Zulu Dawn: General Lord Chelmsford: For a savage, as for a child, chastisement is sometimes a kindness. Sir Henry Bartle Frere: Let us hope, General, that this will be the final solution to the Zulu problem
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 Ipoko River.

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old historian2


Posts : 1096
Join date : 2009-01-14
Location : East London

PostSubject: Ipoko River.   Tue Nov 17, 2009 10:46 pm

I told you I was a novice. This one is totally new to me. Our Mr Chard was there as well. Problem is this is all I can find on this Incident.

"First among the victims of this circumstance were our old friends, 5 Field Company, Royal Engineers, and then attached to Wood's redoubtable Flying Column. On 5 June Wood's advance guard ran into Zulu opposition at the Ipoko River, and suffered casualties; as he wished to camp there to wait for supplies to come up, he decided to fight. First he detached the Engineers and sent them back to Newdigate's column, in laager with hundreds of wagons about 18 km to the rear. The sappers were to build a strongpoint for defending the store depot, so when they arrived at 18h30 on 6 June they pitched their tents on site and began work, well outside Newdigate's laager. About 22h00 they were awakened by shots and dived into the protection of the walls, only, 61 cm high, on which they had just begun working."

"They heard the outlying piquet’s fire three volleys, saw them retreat, and persuaded them to shelter within the walls. At once they all came under heavy fire from Newdigate's laager. Corporal Howe relates the story of what happened next in this dangerous and farcical situation: ' "Good heavens, they are taking us for the enemy. Under cover at once!” cried Chard, the hero of Rorke's Drift. It was not safe to move. The buglers sounded the cease-fire. Our men got over the wall to rush on the laager when they, taking us for a rush of Zulus, poured another volley into us. Back we had to go helter-skelter over the wall. Men jumped on to one another and were lying huddled in hopeless confusion, whilst shot was pouring into us like hail. Before it ceased five Engineers (including a sergeant and two corporals) had been wounded. Next morning we found the stones on the wall covered with lead and bullet marks. The artillery told us they were just going to fire when they heard our bugle sound. If they had, not one of us would have escaped."

Source: The Anglo-Zulu War as Depicted in Soldiers' Letters: by Frank Emery
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Ken Gillings

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Age : 71
Location : Pinetown, KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa

PostSubject: Re: Ipoko River.   Wed Nov 18, 2009 5:31 am

I thought that members would like to have another South African comment! Fort Newdigate is situated at Nondweni, quite close to the Nondweni River. Lt Frederick John Cokayne Frith and two other soldiers are buried close by, alongside a stream below the fort. Frith - the adjutant of the 17th Lancers - was, as you know, killed on the 5th June 1879, during the general advance on Ondini (Ulundi). British reports refer to the action as the 'Upper Upoko' (in some instances Ipoko) River. It is, in fact spelt Sbhokwe and it is a tributary of the Ntinini River. The action took place below the Zungeni mountain and the British (temporary) camp was situated in the vicinity as the army continued its advance on the King's capital.
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Mr Greaves


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PostSubject: Re: Ipoko River.   Wed Nov 18, 2009 9:25 pm

Old H. Good post. I had never heard of this until now.

Ken thanks for the summary .

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Mr Greaves


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PostSubject: Re: Ipoko River.   Thu Nov 19, 2009 6:42 pm

Bit confused. Is this the same incident.

From Private Edward Hughes, E Company, 1-24th Regiment, 2nd Division to his parents at 4, Little Crown-street, Caernarvon. 1
Upoko River. July 1879

"We have had a very hard time of it but we are now enjoying a few days' ease. We have been up as far as the King's Kraal, Ulundi on the White Umvolosi and after burning all the kraals we came across and knocking the Zulus out of time, have returned to this camp to wait the issue of affairs.
We arrived, after a very hard and tedious march, at the King's Kraal, encamping opposite it on the 1st of July. Nothing of any importance occurred until the 3rd when the Zulus surprised us by opening a smart fire on some of our men who were down at the river getting water. Our men down there quickly returned the fire on duty. The light cavalry were immediately got ready; 4 nine-pounders were got into position; and it was determined to shift the Zulus out of the place, for as long as they were allowed to remain there, it was evident that we could not get any water without great danger. A couple of shells were, therefore, thrown across the river. This had the effect of making the Zulus scamper off to their kraals at full speed. But our horsemen were waiting for them and chased the enemy as far as their kraals. Our men were obliged, however, to retire for the enemy were reinforced by some thousands. Our loss was slight; that of the enemy considerable. The same night the Zulus kept us awake for nearly two hours singing and shouting in a terrible manner.
Next morning, the 4th, we were all quietly awakened at a very early hour. No bugles sounded and everything was done as quietly as possible. Our men crossed the river and made for the open plain. This movement was quite unexpected by the Zulus, for at seven o'clock about 15,000 of them were seen making for our side of the river; but just at this critical moment our column had reached the open.
They were then seen by the enemy who imagined that they had a very easy thing of it. But they calculated wrongly for a tremendous fire from our men greeted them as they advanced. Forty-five minutes passed after the first shot, when the Zulus wavered; our men cheered heartily; away went the Zulus as hard as they could run, closely followed by the 17th Lancers who mowed them down like grass.So ended the battle of Ulundi and with it Cetywayo's power over his people.Our loss, as near as I can ascertain, was ten men killed and about fifty wounded."
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PostSubject: Re: Ipoko River.   Thu Nov 19, 2009 7:06 pm

On 4 June intelligence came that a body of Zulus were in the area of the Ityotosi River. General Marshall with the 17th Lancers and Marter's Squadron of the KDG reconnoitred the track forward as far as Upoko River, where they joined forces with Buller's flying column. Buller had discovered some 300 Zulus near some kraals on the far side of Upoko River, and had driven them into some thorn bush on the lower slopes of the Ezunganyan hill. He had then burnt the kraal. He was about to withdraw, with the loss of two wounded men, when Marshall and the cavalry arrived.

Three troops of the 17th Lancers advanced and, coming under fire, dismounted and engaged the enemy without much effect, as the Zulus were well concealed in the long grass. Marshall moved the KDG forward in support and ordered the Lancers to withdraw. As they fell back their Adjutant, Captain Frith was killed by a Zulu bullet.
Marter described the action:

"The enemy were strongly posted in a wood intersected with dongas behind four kraals. Buller's men managed to set fire to the kraals, but having several horses shot and men wounded, found it necessary to retire. Colonel Lowe (17th Lancers) then, against General Marshall's orders, advanced with the 17th to within 150 yards of the wood, and dismounted some men. I supported him, placing a Squadron in echelon on either flank, and we were potted at for about 20 minutes. Frith the Adjutant of the 17th was shot dead and the Martini-Henry bullets flew high, and others were more dangerous."
As the KDG retired across the Upoko River, they were closely followed up by the Zulus, who opened fire without effect. The cavalry re-formed column, returning to a new camping ground on the banks of the Nondweni River."

On 6 June Marter again led out his two troops to reconnoiter the area, when large numbers of Zulus were seen and some kraals were shelled and burnt. On 8 June the KDG squadron under Captain Willan marched to Upoko camp and returned the following day, keeping the lines of communication open. On 16 June, in Marters account:

"I was ordered back with my Squadron to Fort Newdigate, a fort which had been formed a few miles back. I still longed for the front, and begged to go on. The 17th was the most wearisome day, and I tried to last to get off going back to Fort Newdigate, trudging backwards and forwards from one Staff Officer to another. We marched at about 3.30 and took up my new command. The garrison was two Companies of the 21st Fusiliers (Royal Scots Fusiliers), my Squadron, two Gatling guns, a Company of Bengough's Contingent (Natal Native Contingent), and about four mounted Kaffirs and Basutos. The fact is Lord Chelmsford and General Marshall did not agree. The former therefore decided to break up the Cavalry Brigade, and General Marshall was relegated to the lines of communication."

Source: Copyright ©️ 2009 1st The Queen’s Dragoon Guards
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PostSubject: Re: Ipoko River.   Thu Nov 19, 2009 10:26 pm

Upper Sbhokwe (Upoko)
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Photo Supplied by Ken Gillings.

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PostSubject: Re: Ipoko River.   Thu Nov 19, 2009 10:55 pm

Major-General Marshall came up with a portion of the Cavalry Brigade, and, with a view to ensuring the safety of Colonel Buller's retreat, advanced three troops of the 17th Lancers under Colonel Drury-Lowe to hold the enemy in check.

The enemy was found to be very strongly posted in the thorns, and the ground being impracticable for cavalry, the Lancers were ordered to retire. Their Adjutant, Lieutenant Frith, was in this fruitless skirmish shot through the heart.

During this affair an incident occurred (told by an officer present at the time), showing the individual bravery of the Zulus: A single warrior, chased by several Lancers, found himself run down and escape impossible. He turned and faced his enemies; spreading his arms abroad he presented his bare breast unflinchingly to the steel, and fell, face to the foe, as a brave soldier should.

On the 6th a post called Fort Newdigate was established, and on this evening the warmth of the double line of fire from the laager of the 2nd Division was unpleasantly experienced by the 5th Company Royal
Engineers. This company had marched up that afternoon in advance of the Flying Column (which was going down-country for supplies), and had camped close to one of the unfinished redoubts outside the laager an alarm was given in the laager, and a heavy fire opened there from. The Engineers coolly lay down flat on the ground, and waited till the excitement was over. It was due entirely to their own steadiness that the causalities were not greater; as it was, one sergeant was wounded and two horses killed,

On the 7th, the division advanced, clearing the country of Zulus and burning their kraals, and encamped at the Upoko River; remaining there till the arrival of Brigadier- General Wood's Column with a large convoy of supplies for which it had been sent. The time was usefully employed in reconnoitring, examining the road in advance, making drifts practicable, etc.

Source: "History of the Zulu war and its origin;"
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PostSubject: ipoko river.   Fri Nov 20, 2009 12:24 am

hi Ken,
Keep posting the sth african comments , as it is a great help in when trying to understand the " lay of the land ".
The more the better :lol!: .
cheers 90th.
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