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Brev. Lt-Col. R.H. Buller, VC, Staff
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 Letters written by Lt. C J Anstruther.

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littlehand

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PostSubject: Letters written by Lt. C J Anstruther.   Sun 29 May 2011 - 22:48

1879 Zulu War - Battle of Ulundi. Two remarkable 1879 letters written by Lt. C. J Anstruther Thomson of the 17th Lancers, the first written before the battle describing the kraal of Ulundi, the second letter describing the battle, with a plan of the fight prior to the charge of the Lancers. Both letters have stampless covers endorsed by Anstruther Thomson and addressed to his mother in London, the first endorsed "On active service in the field" with circular framed "6d" charge mark and "No 34 P.O / NATAL" c.d.s (3 July ?) of Dundee backstamped at Durban (July 7) and London; the second cover with unframed "6d" charge mark and a fine "No 34 P.O / NATAL" (July 18) c.d.s of Dundee, backstamped at Pietermartzburg (July 22) and London. The first letter, headed "Umslatoore River, This is as near the pronunciation as I can get", includes "Col. Wood has gone on & will I suppose finish the war alone as Ld Chelmsford is feeling in the most beastly way. Wood is only 3 miles on but he is not likely to wait for us .... I suppose the death of the Prince Imperial has caused no end of excitement at home, much more than out here. I have seen 2 fights & in one Frith was shot dead. They advanced to the foot of the mountain & as no guns or infantry were sent they could not go any further & had to retire. I was a scout to Ld Chelmsford & saw it from a long way off..... We attacked the niggers & they ran away & very few were killed ..... Our spies say Ketchwayo cant get an army together but we have not seen any regular army yet so I expect we shall have some fun soon..... I see Col. Crealock pretty often but have not spoken to him yet. They say it is entirely owing to him that all these disasters have occurred, in fact Isandhlwana would not have occurred if it had not been for him ...... Tuesday - I have just seen Ulundi from the top of the hill, it is a tremendous big kraal for it must be 30 miles from here. We saw a lot of Zulus this morning & I believe there were a lot more behind the hill. There is a large army collected so I suppose this war will be at an end for he only wants one more licking & then he will shut up altogether & his people will kill him......... We have joined Wood and he is not so keen on going on alone now that he hears so many Zulus are about". The second letter is headed "Magnibonium (Entonjaneni)" and includes "This is a plan of the fight while it was going on and before we charged [drawn plan]. The whole Zulu nation was there & all their swell generals & Ketchwayo was looking on with his bodyguard in a kraal. In all there were 25,000 men there but 8,000 never came into action, the number we killed was larger than they reported at first as they were scattered all over the place & lots were killed shooting at us afterwards. Poor Edgell was killed shot through the mouth in the charge & Jenkins was hit in the mouth or rather on the chin but is much better now....... everyone seems to think our charge was a great affair so I suppose you have heard of it already..... the charge was made at a canter, we burnt all his best kraals...... the curious thing was the Zulus had chosen exactly the same place for the fight & made their dispositions accordingly & if we had not attacked them they meant to have starved us out by surrounding the camp until we crossed the river and fought them in the open as they thought we had no chance against them..... Every one is very glad Ld Chelmsford beat them & Sir G.W & the other column had nothing to do with it & they are awfully angry with Crealock for not having been up before....... The idea was Ld Chelmsfords own & he did it in opposition to Sir G.W who said by a message 'I strongly oppose your plan' so he was well sold at any rate..... there are places one can look for miles & never see a kraal or even a tree for one hardly ever sees a nigger unless there are 5 or 6 hundred about. Ld William Beresford has been out here..... I believe he will get a V.C for saving the life of a Sergeant in a reconnaissance they made the day before the battle..... Col. Crealock made a sketch of our charge which they say was very good..... The Colonel got a tremendous crack on the back from a spent bullet but he went on all day
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PostSubject: Re: Letters written by Lt. C J Anstruther.   Sun 29 May 2011 - 22:51

This could open a good discussion. His view on Crealock.

I see Col. Crealock pretty often but have not spoken to him yet. They say it is entirely owing to him that all these disasters have occurred, in fact Isandhlwana would not have occurred if it had not been for him .
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PostSubject: Re: Letters written by Lt. C J Anstruther.   Mon 30 May 2011 - 7:43

Littlehand
He refers to a sketch made of the disposition of the troops at isandlwana. I dont know where you found the letter on the web but was the sketch in evidence?

Regards
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PostSubject: Re: Letters written by Lt. C J Anstruther.   Mon 30 May 2011 - 9:41

Hi Springbok.
Only these but I not sure there much help.
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PostSubject: Re: Letters written by Lt. C J Anstruther.   Mon 30 May 2011 - 9:58

Thanks Littlehand
My mistake, on re reading he refers to a sketch of Ulundi. Thats the one you posted, its pretty acurate as well with the gun positions and troop placements.

Regards

Now start searching for the long lost Bromhead diary
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PostSubject: Re: Letters written by Lt. C J Anstruther.   Mon 30 May 2011 - 10:39

Bromheads Diary. I have that for ages. Didn't know you was interested in that.
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PostSubject: Re: Letters written by Lt. C J Anstruther.   Wed 13 Jul 2011 - 0:01

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PostSubject: Zulu slaughterers,slaughtered...Chapter 1 ,Bronkhorstspruit.   Tue 7 Feb 2012 - 9:27

Action at Bronkhorstspruit

The Action at Bronkhorstspruit was one of the first serious clashes of the First Boer War.

It was a skirmish between a British army column and a group of Boers, fought a few miles east of the town of Bronkhorstspruit, Transvaal on 20 December 1880.

A column of British soldiers consisting of six officers and 246 men of the 94th Regiment ( the HQ and 2 Coys of this regiment), as well as 12 men of the Army Service Corps and four of the Army Hospital Corps, were marching on a road to Pretoria, when at least 150 or 250 Boers appeared to the left of the column.

Making use of the limited cover, the Boers crept to within 200 yards of the British. Lt. Col. Anstruther parleyed with a Boer envoy, who had brought a request from the Transvaal government to turn back.

Anstruther refused, but before he could move his column into skirmish formation the Boers opened fire at 12:30 pm.

Within 15 minutes, most of the officers were killed or wounded, and the horses and oxen pulling the covered wagons at the front and rear of the column were killed, preventing any movement.

Shocked by the sudden and aggressive nature of the attack, Lt. Col. Anstruther gave the order to surrender.

In a battle lasting just 15 minutes, 156 or 157 British soldiers had been hit (all the officer except one were shot ) and 77 of them were dead, with the rest taken prisoner.

Anstruther himself had been hit five times, and dead shortly after...

Reported Boer casualties were only two killed and four or five wounded...

After the Boers immediately invested the British garrisons around the country.

Cheers

Pascal

Sources : The Boers Wars (1) 1836 - 98 by Ian Knight
British Infantryman in South Africa 1877-81 by Ian Castle.


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PostSubject: Re: Letters written by Lt. C J Anstruther.   Wed 8 Feb 2012 - 9:04

Hello

If there is more information on the detail of the battle of Bronkhorstpruit that I'm interested ...

Cheers

Pascal
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90th

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PostSubject: Letters written by Lt. C.J Anstruther    Wed 8 Feb 2012 - 9:13

Hello Pascal .
You may have more success if you search the internet . I'm sure there is much information out there , you'll just need to find it .

Salute Salute .
cheers 90th. Very Happy
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PostSubject: Re: Letters written by Lt. C J Anstruther.   Wed 8 Feb 2012 - 9:29

Dear Garry,

This is what I do, but normally on a forum on the Zulu War, there should be something, because all the colonial conflicts in Africa south of the 9th Cap War at the Transvaal War are in connections ... Salute

Cheers

Pascal
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