WWW.1879ZULUWAR.COM

Film Zulu Dawn: Lt. Melvill: You didn't really have to choose between your country and the Zulu, did you? Lt. William Vereker: Um, and a damn close thing it was too.
 
HomeHome  CalendarCalendar  GalleryGallery  PublicationsPublications  FAQFAQ  SearchSearch  RegisterRegister  Log inLog in  
Latest topics
» Lieutenant Clement Williams, 3rd Battalion 1st Regt. NNC, Letter Home
Today at 11:26 pm by 1879graves

» Who Made The Prince Imperial's Coffin?
Today at 10:09 pm by 1879graves

» Pictorial Catalogue Of AZW Graves & Memorials
Today at 5:15 am by 90th

» Photobucket
Yesterday at 9:58 pm by xhosa2000

» Lieutenant Robert D’Ombrain NNC 
Yesterday at 6:18 pm by ADMIN

» Colour Sgt (or was it Sgt?) Booth
Sat Jun 24, 2017 7:44 pm by xhosa2000

» The Camp at Isandula, on the Morning of January 22nd.
Sat Jun 24, 2017 12:53 pm by xhosa2000

» RYLEY John Rutherford
Fri Jun 23, 2017 8:42 pm by old historian2

» St Quintin.
Fri Jun 23, 2017 12:31 am by ADMIN

» An Old Zulu Warrior
Thu Jun 22, 2017 6:52 am by SRB1965

» Who is he & where is he !!!
Wed Jun 21, 2017 1:55 am by 90th

» iNtombi Drift
Wed Jun 21, 2017 1:44 am by 90th

» Talk about Henry Martin from Gurney Slade Somerset
Tue Jun 20, 2017 10:00 am by andysandersuk

» Francis Broadfoot Russell
Tue Jun 20, 2017 4:58 am by rai

» Has anyone ever made a Zulu battle shield?
Tue Jun 20, 2017 3:15 am by 90th

Chaplain George Smith, Rorke's Drift--signed.
(Isandula Collection)
Largest private Anglo-Zulu War collection on auction
Search
 
 

Display results as :
 
Rechercher Advanced Search
Top posters
90th
 
littlehand
 
Frank Allewell
 
ADMIN
 
Chelmsfordthescapegoat
 
John
 
Mr M. Cooper
 
1879graves
 
impi
 
rusteze
 
Fair Use Notice
Fair use notice. This website may contain copyrighted material the use of which has not been specifically authorised by the copyright owner. We are making such material and images are available in our efforts to advance the understanding of the “Anglo Zulu War of 1879. For educational & recreational purposes. We believe this constitutes a 'fair use' of any such copyrighted material, as provided for in UK copyright law. The information is purely for educational and research purposes only. No profit is made from any part of this website. If you hold the copyright on any material on the site, or material refers to you, and you would like it to be removed, please let us know and we will work with you to reach a resolution.
Top posting users this month
xhosa2000
 
90th
 
1879graves
 
Frank Allewell
 
ymob
 
ADMIN
 
Julian Whybra
 
rusteze
 
John Young
 
SRB1965
 
Most active topics
Isandlwana, Last Stands
Durnford was he capable.5
Pte David Jenkins. 'Forgotten' Survivor of Rorke's Drift Returned to Official Records
Durnford was he capable. 4
Durnford was he capable.1
Durnford was he capable.2
Durnford was he capable. 3
The ammunition question
Pte David Jenkins. 'Forgotten' Survivor of Rorke's Drift Returned to Official Records
The missing five hours.

Share | 
 

 Sergeant Smith of the KDG (Part One)

View previous topic View next topic Go down 
AuthorMessage
sas1

avatar

Posts : 630
Join date : 2009-01-20
Age : 39

PostSubject: Sergeant Smith of the KDG (Part One)   Fri Mar 27, 2009 10:19 pm

On 11 February 1879 an unexpected order was received for the 1st King's Dragoon Guards to go to South Africa on active service against the Zulus.
Sergeant Smith of the KDG described the resulting feverish activity:
"One morning, as we were going out on reconnaissance duty, we had got about a mile from camp, (when) we received the command to halt, and found out that we were for the Zulu campaign, as soon as we could be got in order. So we had to return to camp and commence work, for we had only a week to do it in, and a very busy week it was. When a Regiment is ordered out, there are so many different things wanted, such as volunteers and horses. We had men and horses from several regiments, some from the Scotch Greys, 3rd Dragoon Guards, 2nd Dragoon Guards, 6th and 7th Dragoon Guards, to make up our strength, saddlery and accoutrements wanted besides cork helmets for brass. Every man had to be inspected by the doctor to see if he was fit for service, and too many inspections to mention."
The left wing, under command of Major Marter, left Aldershot on 27 February, followed the next day by the right wing under Lt. Colonel H Alexander, the commanding officer. The regiment embarked at Southampton in two steamships, Spain and Egypt, hired by the Government from the National Line, with 634 all ranks and 454 horses.
Sergeant Smith of the KDG gives a graphic account of the embarkation and journey:
"There were a great many friends to see us go away from Aldershot, particularly the female class. Married women and such like pulling all sorts of faces, but they had to be left and away we went. We did not sail on the day we embarked, but the next morning, on account of a very dense fog. We get plum pudding and salt junk (or pork) and pea soup; other day's bully beef, or tinned meat, bread three times a week and crackers (biscuits). People without a good set of teeth gets on rather badly, we get a kind of porter every day that made it better."

The regiment arrived at Durban and disembarked on 9 April 1879. "When all were landed, the Cavalry were dispatched to the camp prepared for them at Cato's Manor, and on the 12th were inspected by Lord Chelmsford, the Commander in Chief, attended by Major General Clifford and Colonel Crealock.
Sergeant Smith again recalled:
We stayed in camp for two or three days to get our horses used to solid footing, for they were like drunken men on landing, having stood up for six weeks.' The horses looked like "tucked up whippets'. And having always fed on cut fodder, they had never supported themselves by grazing, and so refused, at first the rank grass of Natal, which, around Durban, was in any case worked out.
On 14 April General Marshall, commanding the cavalry brigade, made up of the KDG and 17th Lancers, ordered the two regiments to parade through Durban. The troopers rode in light marching order,' and the scene as they passed through the crowded streets will never be forgotten. The Dragoons all carried the Martini-Henry carbine, in addition to their swords.'
General Marshall issued an order;
"Col Alexander, Officers and men of the KDG. I have the greatest pleasure in telling you that the appearance of the regiment as it marched was most satisfactory. I feel confidant that the Regiment is in a most satisfactory and efficient state. I shall make it my special duty to report to the highest authorities in this country and back home the high state in which I find it to be, and I feel that I cannot make use of terms too strong in so doing. You will publish what I have now said in Orders, with a view to its being entered in Regimental Records.
The march inland started on 17 April, but the horses were still so weak and overloaded that they only managed 10 miles a day, and even then required to rest every third day. Pietermaritzburg was reached on the 23 April.
Sgt Smith noted;
"A very pretty little town; after getting all our camp equipment we started towards Dundee, where we again halted for a day or two. From Dundee our regiment, the 17th Lancers and two Batteries of Artillery were ordered to go to Rorke's Drift and Isandula (sic) We did not take any tents with us, and had to have the sky for a roof above us, and very cold it was then with only an oil skin, one blanket and our cloak. This is what we call bivouacking."
Major Marter recalls:
"General Marshall decided upon making a reconnaissance over the Isandhlwana battlefield were the 24th Foot had been massacred four months earlier and breaking the spell that seemed to hang over it.' The column arrived at Rorke's Drift on the evening of the 24th May and bivouacked near Fort Melville, which had been built about a mile from the mission station."
On the 21 May Revellie was at 2.30am. General Parade at 3am marched from camp at 4 am, passing Sihayo's burnt kraal and working through the hills by the valley of the Bashee to the Nqutu Plateau, descending to the battlefield of Isandhlwana, arriving there at 8am. Vedettes were at once posted.

Major Marter wrote:
"Before daylight we forced the Buffalo River, and made our way along a track between hills covered with scrub jungle, in which it was very difficult to keep a lookout. As daylight broke, the wagons of the ill-fated force could be clearly seen in the distance against the sky. On arrival there was the camp, the oxen inspanned in the waggons, the horses at their picket post, the Officers Mess and their baggage, the Quartermaster's Stores and supplies, and officers and men lying about in their uniforms-dead-but singularly lifelike, as from the state of the climate the bodies had only dried. Many were recognizable. They had not been mutilated. Birds and beasts did not seem to have molested them, and the Zulus had removed nothing but arms and ammunition, and part of the canvas of tents." (Marter made a sketch map of the scene);

With such light tools as we had, we buried some of the bodies, Colonel Durnford among them, and, having brought every spare horse and tackle procurable, dragged about 40 waggons back to Rorke's Drift.
On the 22 May the KDG left Rorke's Drift and advanced to Landman's Drift and Koppie Allein on the Blood River.
"We marched at 8a.m. for Landman's Drift after 24 miles we arrived in the camp at 4pm. The nights and mornings were dreadfully cold. So much we could barely saddle our horses our hands being so numb. During the day it was very hot indeed."
Marter was sent by Lord Chelmsford to make the reconnaissance into Zululand, in order to determine the line of advance of 2nd Division, with two squadrons- a ride of about fifty miles. On the way back, while Marter was occupied with the rearguard, Captain Bethall, KDG, took it upon himself to trot off with the main body back to camp. This left three officers and nineteen men on there own in enemy territory with broken country and fading light. Marter with another officer and six men managed to reach camp some two hours after dark, but the remainder were stranded without food or cloaks for the night. The remaining two officers and all the men, bar three, came in at midday the following day. Two of the missing men whose horses had died, were brought in later that day, whilst the final man was not found until the third day.
It had been the intention for the KDG to move to Sanderton, but in view of the difficulty in procuring forage for the cavalry brigade, it was decided that the KDG should remain on the frontier. On 26 May the right wing of headquarters and 4 troops, under Colonel Alexander, left Landmans Drift for conference Hill, and the left wing under Major Marter was to return to Rorke's Drift.
Marter commented:
"It was now decided that the KDG should remain on the frontier, whilst the 17th Lancers accompanied the column advancing into Zululand. In vain did General Marshall remonstrate, but he was not on good terms with Lord Chelmsford, and his arguments were disregarded. In vain did Marter endeavor to persuade his Colonel to make a stand against the heart of the regiment being thus broken. At length, almost beside himself Marter went to Lord Chelmsford's tent, and notwithstanding repeated rebuffs, did not leave until he had brought him reluctantly to agree that Marter, with one Squadron should accompany the column."
The remaining two troops of the left wing, under Captain Douglas Willan, returned to hold the post at Rorke's Drift.
Sergeant Smith reported:
"On account of us losing our convoy of provisions, we were in the cart, and had to stay on the borders, and do convoy duty."
Marter continues:
"With the Colonels permission Marter picked officers, men and horses, about a 186 all ranks, and on the 1 June in high spirits, (they) crossed the Blood River into Zululand with the column. That day the Prince Imperial was killed, and early next morning, Marter and his Squadron, with some of the 17th Lancers, was sent out to find his body. This was done and the body brought into to camp."
It was on the 2 June that "D' and "H' troops discovered the remains of the Prince Imperial at the Ityotosi River, and one troop escorted the body, covered with a blanket and on a bier made up of lances, to the camp on Itelezi Hill.
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."
Lord Chelmsford had decided to command the main body himself, and he placed the security of the lines of communication under General Clifford, giving him three infantry battalions, The KDG and some of the Natal Contingent. The squadron of KDG left at Fort Newdigate was placed in charge of a convoy, which was pushing through to Koppie Allein, in support of General Wood's flying column. Another was attached to Baker Russell's column; while the two remaining squadrons were stationed at Conference Hill on the lines of communication.
The squadron at Fort Newdigate had to meet all convoys and pass them from the frontier on to the next fort, and on the intervening days they were charged with raiding to the left rear of Lord Chelmsford's column, burning kraals and devastating the countryside so as to clear out any Zulus. As the Zulus had burnt most of the grass, there was little grazing for the horses, and since Lord Chelmsford had ordered the supply of corn to be restricted, many horses died from pressure of hard work and lack of provender. As the infantry in the fort were forbidden to go out on escort duties, the handful of Dragoon's were hard worked. After the war was over the Zulus were asked why they had not attacked the slenderly guarded convoys, and they said that the scouting was so good that they could never get near enough to see what troops were with each convoy.

From 1st Dragoon Guards


Last edited by sas1 on Fri Mar 27, 2009 11:22 pm; edited 1 time in total
Back to top Go down
sas1

avatar

Posts : 630
Join date : 2009-01-20
Age : 39

PostSubject: Subject: Sergeant Smith of the KDG ( Part Two )   Fri Mar 27, 2009 10:21 pm

Sergeant Smith remembered,
"During our stay in Rorke's Drift we had some very hard days, for our duty there was to keep up communication with troops marching to Ulundi and had some hard days to march 15 to 20 miles out until we could see them.' General Marshall said that he had never seen such scouting, and made a special report to that effect to the commander in chief."
While at Fort Newdigate Marter took out two men to the spot where the Prince Imperial had been killed. They carted white stones seven miles on an ox cart and built a cairn. Queen Victoria later sent out a cross to be placed at the head, but specially requested that the work of her soldiers should not be disturbed.
By the beginning of July the main column approached the royal kraal of Cetawayo, the Zulu King, at Ulundi. On the 4 July the troops, which included the 17th Lancers with a troop of 24 men of the KDG under Lt Brewster, were roused before dawn and advanced in an open square, the flanks and rear being covered by the 17th Lancers, the troop of the KDG and the Mounted Irregulars. At about 8.45 a.m. the Mounted Irregulars became engaged with "all that remained of the young manhood of the (ZULU) nation', and as the Zulus advanced, the Mounted Irregulars slowly retired to the cover of the square, "firing their carbines as close to the advancing warriors as they dared', followed by the whole of the Zulu army. The Zulus advanced on the square with the greatest of bravery. "It was now about 9 a.m. and the guns were already hard at work. Before many minutes, the infantry volleys began tearing into the attacking black masses.' As soon as Lord Chelmsford saw signs of the enemy wavering, the 17th Lancers and the KDG troop who had been standing to their horses' heads, were ordered out in pursuit of the Zulus. As the troopers prepared to mount, the Zulu reserve suddenly charged and the troopers dismounted again until this final charge was broken by the relentless fire from the square. The cavalry then emerged through the rear face, the 21st (Royal Scots Fusiliers) and the 94th (Connaught Rangers) opening their ranks to allow the horses to trot out, form line and, advancing from the trot to the gallop, charge, sweeping around upon the Zulus and putting them to flight. The chase was pressed for some three miles before the troopers were held up by dongas and, being rallied, were recalled. The whole action lasted no more than three quarters of an hour, and the military power of the Zulu nation had been broken. The KDG suffered one horse killed and one horse wounded.
Lord Chelmsford had been replaced as commander in chief by Sir Garnet Wolseley, who on arrival, claimed Captain Douglas Willan with "A' troop KDG as his personal escort, retaining them for the whole of his time in Zululand, and subsequently as far as Pretoria.
Sergeant Smith of the KDG related:
"On Sir Garnet coming up country, we were taken from Rorke's Drift by him as escort to Ulundi, which was six or seven days march, and not short marches either. The day before we got to Ulundi, which was called Fort Victoria, we had a terrible storm at night, having blown nearly all the tents down, officers as well as ours. Horses running loose, donkeys and bullocks, men shouting, such a row was never heard, thunder and lightening besides pouring with rain, for myself. I crept under a waggon out of it until morning, drenched to the skin, everything we had was wet, having been exposed after the tents went down. We had a dram of rum given us next morning, and it was a Godsend I can tell you, for it put a bit of life into us."
Marter was amazed by the ferocity of the storm:
"236 of the transport bullocks lay dead in the camp, and many others that had broken away, were found dead in the bush afterwards. The force could not advance for lack of transport animals and the troops were formed into burial parties."
Leaving most of the troops to guard the stranded store waggons, Wolseley pushed on with "A' troop, and on the 13 August reached the headquarters camp at Ulundi.
Sergeant Smith wrote:
"Our next place was Ulundi, which was a ruin, and Sir Garnet commenced to collect in all the Zulu arms. One day we found an artillery gun in a donga, which we brought into camp, belonging to the artillery at Isandula (sic). "A' troop found both of the guns, which the Zulus had captured from "N' Battery of 5th Brigade at Isandhlwana, and brought them into Ulundi."
Marter writes:
"The main Zulu army had been beaten by the forces under Lord Chelmsford, but had not been followed up, the British troops retiring immediately after the battle, as if they had met with a reverse. It was not therefore known whether the Zulus had re-united to any extent, and at all events peace could not be made, or any arrangement for settling the country effected until the King either surrendered or was captured."
On 4 August "C' and "F' troops KDG, with Captains Brownlow and Watson joined Baker Russell's flying column and remained with it until it was broken up at the end of the month. On 9 August Captain Gibbing's troop made a reconnaissance of the Ulundi plain with orders (1) to trace the reputed waggon trail from Ulundi to Conference Hill, and to report on its condition, (2) to make contact with Baker Russell's column, thought to be fifty miles away near the Intabinkulu Mountains, (3) to return by an alternative route, and to report on its possible use for the army marching out of Zululand. Gibbing's troop fulfilled all its tasks and the route reconnoitred was later used. On 23 August Colonel Alexander with headquarters marched from Conference Hill out of Zululand to Utrecht in the Transvaal.

The power of the Zulu nation had been destroyed at Ulundi, but the Zulu King Cetewayo, was still at large. Until he either surrendered or was captured, it was felt that there would be no peace.
On the morning of 27 August 1879 Major Marter rode out with his squadron and some men of the Natal Native Contingent and Lonsdale's Horse, to search for Cetewayo on information that the King was hiding in the vicinity of the "Ngome forest. The squadron marched 24 miles and camped, having had a very rough ride, with the men's tunics torn to shreds by thorns and overhanging branches. When they moved off the next morning, a lone Zulu wandered by and made an apparently chance remark, which Marter determined to follow up. With two local guides they reached the summit of a mountain range, when the guides made a sign to the party to halt, where tall forest trees on the left hid the men and horses from being seen below; and when they had dismounted, they called Major Marter to the edge of the precipice, where the trees opened out a little, crawling along on hands and knees. Stopping there themselves, they told the Major to go on to a bush a little further from the edge, and to look down. He saw a kraal in an open space 2,000 feet or more below, at the bottom of a basin, three sides of which were precipitous and clothed in dense forest.
Sergeant Smith remembered how Marter saw:
"The kraal down at the bottom of an hill, about a stone's throw off to look at, but it took about three hours to get to it, having to lead our horses all the way through a forest. When we got back through our Major says to us, "When I say "'Gallop'', I want you to gallop, which we did up one hill, down another, and then on the level with stones as big as wheel barrows to get over, through, or anyway we liked. Hear one man and then another calling out "Stop that horse,' as the horse had fallen down with them, but it was everyone for himself, until we surrounded the kraal. The inmates were quite surprised, as none of them knew where we had sprung from. (The King) was a long time before he would surrender to us, but he was told that if he did not come out, we should burn him out, so he quietly came out, and looked as stately as a general coming to review a few thousand men on parade."
Marter reports:
"The chief, “Umkosana” met me, and I demanded where the King was. After some delay, seeing that the case was hopeless, he showed me to a hut on the further side of the circle. I called on the King to come out, which he positively declined to do, insisting that I should go in to him. Being unable to turn him from this, and at the same time determined that he should come out and surrender himself, I said that I was sorry, but having no time to waste, I was about to have a match applied to the hut, When he asked the rank of the officer to whom he must yield-by whose authority I had come-and stipulated that I should not kill him. I said that I had been specially sent by the High Commissioner (Governor) to bring him to him, under the authority of the Queen of England, and that I would not kill him if he came with me very quietly and made no attempt to escape. At last he came put, fine fellow as he is, and throwing his mantle over his shoulder, stood confronting me erect, and quite. The King”. Looked haughtily right and left, and seeing the helmets of mounted dragoons surrounding the kraal, he said to Umkosana, “ How did they get there?” and on the chief pointing to the mountain behind him, added, “ I never thought troops could come down the mountain through the forest, or I should not have been taken."
There were with the King seven men and a lad, and five women and a girl of his personal attendants, some men of Umlungulu's, and two men belonging to the kraal,, one to old and infirm to travel. All of these, except the old man and Umlungulu's men I put under charge and brought away. There were about twenty guns in the kraal, four being Martini-Henri rifles, marked 24th Regiment, much ammunition, a 24th Bugle, some old belts and many assegais, one of which, a barbed head one, which John Dunn said he had often seen “quiver in the King's hand.” was sent by Sir Garnet Wolseley to Her Majesty the Queen.
Dismounting six men with carbines, I made three march on either side of the prisoners, with a strong party in the front and rear, surrounding the whole with a fringe of dismounted men, when the ground rendered riding impossible, and devoted my personal attention to the King.
The return to Ulundi was not uneventful, as Cetewayo and his attendant wives and followers were uncooperative and gave us an infinity of trouble, nearly wearing us all out, and of course there could be little sleep. Making every excuse for delay, he frequently stopped and entered into long hindering talks with the interpreter, trying to let me send one of his prisoner attendants to some distant kraal for a particular sort of beer or snuff. The first night we put him and the rest into two huts, keeping vigilant watch, which was rendered more easy by the temperature falling until it became bitterly cold, and

From 1st Dragoon Guards


Last edited by sas1 on Fri Mar 27, 2009 11:23 pm; edited 1 time in total
Back to top Go down
sas1

avatar

Posts : 630
Join date : 2009-01-20
Age : 39

PostSubject: Sergeant Smith of the KDG ( Part Three )   Fri Mar 27, 2009 10:23 pm

because we had nothing to eat, all supplies, with blankets and spare clothing, having been left at the top of mountain. We started again at daybreak marching till 11 o'clock, when, being about twelve miles, by the track from the kraal in which the King had been taken, we came upon Lord Gifford and his party. I told Lord Gifford all my story, when he said that he had intended tom take the King himself at 8 o'clock in the evening, advancing from the open side, and had been watching the kraal. I asked him if he had been any nearer to it than he then was. He replied, “Yes, I have been to that tree,” pointing to a single tree which was about three-quarters of a mile off. Lord Gifford then set off quickly for Ulundi, taking his men with him.

Sergeant Smith reports:
"There was only a single track, and us leading our horses, some in front and some behind. All at once there was a cry of escape, and no mistake about it, after counting up we had eleven left. And the Major says, "Is the King gone?' so I told him not. He tells me to bind his hands, which I did by a piece of raw bullock's hide, that we tied our horses up with, and led him, with the Major behind with a loaded revolver. As we advanced at the head of our column, there was another of our prisoners escaped among the long grass, and a few of our mounted men tried to cut him down with their swords, but the grass was so strong, and not being able to see him, for he was like a snake dodging about, but one man drew his carbine and shot him at arm's length."
Marter continues:
"The prisoners had all been repeatedly warned that they would be shot if they tried to get away, so took there chances with eyes open. That night I put the King into his own kraal at Ndaza, where I found two companies of the 3-60th Rifles, with a two wheeled mule cart, which I had requested Brigadier Clarke to send to meet me to assist in protecting the King in the thick bush near the Black Umvolosi. Next morning, having with some difficulty got him and some of the women into the mule cart, we made our way to Brigadier Clarke's bivouac on the river (seven miles), whence I had started, and having had something to eat there, set off again towards Ulundi with fresh companies of the 60th, making about sixteen miles more, when we halted for the night in the bush-my last bivouac in the open! We made a shelter for “ His Majesty” and the women, by propping up the sailcloth covering of the mule cart on sticks.
The women were splendid specimens, each being nearly six feet high and formed in proportion. In the morning we reached Ulundi (nine miles) by 11 o'clock. When about to come insight of his old ruined capital, the King was evidently much dejected, and just before reaching the top of the hills overlooking Ulundi, he stopped, and placing his hands upon the top of his long staff, resting his head upon them for about half a minute then raising his head, he threw off all signs of depression, and marched onwards and into the camp with the most perfect dignity, the troops all having turned out to see him come in.
On entering the camp the escort was formed in the following order:- One troop King's Dragoon Guards, half company Natal Native Contingent, on e company 3-60th Rifles; the King, under charge of three officers KDG with drawn swords, Captain Gibbings being on his right, Captain Godson on his left, and Lieutenant Alexander behind him. Troops of the same description were similarly disposed in the rear, in reversed order, the whole being surrounded by a cordon of KDG and Irregular Horsemen to keep the crowd back."
On arrival of the King at Ulundi, it was found that Lord Gifford had generally stated in the camp that Marter had obtained information, which enabled him to take the King, from the note (sent by Gifford to Marter). Marter, taking one of his officers with him, found Lord Gifford, and told him plainly that he had no right to make the statements he had made, as the note had given no clue whatsoever to the King's whereabouts. Gifford said "I thought I had.' Marter replied, " If you only thought you had, you should not have made positive statements calculated to damage another officer.'

The Army and Navy Gazette of 6 September 1879 read: 1st Dragoon Guards. The most satisfactory accounts reach us from Natal as to the general behaviour of the Regiment and its efficiency. Our correspondent says, "Notwithstanding the serious disappointment suffered by the officers and men finding themselves deprived of the honour of marching on Ulundi, all ranks have worked in a spirit which does them no little credit. Though some have never tired of maligning this regiment, it has since its arrival in Natal shown that it is not behind-hand when work is to be done.

"C' and "F' Troops under Captain Brownlow were still with Baker Russell's flying column, which moved against a Bapedi chief, Sekukuni, known as "Cetewayo's Dog'. They were engaged in the attack on Manganobi's stronghold and Sekukuni's town, both of which were completely successful. Two KDG officers, Lt. C J Dewar and Cornet E L Wright, were attached to the 94th (Connaught Rangers) when Dewar was severely wounded by a bullet in his thigh. Some natives of the Natal Native Contingent started to carry him down, but then abandoned him when about forty Bapedi appeared.
Two privates of the 94th (Connaught Rangers), Privates Flawn and Fitzpatrick, came to his rescue, one carrying him and the other holding off the Bapedi with rifle fire. Both of these men were awarded the Victoria Cross. During October Marter heard that he had been promoted brevet Lieutenant Colonel in recognition of his services in capturing Cetewayo.
Foot Note: Cetawayo is often spelt incorrectly as Chetawayo.

From 1st Dragoon Guards


Last edited by sas1 on Fri Mar 27, 2009 11:22 pm; edited 1 time in total
Back to top Go down
sas1

avatar

Posts : 630
Join date : 2009-01-20
Age : 39

PostSubject: Re: Sergeant Smith of the KDG (Part One)   Fri Mar 27, 2009 11:19 pm

[quote="sas1"]because we had nothing to eat, all supplies, with blankets and spare clothing, having been left at the top of mountain. We started again at daybreak marching till 11 o'clock, when, being about twelve miles, by the track from the kraal in which the King had been taken, we came upon Lord Gifford and his party. I told Lord Gifford all my story, when he said that he had intended tom take the King himself at 8 o'clock in the evening, advancing from the open side, and had been watching the kraal. I asked him if he had been any nearer to it than he then was. He replied, “Yes, I have been to that tree,” pointing to a single tree which was about three-quarters of a mile off. Lord Gifford then set off quickly for Ulundi, taking his men with him.

Sergeant Smith reports:
"There was only a single track, and us leading our horses, some in front and some behind. All at once there was a cry of escape, and no mistake about it, after counting up we had eleven left. And the Major says, "Is the King gone?' so I told him not. He tells me to bind his hands, which I did by a piece of raw bullock's hide, that we tied our horses up with, and led him, with the Major behind with a loaded revolver. As we advanced at the head of our column, there was another of our prisoners escaped among the long grass, and a few of our mounted men tried to cut him down with their swords, but the grass was so strong, and not being able to see him, for he was like a snake dodging about, but one man drew his carbine and shot him at arm's length."
Marter continues:
"The prisoners had all been repeatedly warned that they would be shot if they tried to get away, so took there chances with eyes open. That night I put the King into his own kraal at Ndaza, where I found two companies of the 3-60th Rifles, with a two wheeled mule cart, which I had requested Brigadier Clarke to send to meet me to assist in protecting the King in the thick bush near the Black Umvolosi. Next morning, having with some difficulty got him and some of the women into the mule cart, we made our way to Brigadier Clarke's bivouac on the river (seven miles), whence I had started, and having had something to eat there, set off again towards Ulundi with fresh companies of the 60th, making about sixteen miles more, when we halted for the night in the bush-my last bivouac in the open! We made a shelter for “ His Majesty” and the women, by propping up the sailcloth covering of the mule cart on sticks.
The women were splendid specimens, each being nearly six feet high and formed in proportion. In the morning we reached Ulundi (nine miles) by 11 o'clock. When about to come insight of his old ruined capital, the King was evidently much dejected, and just before reaching the top of the hills overlooking Ulundi, he stopped, and placing his hands upon the top of his long staff, resting his head upon them for about half a minute then raising his head, he threw off all signs of depression, and marched onwards and into the camp with the most perfect dignity, the troops all having turned out to see him come in.
On entering the camp the escort was formed in the following order:- One troop King's Dragoon Guards, half company Natal Native Contingent, on e company 3-60th Rifles; the King, under charge of three officers KDG with drawn swords, Captain Gibbings being on his right, Captain Godson on his left, and Lieutenant Alexander behind him. Troops of the same description were similarly disposed in the rear, in reversed order, the whole being surrounded by a cordon of KDG and Irregular Horsemen to keep the crowd back."
On arrival of the King at Ulundi, it was found that Lord Gifford had generally stated in the camp that Marter had obtained information, which enabled him to take the King, from the note (sent by Gifford to Marter). Marter, taking one of his officers with him, found Lord Gifford, and told him plainly that he had no right to make the statements he had made, as the note had given no clue whatsoever to the King's whereabouts. Gifford said "I thought I had.' Marter replied, " If you only thought you had, you should not have made positive statements calculated to damage another officer.'

The Army and Navy Gazette of 6 September 1879 read: 1st Dragoon Guards. The most satisfactory accounts reach us from Natal as to the general behaviour of the Regiment and its efficiency. Our correspondent says, "Notwithstanding the serious disappointment suffered by the officers and men finding themselves deprived of the honour of marching on Ulundi, all ranks have worked in a spirit which does them no little credit. Though some have never tired of maligning this regiment, it has since its arrival in Natal shown that it is not behind-hand when work is to be done.

"C' and "F' Troops under Captain Brownlow were still with Baker Russell's flying column, which moved against a Bapedi chief, Sekukuni, known as "Cetewayo's Dog'. They were engaged in the attack on Manganobi's stronghold and Sekukuni's town, both of which were completely successful. Two KDG officers, Lt. C J Dewar and Cornet E L Wright, were attached to the 94th (Connaught Rangers) when Dewar was severely wounded by a bullet in his thigh. Some natives of the Natal Native Contingent started to carry him down, but then abandoned him when about forty Bapedi appeared.
Two privates of the 94th (Connaught Rangers), Privates Flawn and Fitzpatrick, came to his rescue, one carrying him and the other holding off the Bapedi with rifle fire. Both of these men were awarded the Victoria Cross. During October Marter heard that he had been promoted brevet Lieutenant Colonel in recognition of his services in capturing Cetewayo.
Foot Note: Cetawayo is often spelt incorrectly as Chetawayo.

From 1st Dragoon Guards
Back to top Go down
sas1

avatar

Posts : 630
Join date : 2009-01-20
Age : 39

PostSubject: Re: Sergeant Smith of the KDG (Part One)   Fri Mar 27, 2009 11:21 pm

[quote="sas1"]On 11 February 1879 an unexpected order was received for the 1st King's Dragoon Guards to go to South Africa on active service against the Zulus.
Sergeant Smith of the KDG described the resulting feverish activity:
"One morning, as we were going out on reconnaissance duty, we had got about a mile from camp, (when) we received the command to halt, and found out that we were for the Zulu campaign, as soon as we could be got in order. So we had to return to camp and commence work, for we had only a week to do it in, and a very busy week it was. When a Regiment is ordered out, there are so many different things wanted, such as volunteers and horses. We had men and horses from several regiments, some from the Scotch Greys, 3rd Dragoon Guards, 2nd Dragoon Guards, 6th and 7th Dragoon Guards, to make up our strength, saddlery and accoutrements wanted besides cork helmets for brass. Every man had to be inspected by the doctor to see if he was fit for service, and too many inspections to mention."
The left wing, under command of Major Marter, left Aldershot on 27 February, followed the next day by the right wing under Lt. Colonel H Alexander, the commanding officer. The regiment embarked at Southampton in two steamships, Spain and Egypt, hired by the Government from the National Line, with 634 all ranks and 454 horses.
Sergeant Smith of the KDG gives a graphic account of the embarkation and journey:
"There were a great many friends to see us go away from Aldershot, particularly the female class. Married women and such like pulling all sorts of faces, but they had to be left and away we went. We did not sail on the day we embarked, but the next morning, on account of a very dense fog. We get plum pudding and salt junk (or pork) and pea soup; other day's bully beef, or tinned meat, bread three times a week and crackers (biscuits). People without a good set of teeth gets on rather badly, we get a kind of porter every day that made it better."

The regiment arrived at Durban and disembarked on 9 April 1879. "When all were landed, the Cavalry were dispatched to the camp prepared for them at Cato's Manor, and on the 12th were inspected by Lord Chelmsford, the Commander in Chief, attended by Major General Clifford and Colonel Crealock.
Sergeant Smith again recalled:
We stayed in camp for two or three days to get our horses used to solid footing, for they were like drunken men on landing, having stood up for six weeks.' The horses looked like "tucked up whippets'. And having always fed on cut fodder, they had never supported themselves by grazing, and so refused, at first the rank grass of Natal, which, around Durban, was in any case worked out.
On 14 April General Marshall, commanding the cavalry brigade, made up of the KDG and 17th Lancers, ordered the two regiments to parade through Durban. The troopers rode in light marching order,' and the scene as they passed through the crowded streets will never be forgotten. The Dragoons all carried the Martini-Henry carbine, in addition to their swords.'
General Marshall issued an order;
"Col Alexander, Officers and men of the KDG. I have the greatest pleasure in telling you that the appearance of the regiment as it marched was most satisfactory. I feel confidant that the Regiment is in a most satisfactory and efficient state. I shall make it my special duty to report to the highest authorities in this country and back home the high state in which I find it to be, and I feel that I cannot make use of terms too strong in so doing. You will publish what I have now said in Orders, with a view to its being entered in Regimental Records.
The march inland started on 17 April, but the horses were still so weak and overloaded that they only managed 10 miles a day, and even then required to rest every third day. Pietermaritzburg was reached on the 23 April.
Sgt Smith noted;
"A very pretty little town; after getting all our camp equipment we started towards Dundee, where we again halted for a day or two. From Dundee our regiment, the 17th Lancers and two Batteries of Artillery were ordered to go to Rorke's Drift and Isandula (sic) We did not take any tents with us, and had to have the sky for a roof above us, and very cold it was then with only an oil skin, one blanket and our cloak. This is what we call bivouacking."
Major Marter recalls:
"General Marshall decided upon making a reconnaissance over the Isandhlwana battlefield were the 24th Foot had been massacred four months earlier and breaking the spell that seemed to hang over it.' The column arrived at Rorke's Drift on the evening of the 24th May and bivouacked near Fort Melville, which had been built about a mile from the mission station."
On the 21 May Revellie was at 2.30am. General Parade at 3am marched from camp at 4 am, passing Sihayo's burnt kraal and working through the hills by the valley of the Bashee to the Nqutu Plateau, descending to the battlefield of Isandhlwana, arriving there at 8am. Vedettes were at once posted.

Major Marter wrote:
"Before daylight we forced the Buffalo River, and made our way along a track between hills covered with scrub jungle, in which it was very difficult to keep a lookout. As daylight broke, the wagons of the ill-fated force could be clearly seen in the distance against the sky. On arrival there was the camp, the oxen inspanned in the waggons, the horses at their picket post, the Officers Mess and their baggage, the Quartermaster's Stores and supplies, and officers and men lying about in their uniforms-dead-but singularly lifelike, as from the state of the climate the bodies had only dried. Many were recognizable. They had not been mutilated. Birds and beasts did not seem to have molested them, and the Zulus had removed nothing but arms and ammunition, and part of the canvas of tents." (Marter made a sketch map of the scene);

With such light tools as we had, we buried some of the bodies, Colonel Durnford among them, and, having brought every spare horse and tackle procurable, dragged about 40 waggons back to Rorke's Drift.
On the 22 May the KDG left Rorke's Drift and advanced to Landman's Drift and Koppie Allein on the Blood River.
"We marched at 8a.m. for Landman's Drift after 24 miles we arrived in the camp at 4pm. The nights and mornings were dreadfully cold. So much we could barely saddle our horses our hands being so numb. During the day it was very hot indeed."
Marter was sent by Lord Chelmsford to make the reconnaissance into Zululand, in order to determine the line of advance of 2nd Division, with two squadrons- a ride of about fifty miles. On the way back, while Marter was occupied with the rearguard, Captain Bethall, KDG, took it upon himself to trot off with the main body back to camp. This left three officers and nineteen men on there own in enemy territory with broken country and fading light. Marter with another officer and six men managed to reach camp some two hours after dark, but the remainder were stranded without food or cloaks for the night. The remaining two officers and all the men, bar three, came in at midday the following day. Two of the missing men whose horses had died, were brought in later that day, whilst the final man was not found until the third day.
It had been the intention for the KDG to move to Sanderton, but in view of the difficulty in procuring forage for the cavalry brigade, it was decided that the KDG should remain on the frontier. On 26 May the right wing of headquarters and 4 troops, under Colonel Alexander, left Landmans Drift for conference Hill, and the left wing under Major Marter was to return to Rorke's Drift.
Marter commented:
"It was now decided that the KDG should remain on the frontier, whilst the 17th Lancers accompanied the column advancing into Zululand. In vain did General Marshall remonstrate, but he was not on good terms with Lord Chelmsford, and his arguments were disregarded. In vain did Marter endeavor to persuade his Colonel to make a stand against the heart of the regiment being thus broken. At length, almost beside himself Marter went to Lord Chelmsford's tent, and notwithstanding repeated rebuffs, did not leave until he had brought him reluctantly to agree that Marter, with one Squadron should accompany the column."
The remaining two troops of the left wing, under Captain Douglas Willan, returned to hold the post at Rorke's Drift.
Sergeant Smith reported:
"On account of us losing our convoy of provisions, we were in the cart, and had to stay on the borders, and do convoy duty."
Marter continues:
"With the Colonels permission Marter picked officers, men and horses, about a 186 all ranks, and on the 1 June in high spirits, (they) crossed the Blood River into Zululand with the column. That day the Prince Imperial was killed, and early next morning, Marter and his Squadron, with some of the 17th Lancers, was sent out to find his body. This was done and the body brought into to camp."
It was on the 2 June that "D' and "H' troops discovered the remains of the Prince Imperial at the Ityotosi River, and one troop escorted the body, covered with a blanket and on a bier made up of lances, to the camp on Itelezi Hill.
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."
Lord Chelmsford had decided to command the main body himself, and he placed the security of the lines of communication under General Clifford, giving him three infantry battalions, The KDG and some of the Natal Contingent. The squadron of KDG left at Fort Newdigate was placed in charge of a convoy, which was pushing through to Koppie Allein, in support of General Wood's flying column. Another was attached to Baker Russell's column; while the two remaining squadrons were stationed at Conference Hill on the lines of communication.
The squadron at Fort Newdigate had to meet all convoys and pass them from the frontier on to the next fort, and on the intervening days they were charged with raiding to the left rear of Lord Chelmsford's column, burning kraals and devastating the countryside so as to clear out any Zulus. As the Zulus had burnt most of the grass, there was little grazing for the horses, and since Lord Chelmsford had ordered the supply of corn to be restricted, many horses died from pressure of hard work and lack of provender. As the infantry in the fort were forbidden to go out on escort duties, the handful of Dragoon's were hard worked. After the war was over the Zulus were asked why they had not attacked the slenderly guarded convoys, and they said that the scouting was so good that they could never get near enough to see what troops were with each convoy.

From 1st Dragoon Guards sas1
Back to top Go down
Sponsored content




PostSubject: Re: Sergeant Smith of the KDG (Part One)   

Back to top Go down
 
Sergeant Smith of the KDG (Part One)
View previous topic View next topic Back to top 
Page 1 of 1

Permissions in this forum:You cannot reply to topics in this forum
WWW.1879ZULUWAR.COM  :: ZULU WAR EYE WITNESS ACCOUNTS-
Jump to: