WWW.1879ZULUWAR.COM

Film Zulu Dawn:Lt. Col. Pulleine: His Lordship is of the cetain opinion that it's far too difficult an approach to be chosen by the Zulu command.Col. Durnford: Yes, well... difficulty never deterred a Zulu commander.
 
HomeHome  CalendarCalendar  GalleryGallery  PublicationsPublications  FAQFAQ  SearchSearch  RegisterRegister  Log inLog in  
Latest topics
Colonel R.T. Glyn, 1/24th Regt. kwaSokhexe, Ulundi
[Mac and Shad](Isandula Collection)
Secrets Of The Dead The Mystery Of Zulu Dawn
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
Drummer Boy 14
 
Frank Allewell
 
90th
 
rusteze
 
ADMIN
 
SRB1965
 
Julian Whybra
 
ymob
 
1879graves
 
xhosa2000
 
Most active topics
Isandlwana, Last Stands
Pte David Jenkins. 'Forgotten' Survivor of Rorke's Drift Returned to Official Records
Durnford was he capable.5
Durnford was he capable.1
Durnford was he capable. 3
Durnford was he capable.2
Durnford was he capable. 4
The ammunition question
Pte David Jenkins. 'Forgotten' Survivor of Rorke's Drift Returned to Official Records
The missing five hours.

Share | 
 

 How far roughly is the distance from Isandlwana to Coffin rock.

View previous topic View next topic Go down 
Go to page : 1, 2  Next
AuthorMessage
littlehand

avatar

Posts : 7050
Join date : 2009-04-24
Age : 49
Location : Down South.

PostSubject: How far roughly is the distance from Isandlwana to Coffin rock.   Sat May 30, 2009 9:32 am

I have just seen the question asked by 24th to Billy regarding. How long did it take him to get from Isandlwana to Coffin rock.

My question is does anyone know the distance between the two points, in miles.
Back to top Go down
Guest
Guest



PostSubject: Re: How far roughly is the distance from Isandlwana to Coffin rock.   Sat May 30, 2009 1:21 pm

HI Littlehand
not sure on that one myself and i was there did not go the full distance by foot cheeted and used the van to go by road to the otherside of the river at a rough guess but would not like to swear to it around 4 miles i would love to know also
Back to top Go down
Guest
Guest



PostSubject: Re: How far roughly is the distance from Isandlwana to Coffin rock.   Sat May 30, 2009 3:19 pm

Hi Littlehand
just found a scale map in one of my book's distance from Isandlwana to Fugetives drift is around 6 miles give a few yards or two
Don't think i would have carried all my kit to run that far with someone out to get me
Back to top Go down
sas1

avatar

Posts : 628
Join date : 2009-01-20
Age : 39

PostSubject: Re: How far roughly is the distance from Isandlwana to Coffin rock.   Sat May 30, 2009 5:36 pm

Billy just out of interest. In your own opinion how long would you say that distance would take to cover on horseback taking into account the terrain, and lets say in a state of panic.

sas1
Back to top Go down
Chelmsfordthescapegoat

avatar

Posts : 2549
Join date : 2009-04-24

PostSubject: Re: How far roughly is the distance from Isandlwana to Coffin rock.   Sat May 30, 2009 5:41 pm

I can see where this going before it starts.
Back to top Go down
Guest
Guest



PostSubject: Re: How far roughly is the distance from Isandlwana to Coffin rock.   Sat May 30, 2009 8:53 pm

not being a rider i would hate to guess maybe scapegoat has an idea
Back to top Go down
90th

avatar

Posts : 9341
Join date : 2009-04-07
Age : 61
Location : Melbourne, Australia

PostSubject: isandlwana - fugitives drift   Sun May 31, 2009 1:04 pm

hi all,

there is one major point we must remember, according to I.KNIGHTS book, THE ZULU WAR THEN AND NOW.
the amount of vegetation, trees, undergrowth and all manner of dead trees etc, etc. has increased 1000%. in the photos of 1879 some of the hills leading down to the buffalo river are barren, the same places today are a tangle of brush and thorn bush, but it would have been a nightmare, trying to negotiate the rocks and boulders in a panic.

cheers 90th.
Back to top Go down
Chelmsfordthescapegoat

avatar

Posts : 2549
Join date : 2009-04-24

PostSubject: Re: How far roughly is the distance from Isandlwana to Coffin rock.   Sun May 31, 2009 8:21 pm

I would say as long as it took for Melvill and Coghill to get there. For the heroic deed that got them the VC.
Back to top Go down
24th

avatar

Posts : 1837
Join date : 2009-03-25

PostSubject: Re: How far roughly is the distance from Isandlwana to Coffin rock.   Sun May 31, 2009 8:46 pm

But it also depends on what time Melvill supposedly left the Battlefield . If we knew roughly the time it would take to get from Isandlwana to the Coffin Rock location, them it would determine the approximate time he left
Back to top Go down
Guest
Guest



PostSubject: Re: How far roughly is the distance from Isandlwana to Coffin rock.   Mon Jun 01, 2009 10:00 am

I agree with Chelmsfordthescapegoat it all depended on the Individual and his fight for survival the only guy's who will know this are the ones lucky enough to escape unfortunatly they are no longer alive and i doubt if they kept stopping to check a pocket watch it's all guess work.
If the Camp fell at around 13.30hrs -1400 and the first fugitives got to Rorkes Drift around 1600hrs we would still have to know when they first left camp.
Worth thinking of but we may never know
Back to top Go down
Saul David 1879



Posts : 526
Join date : 2009-02-28

PostSubject: Re: How far roughly is the distance from Isandlwana to Coffin rock.   Mon Jun 01, 2009 10:02 am

Little Hand there are lots of books that have been published regarding Melvill leaving Isandlwana. There are some discrepancies as to when he actually left the field.
This topic could lead into a discussion as to weather or not Melvill and Coghill deserve the VC or not.
Billy was asked if knows how long it would take to get between the two points on horse back. Not a fair question as Billy stated he does not ride and 90th raises a good point with reference to the ever changing terrain.
If Billy had been asked if he thought Melvill and Coghill deserved the VC then we might have got a different perspective from someone who knows his subject and who has been to the location.

S.D
Back to top Go down
Guest
Guest



PostSubject: Re: How far roughly is the distance from Isandlwana to Coffin rock.   Mon Jun 01, 2009 10:47 am

HI Saul David
AS an Ex Squaddie all men that day deserve recognition wether they got the VC or not and it's us guy's today who chat like this make it as all are remembered as heros and not forgoten
Back to top Go down
littlehand

avatar

Posts : 7050
Join date : 2009-04-24
Age : 49
Location : Down South.

PostSubject: Re: How far roughly is the distance from Isandlwana to Coffin rock.   Mon Jun 01, 2009 6:19 pm

Billy good answer. But do you think Melvill should have received the VC. It is said that he took the colours to rally the men.
But don't you thnk the rally point should have been on the Battlefield and not six miles away
Back to top Go down
Guest
Guest



PostSubject: Re: How far roughly is the distance from Isandlwana to Coffin rock.   Tue Jun 02, 2009 7:48 am

Hi Littlehand
always been a debatable question it may upset some folk but i say what i think No disrespect to Melville or Coghill and no disrespect to any living realative bbut why where the colours not passed on to a Sargeant ,corpral,or Private.
A soldier relies upon his officers for Moral I have often wondered what any soldier thought when they saw them ride out of camp no doubt lost heart.
But saying that if Col; Pulline gave them a Direct Order a soldiers job is to obey without question.
May be if they had suvived there would have been questions asked Take for instance Lt J Carey after the Death of the Prince Imperial He was Court Martialed .
Another Isandlewana escapee LT Horrace Smith-Dorrian in Later years becaame a Brigadear in the 1st world war and sighned the Death warrents for Deserting and shellshocked troops bet no one ever said to him you did that at Isandlewana.
no doubt i will get some flack with this one but as i say it's only my oppinion
Back to top Go down
90th

avatar

Posts : 9341
Join date : 2009-04-07
Age : 61
Location : Melbourne, Australia

PostSubject: the colours   Tue Jun 02, 2009 8:33 am

hi littlehand,

all the reports i have read seem to indicate MELVILLE was told to SAVE the colours, or he took it upon himself to do so. wasnt much of a chance to rally because of the numbers of zulus coming from the 3 directions. when the frontline retreated to the camp,according to curling the zulus were already in the camp doing ' TERRIBLE WORK".
MELVILLE watched this unfold and was told to go, or took it upon himself to go.

cheers 90th.
Back to top Go down
90th

avatar

Posts : 9341
Join date : 2009-04-07
Age : 61
Location : Melbourne, Australia

PostSubject: melville   Tue Jun 02, 2009 8:35 am

hi all

forgot to add, NO DISRESPECT meant in my previous post.

cheers 90th.
Back to top Go down
Saul David 1879



Posts : 526
Join date : 2009-02-28

PostSubject: Re: How far roughly is the distance from Isandlwana to Coffin rock.   Tue Jun 02, 2009 10:29 am

I think we all know, that it was very unlikely that Pulleine gave the order to save the colour as he was probably dead by the time Melvill decided to take it upon himself to do so.
The question is why was he so far away from the Battlefield. Lets have a look again at what Wolseley said.

"I am sorry that both of theses officers were not killed with their men at Isandlwana instead of where they were.[...] I don't like the idea of officers escaping on horseback when their men on foot are killed,"

Later he added...
"Heroes have been made of men like Melville and Coghill who, taking advantage of their horses, bolted from the scene of the action to save their lives."

All so with reference to Curling he suggested to Coghill to make a stand even when he knew what was going on in the camp.

S.D
Back to top Go down
littlehand

avatar

Posts : 7050
Join date : 2009-04-24
Age : 49
Location : Down South.

PostSubject: Re: How far roughly is the distance from Isandlwana to Coffin rock.   Wed Jun 03, 2009 5:00 pm

With reference to Jamie’s site. As anyone asked Jamie what his thoughts are on Melvill’s departure from Isandlwana. He has taken photographs of the whole area. He would be able to give a better understanding of the terrain and the distance to coffin rock. And what the timescale would be to cover the distance.

Just a thought. And I don't know him.
Back to top Go down
90th

avatar

Posts : 9341
Join date : 2009-04-07
Age : 61
Location : Melbourne, Australia

PostSubject: isandlwana - fugitives drift   Fri Jun 05, 2009 11:13 am

hi all,

have sent jamie an email , asking the time required to go from isandlwana to fugitives drift.
cheers 90th.
Back to top Go down
John

avatar

Posts : 2527
Join date : 2009-04-06
Age : 55
Location : UK

PostSubject: Re: How far roughly is the distance from Isandlwana to Coffin rock.   Fri Jun 05, 2009 10:38 pm

Brilliant can’t wait for his reply.
Back to top Go down
90th

avatar

Posts : 9341
Join date : 2009-04-07
Age : 61
Location : Melbourne, Australia

PostSubject: isandlwana - fugitives drift-   Wed Jun 10, 2009 6:02 am

hi all.

jaimie has replied , will post his email when the kids get home !!. as i have no idea how to send it from my email.

cheers 90th. :lol!:
Back to top Go down
90th

avatar

Posts : 9341
Join date : 2009-04-07
Age : 61
Location : Melbourne, Australia

PostSubject: isandlwana- f. drift.   Wed Jun 10, 2009 8:40 am

Hi there,

Thanks for the feedback.

Having walked the trail a few times I would estimate a horse and rider to be able to do the journey from Isandlwana to the Fugitives Drift in about 30-40 minutes. You have to bear in mind that on the latter sections of the trail leading to the drift especially, there are a lot of undulations in the rock structures on this trail and would significantly reduce speed of a horse down to at least human slow walking speed.

Ian is absolutely right about the vegetation and I even notice the difference between the years of my visits on how the vegetation grows. I believe the herds of cattle do not roam on the trail any more hence the overgrown nature of the terrain compared to what it would have been in 1879.

Last points of British resistance on the trail by foot soldiers was at the Manzimnyama stream bed and the whitewash cairns diminish in number from there to the drift. Today, these cairns are very much overgrown with vegetation.

Hope this helps,

Thanks again for the feedback,

Regards,

Jamie
Back to top Go down
littlehand

avatar

Posts : 7050
Join date : 2009-04-24
Age : 49
Location : Down South.

PostSubject: Re: How far roughly is the distance from Isandlwana to Coffin rock.   Wed Jun 10, 2009 9:11 pm

Big Thanks to Jamie and 90th.

So we have an answer from someone well known with in the AZW circle who has walked the trail, and suggests it would take 30-40 minutes. The next question is. Does anyone know what time Melvill / Coghill left Isandlwana.
Back to top Go down
Saul David 1879



Posts : 526
Join date : 2009-02-28

PostSubject: Re: How far roughly is the distance from Isandlwana to Coffin rock.   Wed Jun 10, 2009 9:27 pm

There are accounts of Melvill and Coghill being seen on the trail, but i don't think time lines were shown in these accounts.

Extract from Curlings account. "I was with Major Smith at this time, he told me he had been wounded in the arm. We saw Lieutenant Coghill, the A.D.C., and asked him if we could not rally some men and make a stand, he said he did not think it could be done. We crossed the road with the crowd, principally consisting of natives, men left in camp, and civilians, and went down a steep ravine leading towards the river. The Zulus were in the middle of the crowd, stabbing the men as they ran. When we had gone about 400 yards, we came to a deep cut in which the guns stuck. There was, as far as I could see, only one gunner with them at this time, but they were covered with men of different corps clinging to them. The Zulus were in them almost at once, and the drivers pulled off their horses. I then left the guns. Shortly after this. I again saw Lieutenant Coghill, who told me Colonel Pulleine had been killed. Near the river I saw Lieutenant Melville, 1st Battalion 24th Regiment, with a colour, the staff being broken"

Curling saw Coghill, but does not give a time. This is just one eye witness account.

Lieutenant Smith-Dorrien's account again does not give times.

S.D
Back to top Go down
90th

avatar

Posts : 9341
Join date : 2009-04-07
Age : 61
Location : Melbourne, Australia

PostSubject: how far ?????   Wed Jul 22, 2009 1:39 am

hi all.
Someone asked in an earlier post ( which i cant find !) how long would it take to get from NYEZANE to ISANDLWANA ?. JAMIE has contacted me and supplies the following. From DURBAN to ISANDLWANA is about 4-5 hrs at a nice pace in a car, so he assumes from
NYEZANE- ISANDLWANA approx 4 hrs. it would therefore take a very long time back in 1879!!!!!..
cheers 90th.
Back to top Go down
littlehand

avatar

Posts : 7050
Join date : 2009-04-24
Age : 49
Location : Down South.

PostSubject: Re: How far roughly is the distance from Isandlwana to Coffin rock.   Wed Jul 22, 2009 6:53 am

Thanks for that 90tth. I thought it was closer. So there was no way Pearson could have lent a hand on that day.
Back to top Go down
old historian2

avatar

Posts : 1097
Join date : 2009-01-14
Location : East London

PostSubject: Re: How far roughly is the distance from Isandlwana to Coffin rock.   Thu Oct 07, 2010 12:23 pm

Received this by e-mail. Wonderfull photo.
[You must be registered and logged in to see this image.]
Back to top Go down
Frank Allewell

avatar

Posts : 6470
Join date : 2009-09-21
Age : 70
Location : Cape Town South Africa

PostSubject: Re: How far roughly is the distance from Isandlwana to Coffin rock.   Thu Oct 07, 2010 12:56 pm

Hi OH
Great photo, however the main crossing point is just out of shot to the right. That photo shows the so called coffin rock location and also the whirlpool area.

regards

Back to top Go down
Younghusband

avatar

Posts : 55
Join date : 2010-08-17
Location : Southampton

PostSubject: Re: How far roughly is the distance from Isandlwana to Coffin rock.   Thu Oct 07, 2010 2:14 pm

Couple of comments.

I visited the drift a few months ago and could not find coffin rock - apparently it is now nearly covered by sediment - can anyone confirm this, I would liked to have seen it but did not have a guide with me.

Secondly, considering their flight, the swim across the river, the damaged knee and the zulus! The site of Melville's and Coghill's memorial - which I am told is where the bodies fell - would suggest that they managed to get quite far from the river, uphill - certainly I was puffing by the time I reached the memorial after leaving the 'whirlpool' and I wasn't travelling in a straight line. I suppose that fear of death can be quite a motivator!!
Back to top Go down
Frank Allewell

avatar

Posts : 6470
Join date : 2009-09-21
Age : 70
Location : Cape Town South Africa

PostSubject: Re: How far roughly is the distance from Isandlwana to Coffin rock.   Thu Oct 07, 2010 2:23 pm

Younghusband

Opposit the whirl pool is the pump station for FD Lodge. Walk upstream for around 20 metres. The supposed coffin rock is directly opposit you, virtually on the Zulu bank.
Coffin rock by the way only came into being through Morris in TWOTS. There is a pretty large school of thought that the Melvill rock is actually higher up and closer to the Natal Bank. On your visit you would have walked upstream and passed the stream entry to the river on the other side, next to that is a sand bank, said to have been the point where M & C entered the water, still father up stream, no more than a few metres is a cliff face that overlooks a sizable pool. This pool has been christened the Smith Dorean pool, after the place he entered the water.

Regards
Back to top Go down
Younghusband

avatar

Posts : 55
Join date : 2010-08-17
Location : Southampton

PostSubject: Re: How far roughly is the distance from Isandlwana to Coffin rock.   Thu Oct 07, 2010 2:35 pm

That is useful and thanks - in fact I walked from the supposed site of recovery of the colour (Rob Caskie happened to be arrive at the pumping station and pointed it out from a distance before leaving), upstream past the pumping station and what I took to be the whirlpool was as you say, Smith Dorien Pool - my bearings were incorrect - just goes to show that having a guide can be invaluable -

There is an illustration of the 2 sheltering downstream from Coffin rock but can't recall where I have seen it.
Back to top Go down
Frank Allewell

avatar

Posts : 6470
Join date : 2009-09-21
Age : 70
Location : Cape Town South Africa

PostSubject: Re: How far roughly is the distance from Isandlwana to Coffin rock.   Thu Oct 07, 2010 2:52 pm

Younghusband
Im attending a lecture by Rob Caskie in Cape Town in two weeks time, looking forward to it.
A few months ago I was at FD and took some photos of the SD pool and the walk/hike/struggle up the hill to M and C,s grave. They are on the forum someplace, I will try and find them and post directions.
Back to top Go down
Umbiki

avatar

Posts : 131
Join date : 2010-07-04
Location : Gloucester, UK

PostSubject: Re: How far roughly is the distance from Isandlwana to Coffin rock.   Thu Oct 07, 2010 6:37 pm

I have some related photos at [You must be registered and logged in to see this link.] in case of interest.

Hope this helps.

U
Back to top Go down
Frank Allewell

avatar

Posts : 6470
Join date : 2009-09-21
Age : 70
Location : Cape Town South Africa

PostSubject: Re: How far roughly is the distance from Isandlwana to Coffin rock.   Thu Oct 07, 2010 7:16 pm

Hi Umbiki/Younghusband

Photo 10 is a great shot. If you follow the line of the river there is a dark shadow, thats the cliff face above Smith Doreans pool. On its imediate right (downstream) is the sand bank.

Regards
Back to top Go down
90th

avatar

Posts : 9341
Join date : 2009-04-07
Age : 61
Location : Melbourne, Australia

PostSubject: distanct from Isandlwana to Coffin Rock   Fri Oct 08, 2010 1:13 am

hi all .
Great pictures and good info from all those involved . Good stuff .
cheers 90th. Idea
Back to top Go down
Younghusband

avatar

Posts : 55
Join date : 2010-08-17
Location : Southampton

PostSubject: Re: How far roughly is the distance from Isandlwana to Coffin rock.   Fri Oct 08, 2010 11:41 am

The photos are excellent and I hope that photo 9 is coffin rock just to appease my curiosity..

Thanks
Back to top Go down
Umbiki

avatar

Posts : 131
Join date : 2010-07-04
Location : Gloucester, UK

PostSubject: Re: How far roughly is the distance from Isandlwana to Coffin rock.   Fri Oct 08, 2010 12:51 pm

Hi Younghusband

Yes, I should perhaps explain that photo 9 is indeed the rock that is generally accepted to be " coffin rock" but as with a number of things relating to "that" day, there will perhaps always be slight room for doubt - hence the question mark. But, otherwise, I think you can safely consider your curiosity appeased! This particular photograph was taken in 2006 - I have not seen the rock since but presumably the sediment continues to settle around it.

Incidentally, just to add a note about photo 8. This was taken from the top of the trail looking across to the Natal bank. Towards the top centre of the photo you can just make out a white mark on the hillside. This is in fact the M & C grave/memorial and therefore gives, I think, a good indication of the fair old climb they had to undertake when reaching the Natal bank and before being overtaken.

Springbok9 kindly added further explanation as regards photo 10. I would only add that "Zulu Dawn" fans will recognise the spot from the end of the film when M & C plunge into the river.

I am grateful for all the kind comments about the photos. Thank you. Fond memories of a great Country.

Wistful regards

U

Back to top Go down
Neil Aspinshaw

avatar

Posts : 544
Join date : 2009-10-14
Location : Loughborough

PostSubject: Re: How far roughly is the distance from Isandlwana to Coffin rock.   Fri Oct 08, 2010 4:57 pm

The rock in the image 9, is not that which is considered Coffin rock, in flood it is totally submerged, by two feet of water, I have seen it like that in 2005. If you look at image 10 on the link, upstream where the banks rise to a cliff, you will see there is a gulley, far left, This is the original footpath to Sodonthoses drift, which is in direct footpath line up to and beyond Melvill and coghills grave, indeed the locals still use it.


Directly in the river 50 meters downstream of the path is a huge rock, which is approx 5-7 feet above the summer level of the river. If you look at the drawing (Prior?) did of the fugitives crossing the river, which appeared on the cover of the Day of the Dead Moon, by D Rattray, the viewpoint is clearly this re-entrant, as a footpath 130+ years ago it was the natural path for a fugitve to follow. Above this point, HLSD is claimed to have jumped.

I was discussing this with Mike Snook last year, and both agreed the valley floor, cetainly in full flood, would be a full 200 yards across, the narrowest point, is at the re-entrant, if you were a poor swimmer, it far more daunting to attempt 40 yards than 200!,
we spend a full afternoon fishing the sandbar just below the rock, (I upset the local by throwing the 4lb catfish back..they wanted it for ther pot). hilst we were there local were using the track.

If you visit the site, follow the dirt road down from the Graves, keep following it until it turns sharp right to run with the river. At that point you will come out at the sandbar, the rock and the path are 50 meters upstream.
I'll post some images later
Back to top Go down
http://www.martinihenry.org
littlehand

avatar

Posts : 7050
Join date : 2009-04-24
Age : 49
Location : Down South.

PostSubject: Re: How far roughly is the distance from Isandlwana to Coffin rock.   Fri Oct 08, 2010 5:37 pm

Has anyone got any photo's of the this area but in flood, as it would have been when they crossed.
Back to top Go down
90th

avatar

Posts : 9341
Join date : 2009-04-07
Age : 61
Location : Melbourne, Australia

PostSubject: how far is the distance from Isandlwana to Coffin Rock.   Mon Oct 11, 2010 11:44 am

Hi all .
This was kindly sent by a Collegue . In case there is any confusion, there were two engravings published in the Illustrated London News at the time - the one of men swimming across the river, from a sketch by Lt. W.W. Lloyd of the 24th and based on Lt Smith-Dorrien's description, which appeared in the issue of 29 March 1879, and the one of 'Fugitives' Drift,Buffalo River, with the stone to which Lt Melvill clung', which appeared in the issue of 6 September 1879. Although the Lloyd/Smith-Dorrien one gives a good overall impression of the scene it is not topographically exact, which is not surprising given that Lloyd was working from an impression conveyed by Smith-Dorrien of pretty traumatic events, and that the scene was no doubt further embellished by the engraver in London. The 'Melvill's Rock' one was completed from life by Melton Prior, who visited fugitives' drift with the expedition to bury the remains of Major Stuart Smith. Prior's sketches are usually very reliable as far as topographical detail is concerned, and his rock is clearly indetifiable as the one pointed out today as the 'Coffin Rock' - comparisons of the scene can be found in Knight and Castle's 'Zulu War; Then and Now'. When I first visited this rock in the 1980s it was standing on a sand-spit four or five feet clear of the silt - it is now almost silted over. Whether or not Prior was correct in identifying it as the one Melvill clung to is a different matter - see Ian Knight's article in the AZWHS Journal. It's clear from Stafford's evidence that many of the first fugitives crossed through the deep pool at the top of the drift - upstream of 'Coffin Rock' - where the Edendale men shepherded them across - and indeed where the Melvill and Coghill scene in 'Zulu Dawn' was filmed. However, when the last of the fugitives were still streaming over Mpethe Hill they were struck by Zibhebhu's iNdluyengwe, trying to cut them off, and were pushed away from the route used by the earlier survivors and down the steep hillside further downstream (this is where Smith was killed), reaching the bottom of the valley at various points opposite Fugitives's Drift Lodge's pumping station. Most tried to get as far upstream as they could before putting their horses into the water to avoid the rapids below the pool (i.e. between the pool and 'Coffin Rock') but of course the Zulus were then pursuing them pretty vigorously and few, if any, of them seem to have reached the pool. Most went into the rapids somewhere upstream of the 'Coffin Rock', and of course were swept down by the current as they crossed - Quartermaster Macphail of the Buffalo Border Guard mentions coming out near the stream which joins the Mzinyathi near the modern pump-house (he stopped there for a drink!). Close reading of the evidence suggests Melvill actually got across the river but fell among the boulders as he tried to climb out onto the Natal bank - and the Colour of course was found nearer to the Natal bank than the Zulu one. That of course helps explain how Coghill was able to drag him up onto the Natal bank safely, because he probably didn't have to go far into the river (funnily enough, much like 'Zulu Dawn'!) - if Melvill had been clinging the the 'Coffin Rock' Coghill would have had to get across the strongest flow of the river, and the two of them (and Higginson) cross it again before reaching the Natal bank. So did the 'Coffin Rock' actually feature at all? Probably - the interpreter James Brickhill, for one, mentions bouncing off a submerged rock not long after jumping into the water - and he says that when he revisited the site later he was amazed to see a big rock standing clear of the water when it had been completely under it on the day. It may even have been Brickhill who pointed this feature out to Prior; whether Brickhill or Prior were simply confused at that point about how the rock featured, or whether the Melvill story became attached to it as a piece of journalistic sleight-on-hand, who knows?.
There is a picture of the rock partially submerged in 'Zulu War; Then and Now'. However, the river seldom floods as it used to because some of the water is drawn off these days by towns upstream.

cheers 90th.

Back to top Go down
Umbiki

avatar

Posts : 131
Join date : 2010-07-04
Location : Gloucester, UK

PostSubject: Re: How far roughly is the distance from Isandlwana to Coffin rock.   Mon Oct 11, 2010 2:58 pm

Hi 90th

Thank you for posting your colleague's informative explanation which is the position - if you'll excuse the pun - as I understand it over the rock and the doubts that remain.

U
Back to top Go down
1879graves

avatar

Posts : 2451
Join date : 2009-03-03
Location : Devon

PostSubject: Re: How far roughly is the distance from Isandlwana to Coffin rock.   Mon Oct 11, 2010 7:01 pm

Hi All

I have been asked to post the following Article and photograph.

The Wrong Rock?
Explores the true ‘claim to fame’ of an enduring feature at Fugitives’ Drift.


On 6 September 1879 the Illustrated London News published an engraving, based on a field sketch by its front-line artist, Melton Prior, of a feature in the Mzinyathi river gorge downstream from Rorke’s Drift. The scene featured the lower reaches of the crossing originally known as Sothondose’s Drift, and was captioned ‘Fugitives’ Drift, Buffalo River, with the stone to which Lieutenant Melvill clung.’
There is no denying the accuracy of the scene. Prior was an accomplished draftsman and a highly experienced journalistic artist, and his sketches are characterised by a remarkable degree of representational accuracy, to the extent that incidental topographical details can often be easily recognised, even today - and despite the potential to introduce errors when his sketches were engraved for publication. Prior’s viewpoint at ‘Fugitives’ Drift’ is on the Natal bank, looking downstream towards the head of the gorge below, and across the river towards the steep bush-covered slopes of Mpethe hill where the last of the survivors had descended into the valley. In the middle ground, isolated in the river, stands a large dark rock - the one to which, according to the caption, ‘Lt. Melvill clung.’
The allusion is to the fact that, during the final stages of the battle on 22 January, Lieutenant and Adjutant Teighnmouth Melvill of the 1/24th had famously attempted to save the Queen’s Colour of his battalion. Melvill had successfully covered the distance from the battlefield and descended into the valley, and had put his horse into the water to try to swim across the river. At that stage the river was in spate after the recent rain, and most of the rocks were fully submerged in a roaring torrent of brown water. What happened next is described by a survivor, Lieutenant Walter Higginson of the NNC;

I put my horse in behind Mr Cochrane’s but he made a bad attempt at swimming and getting on a big stone in the middle of the river, he turned over and threw me off and I sank at once, as I had my rifle and ammunition with me, but on dropping them I managed better; the current carried me downstream a good distance but I fortunately came on a large rock which I held on to; getting the water out of my eyes I looked round and saw a nigger boy mounting my horse on this side; I called out for someone to stop him, but no one took any notice of me; I then saw Melville coming downstream towards me, he having been thrown from his horse, he asked me to catch hold of the Color, and the force he was going pulled me off the rock into still water; Coghill who had got out alright then rode his horse down to Melville to help him, but as he rode into the water, the Zulus who were on the bank we had just left opened fire on us, and one of the first shots hit Coghill’s horse; we were thus all three in the water, and also I think the three last white men to cross the river. We got out alright…

There can be little doubt today of the identity of the rock sketched by Prior. It remains a conspicuous feature of the crossing, and when the water level is high it becomes an isolated island in the stream, just as Prior depicted (a photo of the rock in these circumstances, taken by the late David Rattray, appears in the book with Ian Castle, The Zulu War; Then and Now, After the Battle, 1993), although in recent years it has been in increasing danger of submersion rather by the rising level of sand and silt accumulating around it. Immortalised by tour guides as the ‘coffin rock’, it has become a favourite halt during most tours of the site, whether reached, with a sense of relief, at the end of the long walk down ‘the fugitives’ trail’, or merely observed rather more comfortably from the heights on the Natal bank opposite.
The rock lies just a few meters out from the high-water bank on the Zulu side, and that proximity gives Melvill’s story a particularly dramatic aspect. Indeed, shortly after the war an illustration appeared, based on Prior’s version, and depicting Melvill clinging to the rock and still holding the Colour with the Zulus rushing up close by, the very epitome of British pluck under desperate circumstances.
The question is, did Prior identify the right rock?
Consider the sequence of events outlined by Higginson. He had plunged into the water, and was ‘in the middle of the river’ when his horse struck a rock and threw him. He then managed to recover, and had been swept downstream when he came upon the ‘big rock’. When he grabbed at the Colour, the impetus put both he and Melvill in ‘still water’. This could hardly have been the centre of the river, where the current was fierce, nor the Zulu bank, for Higginson was close enough to the Natal side to see someone emerge onto it riding his horse, and feel it was worth shouting above the din to stop him - something in itself that would hardly have been practical if he were closer to the Zulu bank. Note too that Coghill’s horse was shot ‘as he rode into the water’, a clear implication that he was still close to the Natal bank, and had certainly not swum all the way back across the width of the river.
Another survivor, the civilian interpreter James Brickhill, largely confirms Higginson’s version of Melvill’s demise;

Reaching the Buffalo we found it rolling high. No time for choosing the best crossing then. There were Zulus in running lines making for the stiller water higher up. My horse plunged in swimming at once, but had scarcely gone six yards before he stumbled over something large and nearly fell into the rushing stream beyond. I clutched at his mane and guided his rein with care, and yet four times I thought that all was lost, not ten yards below was a waterfall in the seething pool of which three riderless horses were swishing round and round.
Mr Melvill had crossed a little higher up, Mr Foley immediately behind him. Mr M’s horse seemed to have some difficulty in getting up the bank this side. Our impulse was to go to his assistance, but his horse gave a plunge and I thought was climbing out…

There are several intriguing clues in Brickhill’s account. The reference to the ‘waterfall’ and ’seething pool’ places helps to place the point at which he entered the river, since a large scouring in the rocks below Prior’s rock does turn into something of a whirlpool when the river is in flood. It is important to note that Melvill had entered the river upstream, and that when Brickhill saw him, towards the end of his own difficult crossing, he was apparently trying to urge his horse out on the Natal bank, the Colour ‘in Mr M’s hand up to the last’.
Both Brickhill and Higginson strongly suggest, then, that Melvill had almost made it onto the Natal bank before his horse stumbled and he was thrown. If that is the case, then the rock to which he and Higginson clung must have been in the shallows close to the Natal side, not the Zulu bank. This would then tally with Higginson’s suggestion that Coghill’s horse was killed just as he entered the water.
There is one final clue with which to help piece the story together. The Colour was lost, of course, torn from Melvill’s exhausted grasp as he, Coghill and Higginson dragged themselves through the last half-submerged boulders and up onto the Natal bank. It was found later by a patrol which included Lt. Harford (99th Regiment, attached to the NNC). According to Harford, the water level had dropped significantly since the battle, and the patrol had gingerly scrambled down the Natal bank and onto the stones and shingle that form the edge of the river-bed. ‘Scarcely had we taken a few steps’ [my italics], recalled Harford, ‘than I stumbled on the Colour case mixed up with a heap of other things …Then, as Harber was returning to his position, I noticed a straight piece of stick projecting out of the water in the middle of the river.’ This of course turned out to be the Colour pole, upside down, with most of the Colour still attached but submerged in the water. In other words, the Colour case was in the eddies close to the Natal bank, and the Colour itself in deeper water downstream. Although the Colour could arguably have been washed into the ‘middle’ (an approximate turn of phrase at the best of times) of the river from either bank, it seems highly unlikely that the case would have been carried across the entire width of the river; it is far more likely that it was washed from the Colour as Melvill lost his grip, and that it sank among the stones as the Colour itself - bigger, heavier, and with considerable drag on the silk - was carried further downstream before the gilt crown on the top jammed between the boulders and it held fast. When a sketch by Harford of the finding of the Colour also appeared in the Illustrated London News, it appears to show a group of figures standing on stones exposed at low water close under the prominent cliffs on the Natal bank.
Taken together, then, it seems likely that Melvill had almost reached the Natal bank, and that his horse stumbled and threw him as he tried to climb out. Melvill was carried downstream to his encounter with Higginson and another large boulder which cost him the Colour. How then did Prior come to mistake the ‘coffin rock’ for the this - as yet unidentified - boulder? Largely, it seems, because the ‘coffin rock’ is such a feature of the crossing, and made an obvious point of reference on which to hang the story. And one, moreover, which soon attracted the attention of the survivors for, intriguingly, it seems almost certain that it was the ‘coffin rock’ which had first unhorsed Brickhill. It lies, after all, not far above the ‘whirlpool’ feature, and close, as Brickhill describes, to the Zulu bank. And when Brickhill accompanied the burial detail which interred Melvill and Coghill’s remains,

… I found that the obstacle in the river over which I had so nearly come to grief was a large solitary rock which then stood over six feet out of water, but whose presence under water when I crossed there was no indication whatever.

This is a clear description of Prior’s rock - and one which suits the engraved picture almost exactly. So if the ‘coffin rock’ must give up its status as one of the mythic elements in the Melvill and Coghill story, it still stands as an important feature in the broader saga of the crossing, a formidable obstacle to Brickhill, and no doubt other fugitives unknown.
There is, of course, one last point to make, and one which adds immeasurably to the poignancy of the incident. For if Melvill was not unhorsed close to the Zulu bank near the ‘coffin rock’, then he had almost reached the Natal side still in the saddle and with the Colour in his possession, and the gap which lay between him and safety was not the full width of the flooded Mzinyathi, but little more than a few meters of rocks and gentler water.
To have come adrift at such a point was falling at the last hurdle indeed.

[You must be registered and logged in to see this image.]

The article was written by Ian Knight for the AZWHS Journal and appears with permission.


Last edited by 1879graves on Tue Oct 12, 2010 7:19 am; edited 2 times in total
Back to top Go down
http://zuluwar1879.tribalpages.com
Chelmsfordthescapegoat

avatar

Posts : 2549
Join date : 2009-04-24

PostSubject: Re: How far roughly is the distance from Isandlwana to Coffin rock.   Mon Oct 11, 2010 7:22 pm

I879Graves. Absolute brilliant post, thanks. Idea
Back to top Go down
John

avatar

Posts : 2527
Join date : 2009-04-06
Age : 55
Location : UK

PostSubject: Re: How far roughly is the distance from Isandlwana to Coffin rock.   Mon Oct 11, 2010 8:03 pm

So I take it, this rock is no-where near the river now.
Back to top Go down
Frank Allewell

avatar

Posts : 6470
Join date : 2009-09-21
Age : 70
Location : Cape Town South Africa

PostSubject: Re: How far roughly is the distance from Isandlwana to Coffin rock.   Wed Oct 13, 2010 1:56 pm

John
Most of the rocks that lay claim to being 'the rock' are now away from the normal river. in 1879 the river ran pretty much unfettered through the drift area. On the Zulu bank there is a stream that joins in, just below the main footpath and Smith Dorean pool. On the Natal bank there is a pretty large flat flood plain. At the time of the battle both these area would have been flooded. Its very seldom it happens to that degree anymore. And so all the rock claimants that then were in the river are now way back from the waters edge. The river width back then could easily have been 200 metres, a touch different to its present 8 to 10. This of course brings in a whole gaggle ( are a group of rocks a gaggle?) of contenders.
Which is the correct rock depends on who is telling the tale or which guide you have with you. The Ian Knight article is concise and puts it into perspective. Again the phrase coffin shaped rock first apeared in TWOTS, its since been turned into 'coffin rock'. Theres still a few large units in the water, probably the largest is in the Smith Dorean pool. That one again however doesnt fit the criteria as being the correct one.
Regards
Back to top Go down
Umbiki

avatar

Posts : 131
Join date : 2010-07-04
Location : Gloucester, UK

PostSubject: Re: How far roughly is the distance from Isandlwana to Coffin rock.   Wed Oct 13, 2010 6:49 pm

Hi John

Just to help illustrate Springbok9's helpful post above, I have added photo 9a at [You must be registered and logged in to see this link.] which gives an indication as to the proximity of "coffin rock" (as identified to me by a well known AZW author) to the river. But as was explained to me at the time, " 'coffin' rock is the coffin rock, but whether it is the rock that Melvill clung to is another issue .........."

Hope this helps.

U

(Just to be clear, photo 9a is taken on the Zulu bank looking upstream.)
Back to top Go down
1879graves

avatar

Posts : 2451
Join date : 2009-03-03
Location : Devon

PostSubject: Re: How far roughly is the distance from Isandlwana to Coffin rock.   Wed Oct 13, 2010 8:40 pm

From a colleague to go with the article

[You must be registered and logged in to see this image.]

[You must be registered and logged in to see this image.]
Back to top Go down
http://zuluwar1879.tribalpages.com
Frank Allewell

avatar

Posts : 6470
Join date : 2009-09-21
Age : 70
Location : Cape Town South Africa

PostSubject: Re: How far roughly is the distance from Isandlwana to Coffin rock.   Thu Oct 14, 2010 7:21 am

Great illustrations guys.
John if you look at the bottom photo from Graves, virtually everything in that shot to both sides of the river would have been under water. The position shown of the rock fits in with Brickhill slipping of his horse. It doesnt fit in with Melvill either slipping, to close to Zulu bank, or clinging onto, to close to point of entry.
Even the points of entry are uncertain. Its speculated that the first fugitives crossed upstream of Smith Doreans pool and then as the zulu pressed them the later arrivals crossed progressivly lower down from the sand bank down as far as Brickhills crossing. Bear in mind that M @ C were probably the last, or amongst the last, to cross.

Regards
Back to top Go down
Umbiki

avatar

Posts : 131
Join date : 2010-07-04
Location : Gloucester, UK

PostSubject: Re: How far roughly is the distance from Isandlwana to Coffin rock.   Thu Oct 14, 2010 10:57 am

Can I just say thanks to everyone for their contributions to this thread thus far; some top quality input I reckon. Good stuff.

Idea

U
Back to top Go down
littlehand

avatar

Posts : 7050
Join date : 2009-04-24
Age : 49
Location : Down South.

PostSubject: Re: How far roughly is the distance from Isandlwana to Coffin rock.   Tue Jun 11, 2013 11:27 pm

[You must be registered and logged in to see this image.]
1879 ZULU WAR FUGITIVES' DRIFT MELVILL COGHILL PRINT ILLUSTRATED LONDON NEWS.
Back to top Go down
Sponsored content




PostSubject: Re: How far roughly is the distance from Isandlwana to Coffin rock.   

Back to top Go down
 
How far roughly is the distance from Isandlwana to Coffin rock.
View previous topic View next topic Back to top 
Page 1 of 2Go to page : 1, 2  Next

Permissions in this forum:You cannot reply to topics in this forum
WWW.1879ZULUWAR.COM  :: GENERAL DISCUSSION AREA-
Jump to: