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 Statement by Captain Alan Gardner, 14th Hussars. Camp, Rorke's Drift, January 26, 1879.

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PostSubject: Statement by Captain Alan Gardner, 14th Hussars. Camp, Rorke's Drift, January 26, 1879.   Sun Jan 18, 2009 12:05 am

I LEFT the force with the General about 10.30 A.M., and rode back to Isandlana Camp, with the order to Lieutenant-Colonel. Pulleine to send on the camp equipage and supplies of the troops camping out, and to remain himself at his present camp, and entrench it. Between twelve and, one o'clock I reached Isandlana, and met Captain G: Shepstone, who told me he had been sent by Colonel Durnford for reinforcements ; that his (Colonel D's) troops were heavily engaged to the left of our camp, beyond the hill, and were being driven back. We proceeded together to Colonel Pulleine. I delivered him my order; but the enemy were now in sight at the top of the hill, on our left Lieutenant-Colonel Pulleine sent out two companies about half-way up-the hill, and drew up the remainder, with the two guns in action, in line, on the extreme left of our camp, and facing towards the left, from which direction the enemy were advancing in great numbers. For a short time, perhaps fifteen minutes, the Zulus were checked, but soon commenced to throw forward their left, extending across the plain on our front. We had between 30 and 40 mounted men, and I asked permission to take them down in the plain, and check the enemy's turning movement. Lieutenant-Colonel Pulleine told me to do so, and I accordingly galloped them to the front, and lined the spruit running across the front of our camp. The Basutos who were previously retiring, formed line with us and the enemy halted and commenced firing from behind cover. Leaving the mounted men who were under Captain Bradstreet, I returned to Lieutenant-Colonel Pulleine who had previously told me to remain with him. Shortly afterwards, observing the mounted men retiring, I rode back to ascertain the cause. Captain Bradstreet told me he had been ordered to do so by Colonel Durnford, who soon afterwards told me himself that he considered our position too extended, and wished to collect all the troops together. But it was now too late. Large masses of the enemy were already in the camp and completely surrounded the men of the 24th Regiment. Numbers of these were also on the road to Rorke's Drift. The guns limbered up and attempted to retire to the left of that road, but were surrounded and overturned. The few mounted men remaining retreated up the small hill on the right rear of the camp, but were soon surrounded by the enemy advancing from the left and front. Many were killed. A few of us managed to escape by riding down the hill on the right, but many were shot riding along the narrow valley, and more drowned and shot in crossing the Buffalo. When I saw all was lost, I sent an order by a Basuto to the officer on Rorke's Drift, telling him to fortify and hold the house. I also sent a similar order to Helpmakaar.. We reached Helpmakaar about five P.M., and near a laager round the Commissariat Stores I endeavoured to obtain a messenger to go to Colonel E. Wood, as I feared the General's force would be cut off, and hoped he, Colonel Wood, might be in time to lend his assistance. No one would go, the Basutos saying they did not know the way. So on the return of the two companies who had started for Rorke's Drift, I decided on going myself, and riding all night reached Utrecht about four o'clock the next day. I then got a messenger to go to Colonel Wood and returned myself to Helpmakaar. On the road, learning that Colonel Glyn's head-quarters were at Rorke's Drift, I proceeded thither. I trust I may not be thought, presumptuous if I state my opinion, that had there been a regiment or even two squadrons of cavalry the disaster at Isandlana would not have occurred. The enemy's advance across our front which was requisite in order to turn our right was in extremely loose order, the ground was an open plain and could easily have been cleared by a determined charge. The enemy's shooting was so indifferent that our loss would .have been - very small. -The result moreover of a cavalry charge would have had a very different effect on the enemy's morale to the retreating fire of mounted skirmishers, and I feel confident we could have held our own till the return of the General's force.
(Signed) ALAN GARDNER,
Captain, 14th Hussars, Staff Officer, 3rd Column.

Source: northeastmedals
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PostSubject: Re: Statement by Captain Alan Gardner, 14th Hussars. Camp, Rorke's Drift, January 26, 1879.   Sat Apr 19, 2014 10:52 am

Did Gardner not leave any other accounts of his escape from Isandlwana. Or his flight to warn Wood's
Or is the account he gave at the court of enquiry the only one?
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PostSubject: Re: Statement by Captain Alan Gardner, 14th Hussars. Camp, Rorke's Drift, January 26, 1879.   Sat Apr 19, 2014 11:12 pm

CAPTAIN ALAN GARDNER'S NARRATIVE. The Daily Telegraph prints extracts from a private letter of Captain Alan Gardner Staff Officer to Colonel Glyn, who arrived at the Isandula Camp with a message from the general to Colonel Pulleine just at the time the Zulus were making their attack en masse on the camp. After describing the horrors of the massacre, Captain Gardner says.

"I then endeavored to rally a few of the mounted men, who had retreated up a slight rise on our rights intending to make a dash through the enemy in front and regain the general's force, but their captain and many more were killed, and I could not get them together. A few mounted men now dashed through down a steep ravine on our right's rear, and seeing all was hopeless, thousands of savages being in the camp stabbing the few remaining, I followed. Just as I was clear, my horse fell in a rocky grip. I though all was over; but, fortunately, a few mounted Basutos stood by me and checked the Zulus till I got on my legs again. We then galloped down a ravine so rocky and precipitous I should have thought it impossible for a horse, the enemy meanwhile running along the top and shooting many of us. At last we reached the Buffalo river, which was here very rapid, and in swimming across some were drowned, others shot in the water. Melville, the adjutant of the 24th, had escaped with the colors; he was shot in the water. Coghill, Colonel Glyn's A.D.O., had his horse drowned and was stabbed in the back. Altogether only some fifty or sixty, and six officers, escaped out of more than 600 men. This does not in elude the native soldiers, who all bolted when the fighting commenced. I will not attempt to give details of the massacre, for it was nothing more, many of the men, including the band of the 24th, being unarmed. My poor servant Papworth was killed, although, having one of my horses, I hoped he would have got off. To continue. After crossing the river we rode for our old camp at Helpmakaar. I forgot to say that when all was over, I sent an order to the company at Rorke's Drift some eighty men-to fortify the house, and that all was lost, and that they must defend themselves and fight to the last. Everyone else had forgotten them, and the happiest moment of my life was, when I re- turned here, the officer coming up and thanking me for the warning. They knew nothing of what was going on, but at once made preparations, and fought splendidly all the night, killing some 400 and driving the enemy off. Our chief depot was at Helpmakaar, and we at once commenced to fortify it, but the panic and confusion were fearful. We, however, soon got order. It was now dark, but we had made some kind of barricade with wagons, and about 9.30 p.m., two companies of infantry. who, hearing the firing, had moved down towards it, and to whom I sent an order to return, arrived; so we were now comparatively safe, although a night attack was expected. I then tried to get someone to ride to the column on our left, Colonel Evelyn Wood's, as I feared for the force under the general, who had only one day's rations and seventy rounds of ammunition per man, and being cut off would have to fight their way back. Wood's nearest post that I knew of was Utrecht, some eighty miles off, and the Zulus were supposed to be between us. No one would go. The mounted natives could have done it easily and safely, but they were thoroughly cowed. At last a German said he would show me a circuitous way by which I could reach Utrecht the next day, and I set off. We rode all night and reached a place called Dandu at daybreak. My horse was very tired. I had been over twenty-four hours in the saddle, and I tried to get a fresh horse and someone to show me the way to Utrecht, my conductor refusing to go further. I could not get a horse, and the patriotic inhabitants said they had wives and children, and would not risk their lives. At last one man offered to go for £20, and as I could not get a fresh horse, and did not know the way, I sent him on with a short dispatch, and followed myself by the main road. A few miles on I met a man who offered to go with me and show me a short cut across country. We rode on and reached Utrecht in the afternoon, within an hour's time of the man on the fresh horse to whom I had given £20. I was over thirty- six hours in the saddle on the same horse, who, beyond a few occasional mouthfuls of grass, had no rest or food. I calculated that I rode nearly 140 miles, including the morning's work. At Utrecht I put them all on the qui vive, but found Colonel Wood some forty miles off and himself en- gaged all day with a strong force; so finding assistance in time to be hopeless, I decided on returning to see what had happened to the general's Force. After a night's rest I set off my with guide, a very plucky fellow. Every one said we were throwing away our lives; but we rode straight across the country, slept in the open within seven miles of Sirayo’s Kraal -which we attacked the other day and reached this place the following day, all on the same horses. I found the general s force had marched back, only un-countering a few of the enemy, who, after sacking camp, had retired as quickly as they came. About half of the column are entrenched here, and the rest to Helpmakaar. The column, having lost its transport md camp is, of course, crippled. We have food, but ) only the clothes on our backs. I have slept for three nights in the rain and mud."


Source: The Cardigan Observer. Saturday March 29th 1879
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PostSubject: Re: Statement by Captain Alan Gardner, 14th Hussars. Camp, Rorke's Drift, January 26, 1879.   Sun Apr 20, 2014 1:13 am

Perhaps he felt he didn't get the credit he thought he deserved with the first account!
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PostSubject: Re: Statement by Captain Alan Gardner, 14th Hussars. Camp, Rorke's Drift, January 26, 1879.   Sun Apr 20, 2014 6:33 pm

They certainly had a tendancy to add little bits after the event?
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PostSubject: Re: Statement by Captain Alan Gardner, 14th Hussars. Camp, Rorke's Drift, January 26, 1879.   Mon Apr 21, 2014 12:24 am

Do we know of any officer that thanked Gardner, for alerting them to the the activies that had taken place at Isandlwana?
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PostSubject: Re: Statement by Captain Alan Gardner, 14th Hussars. Camp, Rorke's Drift, January 26, 1879.   Mon Apr 21, 2014 6:51 pm

Could only have been Chard or Bromhead. ?
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PostSubject: Re: Statement by Captain Alan Gardner, 14th Hussars. Camp, Rorke's Drift, January 26, 1879.   

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