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  Where some men staked out at iSandlwana?

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Mr M. Cooper

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PostSubject: Where some men staked out at iSandlwana?   Sat Nov 10, 2012 4:27 pm

Hi all.

There is an eye witness sketch that is used quite a lot in AZW publications. The sketch was done by Trooper W. Nelson of the NMP, and it does appear to show that some poor fellows have been staked out on the battlefield of iSandlwana. I believe that the sketch was also used in some other publications of the time, but that it was 'tidied up' somewhat from the original sketch, the original sketch however, does seem to show that most bodies were naked, and also that some of them had been staked out on the ground. I have read somewhere that the Zulu's said that no men were tortured, but if this eye witness sketch is anything to go by, it would seem that there were some poor fellows that indeed were tortured.

Has anyone any views on this sketch by Trooper Nelson, could it be that he was sketching what he actually saw, or was he using some imagination in an attempt to evoke anger and revenge?

Also in the film Zulu Dawn (near the end), it shows some poor chap on his knees and tied to a stake with his hands tied at the top, could this also be some 'film makers licence', or could it be based on eye witness accounts?

Salute
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PostSubject: Re: Where some men staked out at iSandlwana?   Sat Nov 10, 2012 9:04 pm

I know the sketch you speak of. The one where it's shows the wounds of disembowelment, all around are men laying on the ground with thier rifles pointing towards the dead. I beleive this is how the men were position before be disembowel, not staked out.
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PostSubject: Re: Where some men staked out at iSandlwana?   Sat Nov 10, 2012 9:22 pm

Here's another image that was e-mailed to me.

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PostSubject: Where some men staked out at iSandlwana?   Sat Nov 10, 2012 11:47 pm

Hi LH.

I think we are talking about the same sketch mate, but have another look, it does appear to show some men that seem to have been staked out in a sort of cruciform manner, with arms outstretched and what looks like stakes through their hands. There are also others shown that appear to have stakes either in their upper arms or shoulders, or they could even be under their arms. Makes you wonder if any of these poor souls did get tortured before being killed and disemboweled, or did Trooper Nelson sketch it that way to shock and anger others into exacting revenge?


Yes, I have seen that image also, it is when they finally went to bury the dead at iSandlwana and shows the skeletonised remains, this would have been a few months after the battle.
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PostSubject: Re: Where some men staked out at iSandlwana?   Sun Nov 11, 2012 5:43 pm

The first burial party on the scene were the 17th Lcrs in May 1879 and this scene depicts that.
This sketch was later censored when it appeared in the English press, with the skeletal remains pencillled out of the picture.
Martin, I think you read too much into the sketch - I personally can not discern the features to which you refer.
No doubt, some men were impaled by assegais to the earth below. Perhaps this is what the artist is illustrating.
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PostSubject: Re: Where some men staked out at iSandlwana?   Sun Nov 11, 2012 8:19 pm

Another Image

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PostSubject: Re: Where some men staked out at iSandlwana?   Sun Nov 11, 2012 8:39 pm

LH. Have you got a image on of the one Martin speaks of. I'm sure it's n the forum somewhere, spent hours looking for it no luck...
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PostSubject: Where some men staked out at iSandlwana?   Sun Nov 11, 2012 8:58 pm

The second image posted by LH is the one that I am speaking of, however, that is the 'tidied up' version. The uncensored one (as sketched by Trooper Nelson), is shown in the book 'Zulu Victory' by Lock and Quantrill, on page 125.

Tasker, the first image posted by LH (the one showing the skeletal remains), is by Melton Prior, and not the one I was speaking of by Trooper Nelson. See Z.V. page 125.

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PostSubject: Re: Where some men staked out at iSandlwana?   Sun Nov 11, 2012 9:35 pm

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PostSubject: Re: Where some men staked out at iSandlwana?   Sun Nov 11, 2012 10:26 pm

Looking at this section taken from the image. Martin could be right...
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PostSubject: Where some men staked out at iSandlwana?   Mon Nov 12, 2012 12:15 pm

Thanks for the pic's LH. Yes, those are two of the parts of the sketch I am speaking of, and if you search further into the sketch by Trooper Nelson, you will see other areas of the sketch that show this type of thing.

There are numerous AZW publications that show this sketch, but I think that most have the 'tidied up' version, I also think I have seen a larger version of this in one of my AZW books, I will have to have a trawl through them to see if I can find it.

If Trooper Nelson was drawing what he actually witnessed, then it does make you wonder how many of these poor chaps went through the terrible ordeal of torture and torment before their death and disembowelment. And if what he drew was factual, then the men that witnessed these horrible scenes must have been full of anger and wanting revenge.
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PostSubject: Staking out of injured troopers   Mon Nov 12, 2012 1:43 pm


Hi Martin/Littlehand,
Indeed!
I have not seen anything in the annals referring to staking out , per se, but do believe in some instances the assegai thrusts may have impailed some.
What I do know however is that at RD some troopers were eyewitnesse to their alive but wounded comrades being disembowled before their eyes, then seeing the bodies being further ritualistically butchered, and body parts removed, as was the way of the Zulu. This incensed the witnesses and caused them to have very much "reduced levels of compassion" for their attackers.
On the morning of the 23rd when Chelmsford and the relieving column arrived at RD, multiple rations of rum were issued to the defenders and members of the relieving column ( who had not had food for the previous 60 hours), and this did nothing to improve their attitude towards their attackers, but the refreshment lifted the spirits of the weary men considerably.

regards

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PostSubject: Re: Where some men staked out at iSandlwana?   Mon Nov 12, 2012 3:14 pm

Possibly Spears impaling the hands to the ground.
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PostSubject: Where some men staked out at iSandlwana?   Mon Nov 12, 2012 4:03 pm

Hi Barry.

Hope you are well mate, and many thanks for your post.

Yes, I can remember reading about some of the men at RD witnessing their mates being cut up, it must have been terrible watching that, and terrifying being on the receiving end of it, and I can well understand the feelings of the men witnessing horrible events like that having 'reduced levels of compassion' towards the Zulus.

Like Dave says, there could well be instances of spears being used to impale men to the ground, and then couldn't be removed because of the force used, but could some of the 'stakes' be the mens own lunge bayonets I wonder?

As I said in an earlier post, could Trooper Nelson be using a good bit of imagination in his drawing to evoke anger and revenge, after all, it was dark when Chelmsford arrived back at the camp, and he left before light to avoid the men seeing the carnage on the battlefield. If Nelson was in the rear guard that left later, then he might have seen the horrors that the daylight brought, and might have held the image in his mind and drawn the sketch later. The background is oversized and well out of scale, so he might have used his imagination and added the scenes of staking out to instill revulsion, shock, horror, anger and revenge into others that saw his drawing.

But what about the scene at the end of the film 'Zulu Dawn'? This shows some poor chap on his knees with his hands tied above his head to what appears to be a stake, could this also be from someones imagination, or could it be 'film makers licence', or could it be eye witnesses reports?

Just a thought, what do others think?

Martin. Salute
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PostSubject: Re: Where some men staked out at iSandlwana?   Mon Nov 12, 2012 6:53 pm

Quote :
Trooper Nelson be using a good bit of imagination

I don't see why he should,!! He sketched what he saw, as gruesome as it was.


Last edited by Ulundi on Mon Nov 12, 2012 6:54 pm; edited 2 times in total
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PostSubject: Re: Where some men staked out at iSandlwana?   Mon Nov 12, 2012 6:53 pm

I see Martin's query now, thanks fo rthe image LH.
One would imagine that if men had been staked to the ground in deliberate acts of cruelty, there would be numerous sources referring to this.
My gut feeling is artistic license.
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PostSubject: Where men staked out at Isandlwana    Tue Nov 13, 2012 12:24 am

Hi All .
Once again it's the riddle of Isandlwana , I'll go with Tasker's view . If it seemed there were deliberate cases of people being staked out it would have been mentioned in the army records of some description . Quite possibly it may have happened to one or two poor souls but this is the riddle of Isandlwana , in that we will never know , ever , to 100 % accuracy what happened there on the 22nd Jan .
Cheers 90th.
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PostSubject: Re: Where some men staked out at iSandlwana?   Tue Nov 13, 2012 1:48 pm

Extract from Melton Prior, of the Illustrated London News, he visited the battlefields of Isandhlwana and Rorke’s Drift six months after the disaster, and wrote this memorable account:

"In the ravine dead men lay thick – mere bones, with toughened, discoloured skin like leather covering them, and clinging tight to them, the flesh all wasted away. Some were almost wholly dismembered, heaps of clammy yellow bones. I forbear to describe the faces, with their blackened features and beards blanched by rain and sun. Every man had been disembowelled. Some were scalped, and other subject to yet ghastlier mutilation. The clothes had lasted better than the poor bodies they covered, and helped to keep the skeletons together."

Perhaps he was referring to the more gasllier mutilations. Wouldn't have been a very pretty sight, seeing men staked out and cut open.
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old historian2

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PostSubject: Re: Where some men staked out at iSandlwana?   Tue Nov 13, 2012 2:02 pm

The same thing took place at Little Big Horn. Custer's body was virtually untouched, besides the two bullet wounds, either of which could have killed him, simular to Durnford. "This has often been attributed to the Indians' respect for him, although it's also questionable whether they would have recognized him. His long blond hair had been cut short before he left Ft. Abraham Lincoln and he was wearing a buckskin jacket, not a miltary tunic. I have also read that his eardrums were pierced by some sort of long pins, which supposedly symbolized the fact that he didn't listen and would now "hear better" in the afterlife. It's only been in more recent books that George Custer's genitals have been mentioned.

On the other hand his brother, Tom Custer, was horribly mutilated, so much so that he could only be identified by some sort of tattoo on his body.

There was a black interpreter, Isaiah Dorman, who was killed in Reno's retreat. He was mutilated, including his genitals being cut off, although it's not known if there was a specific reason he was mutilated. IIRC it may have been because he had an Indian wife, which was known to the Indians at the Little Bighorn."
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PostSubject: Re: Where some men staked out at iSandlwana?   Tue Nov 13, 2012 3:52 pm

The dead at Isandlwana would have been subjected to this type of mutilation.

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PostSubject: Re: Where some men staked out at iSandlwana?   Tue Nov 13, 2012 4:25 pm


The South African Military History Journal Vol 5 No 5 'The Anglo Zulu War as Depicted in Soldier's Letters' does touch on the subject. Capt Penn Symons after mentioning soldiers being bound hands and feet with rawhide is quoted as saying 'further details would be too sickening'. Also there are apparently soldier's letters which go into some detail. Not sure if this has been mentioned before.

As I understand it Impalement was certainly a fairly common Zulu practice in dealing with captured enemies, treasonable behaviour etc.
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PostSubject: Re: Where some men staked out at iSandlwana?   Tue Nov 13, 2012 5:42 pm

Impalement was very much used, mainly on the Zulu people themselves. Can't see why they woundn't have used on British or Colonial Soldiers.

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PostSubject: Re: Where some men staked out at iSandlwana?   Tue Nov 13, 2012 6:07 pm

Indian war photo. Bit graphic LH. Shocked
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PostSubject: Re: Where some men staked out at iSandlwana?   Tue Nov 13, 2012 6:16 pm

Impi. It would have been more Graphic for those poor souls that came across these bodies.
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PostSubject: Re: Where some men staked out at iSandlwana?   Tue Nov 13, 2012 6:31 pm

So, it would seem that this staking out as Martin calls it, may have happened.
As hanging lads on meat hooks may have happened.
Let's hope that these possible cases were isolated incidents, given the horror of them and there being relatively few mentions of them in accounts.
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PostSubject: Re: Where some men staked out at iSandlwana?   Tue Nov 13, 2012 6:34 pm

old historian2 wrote:
The same thing took place at Little Big Horn. Custer's body was virtually untouched, besides the two bullet wounds, either of which could have killed him, simular to Durnford. "This has often been attributed to the Indians' respect for him, although it's also questionable whether they would have recognized him. His long blond hair had been cut short before he left Ft. Abraham Lincoln and he was wearing a buckskin jacket, not a miltary tunic. I have also read that his eardrums were pierced by some sort of long pins, which supposedly symbolized the fact that he didn't listen and would now "hear better" in the afterlife. It's only been in more recent books that George Custer's genitals have been mentioned.

On the other hand his brother, Tom Custer, was horribly mutilated, so much so that he could only be identified by some sort of tattoo on his body.

There was a black interpreter, Isaiah Dorman, who was killed in Reno's retreat. He was mutilated, including his genitals being cut off, although it's not known if there was a specific reason he was mutilated. IIRC it may have been because he had an Indian wife, which was known to the Indians at the Little Bighorn."

I am not sure a comparison between the Zulus and Native Americans is valid OH2.
From what I have learned, the Zulus disembowelled as a mark of respect to free the soul of the dead man, whereas the NAs did this to hinder the dead man in the after life.
One man's "mutilation" is another man's "custom."
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PostSubject: Where some men staked out at iSandlwana?   Thu Nov 15, 2012 5:52 pm

Reading through correspondents accounts and other eye witnesses reports on seeing these horrific scenes at iSandlwana, it would appear that many of them did cover up what they saw and did not go into graphic detail about what they had seen. Some saying that the scenes were far too horrific to describe, others saying that they could not go into details for fear of upsetting their readers (by this I suppose they meant the relatives of the men killed at iSandlwana, who would most likely be reading the newspapers of the time).

Also, maybe the powers that ruled at the time, either censored or held back any graphic details of what had been done to the dead. Trooper Nelson's sketch was very much tidied up before it appeared in the paper, and even today, many books only show the tidied up version. There must have been other sketches made by other people at the time, I wonder what happened to them, confiscated perhaps?
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PostSubject: Re: Where some men staked out at iSandlwana?   Thu Nov 15, 2012 8:23 pm

True. The Victorians created many taboos in many areas, many of which we are still still liberating today.

So could statements of drummer boys hung up on hooks, stakings out and other horrific accounts of torture have been quashed, censored, shredded, destroyed?
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old historian2

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PostSubject: Re: Where some men staked out at iSandlwana?   Thu Nov 15, 2012 8:29 pm

Quote :
I am not sure a comparison between the Zulus and Native Americans is valid OH2.
From what I have learned, the Zulus disembowelled as a mark of respect to free the soul of the dead man, whereas the NAs did this to hinder the dead man in the after life.
One man's "mutilation" is another man's "custom."

Tasker, I was merely pointing out the similarities regarding the mutilations. Not the reasoning behind it.
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PostSubject: Re: Where some men staked out at iSandlwana?   Thu Nov 15, 2012 9:03 pm

I realised the purpose of you post OH. Salute
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PostSubject: Re: Where some men staked out at iSandlwana?   Thu Nov 15, 2012 9:36 pm

old historian2 wrote:
Quote :
I am not sure a comparison between the Zulus and Native Americans is valid OH2.
From what I have learned, the Zulus disembowelled as a mark of respect to free the soul of the dead man, whereas the NAs did this to hinder the dead man in the after life.
One man's "mutilation" is another man's "custom."

Tasker, I was merely pointing out the similarities regarding the mutilations. Not the reasoning behind it.

How many horrific ways are there to mutilate a man's body?
In addition to the Native Americans, we could probably compare the Zulu mutilations with those perpetrated by the Viet-Cong, the IRA and Jack the Ripper!
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PostSubject: Re: Where some men staked out at iSandlwana?   Thu Nov 15, 2012 11:37 pm

Quote :
How many horrific ways are there to mutilate a man's body?
In addition to the Native Americans, we could probably compare the Zulu mutilations with those perpetrated by the Viet-Cong, the IRA and Jack the Ripper!

Vietnam (Wrong Era) IRA (Wrong Era) Jack the Ripper ( Murderer)
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PostSubject: Re: Where some men staked out at iSandlwana?   Fri Nov 16, 2012 6:43 am

I have never heard of the IRA mutilating bodies ? Do you mean as a result of bombings ?
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PostSubject: Re: Where some men staked out at iSandlwana?   Fri Nov 16, 2012 2:43 pm

Dave wrote:
Quote :
How many horrific ways are there to mutilate a man's body?
In addition to the Native Americans, we could probably compare the Zulu mutilations with those perpetrated by the Viet-Cong, the IRA and Jack the Ripper!

Vietnam (Wrong Era) IRA (Wrong Era) Jack the Ripper ( Murderer)

Dave, you have missed the point.
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PostSubject: Re: Where some men staked out at iSandlwana?   Fri Nov 16, 2012 2:46 pm

garywilson1 wrote:
I have never heard of the IRA mutilating bodies ? Do you mean as a result of bombings ?

Hi, gw1. I have I'm afraid but I don't want to write any more on that topic. And no, not as a result of bombings.
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PostSubject: Re: Where some men staked out at iSandlwana?   Fri Nov 16, 2012 2:54 pm

Hi Tasker , ok , i respect that .

Gary.
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PostSubject: Re: Where some men staked out at iSandlwana?   Mon Dec 31, 2012 12:31 pm

Came across this sketch, it's the same as the one posted by LH, but this image is lacking the remains. This copy is signed, so was the remains of the solderers added to LHs Copy?
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LH Copy.
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PostSubject: Re: Where some men staked out at iSandlwana?   Mon Dec 31, 2012 12:36 pm

John

The skeletons were removed before publication. Too shocking for Victorians to view, back then.
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PostSubject: Were some men staked out at Isandlwana    Mon Dec 31, 2012 12:47 pm

John.
The skeletal remains were indeed taken / left out of the picture before it was published in the newspapers
of the day .
90th
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PostSubject: Re: Where some men staked out at iSandlwana?   Mon Dec 31, 2012 1:20 pm

For what its worth my mother told me that there were reports of "crucifixions" at Isandlwana and that specifically it was reported that a drummer boy had been crucified and disemboweled on a wagon by witnesses. This being reported to families in Pietermaritzburg after the battle.

These reports are often "urban legends" that grow like the fisherman's catch with each telling of the story. Certainly in the aftermath of Rorke's drift very little mercy was shown to Zulu wounded so there must have been cause for men to go a wild and officers to support such behaviour.

Rob
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John

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PostSubject: Re: Where some men staked out at iSandlwana?   Mon Dec 31, 2012 3:26 pm

Thanks for replys makes sense.

The skeletons seemed to have one or both legs drawn up-wards to the chest. Consequence of being stabbed in the stomach I suppose. Just thinking out loud!!
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PostSubject: Re: Where some men staked out at iSandlwana?   Mon Dec 31, 2012 4:02 pm

The Zulus favoured a stabbing technique consisting of pushing the assegai through the rib cage with a considerable but controlled force, their favoured point of entry being the armpit area/ side of chest.
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PostSubject: Re: Where some men staked out at iSandlwana?   Mon Dec 31, 2012 4:07 pm

Death would have been essentially instantaneous, a few seconds at most.
A wound to the stomach/ abdomen will not immediately incapaitate. It will bring about a slow and painful death that can take many many hours, assuming no other major organs or blood vessels are punctured.
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