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Tuesday, February 10, 2015 AWD The Aftermath - Edward Durnford - Media reports - Lord Chelmsford faces his critics - Books published - Hansard

Anthony Durnford was a man with strong beliefs and principles. 

His statement:  Of course, I could have made a glorious despatch, but it would not have been true'.   
 was made after Bushman's River Pass skirmish.       He believed in telling the truth.

"If it is not the truth why write it? "         That question paraphrases many of his stories.

The Last Stand

From the time of Anthony's death and the allegations that Lord Chelmsford made about him, Anthony's brother Col  Edward Durnford and Frances Colesno worked to clear his name.

Edward, had the military knowledge, he was a Retired Colonel from the Royal Engineers.  Frances had the benefit of all her father's works, and notes, about the events leading up to January 1879, and had a repore with the King Chetewyo and Zulus, and blamed the Colonial government for causing the war.

She saw it as her mission to pursue every avenue in order to get certain answers.  But in the end was her obsession detrimental to getting answers?

For those who read any book about the Zulu War, without the benefit of any events that were the precursor to the battle, may not have a full understanding as to the either the loss by the British, or then the fierce determination of the Officials to avenge themselves and their reputations, until they finally were successful in winning a war.

Never mind that Britain was totally against any war of any kind, and never mind that to suit themselves, orders were not followed on more than one occasion, by the very same person who made the same accusations against his dead fellow officers.

In order to place events post 22nd January, 1879, involving Edward's quests for answers, the events are in a timeline from 1879 to 1886, from information sourced but there are of course thousands of entries regarding the aftermath.

Re-capping from Post

22nd January 1879   Anthony is killed at the battle of Isandwhlawana 2.45pm
22nd January 1879   Chelmsfords men arrive after 4.00pm and camp for the night among the dead
23rd January  1879  They leave by dawn
24th January  1879   By inference in newspaper reports Anthony Durnford mentioned
27th  January 1879  An enquiry begins into the battle
29th  January 1879   Col Pulleine joins Anthony Durnford in the blame game.
abt February 1879     Anthony's dwelling is cleared, and all his papers burnt on the instructions of                                      the Committee of Adjustment.   His belongings auctioned
6th March      1879   Captain Symonds visits battlefield, letters, papers, money, photographs,                                           cheques are all taken.
23rd March 1879     A visitor to John Colenso
13/15th May 1879    Major Black visits and finds Crealock's missing notebook and returns it to him                                  in Durban
21st May 1879         General Marshall, with the burial party return to the battlefield
21st May 1879         Three people claim to be the first to discover Anthony's body, which was                                           identifiable from his moustache, indicating he was laying face up with his                                         waistcoat showing
21st May 1879        Chepstone is reported removing papers from Anthony's coat, his knife                                                from the waistcoat and rings
21st May 1879         Anthony is buried under a stone cairn.

On 21st May 1879, when finally the burial party arrived at Ishwandhla, Anthony's loyal man Jabez discovered his body.  The first officer to identify him was the Veterinary Surgeon from the 1st Dragoon Guards, Longhurst.  Shepstone was seen taking papers, a knife and his rings from his body.

The Natal Witness had published a telegram on 27th May 1879 that stated that the papers and maps found on Durnford's person had been removed and a pile of stones was heaped over the body.


John Colenso writes a letter to General Durnford

To General Durnford.

" February i, 1879.

" Long before this letter can reach you, you will have heard by telegram and otherwise of the sad disaster which has befallen our troops in Zululand, and of the death of your noble son and our very dear friend. 

I will not expatiate on the events of that mournful day, which you will learn
from published reports. I can only say that our grief for the loss of one whom we knew so well and so much admired and honoured, is very deep, as is also our feeling against this most unnecessary and iniquitous war. . , , 

You and his mother will rejoice, amidst all your sorrow, in knowing that he died a gallant soldier's death. But you may also have a special consolation in the fact that his last great act as a civilian was to do his part, amidst great difficulties, in securing the just rights of the Zulus, by whose hand, alas !
one of their truest friends has fallen. . . . 

But your dear son, however much in his heart he may have condemned, as I believe he did, though he never said so, the course pursued towards the Zulu king, did his duty when the hour of trial came, and fell like a hero under the overwhelming 
numbers of the foe." 


Edward and Elizabeth Durnford - Their wishes regarding their son.

His parents would not have wished him to lay under a pile of stones on the battlefield, instead to be treated with dignity and buried in a cemetery, after a church service.

In June 1879, the Durnford family and Pulleine's family, the joint accused each donate 500 pounds for a memorial, as do the family of Chard and Bromhead..  Therefore 2000 pounds from 4 families.

This design called for a structure 46 feet tall, costing £ 3 000. However, when barely half that amount had been raised by March 1882 it was decided to scale down the design by a third and proceed immediately, rather than delay indefinitely for want of funds.      (What happened to the family funds)

The initial fundamental obstacle was the selection of a site for the memorial. Proposals included a quadrangle at the station and sites opposite the Post Office and Church Street entrance to the Supreme Court. Both the Post Office and the Supreme Court were at the time located in the present Tatham Art Gallery. In August 1882, an application by Shepstone for land on the Market Square was refused.

On 3 July the following year permission was secured from the Lieutenant-Governor Sir Henry Bulwer for the use of a plot in the Court Gardens, at a location described as opposite Henderson and McFie’s premises. This incidentally, required the removal of several conifers planted by Colonel Durnford.
Military History Journal

Vol 10 No 1 - June 1995

The unveiling of the Anglo-Zulu War Memorial, Thursday 11 October 1883, from Church Street. In the background is the current Tatham Art Gallery
(Photo: by courtesy of the Natal Archives Depot)

Then it was wrecked.

On the morning of Thursday, 14 April 1904, observant citizens of Pietermaritzburg, passing the familiar Anglo-Zulu War Memorial on the corner of Church Street and Commercial Road, noticed that one of its four lifesize statues was missing. 

On the previous evening, the statue had fallen victim to vandals in an act of unfortunate, though possibly unintentional, desecration.(1) Unbeknown to the unwitting vandals, the statues, of solid marble, stood unsecured on pedestals some three metres from the pavement.

 In a manner that remains a mystery, one of these statues was toppled. The impact of the fall from this height shattered the marble into several large chunks and countless smaller pieces and fragments. Early on the morning of 14 April, quick-thinking staff of the nearby Tatham Art Gallery diligently gathered every last piece of debris. At the time of writing, the culprits remain at large, and the statue its awaits restoration at a cost of R 11 400.

If you decide to visit, or research, do you know whose names you probably won't see?

Tatham Gallery oldest building

Rebuilt 1907
Pietermaritzburg or Maritzburg, as its known for short is one hour from Durban.


"Dead people make the ideal subjects to attach blame for something, they cannot defend themselves"

May/June 1879   Anthony's pocket knife and rings, removed from his body were sent to John Colenso                          and then sent to England to his family,  (by whom there is no proof)

5th October, 1879  Anthony's body is removed from the battlefield and brought into Pietermaritzburg                              by Jabez Molife, a member of the Natal Native Horse.  He was helped by Scott
12th October 1879  He was buried in the Military cemetery at Fort Napier.

12th October 1879   -   A Burial

The day of the unveiling ceremony dawned a humid and unpleasant one, the air ‘laden with unpleasant odours’Fortunately, in the interval between severe thunderstorms (and a rainstorm) the sun broke through and the event was able to proceed. The selected dignitaries present included the Lieutenant-Governor, Sir Henry Bulwer, Theophilus Shepstone, Dean Green and Archdeacon Colley.

There were addresses by Sir Henry Bulwer and the mayor of Pietermaritzburg, Mr H Griffin. The military was present in strength. The imperial garrison at Fort Napier was represented by a contingent of the 2nd Battalion 58th (Northamptonshire) Regiment under the command of a Captain Dickinson, drawn up in Church Street.

Behind them stood The Natal Carbineers (Captain William Royston) and a small Natal Mounted Police detachment. Arrayed in Commercial Road were the Maritzburg Rifles (Captain Birkett), with the Edendale Horse (Captain Wyatt Vause) behind them. Although many otherwise absentees turned up when the weather cleared, it was, according to The Natal Witness, a disappointing turnout.

This ‘apathy’ was explained as follows: ‘The residents of Pietermaritzburg are not, as a rule, so demonstrative as their more lively coast neighbours.

 Events which in Durban would cause quite an hysteria are treated very nonchalantly in the capital. It may be that the pomp of gubernatorial movements is so much part of our everyday life, that there is not the novelty in them that there is to the Durban people.’


In 1874 Frances wrote My Chief and I, under a pseudonym, relating to Chief Langaliabale and the Bushman's River Pass Battle that Anthony Durnford fought and was injured.

It appears that Anthony corrected her writings, and when she wished to publish, to assist with her finances, he asked her not to  publish it until after his death.


The book she wrote was "My Chief and I" written in an emotive manner and heaping praise on Anthony, and scorn on the Colonial officers.  She focused on his qualities and Military achievements, and she focused on what she saw and the colonial attitude towards the natives as being the cause of the war, and the treatment Langaliabale.  

Her father had accused the Colonials that the reason for the Wars was to pacify the Boers and to get them under British rule.  She firmly believed that Shepstone and Frere assumed that the boundary commission would find in favour of the Boers. 

In October 1879 she travelled to England with her brother Frank, and took with her, her father's pamphlets which were regularly published and her writings, as well as her father's extracts from the Blue Books,and during the long trip she was able to compile her first work and the manuscript for "My Chief and I".

A copy of the book had been sent to her publishers, Chapman, who then sent it to Anthony Tollope, for his comments.  He wrote back on 30th August 1879.

Aug 30 1879

To Frederic Chapman
MS Pierpont Morgan Library B 756
                                                                                                Freiburg - Baden

Dear Chapman
I  send back to you the first 6 sheets of Atherton Wylde corrected, and I now send a letter which I will beg you to direct on to Col Durnford I do not know his address which you have got.

The book is clever and will probably sell but it is shamelessly personal.  In England it would I think subject the writer or publisher as the book is anonymous to an action for libel.

What may be the case in the Colony in this respect I do not know.  I cannot but think that were I the author's father and were living in the Colony I should be most unwilling that such a book should be published.

I do not like to tell you this.
Anthony Trollpe.                                               I have told the same to Col Durnford.

Anthony Trollope had known the Colenso's since 1853.  Anthony was one of the subscribers to help Colenso to defray the cost of his appeal with the Privy Council regarding his position by Bishop Gray of Cape Town.    And met him at a dinner in Pietermaritz in 6 Sept 1877
The respect for each was great - Colonso to Trollope and vice versa.

3 Sep 1877 Trollope write to son Henry he is at the extreme of the colony

The Mayor gives a dinner for Trollope and invited John Colenso and his wife.     Frank Colenso wrote that his father hoped to tell him facts of Zululand

But did Edward convince Frances to change any parts of her book?  That is unknown, but perhaps rather than have a case of libel, things were changed.  But given that, did she also add bits in?  

The book was published in 1880 and once again, a First Edition with Anthony Trollop's bookplate is available in a rare book shop.  


[COLENSO, Frances Ellen]
My Chief and I. Or, Six Months in Natal after the Langalibalele Outbreak.

By Atherton Wylde.
Top of Form
Published: London: Chapman and Hall, 1880 [recte 1879]
Stock code: 51728
Price: £2,500
Bottom of Form
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This item is on show at 43 Dover Street 
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First edition, the novelist Anthony Trollope’s copy, with his bookplate. (Trollope had made a trip to South Africa in 1877 and published his account, titled South Africa, the following year.) “[U]nder the fictitious guise of a young soldier, the authoress gives an account of six month’s life and experiences with Colonel A.W. Durnford who lost his life at Isandhlwana. 

The writer was evidently an enthusiastic admirer of the gallant soldier” (Mendelssohn). As ODNB delicately phrases it: “She idolized him, but Durnford was still married, and there is no evidence to suggest that their relationship was ever other than platonic.” Daughter of Bishop Colenso of Natal, described by SADNB as a “protagonist of the Zulu people,” she completed Durnford’s work History of the Zulu War and its Origins. 

The court of inquiry into the disaster at Isandlwana attributed most of the blame to Durnford: “His brother Lieutenant-Colonel Edward Durnford and Frances Colenso endeavoured through their writings and public lobbying to rehabilitate his reputation. They did not wholly succeed. 

Durnford’s heroic death did much to blunt public criticism of him, but there can be little doubt that his actions contributed materially to the disaster at Isandhlwana. 

As Sir Theophilus Shepstone wrote of him, Durnford was ‘as plucky as a lion but as imprudent as a child'” (ODNB). Uncommon, COPAC has BL, Cambridge, Bodleian & NLS only, rarely encountered in the cloth.
Physical Description
Octavo. Original green cloth, title gilt to spine, black decoration to spine and upper board, cream surface paper endpapers. Oval mounted Woodbury type portrait frontispiece of Durnford and one other mounted photographic plate, 2 tinted lithographic plates. Cloth very slightly rubbed and rippled on the upper board, minor cracks to hinges, verso of free endpapers lightly browned, ghost of bookplate to half-title, offsetting from the frontispiece, but overall a very good copy.

Bibliography: Mendelssohn I, p356

Perhaps they should consider Trollope's wise words.

Her next work published under her name was called History of the Zulu War and It's Origin.  Her father, however was critical of her work, and she then included a statement in the second book and reprints of her work.

I made, indeed, ample use of the pamphlets which the Bishop of Natal has written on behalf of Langalibalele and Cetshwayo, which have saved me many hours of weary search.
Consequently, while the Bishop is in no way responsible for such errors or omissions as may occur in this volume, any merit or usefulness which my portion of the book may contain is due chiefly to his labours.

The general plan of my history was laid out, and the first few chapters were written, during the voyage from Natal, and upon reaching England I obtained the assistance of my friend
Lieut. -Colonel Edward Durnford in that portion of the work which deals with the military conduct of the war. While it was desirable that a record of military events should be made by one whose professional knowledge qualified him for the duty, there was an additional reason which made his help appropriate. 

It may easily be understood from his name that the interest taken by him in his task would be of no ordinary kind. Colonel Durnford has written the military portions of the book, but is not responsible for any expressions of opinion upon matters strictly political.

I am far from feeling that I am the best person to undertake such a work as this, which my father himself would look upon as a serious one, and which he, or even my sister, who has worked with him throughout, would do so much better than I ; but they were not at hand, and I have thought it
my duty to do what I could, while I could have had no better aid than that given me by Colonel Durnford.

However insufficient the result may prove, we shall at least hope that our work may give some slight assistance to that cause of justice, truth, and mercy, the maintenance of which alone can ensure the true honour of the British name.


January 22nd, 1880.

The book seems to be well known as giving extensive background information for someone trying to understand the reasons leading up to the War.

Arriving in England, February 1880, she then made contact with Anthony's brother Edward Durnford who lived at St. Albans, and his parents who were now living at Portsea.

She released the book in My Chief and I, 1880, but it was not a success.  Critics quickly saw it as having been written by a woman, thereby not worthy.

It was suggested in a book by Guy of an affair and, that she became friends with Anthony's parents and stayed at their home.  

This statement raises an enormous question, he would have no idea how his parents felt.

They apparently shunned Anthony's wife for supposedly running off with an officer, never to be seen again, (incorrect), and if that was their stand and persuasion, how would they have treated Frances, who was, as suggested, having an affair with their son?   

Two things:  there was no affair, and while she wears her heart on her sleeve, and champions her causes, was she clever enough to lead them to believe that she was just trying to clear his name?

No doubt Anthony had written to them about her.  

OR was the story about their treatment of his wife, simply not correct.

He did not have an affair with Frances, or perhaps the modern day terminology attributed to "affair" is not what would be applied in the 19th century to the same wording, as is found in the definition.

typically non-sexual relationship between friends.

OR have words been taken out of context, and words from John Colenso, who referred to the events and treatment of the Zulu king 1873 simply as the "Affair"  when added to Colenso, clever editing can create a totally different phrase sound like something it is not, something that today's media are extremely proficient with.


The History of the Zulu war and it Origin was released in 1880, and then after meeting the family, she joined forces with Edward in writing another book, The History of the Zulu War, which included most of her work already presented in the History of the Zulu War and its Origin, but included a history of the military campaign penned by Edward.

Anthony Durnford wrote to his mother:  "Such a government it is imbecile and useless, since I have been behind the  scenes I find all corrupt and lying from one and to the other"  any wonder Edward had doubts.

*********************************************************************************By 1880 events in London were being played out in the daily newspapers.

In August 1880, Chelmsford made a statement at the House of Lords about the defeat in the Zulu War.  That statement was followed the next day, severely criticising him for "not opening a pocket book for 19 months, which clearly showed that his report the previous day was incorrect.

20th August to the House of Lords                 21st August, referring to the discovery of the Notebook
                                                                                    (which hadn't been opened for 19 months)


Poor Crealock, now his missing notebook makes a story in the newspaper, question is who told who?

I can certainly relate to how  Col Edward Durnford was now feeling!

One thing that I have learnt since I began researching family history, is that sometimes you have to spend an enormous amount of time reading old newspapers for clues.  In that period of time, reports were written about everyday happenings, and anything goes.

They did not have the luxury of being able to research, and relied on what they were told.  The reports were often very challenging, and often very graphic.

In my initial research it was a series of questions written by Edward and reported in the Taunton Courier in September 1880 that changed in an instant my perception and understanding of what was known about Anthony Durnford, and what people had written about him.

It took me less than 30 seconds to realise that something was seriously wrong, and then I was determined to find not only the answers to these questions, but what had really happened.

My Durnford determination kicked in! I have always stood up for those who have been wronged, and I wasn't going to change that philosophy now.

The content of the questions didn't really mean much, but there had been mention of "no orders" but no detail, in some research available.   I had no idea about the battles, nor the history behind it, nor the consequences afterwards, all that was known was that thousands were killed.   I had no idea of all these Colonels, nor Generals, but what a very steep learning curve I encountered.

Now with my research I focused on some different parameters, and I was shocked, upset, angry, stunned and absolutely overwhelmed by what was discovered.

From that point on, I wiped the slate, tried to forget all those on line comments and stories and start afresh.  I had read it all, even to the state of his health on 22nd January, 1879.

But by then I had also read some well written documents that concentrated on the person, including one from an Irish newspaper.  Thank you to John Young for those accounts, I had tried to contact him to thank him and to let him know of my intentions.

The only way to understand events is to look at the whole picture in a logical and chronological manner.

Hopefully by including these articles they just might help someone else with their research and people might in future consider what is said about his character, as well as his family, rather than writing articles that are nothing more than character assignations.


On 21st August, 1880, Edward wrote to Lord Chelmsford in response to his speech to House of Lords reported on  20th August.        The letter was published in the newspaper 24th August.

 The Sheffield Independent 24th August 1880

Lord Chelmsford and the Late Colonel Durnford
The following letter from Colonel Edward Durnford appears in yesterday's Times

Sir:  I read with deep regret what amounts to an attack by Lord Chelmsford upon the memory of my brother the late Colonel Durnford R.E in what he calls "the true history of that unfortunate day" at Isandlana.

As a matter of simple justice I ask your leave to comments on Lord Chelmsford's remarks, which I assert do not contain "the true history"

As to the troops, supposing the number of Europeans to be 762, there were not "400 or 450" Basutos who joined the camp with Colonel Durnford".   There were one troop Basutos (51) one troop Edenale men (52) and three troops Sikali men - in round numbers 250 mounted men, with a rocket battery. 

Then he gives "a front of 250 yards to defend",  were as the line of camps (six in number) considerably over topped Isandlana hill, one (that of the 1-24th Regiment) being to the south of the road from Rorke's Drift, which passed Isandlana.

 Having described the situation of the camp, Lord Chelmsford says - "The ground from that hill sloped down easy, quite like a glacis, perfectly clear of any covering which could possibly have been taken by any troops attaching it, for a distance of 8000 yards, front and back, but he forgets to say that this slope in front of the precipitous hill was covered with his camps and wagons.  He says "it might practically be said that the camp was not commanded from any position whatever near it;" also "there would have been a wall, in fact, which completely defended the rear,"

Those statements are most misleading and convey the impression absolutely untrue.  Although the Isandlana hill was practically "a wall, its ends were open; and the "necks" of land connecting it with the hills right and left did command the camp, and by both these vulnerable points was the camp carried from the rear.

Next, as to Lieutenant-Colonel Pulleine's order, Lord Chelmsford does not say what "line of defence" was drawn in - which is not surprising, considering there was none - but he leaves the inference that all the infantry should have been withdrawn into the limits of the camp and were so until Colonel Durnford arrived.  It is open to doubt that Colonel Pulleine ever received such stringent orders, for Major Chard, V.C, R.E., writes (April 13, 1879)  "When I arrived at the camp the troops (white men) were.........out of camp.

Before Durnford came up there was scarcely anybody in camp.  I could see crowds of Zulus moving on the distant hills."  "Defend the camp, do not leave it" may have been a personal order to Colonel Pulleine; but the "notebook" is a curious feature. 

The Assistant-Military Secretary had lost his when it was required to reference; an A.D.C. finds one at the last moment which contains the impression the events of the day left on his mind.  One is tempted to ask, Is this the A.D.C. who considered Lieutenant- Col.  Harness's marching to the relief of the camp (in response to the urgent message, "Come in every man for God's sake, the camp is surrounded, and will be taken unless helped at once") to be "all bosh" and whose representations to Lord Chelmsford caused the recall of Col. Harness?

Lord Chelmford states that when the enemy were seen about 8 am Lieut-Colonel Pulleine "assembled all his men on an open space which lay between the men's tents and my head quarter tents in the centre of the hill and close underneath it."  Now, the most clear evidence of the doings in camp is that of Captain Essex (P.. c-2260) pp S2-3-4) who says Lieutent-Colonel Pulleine "caused the whole of the troops available to assemble near the eastern side of the camp, facing towards the reported direction of the enemy's approach."

 The interpreter of No 3 Column says, "All the forces were drawn up in front of the 2d-24th and Native Contingent Camp,"  which is corroborated by Major Chard's statement that the troops were outside the camp, where alone they could command the ground in front.  Lieut Curling, R.A. also says they "formed up in front of the 2nd Battalion, 24th Regiment, camp, where we remained until  11 o'clock, when we returned to camp with orders to remain harnessed up and ready to turn out at a minute's notice." (ib.p.84)

Col. Durnford reached the camp at, or shortly after 10.30 am.
Lord Chelmsford hints at a difference between Colonels Durnford and Pulleine, and states that Colonel Durnford "took upon himself to alter the instructions which Colonel Pulleine had received to keep the infantry pickets in and only to have the cavalry vedettes still far advanced" - the plain English of which is that the line of infantry outposts were to be drawn in accordance with the drawing in of the "line of defence".  

And Captain Essex states that about 8 am "a report arrived from a picket stationed at a point about 1500 yards distant on a hill to the north of the camp"  It was on this range of hills that the company of the 1-24th was posted, at a distance from camp of 1200 yards (Captain Essex).  With the possibility of an attach this as an absolute necessity to prevent th enemy passing behind the hills to the rear of Isandlana and attacking both open flanks at close quarters.  

The throwing out of this company and its supports in no way contributed to the disaster, as they retired on the main body in front of the camp.  Colonel Durnford's pushing out to the front and reconnoitring the hills to the left with his mounted troops were in the plain performance of his duty, and in principle approved by Lord Chelmsford ((c-2318)p.80)

The rocket battery that followed Colonel Durnford is said to have been cut up by the enemy who "had been lying in ambush on the left flank, and had taken advantage of the unprotected condition of the battery."  The fact is that, "hearing heavy firing on our left (Captain Nourse (c-2260) p.S2) and learning the enemy were  in that direction we changed our direction to the left.  Before nearly reaching the crest of the hills on the left of the camp we were attacked on all sides".  They were attacked by the Zulu army, which was driving in Captain Shepstone's two troops of Native Horse.

I am obliged to notice these comparatively minor points, as Lord Chelmsford's argument tends to throw blame on every side upon Col. Durnford.

Next, Lord Chelmsford seeks to establish that Captain Shepstone sought reinforcements in Col. Durnford's name, and says, "Colonel Pulleine sent out those reinforcements."  This is very far from the truth.  

Lieutenant Cochrane says that if Captain Shepstone asked for reinforcements thus, "he asked for them without Colonel Durnford's authority."  The officer commanding the troop of Native Horse, with which Captain Shepstone was, says that as they retired Captain Shepstone "rode away telling us as he was going to report to the camp that the whole Zulu army was advancing to attack it", and when he rejoined them he said that they would not believe his warning.

 Captain Essex's evidence distinctly shows that Colonel Pulleine did not send reinforcements to the mounted men ((c - 2260)p.83) but it did send Captain Mostyn's company to reinforce the company on picket - "Captain Mostyn moved his company into the space between the portions of that already on the hill.

Lord Chelmsford describes the front attack of the Zulus, but not how the troops were surrounded by the enemy, pouring in at the flanks of Isandlana; and he puts the troops as "extended in open order on a line 2000 yards long, from right to left."  Captain Gardner says they were "in line" (ib p.101) and the front was about 860 yards, covering the camp at a slight angle - the left about 300 yards from it - where there was a "donga", and that gave some cover.

I would ask if Lord Chelmsford had the slightest thought that the camp would be attacked, and why he avoids all mention of his own part and share in the incidents of the day?  What of his leaving the country to the left front unsearched, although he had seen mounted Zulu scouts in that direction on the 21st?  Was not the position of the camp fatally vulnerable on both flanks?  

What of the absence of all defensive precautions, although the officer commanding the column had suggested forming a laager before leaving camp on the 22nd, but unfortunately, Lord Chelmsford had permitted no laagering since entering Zululand, and dismissed the suggestion with the remark, "Oh, it would take a week to make."  

No notice is taken of the march of Lieutenant-Colonel Harness to the relief of the camp and his recall; and of the messages sent from camp but one is alluded to.  Had those things no bearing on the disaster?

Lord Chelmsford sums up his (so-called) "true, plain and unvarnished tale" thus -

"The camp at Isandlana, then, was not lost from having an inefficient garrison; it was not lost because the position was unfit for the number of troops that had to defend  it; but it was lost because the strict orders given to defend it were departed from."

1.  The troops, in an defensible post, would no doubt have proved both efficient and sufficient.
2.  The position at Isandlana was indefensible as it stood - open to attack at close quarters from both flanks of the hill - a trap; and Lord Chelmsford did not take, or allow to be taken any of the most ordinary precautions for defence.

3.  Lord Chelmsford does not prove that the orders given were departed from, still less that the movements of the troops caused the disaster.  If he claims that his intention was for all the infantry to remain between his line of camps and the precipitous hill, in whatever circumstances might arise, he proves his own incompetency, for an enemy could then at his leisure assemble behind Isandlana without once being seen by the camp defenders, and attach at close quarters on both flans; while the front would be covered by tents and wagons, conveniently placed to mask a front attack.

I maintain that the whole evidence proves that what was possible in the circumstances "to defend the camp" was done.

Colonel Durnford was well known as a strict disciplinarian and a thoroughly good soldier.  He has died at his post, choosing death with a handful of brave comrades covering the only line of retreat. 

In his name I protest against the unfair way in which Lord Chelmsford has misrepresented some of the facts, and "studiously abstained from alluding" to others of the utmost import in a "true history of that unfortunate day"

Your obedient servant, Edward Durnford, Lieut-Col.  St Albans Aug 21. 1879


From The Hampshire Telegraph 1st September 1880  Reporting from the Natal Colonist appearing in the Daily News.

As your pages are teeming with letters about a place they call Isandula, will you allow me space in which to congratulate Colonel Crealock on having found his note-book near the camp as he tells us in the Daily News of 25th.   One has heard of him during the disastrous invasion of Zululand in 1879, and considering the way in which he bounded about the country he was lucky to lose nothing but his note book.  One is glad to know that all the messages received by him and his unfortunate chief on 22nd January are in the hands of the authorities.

Why, in Heaven's name, those messages were not attended to, we may learn in time.  Why that gallant band was kept fighting on the neck of land by the camp, until they were relieved about 4.00pm not by their general, but by Death, we may learn in time.

We may also learn why Lord Chelmsford's tongue is so tied that he cannot in a knightly fashion say, "I committed a mistake" but can only reiterate that his orders were not fulfilled, that his camp in the air,  his undefended hill, which was nothing to the legs of a savage army, was left to itself, as he thinks.  "The living die, the dying live" quoted one witness of the fatal field when he visited it and saw the sad tale told by the crowded "fugitive path" to Natal and the glorious tales told by the two leaders who lay with them, where they had died defending the piece of land by the camp.

No one can blame the poor fellow who ran.  Out-numbered and short of ammunition, what else could they do?  But England's voice should, in common justice be heard in praise of those who stood and fell in no facon de parler but literally at their post.

So on 1st September 1880, Crealock's missing notebook is in the hands of the authorities, who would that be?  The War Office?  The House of Lords?  By now Crealock is living in London, so he had to have given it to some authority closeby.

Edward Durnford from St Albans, dated 1st September 1880.

 It was this list of questions that changed my thinking.

Questions to Lord Chelmsford:

1.  How did a Zulu camp of 20,000 slept within 5 miles of his camp without his knowing?

2.  Lord Chelmsford was in camp between 20th to 22nd January, why did he not fortify the camp?

3.  Why did he reject Colonel Glyn's advice to laager?

4.  Will Lord Chelmsford publish his correspondence with Col. Glyn?

5.  Does not Lord Chelmsford know that there was no anticipation of danger?

6.  Will Lord Chelmsford state how many messages he received, what they were, and when received.?

Many similar and pertinent questions might be asked.  An answer to most as well as a correct description could probably be obtained from the Intelligence Department if called for by some competent authority.

I am prepared to prove Lord Chelmsford  *19th are not a true plain and unvarnished tale and I am bound to protect the unfair way in which he has misrepresented some of the facts and "studiously abstained from alluding to others of the utmost importance in a "true history of that unfortunate day"

 *Referring to a response by L.C.

York Herald  3rd September 1880

Lord Strathnairn and Lord Chelmsford

Lord Strathnairn compared Lord Chelmsford's statement on 18th August last with his dispatch on the Isandula disaster, and asked for further papers.  He criticised the conduct of the campaign in Zululand, contending that there was not sufficient reconnaissance, that the camp was improperly placed and that as it contained the depot of stores it out to have been entrenched.

The Earl of Camperdown considered these discussions were much to be regretted as calculated to give a false impression out of doors.

Lord Vivian while regarding it as unfortunate that such difference should arise between two distinguished officers, reminded the House that Lord Chelmsford had challenged Lord Strathnairn to bring the matter to their lordship's notice.

The Earl of Morely could not but think that the course taken by Lord Strathnairn was fraught with inconvenience and that his criticism if made at all should have been made while the late Government were in power.  The present Government did not feel themselves called upon to express any opinion upon the conduct of the campaign nor did he think that any useful purpose would be served by the production of public papers.

Lord Chelmsford complained of unfairness on the part of Lord Strathnairn in making statements which were perfectly new to him without giving authority for them.  He defended the conduct of the campaign, justified the statement contained in the despatch, acknowledged the valuable service of Col. Durnford, and declared that, while he regretted the gallant men who fell, he looked back with pride to the circumstance that the campaign, in a difficult and unknown country, was brought to a satisfactory close in six months.

Hampshire Telegraph  4 September 1880

The Late Colonel Durnford  -  A London correspondent writes - The friends of the late Col. Durnford are engaged in preparing a reply to Lord Chelmsford's speech in the House of Lords on the Isandula disaster.  It will be shown, I believe, that a very different complexion is capable of being put upon the military proceedings that led to the disaster.

I have it on the authority of a gentleman who was a non-combatant with the British forces South Africa, that things were done and said by subordinates during the campaign that in an ordinary court would have been visited by court martial.  In the recrimination that seems likely to set in we may probably get at the real cause of our humiliation in Zululand.


I thought this piece was very suited to those of use who have not only some Saxon blood, but that of good ole King William.......................................................................

The articles are just some of hundreds, the debate in the papers regarding Chelmsford's report go on for ages.

But still Chemlsford stood firm.  He just maintained his stance on both Durnford and Pulleine not following orders.

By now he is sounding rather smug about the whole thing. Did he answer the questions about Crealock's missing book?

Could it be that he thinks full well that nobody will ever find the incriminating orders to Durnford and Pulleine?

After the Zulu War, Lord Chelmsford settled down to what he thought would be a quiet life in London. It proved not to be so. For the next several years he was pursued by correspondence from, and publications by, Lieutenant-Colonel Edward Durnford, who was anxious to exculpate his brother, Colonel Anthony Durnford, killed at Isandlwana, for alleged culpability for the disaster.

While this correspondence was certainly an irritant, Chelmsford was sufficiently confident in his own position to fend off the accusations that he (Chelmsford) had covered up his own incompetence by blaming Durnford’s brother for the Isandlwana disaster.
                                                                                                      Another "why"

While this correspondence was certainly an irritant, Chelmsford was sufficiently confident in his own position to fend off the accusations that he (Chelmsford) had covered up his own incompetence by blaming Durnford’s brother for the Isandlwana disaster.

The same could not be said of Chelmsford’s dealings with the government he had served for so long. His withdrawal from the Mahlabathini Plain came back to haunt him, because much of his correspondence with Wolseley at that time had been omitted from the official ‘Blue Book’ (now known as the British Parliamentary Papers, Command Series).

Chelmsford wrote to the Duke of Cambridge in February 1880, requesting that ‘an accompanying letter and enclosures’ be ‘submitted for the consideration of the Right Hon. the Sec. of State for War’.

 He also canvassed his expectation:
[that] a searching enquiry may be made into the circumstances attending the mutilation of a most important telegram sent by me to Sir Garnet Wolseley through Major-General Clifford, and which, if the Blue Book be correct, was published in the latter in that mutilated form for general information, and no doubt reached His Royal Highness in that distorted condition.

The letter he enclosed complained bitterly at the treatment of his correspondence with Wolseley during this period. The nub of his complaint was the omission of some of their correspondence from the official ‘Blue Book’:

As the correspondence now stands it would seem as if my withdrawal of the troops under my command from the immediate neighbourhood of Ulundi, after the successful action of the fourth July 1879, was an event not contemplated by Sir Garnet Wolseley, and as if the responsibility for that step, which, it is alleged, delayed the pacification of Zululand, must rest on my shoulders.

Chelmsford’s application to correct the official record took the form of copies of key correspondence between the two men. Among these documents is a telegram from Chelmsford to Wolseley that he complains was ‘mutilated and garbled … having been apparently so published by General Clifford for general information’.

The first document Chelmsford produced he labelled ‘A’. It is the memorandum he sent to Wolseley from the Mthonjaneni heights, the essential detail of which is contained in Chelmsford’s covering letter:
It will be seen that in that memorandum I stated exactly what I proposed to do with the forces under my command and what assistance I expected to obtain from General Crealock’s column; it disposes moreover summarily of the false impression which had apparently reached Sir Garnet Wolseley, that I reckoned upon that column joining the one under my command in its advance on Ulundi.

It will be seen also that in that I informed Sir Garnet Wolseley that I did not consider it would be advisable to hold onto the Ulundi valley in the event of our operations being successful.

The final exhibit was Lord Chelmsford’s reply, labelled ‘E’. This had been printed in the Blue Book, but was included to show that he had valid reasons for his further withdrawal from Mthonjaneni.

Chelmsford’s attempt to redress what he clearly saw as an inequitable representation of his actions had positive results, but the subsequent corrections proved less than satisfactory. His covering letter, together with the five enclosures, was printed in the next issue of Parliamentary Papers, June 1880,but much of his letter was excised, as is evident from the original holograph. 

All reference to the changes by Major-General Clifford had been removed and, while the telegram was printed in full, it was not in the two-column comparative format that Chelmsford had prepared. Much of the last part of the letter was withheld, with the instruction ‘Letter to end here’ written in the margin and the remainder crossed through. This omission consisted largely of an account of Chelmsford’s stay at Kwamagwasa and the congratulatory telegram sent by Wolseley after the victory at Ulundi.

Two paragraphs that remain defend Chelmsford’s failure to pursue Cetshwayo:
The chance of capturing Cetywayo in such a country by means of mounted men, without any assistance from the Chiefs or people, was too remote to be taken into consideration; and it now appears that the King left Ulundi the day before the battle, and no-one, but his then small following, knew in what direction he had gone.

 See, for example, Durnford’s letters in the Chelmsford Papers, Chelsea, 6807/386-22-5 to 7, National Army Museum. Examples of Durnford’s pamphlets can be found in Durnford. 2000. ‘Isandhlwana: Lord Chelmsford’s statements compared with the evidence’ (November 1880). In John Laband and Ian Knight, editors. Archives of South Africa 5: Zululand, The Anglo-Zulu War 1879. London: Archival Publications International: 493ff.; and in a circular written as late as 1884: 4901.44.15, Royal Engineer’s Museum, Woolwich.
The offending publication was C 2482, BPP.

 See, for example, Durnford’s letters in the Chelmsford Papers, Chelsea, 6807/386-22-5 to 7, National Army Museum. Examples of Durnford’s pamphlets can be found in Durnford. 2000. ‘Isandhlwana: Lord Chelmsford’s statements compared with the evidence’ (November 1880). In John Laband and Ian Knight, editors. Archives of South Africa 5: Zululand, The Anglo-Zulu War 1879. London: Archival Publications International: 493ff.; and in a circular written as late as 1884: 4901.44.15, Royal Engineer’s Museum, Woolwich.


By now Chelmsford must be feeling pressure!


Edward prepared a pamphlet entitled Isandhlwana: Lord Chelmsford's statements compared with evidence, possibly based exactly on what has been included here.

In 1880 while in London Frances attended the Slade School of Art, and spent three months January to March in Rome away from the cold.

After the two books were published, no new information came to light about the "missing orders"

In 1881 Edward decided to publish a memoir of Anthony, which became known as A Soldier's Life and work in South Africa, 1872 to 1879.

This book contained letters interspersed with anecdotes for interest.  She wrote to friends seeking their input.  Edward also included a chapter on the Isandhlwana battle.

There was however nothing of Anthony's to contribute.  All his papers had been burnt, in what Edward described that as "precipitate and undiscriminating manner".

Sunderland Daily Echo and Shipping Gazette 20 December 1881    

Sir Evelyn Wood.  The Daily News correspondent at Maritzburg wires that on Saturday Sir Evelyn Wood presented the Zulu war medal to the Natal Volunteers, having on Thursday presented a banner to the Edendale Native Horse.  

On Sunday memorial tablets to Col Durnford and the volunteers killed at Isandhlwanda were unveiled in Bishop Colenso's Cathedral....

H Company, 1st Battalion, 24th Foot: Wiped out by the Zulus at the Battle of Isandlwana
 So many brave men

The Zulu Warriors


House of Lords 1880

Questions were being asked in Parliament.  The Treasury were faced with sourcing the funds to pay for the wars.    Some Hansard Notes

 Hansard Records are online.
Prime Minister Gladstone

MR. PARNELL  Hansard 1879

It had been the policy of Her Majesty's Government to provoke this war, in order that it might annex portions of the territory of these Zulus. At the time of the annexation of the Transvaal this tendency of theirs was pointed out, and it was shown clearly, and proved, as far as anything could be proved, that if the Transvaal were annexed the next step, must be the annexation of a portion of the lands of the enemy. Of course, the Colonial Governor was carefully instructed as to his duties, as to how he was to get up this little war, and the name of humanity was put to shame by the proceedings of the Government. Then, after the way had been carefully prepared, and after excuses had been carefully got ready, troops were sent into the country, and these people were attacked.

 He knew that the disaster which had recently befallen the troops would compel the re-instatement of the military position; and, so far as that went, he supposed nobody would object to that. But he did not apprehend, from the temper he had recently seen displayed by the people of this country, that the Government would be satisfied with the recovery of the military position. On the contrary, he supposed the Government1889 would proceed to carry out their original intentions with regard to attacking the country.

Of course, it was now clear that the panic and the alarm sedulously got up when the news first arrived of the massacre of a battalion of the 24th, and that Natal was in danger, were utterly groundless, and that the Forces on the spot were perfectly capable of defending the Colony against any attack from the Zulus.

The resistance of Lieutenants Bromhead and Chard, at the head of only 80 men, after they had had time to entrench themselves in a very slight and scanty manner, showed that the Zulus were perfectly incapable of conducting an offensive campaign against our troops. These enormous preparations, and the dispatch of these thousands of men, meant neither more nor less than a premeditated determination to annex that country, as the Transvaal had already been annexed.

He supposed that there would be no quarter given to these savages, as, in accordance with their savage nature, they had given none; that the sword would go amongst thorn, and that their villages would be burned, as they had burned the villages of the unfortunate people in Afghanistan. These poor people had displayed instincts which, in other nations, were supposed to indicate heroism, for they had endeavoured to defend their country against the attacks of foreigners and strangers.


If the hon. Member would read the despatches and Blue Book, it would be found that there was not a single instance of any order from Her Majesty's Government to carry the war into the Zulu country. On the contrary, so far from there existing any desire to carry fire and sword into that country, the arbitration which had been held, under that distinguished Governor, Sir Bartle Frere, had resulted in the arrangement that a very considerable portion of territory, which had been in dispute, should be conveyed back to the Zulus.


Such an answer was very unsatisfactory to the people, and was utterly inconsistent with, and opposed to, the Constitution of this country, no matter what might be found in black-letter books on the subject. That they should be hurried into war, and have no discretion left to them but to pay when asked, was a condition of things which could not last very long. Somebody must be fixed with the blame of the Zulu War. The organs of the Government among the Press had been saying for some time that Sir Bartle Frere was the cause of the war. If that was the case, he had committed a great crime, and it should not go unpunished. If the Government made out a case, and threw it upon his shoulders, he must bear the charge; if they did not try to prevent the war, the 1908 country would revenge itself upon the Government; but if, on the other hand, Sir Bartle Frere had been made the scapegoat, justly or unjustly, the matter would not be allowed to pass. He would, if nobody else did, place a Notice of impeachment of the Government on the Paper.           

said, it had been stated that the Government were not to blame for this war. Then, if that was the case, and if Sir Bartle Frere was the cause of it, why did they not recall him? It was as clear as noon-day that either the Government at the Cape or at home were to blame for the war. 

inquired whether it would not be possible to have the casualties among the rank and file telegraphed in future, in the case of disaster, as well as of the officers?

said, that as long ago as last summer he had addressed a despatch to the Governors of the South African Colonies, requesting full information in the case of any casualties, and a fortnight ago he had repeated that request to Sir Bartle Frere. 

HC Deb 27 March 1879 vol 244 cc1859-61 1859
asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies, If he has received copies of the following documents, and, if received, whether he will lay Copies upon the Table of the House:—
  1. 1. "A Despatch from Lieutenant General Lord Chelmsford, dated Rorke's Drift, 23rd March 1879," reporting the affair at Isandula on the previous day, referred to in Enclosure No. 4 of Sir Bartle Frere's Despatch of the 27th January 1879.
  2. 2. "Colonel Bray's very clear and useful Letters, dated Court House, Sandspruit, Umzinga, 8 a.m. and 1.25 p.m. January 23rd 1879," referred to in Enclosure No. 5 of Sir Bartle Frere's Despatch of the 27th January 1879;"
and, if he will lay upon the Table of the House Copies of his Telegrams to Sir Bartle Frere, dated 5th and 18th October 1878, referred to at page 79 of Blue Book, C. 2242?
I have not received copies of a despatch from Lord Chelmsford dated the 23rd of March, nor of Colonel Bray's clear and useful letters; therefore, I am unable to lay them on the Table of the House.
There is a misprint. It should have been the 1860 23rd of January, not of March. Sir Bartle Frere refers to the despatch. I beg to ask the right hon. Gentleman if he is in possession of a despatch of that date?
I am really very sorry; I did not notice the misprint; I replied to the Question under the impression that the date named was the 23rd of January. I have not received any such despatch nor a copy of Colonel Bray's letters. I am anxious to give the House the fullest information in my power. I thought the telegram of the 5th of October had been already presented. I find it is not so, and I will read it to the House. It was sent by me in reply to Sir Bartle Frere's despatch of the 10th of September, which was written from Cape Town, and received by me on the 5th of October. It was, as the House will remember, the first request for reinforcements. I replied by telegram on the same day— I have received your despatch of the 10th of September suggesting reinforcement of troops. Her Majesty's Government will wait the result of your personal interview with Sir Henry Bulwer and General Thesiger before coming to a decision on the subject. I am led to think from the information before me that there should still be a good chance of avoiding war with the Zulus. The House will remember Sir Bartle Frere's despatch was written from Cape Town; he was about to proceed to Natal, where he was to meet Sir Henry Bulwer and General Thesiger. The telegram dated the 18th of October was not from me; it was simply forwarded through my Office; it was a telegram from the Secretary of State for War to Lord Chelmsford, and I believe it was included in the War Office Papers presented to the House.
asked the Secretary of State for War, Whether he will lay upon the Table of the House Copies of his Message to Lieutenant General Thesiger, and of General Thesiger's reply thereto, both of which are referred to in the first paragraph of Sir Bartle Frere's Despatch to the Secretary of State for the Colonies, dated November 11th, 1878?
If the hon. and gallant Member will turn to the Blue Book issued this morning, he will find the Papers there—pages 6 and 17.
without in any way wishing to cast the slightest doubt on the statement made in "another place" by His Royal Highness the Commander-in-Chief, desired to give Notice of his intention to ask the Secretary of State for War to-morrow, Whether he remembered to have seen or heard of in the War Office a letter or despatch from Lord Chelmsford to His Royal Highness to the effect that he was suffering from the strain of prolonged anxiety?
I may as well answer the Question at once. So far as I am aware, there is no such despatch. I am making every effort to trace it both in semi-private papers, such as there have been, in letters written to officers, and letters to myself; but up to the present time no trace has been found of any such Paper.           
asked the Secretary of State for War, Whether it is true that the following telegram, stated to have been published by Lord Chelmsford, was forwarded by His Royal Highness the Commander in Chief to Lord Chelmsford on February 13th, soon after the receipt of the news in this Country of the disaster at Isandlana:— Duke of Cambridge, London, to Lord Chelmsford, Petermaritzburg.—Have heard by telegraph of events occurred. Grieved for 24th and others who have fallen victims. Fullest confidence in regiment, and am satisfied that you have done and will continue to do everything that is right. Strong reinforcements of all arms ordered to embark at once.—Feb. 13th.

Yes, Sir; it is quite true.           
(whose remarks were throughout broken by continued cries and interruption) was understood to say: I am not aware that the hon. and gallant Member has any position in relation to the House or in relation to me, which entitles him to give me a lesson in gentlemanliness or self-respect. ["Oh!"] I consider myself most unfairly treated by hon. Members opposite, who will not give me an opportunity of stating the ground upon which I wish to introduce this subject. Now, Sir, I wish to say in the first place, in regard to this question, that when any General suffers such a defeat as was suffered by General Lord Chelmsford at Isandula, there is a primâ facie case of incompetency against him; and it lies with him to demonstrate to the country and the military authorities that the defeat in question was not owing to any want either of ability or care on his part. ["Oh!" and "Hear, hear!"] The House is fortunately enabled to judge of the propriety of his conduct by his own despatches describing the operations which preceded the disaster. ["Order!" and "Withdraw!"] Hon. Members opposite have an opportunity of withdrawing, if they think fit; but I intend to remain until I have stated my case. ["Oh!"] I do not propose to enter into any criticisms of the general strategy of Lord Chelmsford. That is not in my programme. ["Oh!"] Let it be clearly understood that all I am asking for tonight is an explanation from the Government. We have waited for Lord Chelmsford's defence, and all the information that has been given is a childish despatch, in which he describes the course of operations which preceded and followed the disaster at Isandula. Let it be clearly understood that I am not making any attack upon Lord Chelmsford—I am only expressing a very common opinion on the part of military men, and others non-military, in saying that some explanation is required from the Government to justify their continuing in command a man who seems to have exhibited a great want of discretion, if  not of military misconduct and incapacity. ["Oh!"] There are only two heads under which the conduct of Lord Chelmsford can be considered—first of all, there is his conduct in regard to the invasion of Zululand—and in connection with this part of the subject, I wish to say that I have no desire to forestall the discussion which is to take place on the Motion of the hon. Baronet the Member for Chelsea.

(whose rising was again met with marks of impatience): I shall endeavour, Sir, if the House will listen to me, to show my reasons for wishing to bring this discussion on immediately. I think Lord Chelmsford's conduct requires explanation on two points at least. In the first place, we have a right to ask—Why should Lord Chelmsford, when he was in supreme command of the Forces, have acceded to the demand of Sir Bartle Frere to commence an invasion of Zululand, when in a previous despatch he had expressly stated that he had troops sufficient only to defend the Colony. [Cries of "Order!" and" Withdraw!"] The subject has been discussed, and not without some bitterness, in the country, and it is almost the universal opinion that the conduct of Lord Chelmsford shows great military incapacity. ["Oh!"] I think, there- 912 fore, we are entitled, at the very least, to know why the Government are determined to support him by continuing him in his command, and sending him competent subordinate officers to enable him to retrieve one of the most deplorable and disgraceful disasters that ever happened to the British Army. [Continued interruption.]           

s out of Order.

There seems to be a misunderstanding on the part of many hon. Members. I think I will be able to show, if they will listen to mo, that my proposal is not so unreasonable as they think. A very strong feeling exists throughout the country in regard to the disaster at Isandula, and the continuance of Lord Chelmsford in command of the Forces in South Africa; and, in my opinion, there are very good grounds for that feeling. Now, possibly the Government have good grounds for the trust they put in his Lordship, and all I ask is—Whether they are prepared to give some explanation of the grounds on which he is to be continued in Ms command, in order that the public feeling and excitement may be allayed? 
denied that he was discussing the question of the policy of that war. (The hon. Member then proceeded with his criticism of the military operations, referring especially to the conduct of Lord Chelmsford in dividing his force, leaving one part in an unintrenched camp, while he proceeded in two columns into the interior of the enemy's country, without establishing a communication with the force left in the camp, the result being the capture of the camp with all its stores, and the destruction of the force left in charge; arguing, as was understood, that a General who had so mismanaged a single expedition was not fit to be left in the supreme management of a company; but the hon. Member's reading and comments were received with such continued cries of impatience and disapprobation that no consistent report is possible.) At length—

It is only right, before the Question is answered, that those hon. Members who could not hear me distinctly on account of the interruptions, should know what were the exact words I used. I spoke of the "protests" of hon. Members on the other side; but I did not describe any particular kind of interest; I did not say whether it was political or military; and I did not intend to impute an interest of an objectionable character. But these endeavours to burk discussion, however slight, upon this question, will only convince the country of the rotten state of things at the Horse Guards.

 How is it that this noble Lord is maintained in the command after these specimens of incapacity? It is time someone should rise in his place in the House to point out that the Horse Guards is a centre of intrigue, where incompetence is shielded by Court influence or by favour with the Royal Person at the head of it
I was saying that this is a case which undoubtedly will give rise to the notion that there are unfair influences at work for the purpose of maintaining the noble Lord who has distinguished himself in incapacity in his responsible position. I say that on the Papers before us a primâ facie case of incapacity is made out; and, at all events, the Government might say whether they had any grounds for entertaining a contrary opinion. This House cannot exercise any influence upon the dispensing of patronage at the Horse Guards, nor upon the arrangements of the Army; but at least this House, which votes the money for the maintenance of the Army, is entitled to ask upon what grounds Her Majesty's Ministers are able to defend an officer who is responsible for a deplorable disaster?

Sir, I wish to express my deep regret, on public grounds, that the hon. Member for Dundee has brought this matter forward. When the sad news of the disaster at Isandula reached this country, I was  much struck by the expression of opinion in the foreign papers—on the calm and dignified manner in which this country and this House had received the sad news, and the evident determination there was to deal fairly with those whose conduct would naturally be the subject of criticism. If we are to accept the course which has been indicated to us by the hon. Member for Dundee, we should, I fear, be in danger of losing that character for fairness and moderation which we have gained. I would only ask the House a single question—and I would urge the House not to allow itself to be dragged further into a discussion of the military conduct of Lord Chelmsford today—I would simply ask, whether, without any sufficient preparation, except a Question placed upon the Paper, with no information of any sort or kind, excepting the barest statement, a discussion involving such grave consequences ought to take place in this House—whether, while a Court of Inquiry is sitting at Isandula, which will bring before us the whole of the facts—this House is justified, as an Assemblage of fair men, in taking into consideration the military capacity and conduct of Lord Chelmsford? I would like to point this out to the House—that, in the records of Parliament, there is not one single instance in which the character of a General Officer has been brought before this House, or the House of Lords, in consideration of the allegation that a disaster on any particular day was caused by his faulty dispositions or tactics. The disaster of Isandula we may justly call a military disaster; but it is not a disaster of a character which is usually brought before this House. 

HC Deb 14 March 1879 vol 244 cc907-24   

 Interesting they were discussing this 6 weeks after the inquiry, one would assume that the results had been tabled in Parliament .................Or why hadn't they?


 Gentleman wished them altogether to avoid discussion as to the causes of the war, he did not go the right way to work, because he had spoken of the measures which had been taken—whether of
 invasion or of defence was a matter depending upon what the real intentions of the Government had been—as having been necessary measures. Now, some of them on his side of the House, as far as they could judge from the information in their possession, were disposed to deny that there was any proof before them that those were necessary measures.

At the same time, he must confirm what had fallen from the right hon. Gentleman as to the feelings with which they had all heard the painful news received that week of the reverse and calamity which had been recently sustained; and they could not but entertain a determination, as Englishmen, that every sacrifice should be made which was necessary in order to retrieve our military situation. He could not refer to that subject without paying a tribute of admiration to the heroism displayed by the men engaged, and of deep sorrow for the sad loss which had befallen the country. He hoped he should be allowed to make special allusion to the death of Colonel Durnford, an officer who, as all who knew him were aware, was the very soul of chivalry. 

Colonel Durnford was, curiously enough, the Commissioner by whose vote the disputed boundary question was lately settled in favour of the Zulus, and it was a remarkable fact that the Commission held its meetings at Rourke's Drift, so that that gallant officer was killed at the very place where, eight months before, he had performed a great act of justice.

 The House would ask for more proof than had yet been afforded whether those brave men had died for a just cause. Whether the responsibility rested on Her Majesty's Government or on the Government of the Cape was a question which must depend on information yet to be produced; but the Papers now before them showed that there was no sufficient cause of war as far as regarded its first inception. The war appeared to have been resolved upon before its cause was found.

We who had before blamed the Boers for their aggression upon the Zulus, when we stepped into the shoes of the Boers pressed against the Zulus the very territorial claims we had thus condemned. Those claims related to a disputed territory, and they were likely to be a cause of war.

HC Deb 27 March 1879 vol 244 cc1865-950 1865

in rising to move— That this House, while willing to support Her Majesty's Government in all necessary measures for defending the possessions of Her Majesty in South Africa, regrets that the ultimatum which was calculated to produce immediate war should have been presented to the Zulu King without authority from the responsible advisers of the Crown, and that an offensive war should have been commenced without imperative and pressing necessity or adequate preparation; and this House further regrets that after the censure passed upon the High Commissioner by Her Majesty's Government in the Despatch of "the 19th day of March 1879, the conduct of affairs in South Africa should be retained in his hands, 1866 said, from the year 1843 down to a recent period, the Colony of Natal had enjoyed complete peace upon its Zulu Frontier; and, similarly, from 1852 downwards, a condition of general peace was the lot of the South African Colonies generally, Sir Bartle Frere used words of 1875 almost similar type, which were, equally disrespectful to the opinion of his Commissioners.
He said— Had the means then at the disposal of the Transvaal Government sufficed, there can be no doubt that Government would have been justified in ejecting the Zulu intruders and replacing and protecting the Transvaal occupants. Again, Sir Bartle Frere cavilled at the rejection of Transvaal evidence by the Commissioners, and he attacked them and the Natal Government upon this point. What did the Commissioners say, however, about this evidence which was produced on behalf of the Transvaal? They said— The next document put forward by the Transvaal Government (No. 9), purporting, with other matter, to give an account of a meeting between Sir Theophilus Shepstone, the Secretary for Native Affairs of Natal, Panda, the Zulu King, and Cetewayo, is plainly a fabrication, because Sir Theophilus Shepstone did not arrive at Nodwengu from Natal to meet Panda and Cetewayo until the 9th of May, 1861, whereas the Transvaal document is dated the 16th of March of that year. 
These Commissioners were thoroughly acquainted with the facts, and as competent to pronounce an opinion as any men who could be found. They were—Mr. Shepstone, the Secretary for Native Affairs in Natal, the Attorney General, and the gallant Colonel Durnford, who lost his life afterwards at Isandlana. All the dates were given, by which it became clear that Sir Bartle Frere had the facts really in his hands in April.
The Commissioners began to sit in the early days of March, 1878, and all was over by June. By the end of July Sir Bartle Frere had all the Papers which were necessary for the consideration of the case, and by the end of July he was in as good a position as the Government of Natal to give his award on the case; but he kept back his award till the middle of December, when all his plans were prepared, and when he was ready with his troops and his Ultimatum. 

HL Deb 02 September 1880 vol 256 cc1025-35 1025
rose, according to Notice, to call the attention of Her Majesty's Government to Lord Chelmsford's statement in the House of the evening of the 19th August, 1880, as compared with his despatch dated Pietermaritzburg, 27th January 1879, on the Isandlana disaster;
and to ask Her Majesty's Government to place on the Table of the House further Papers on the question if they are in possession of information differing from the despatch quoted, together with a map (with proper scale of distances) of the ground on which the Headquarter Camp was pitched, and of the hills above and near it; and to submit certain mistakes in the operations in Zululand; and also to move for a Return of the ages and length of service of the soldiers and non-commissioned officers of the 1st and 2nd Battalion of the 24th Regiment.
The noble and gallant Lord said, that in his Notice he called the attention of Her Majesty's Government to Lord Chelmsford's despatch, dated Pietermaritzburg, January 27, 1879, as compared with his speech of the 19th of last month, which elicited cheers from some of their Lordships.
But in the despatch it was said of the 24th Regiment:— So long as they kept their faces to the Zulus the enemy could not drive them back, and they feel in heaps before the deadly fire poured into them. But when the Zulus got round the left flank of these brave men they appear to have  lost their presence of mind, and to have retired hastily through the tents, when immediately the whole Zulu force surrounded them, they were overpowered by numbers, and the camp was lost. 
The plain English of this was that they misbehaved before the enemy. But in his speech the noble and gallant Lord (Lord Chelmsford), reciting the same events, said—"What could they do more than they did, and that was to die like gallant soldiers?"

observed, that the noble and gallant Lord was not reading his despatch, but some printed report; and if he was going to found any charge upon it he ought to quote from the actual words of the document.           
said, he must leave the noble and gallant Lord to reconcile those two opposite statements, and would only observe that they were not calculated to promote devotion or discipline among soldiers. He proceeded to submit to their Lordships what, in his humble opinion, were mistakes in the operations in Zululand, and which, he thought, were amply sufficient to account for Isandlana and other mishaps.
First, the columns invading Zululand were too far distant from one another for mutual support and communication, especially in so difficult and unknown a country as Zululand.
For instance, Sir Evelyn Wood's, the fourth column, was 35 miles distant from Colonel Glyn's headquarter No. 3 column, and, consequently, the fourth column acted independently.
The result of this was that 20,000 Zulus were enabled to pass through the interval and post themselves, on the 21st of January, unobserved, under the crest of the height commanding the left front of the camp at Isandlana, and fell like an avalanche on the left flank of the camp next day, the fatal 22nd.
Of course, if this dangerous ground had been properly reconnoitred, it was more than probable that that great calamity would never have occurred. Secondly, the position of the camp at Isandlana was commanded, as had been shown by an excellent authority, who had visited the spot.
He said— I spent many hours in examining the position of the camp, and I emphatically repeat that the camp is dominated by hills to the right and loft (a little to the right and left) rear which were within pistol-shot. 
There was a glacis sloping away from the front towards the open plain; but 1027 what man in his senses could expect an enemy to advance over that when he could approach a flank under cover of a range of hills? Archibald Forbes, in his article in The Nineteenth Century, said something to this effect—"I challenge any soldier of experience to say whether any more inherently vicious position could have been chosen."
He (Lord Strathnairn) certainly considered that any disinterested person who had sufficient military knowledge to entitle him to give an opinion at all must, after seeing the ground, entirely coincide with Mr. Forbes. Their Lordships had only to look at the map to be convinced of the justice of these views; and it was this hill-commanded camp which, by the orders of the Commander-in-Chief, was not to be left, but to be defended.
If instead of that order he had previously directed that that camp, and all other camps in the line of operations, should be in safe positions to be fortified, either by intrenchments with obstacles or with waggon laagers, we should not have been the victims of surprises or defeats. Such as it was, the camp could only be defended from outside.
Thirdly, reconnaissances should have been made of the position of the enemy above and round Isandlana to any extent. The Commander-in-Chief did reconnoitre the positions to the left front of the camp, but did not go far enough or thoroughly enough; for he stated that he saw a few Zulu horsemen, who could only have been an outpost or a patrol of the 20,000 men, and he should have done all he could to take these men or follow them, or, with a reconnaissance in force, to ascertain where their main body was.
If he had done so, he would have ascertained the position of the 20,000 Zulus, and been enabled to counteract their dangerous flank manœuvre. He (Lord Strathnairn) had practical proof of the advantages of this reconnoitring in Syria and in India.
Fourthly, the camp with all its contents should  have been intrenched, as he had already said, with engineering obstacles to protect it, arrest the enemy's advance, and expose them to the scientific and deadly fire of the English artillery and infantry,
Fifthly, the warning that the Zulus had shown themselves in force to the left front of the camp, given not only by the firing which was heard from the direction of the camp, but by messages received by the noble and gallant Lord and officers under him from the officer commanding the camp—
asked the noble and gallant Lord to quote his authority for that statement, for it was the first he had heard of it. If the noble and gallant Lord quoted his authority the House would know what reliance was to be placed on that information. It was perfectly new to him.
said, he would not have made that statement to the House without authority. The noble and gallant Lord's own despatch stated that firing was heard, and that the noble and gallant Lord himself sent an aide-de-camp.
said, the noble and gallant Lord was entirely mistaken, as he did not say anything of the kind in his despatch.

said, he was going to add that when this alarm had been heard, when messages had been received from the camp, and when the firing had been heard, the noble and gallant Lord should have caused the immediate return of the reconnaissance party to the camp, a distance of 9 or 10 miles, running two miles and walking one on the Prussian system of alarms.
But, so far from that, a detachment with guns, under Colonel Harness, who had actually seen the combat and was marching to the camp, was ordered not to go there. He need hardly observe that under all the circumstances of the case which he had detailed, and which, he ventured to think, should certainly have occurred to the Commander-in-Chief, to leave the camp unintrenched, dominated by dangerous ground, and deprived of half its garrison, as seen by the watchful Zulus, was an invitation to the enemy to attack it.
Sixthly, it would have been better not to have taken the lamented Colonel Durnford, so valuable an Engineer officer, from his special duties of superintending the fortifications of camps and of strongholds for ourselves. And it was only justice to that gallant officer's memory to represent that he had to cope with almost unexampled difficulties on taking over the defence of an indefensible camp against an enemy overwhelming in numbers, with remarkable military instinct, and holding positions insufficiently reconnoitred.
The death of this gallant officer, with some brave soldiers of the 24th Regiment, rivalling their brothers in arms at Rorke's Drift, some brave Natal Volunteers, and Native levies, while holding the important neck of land which covered the retreat to Rorke's Drift, was a fitting close of a life of devotion to the Service. While he lamented the dead, he was happy to notice the distinction that had been won by many officers who had played conspicuous parts in the campaign, among the most prominent of whom might be mentioned Sir Evelyn Wood and Colonel Buller.
It was eight or nine years ago that he (Lord Strathnairn) drew their Lordships' attention, in a long speech on military education, to the disadvantages of the British system of mechanical drill without an object—that was, without the elementary or higher rules of strategy; and he had since never failed, at the cost of their Lordships' patience and indulgence, to press it upon the House. He would not, however, detain their Lordships any longer on that occasion, particularly as the Commander-in-Chief was not present, but would at once move for a Return of the ages and length of service of the soldiers and non-commissioned officers of the 1st and 2nd Battalions of the 24th Regiment.           
regretted that the noble and gallant Lord (Lord Strathnairn) had not given any authority for the statements he had made regarding his (Lord Chelmsford's) conduct when in command of the South African Forces. The speech of the noble and gallant Lord had taken him completely by surprise; because he could not discover by the Notice of Motion that the noble and gallant Lord intended to reopen the questions that had so very recently been discussed by the House.

 When on a previous occasion he had endeavoured to give a full, true, and clear account of the Isandlana disaster, his narrative had been based, not upon information exclusively possessed by himself, but upon the evidence of eyewitnesses, whoso statements had since been published in the newspapers.

His account had been taken from evidence published in The Times of March 17 and 22; and he now challenged the noble and gallant Lord to say whether all the details of his speech were not borne out by that evidence. The noble and gallant Lord had quoted authorities to whose words the House would probably not attach very great importance.

 The noble and gallant Lord had referred to the statement in an article by Mr. Archibald Forbes in The Nineteenth Century. But to show how fallacious some of the statements were, he need only point out the inaccuracy of the story related in reference to Colonel Harness. Colonel Harness had himself referred to the incident in an article in Frazer's Magazine, and had given quite a different account; and, as a matter of fact, the statement that he was in a position to afford relief to the camp was quite incorrect.

 He (Lord Chelmsford) was on his way to the camp—it must have been between 3 and half-past, the whole affair being over at 1 o'clock—when he saw Colonel Harness about 500 yards from him, moving off in the direction of the camp, being then 10 miles distant from Isandlana. Major Cosset, his aide-de-camp, asked him if he should go and stop the battery, and he said—"Yes; he could not understand why they were moving." 

And yet in the public prints there had been an accusation that Major, now Lieutenant Colonel, Gosset, prevented valuable reinforcements going on to the camp, and was almost accountable for the disaster. There was not a particle of truth in the story. Another important statement made by the noble and gallant Lord had reference to the number of messages which he asserted he had received from the camp on the day in question.

 In point of fact, he only received one message from the camp in the course of that day, which was that mentioned in his despatch, which had been sent to him at 8 o'clock in the morning, and which was received by him at 9.30, which merely gave the information that a body of the enemy had been noticed in a north-westerly direction. From half-past 9 o'clock until he reached the camp on his return not a single message, if any were despatched, had reached him.

 His statement on this point was fully corroborated by Lieutenant Colonel Croealock, his Military Secretary, in his letter recently sent to a London newspaper, in which he gave a distinct denial to the story that several messages had been received. The noble and gallant Lord, in referring to his despatch, had declared that he had reflected upon the gallantry of the 1st and 2nd Battalions of the 24th Regiment by stating that they had  run away from the enemy. 

He had made no such reflection upon that gallant body of men. He wrote that despatch immediately after arriving in Pietermaritzburg, five days after the disaster. In it he stated that— One company went off to the extreme left and has never heard of since, and the other five, I understand, engaged the enemy about a mile to the left front of the camp, and made there a most stubborn and gallant resistance.

 So anxious was he that the Government at home should receive a true and faithful account of what had occurred that he wrote the whole of the despatch with his own hand; but he must confess that, on calm consideration, he should have altered the the paragraph in it to which the noble and gallant Lord had referred, because it was, perhaps, capable of an interpretation which he had no idea would be placed upon it, and which he did not intend should be placed upon it. He much regretted that it had given pain in some quarters. 

He never intended that the smallest impression should be left on the minds of anyone that he reflected on the conduct of the 24th Regiment. The paragraph said— When, however, the Zulus got round the left flank of these brave men, they appear to have lost their presence of mind, and returned hastily to the tents, that had never been struck. He would not have used the term "brave men" had he intended to have reflected upon their courage.

What he had in his mind at the time he wrote that paragraph was that the men of the 24th Regiment, finding that the Zulus had worked round their flank, and that it was hopeless to remain where they were, had retired hastily with the view of taking up the stronger position which they should never have left. In his opinion, under the circumstances, it would have been better for them to have remained where they were, and to have fought it out on the spot without attempting to retire. They had been fighting an enemy outside their camp, and it was hopeless for the poor fellows to expect to get back.           

asked if the men retired by the orders of their officers?

said, that it was so stated in the evidence. They were ordered back to take up a final position under the hill, which they ought never to have left, and they endeavoured to do so. That was the reason they turned their backs to the enemy; not that they ran, or attempted to run.
In self-defence, he was compelled to refer in detail to the six mistakes which it was alleged by the noble and gallant Lord had led to the disaster at Isandlana. In the first place, he denied that the invading columns were too far apart to render each other mutual support. A reference to the map would show that the position taken up by the columns, having regard to the long frontier line, was the only one that could be properly adopted.
With reference to the position of the camp, he defied the noble and gallant Lord to show that the account he had given of its position was inaccurate in any particular. The map which had been placed in the Library of the House, and which accurately described the ground near Isandlana, corroborated that account.
With regard to the charge that the ground occupied by the enemy on the day in question had not been sufficiently reconnoitred previously, as a matter of fact, it had been carefully reconnoitred on the day before without the Zulus being discovered. Lieutenant Browne, 24th Regiment, and a party of mounted Infantry, went out by his (Lord Chelmsford's) orders in the direction from which the Zulus advanced, and he must have passed close to the spot where they bivouacked that night.
He saw, however, no traces of a large force, simply because they were not there till after dark that evening. On the morning of the attack the vedette was placed, as usual, three miles in advance; and he gave notice of the approach of the enemy long before the actual attack was made, and which, therefore, could not be characterized as a surprise.
The enemy did not advance from the direction of the mountains to the north of Isandlana; but from the eastward two of their columns, however, moved along the top of these mountains and came down upon the camp that way. In reference to the statement that the camp should have been intrenched, he had already stated that the ground in the neighbourhood of the camp was so rocky that it was absolutely impossible to make even shelter-trenches round the tents.
When the party subsequently came to bury the poor men who had fallen in the battle, they found it almost impossible to dig a shallow grave, owing to the small amount of earth. Nor were there any trees with which to make abattis. The troops had, in fact, to carry their fuel with them.
With regard to the assertion that on receiving the message that the camp was attacked, he should at once have returned with his force to its assistance, he had already explained that, by some extraordinary fatality, he never received such a message, if it had ever been sent.
All he could say, standing before their Lordships, who, he believed, would give him credit for telling the truth faithfully, was, that neither he nor any of his staff received more than the one to which he had referred at half-past 9 in the morning; and the fact that he immediately sent a messenger back to Colonel Pulleine was a refutation of the charge brought against him.
The sixth mistake alleged was that it would have been better if he had allowed Colonel Durnford to continue to discharge his special duties of superintending the fortification of the camp. In reply to this, he could only say that the fact of his sending for Colonel Durnford was evidence that he wished to have him close at hand in order that his advice might be available on engineering questions. Furthermore, he was much indebted to Colonel Durnford for the organisation of the force of mounted Natives, which was entirely due to the personal influence which the gallant officer had with the Native Tribes. 
As far as the formation of the columns of invasion was concerned, the question was a purely technical one, which could not be satisfactorily discussed in their Lordships' House. To justify the strategy which he had adopted, it would be necessary to have a large map; and he would, in fact, have to give a lecture.
He would only say that in his view a division of the force into three bodies was absolutely necessary, and was not too much to cover a line of close upon 300 miles. He would, however, be perfectly prepared to discuss the point with  anybody who was interested in the subject. He looked back to the campaign with mixed feelings—regret at the loss of the gallant men who fell, and for that sad day of Isandlana, but with pride at what had been accomplished.
When the nature of the country in which the troops were operating—the fact that, for military purposes, it may be said to have been a terra incognita—and the numerous difficulties of supply and transport which had to be overcome, were taken into consideration, the six months from January 11 to July 5 could not, he contended, be considered but a short time for the campaign to be brought to a close, and would contrast very favourably with the duration of former Kaffir Wars. He could not but think it unreasonable to say that undue delay had arisen in consequence of the steps which he thought it necessary to take in order to secure the completeness of the expedition. In conclusion, he thanked their Lordships for their attention, but regretted that he should have been called upon to make this explanation.

said, he was very much surprised that the Under Secretary of State for War should have persistently refused to give any further Returns relative to the short-service system; and it appeared to him that there was a complete union between the Government and the Front Opposition Benches in their resolve not to inquire into the effect of that system, and not to produce the Report of Lord Airey's Commission, which everyone knew was a complete exposure of it. He denied that the noble and gallant Lord had said a word of refutation of the charge he had brought, and the fact remained that 20,000 Zulus were allowed to lie in ambush so near the camp and to assault it as they had done. Whatever might be said, there were not the necessary precautions taken to protect a camp in which most of our stores were.           

said, that, having spent some years of his life in Natal an
In cases like the disaster at Isandlana the tendency was to find a scapegoat, and the one selected on this occasion, he regretted to say, was Lord Chelmsford. It was painful to approach this subject, for they must criticize the acts of the dead as well as those of the living. It was natural to throw all the blame on the General commanding, and in almost every instance it was right to do so if his orders were obeyed.

 Now, the hon. and gallant Member for East Aberdeenshire said that on the night of the 21st of January the Zulu Army was two miles from the camp at Isandlana.

He could not tell where the hon. and gallant Member got his information from; but having carefully studied the Blue Books without finding any information as to the whereabouts of the main body of the Zulu Army, he came to the conclusion that it was much nearer 20 miles distant on that night.

 Anyone who had seen the Zulus on the path knew well the enormous distances they could travel without intermission. The first intimation of large bodies of Zulus was at half-past 7. Colonel Durnford arrived at half-past 10. The distinct orders left by the General were that Colonel Pulleine should "defend the camp;" and had those orders been obeyed, and not distinctly disobeyed, the disaster, which they all deplored, would never have occurred.      

appealed to the House for indulgence for a short time while he defended an old comrade and an absent man. He meant Lord Chelmsford. He promised the right hon. Baronet that he would meet the question as fairly as he had himself met it, and he would be more moderate in his language and more considerate of those who were unable to defend themselves
 The first charge brought by the right hon. Baronet against Lord Chelmsford was that on the 4th of January he took over from Sir Bartle Frere the responsibilities of the position, or, in plain language, that he obeyed the orders of his superior. With regard to the plan of the campaign, the right hon. Baronet had criticized that with great severity; but, unfortunately, he was not possessed of what he was pleased to call "a well-informed military mind." The plan of that campaign was submitted to competent military authorities in this country, and was approved. 

The difficulties which Lord Chelmsford had to face were not of his own creating. After he had crossed the Tugela and got to the camp at Isandlana, he remained there making some reconnaissances, and with practically his whole Force. He did not, therefore, think it necessary to intrench the camp, and he (Sir Charles Russell) ventured to challenge the right hon. Baronet, who had spoken of that as a single instance, to point to a single case where a General moving with his whole Force had ever in Cape warfare intrenched his camp

He would go to the length of saying that even small detached parties did nothing of the kind. That was well known in Cape warfare, and he defied the right hon. Baronet to show one instance in which a laager defended by British troops had ever been taken. Well, Lord Chelmsford, hearing that the enemy was somewhere to the North-East, went with a large Force in search of him, and some time after he left he became engaged with a Force, and was occupied four hours in driving back that Force. 

When he left the camp, he sent a written order to Colonel Durnford to come up and take the command of the camp. The witnesses differed as to whether the order directed him to "strengthen" the camp; but he wrote by his military secretary to Colonel Pulleine to give the camp over to Colonel Durnford, and to "defend the camp."

Lord Chelmsford had left before daylight. Now, as he should have to cast some reflection upon those who were dead and gone, and who had nobly died in discharge of what they conceived to be their duty, he trusted the House would not think he was in the least degree dealing to the memory of those gallant men so cruel and unjust a blow as that which the right hon. Baronet had dealt to the living.

 But the House would agree with him that, however much they might respect the memory of the dead, they were not entitled to give them that respect at the cruel expense of the living. His gallant friend, Lord Chelmsford, after he had left the camp before daylight—he spoke from memory, and without his notes, for he little dreamt that in a discussion of a Motion in which all mention of Lord Chelmsford's name had been left out a discussion of this sort would take place. He was not, therefore, prepared by reference to his marked Blue Book to give chapter and verse for everything he said; but he assured the House that he would state nothing that he could not prove. 

After Lord Chelmsford left the camp, Colonel Pulleine had notice that the enemy was accumulating in force on heights about four miles off. He assembled his Force and put them to the east side of the camp, keeping them under orders for some time, when they were sent to their parades. 

At 10.30 Colonel Durnford arrived and took the command of the camp. It was abundantly evident that some discussion took place between Colonel Durnford and Colonel Pulleine. Colonel Durnford said he had seen some of the enemy on his left flank, and he asked for a couple of English companies with which he would go out and look for them. "No," said Colonel Pulleine, "I dare not do so, for my orders are to defend the camp," and that, Colonel Durnford's aide-de-camp said, was repeated over and over again.

 Ultimately, as if the poor fellow had a strange presentiment, Colonel Durnford said to Colonel Pulleine, "If I get into difficulties will you come to my rescue?" They had the testimony of one survivor of the rocket battery which accompanied him that Colonel Durnford attacked the enemy, with the result they all too well knew.

 Had the troops remained in camp and a laager been formed, which could have been done in half-an-hour or an hour—had the orders received been obeyed and the camp defended—the defence would have been complete and perfect. But it was said that the General sent back Captain Alan Gardner with an order to intrench the camp. He did so, but that was when he had found another camping-ground, which he determined to leave to Colonel Glyn, and in sending back for ammunition and provisions he added—"Intrench your camp." 

And why? As long as he had his mounted force at the camp he was sufficiently strong; but when he sent the order the force was divided. Let them now look to what occurred at Rorke's Drift. There they had an hour's notice that the enemy were about to attack, and that the camp was to be defended.

 Did Lieutenant Chard say—"Give me some men, and I will go out to meet the enemy?" He did not; but he and Lieutenant Bromhead set about throwing up defences, and they succeeded in repelling what was in proportion a larger Force than that which made the attack at Isandlana. 

Thus it was clear that where the men obeyed and clearly understood the General's orders, the defence was complete. Another point on which the right hon. Baronet made an attack on his (Sir Charles Russell's) absent friend was as to an alleged want of feeling which he showed when he left the camp at Isandlana before daylight on the morning after the disaster. But why did he go before daylight? He did so for two reasons—first, because he felt obliged to hasten to the assistance of the little garrison at Rorke's Drift; and, secondly, because he very properly wished to spare his men the horrible sight of the mutilated corpses of their comrades; for he need hardly remind the House that in African warfare it was notorious that the Zulus never left a wounded man living on the field.

 Where the wounded were not carried off for more brutal purposes, they were killed on the spot. If, indeed, Lord Chelmsford had incurred the risk of further loss, he would have deserved some small portion of the blame which the right hon. Baronet imputed to him. Let him remind the House of  Lord Chelmsford's career. He had served the country for 35 years; he was present in the Crimea and attained the medal and clasp. His high courage was known to him and to everyone else who saw Lord Chelmsford, and they would give him credit for great capacity. Then, again, he served in the Indian Mutiny and attained the medal, and as Assistant Adjutant General he accompanied the Abyssinian Expedition and was present at the taking of Magdala; and in one of his despatches Lord Napier of Magdala said he desired to speak "specifically of his great ability and great energy." Was the man who had thus served his country, and who one day met with a disaster for which, in his conscience, he  believed—and he said it on his honour as a gentleman—Lord Chelmsford was utterly irresponsible, to have his career in life cut short because charges such as they had heard, and which were incapable of being sustained, were, in his absence, made against him? If so, they were going to take a course which would not only be a grave injustice to the General himself, but also to the Forces that served under him. He did not quite understand the allusion of the right hon. Baronet to the case of Admiral Byng? Did he understand him to mean that they were to have such another murder?           

The time line of Edward's quest is continued in

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