your will before you start ! If you’re riot stabbed by your own men, you will deserve it.”
‘ The Natal Native Horse.’ ”