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 Dartnell's patrol

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Brett Hendey

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PostSubject: Dartnell's patrol   Fri Aug 19, 2011 9:25 am

I wonder if there are any generally accepted numbers for the Natal Mounted Policemen and Natal Volunteers that made up Major Dartnell's patrol on the day before the Battle of Isandlwana?

My figures are:

Natal Mounted Police - 97 (34 remained in camp; 9 escaped)
Natal Carbineers - 28 (29 in camp; 7 escaped)
Newcastle Mounted Rifles - 20 (15 in camp; 7 escaped)
Buffalo Border Guard - 15 (8 in camp; 5 escaped)

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Brett
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90th

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PostSubject: Dartnell's Patrol   Fri Aug 19, 2011 10:04 am

Hi Brett.
This from ; Zulu- Isandlwana & Rorke's Drift 22 / 23 rd Jan 1879 by Ian Knight ( It's the big Silver Book ).
'' The Volunteers were paraded early on the morning of the 21st , and Dartnell asked for volunteers to join the patrol
since a number of men had to be left in the camp for picquet duties . The patrol was ordered to take no more than a day's
rations as they were expected back in the camp by noon . The Carbineers each snatched a handful of biscuits and a preserved
tin of salmon . Dartnell's party consisted of nearly 120 men in all ; about 46 Mtd Police under Inspector Mansell , 27 Carbineers
under Offy Shepstone , 20 Newcastle Mtd Rifles and 16 Buffalo Border Guard ''
cheers 90th.
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Brett Hendey

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PostSubject: Re: Dartnell's patrol   Fri Aug 19, 2011 1:37 pm

Hi 90th

Many thanks for responding. The totals for the Natal Carbineers, Newcastle Mounted Rifles and Buffalo Border Guard seem always to be within a man or two of the figures you quote. However, it is the numbers for the Natal Mounted Police that are the most variable. Since this is the unit in which I have the greatest interest, I give below the reason for believing that it was 97 NMPolicemen who were with Dartnell.

Trooper (late Chief Commissioner) W J Clarke, who was with Dartnell, became the unofficial historian of the NMP and in 1893, shortly before the NMP was transformed into the Natal Police, he published a small book entitled: "The N.M.P. A Record of the Services of the Natal Mounted Police". In the section on the Zulu War, he records that after the NMP left the Isandlwana battlefield and arrived at Rorke's Drift a "parade was ordered to find out the names of men missing ...." and he goes on to give the muster roll recorded then. There are 134 names on this roll and the men who took part in the Isandlwana and Rorke's Drift battles are identified. There were three men at Rorke's Drift and "34 men were left in [the Isandlwana] camp".

This leaves 97 men available to join the Dartnell patrol. Since no men returned to Natal until after the battles and there was nowhere else for them to go, they could only have been on patrol with Dartnell on those fateful two days.

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Brett
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90th

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PostSubject: Dartnell's Patrol   Fri Aug 19, 2011 2:36 pm

Hi Brett.
Did you check ' The Mounted Police Of Natal ' by Holt ?. If not I'll have a look tomorrow .
cheers 90th.
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90th

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PostSubject: Dartnell's Patrol   Sat Aug 20, 2011 2:37 am

Hi Brett.
The following from The Mounted Police Of Natal by H.P.Holt .

'' The Police had had a hard task , and were anticipating rest and food for themselves and their beasts when a staff officer
rode up and ordered Insp Mansel to place outposts on all the commanding hills on the East . Col Clarke recalls the fact that
his troop was sent to an outlying ridge , and it was left there until long after dark , when a non - commissioned officer rode out
and explained apologetically to the ravenous men that they had been forgotten by the staff officer . It was then 8pm, and they
did not reach the camp until an hour later , when dinner ( Which consisted of Biscuits and Bully Beef ) was over . At 9.30
'' Fall in for orders '' was sounded , and the police were informed that they had to parade at 3am with the volunteers to reconnoitre
in the direction of Matyana's stronghold . The news that Major Dartnell was to be in command was received with cheers . The Police
having only a few hours in which to rest , did not trouble to find their Kits , and never saw them again . All but 34 members of the
Police went off before dawn . They took no rations , being informed that they would be back before noon , when a hot meal would be
provided for them . There were many a man wished , sorrowfully , afterwards that he had put something to eat in his pocket . ''.
cheers 90th .
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Brett Hendey

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PostSubject: Re: Dartnell's patrol   Sat Aug 20, 2011 6:17 am

Hi 90th

Thank you for your continued interest in this subject.

I do have a copy of Holt's book, which relied heavily on the records of the NMP/NP published by Clarke in his 1893 book and in a series of articles in the NP magazine, 'The Nongqai'.

In the present context, the critical sentence in Holt's account is:
"All but thirty-four members of the police went off before dawn."
The '34' refers to the men left behind at the Isandlwana camp and 'all' refers to the rest of the NMP contingent, i.e. the 97 men listed on the muster roll compiled at Rorke's Drift on the morning after the battles.

Regards
Brett
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