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 24th Men Killed at Isandlwana near a kraal

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littlehand



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PostSubject: Re: 24th Men Killed at Isandlwana near a kraal    Mon Dec 17, 2012 10:40 pm

Neil. Never been to the Battlefield. Could this be the Kraal in-question.

Brickhill states.

The mounted white force now went down to their assistance and these together held the plains so determinedly that the Zulu lines actually swerved once, and sought to mass together under cover of a kraal. A well-placed shot from one of the field pieces caused considerable havoc and scattered them from there. A general forward movement was now made by the enemy from the kraal just named, right away from the northern nek.
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Neil Aspinshaw



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PostSubject: Re: 24th Men Killed at Isandlwana near a kraal    Tue Dec 18, 2012 7:58 am

LH
Not that one, Brickhill is referring to those dotted on the plains in front of Isandlwana. These are on the fugitives trail approx 1km from the saddle.
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24th



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PostSubject: Re: 24th Men Killed at Isandlwana near a kraal    Tue Dec 18, 2012 8:24 am

In the one mentioned by LH, is it not possible, that the artillery shells put pay to some of the 24th.
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barry



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PostSubject: Visit to Isandlwana.   Tue Dec 18, 2012 9:18 am


Hi Neil,

Ok, I am on. Dates look good.
I will pm you.

regards,

barry
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Mr M. Cooper



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PostSubject: 24th men killed at Isandlwana near kraal   Wed Dec 19, 2012 12:41 pm

LH.

Could this be what you are looking for?

The book 'Hill of the Sphinx' (Jackson), mentions that,

"Colour Sergeant Wolfe, of Wardell's company, was cut off with twenty men in the rocks above a kraal which he may have been holding with this detachment".

If you have the book, it's in Chapter Six, page 41.
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Drummer Boy 14



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PostSubject: Re: 24th Men Killed at Isandlwana near a kraal    Wed Dec 19, 2012 3:39 pm

Martin

I'm sure you have it right there, no other body of the 24th was posativly identified near a kraal other
than Wolfe's section.



Cheers
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Mr M. Cooper



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PostSubject: 24th men killed at Isandlwana near kraal   Wed Dec 19, 2012 4:20 pm

Hello Sam.

Thank you, I have searched for anything regarding troops killed at or near a kraal, so when I found the above in 'Hill of the Sphinx' I thought that might be what LH is trying to find.

Hope you have a wonderful Christmas Sam, and that 'Santa' will bring you plenty of AZW material. Merry Christmas

Salute
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barry



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PostSubject: Re: 24th Men Killed at Isandlwana near a kraal    Wed Dec 19, 2012 5:33 pm

Hi All,

This incident begs a number of questions. They are, in terms of the best info available ;

1) how many men were there killed at the kraal with Sgt Wolfe ?
2) were they indeed killed by friendly fire from a 7pdr RML mountain gun.?
3) if so, this must have been quite early in the development of the battle, and if that is correct ;
4) why was this group of men some 1200 metres away from the main defence lines of the camp and at a
position bearing 241 deg from the car park and almost on the Fugitives Trail. All of which suggests this
was not he ridge which Lt Roberts NNC was on, but rather a mass burial place for those dead found on the
trail

regards

barry

PS ; the mind boggles at the alternative to a friendly fire incident here


Last edited by barry on Thu Dec 20, 2012 3:31 pm; edited 2 times in total
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Chelmsfordthescapegoat



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PostSubject: Re: 24th Men Killed at Isandlwana near a kraal    Wed Dec 19, 2012 6:37 pm

"'Hill of the Sphinx' who's the author, not heard of this one...
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Mr M. Cooper



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PostSubject: 24th men killed at Isandlwana near kraal   Wed Dec 19, 2012 6:39 pm

Hi Barry.

According to Jackson's HOTS, there were 20 men with Wolfe. Regarding FF, I don't think they were hit by FF, it seems that they were overwhelmed by zulus, so that would rule out 3. The line of thought is that they were supposed to have been a rear guard, but I don't know if that is fact or someones suggestion.

Salute
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Mr M. Cooper



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PostSubject: 24th men killed at Isandlwana near kraal   Wed Dec 19, 2012 6:40 pm

CTSG.

F.W.D. Jackson.
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Chelmsfordthescapegoat



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PostSubject: Re: 24th Men Killed at Isandlwana near a kraal    Wed Dec 19, 2012 6:42 pm

His he new on the circuit. Does anyone have this book.
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Mr M. Cooper



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PostSubject: 24th men killed at Isandlwana near kraal   Wed Dec 19, 2012 6:52 pm

CTSG.

He is one of the best on the subject. His book can be obtained at the museum at Brecon, PM Bill and he will give you the details. I think it's about £12 or £13. Great book, great read, and great value.
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littlehand



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PostSubject: Re: 24th Men Killed at Isandlwana near a kraal    Wed Dec 19, 2012 7:01 pm

CTSG. You know perfectly well who Jackson is. Just another one of your silly games, that ends up taking the discussion of topic. Give it a rest for Christ sake!!!!
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Drummer Boy 14



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PostSubject: Re: 24th Men Killed at Isandlwana near a kraal    Wed Dec 19, 2012 7:03 pm

littlehand wrote:
CTSG. You know perfectly well who Jackson is. Just another one of your silly games, that ends up taking the discussion of topic. Give it a rest for Christ sake!!!!

Salute

Jackson's work is the best, all the sources are easy to find and there is no speculation, just hard
fact and a great read.


Cheers
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littlehand



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PostSubject: Re: 24th Men Killed at Isandlwana near a kraal    Wed Dec 19, 2012 7:05 pm

DB, don't need that to follow, what I said comes from me, and that's it.
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Mr M. Cooper



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PostSubject: 24th men killed at Isandlwana near kraal   Wed Dec 19, 2012 7:21 pm

Hi LH.

Do you think that might be the men of the 24th that you are looking for? It does look like they were indeed killed near to a kraal, but I can't find anything other than what I first posted (Roberts), regarding any sort of friendly fire incedent.
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littlehand



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PostSubject: Re: 24th Men Killed at Isandlwana near a kraal    Wed Dec 19, 2012 7:28 pm

It could be, but I'm trying to establish, if it is possible these chaps were killed by friendly fire! Looks like Barry is looking along the same lines. But I still don't think it will be easy to establish who they were, based on we will never know the exact movements of some indivuals, we're they a few straggles from various companies that had banded together?
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Mr M. Cooper



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PostSubject: 24th men killed at Isandlwana near kraal   Wed Dec 19, 2012 7:50 pm

Yes, that is what I first looked at. But like I said, I did go through Ian Knight's write up about friendly fire incedents, and the only one I could find that stated a kraal was Roberts being shelled by FF. There must have been quite a lot of lead flying about, so it is not impossible that there were quite a few FF incedents, but you would think that a group of 20 men getting hit by FF would have been witnessed and spoken of after the battle, but did the witnesses survive to tell the tale? I will keep looking through the books I have, and if I come accross anything I will post it up for you.
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24th



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PostSubject: Re: 24th Men Killed at Isandlwana near a kraal    Wed Dec 19, 2012 8:09 pm

But was we aware of this prior to LH posting. Remembering these remains we're found a year later.

Do we have an approx time when the Kraal was shelled by the Artilliery on the 22nd Jan 1879.
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Drummer Boy 14



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PostSubject: Re: 24th Men Killed at Isandlwana near a kraal    Wed Dec 19, 2012 9:05 pm

Only people surposed to be killed in a Kraal were Lt. Roberts of the NNH, no one of the 24th were ever reported to have
been killed by friendly fire at Isandlwana.



Cheers
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24th



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PostSubject: Re: 24th Men Killed at Isandlwana near a kraal    Wed Dec 19, 2012 9:23 pm

So we thought?, but obvisouly it was reported, ie littlehand post that started this thread.
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John



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PostSubject: Re: 24th Men Killed at Isandlwana near a kraal    Wed Dec 19, 2012 9:42 pm

Quote :
Posted by DB

Subject: Re: Isandlwana, Last Stands   Mon Feb 20, 2012 8:59 pm
Some figures from Jackson.

From the upper part of the 1/24th camp to the road: Durnford, Wardle, Dyer, Scott, Bradstreet
Hitchcock, one officer of the 24th unrecognisable and 150 men of the 24th.

Slope of Isandlwana above the Artillery camp: Younghusband, two officers of the 24th unrecognisable and 60 men of the 24th.

Nek, on south side of road under Blacks Koppie: around 100 white bodies.

Among the rocks on the bastion, just above a Kraal full of Zulu dead : Colour-Sergeant Wolfe found surrounded by 20 men of the 24th,

This is the only mention I can find to do with members of the 24th and Kraal, and dead Zulu's no doubt from Artilliery fire. Does anyone know when Wolfe and company were buried.
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Drummer Boy 14



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PostSubject: Re: 24th Men Killed at Isandlwana near a kraal    Wed Dec 19, 2012 9:45 pm

I'm pretty sure september, thats when Mainwaring i think marked were they died, if anyone has Jackson's book
its covered in there.


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John



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PostSubject: Re: 24th Men Killed at Isandlwana near a kraal    Wed Dec 19, 2012 9:48 pm

Puzzling. These remains we're found months after. scratch
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90th



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PostSubject: 24th Men Killed at Isandlwana near a kraal   Wed Dec 19, 2012 9:55 pm

There are no reports that I've come across indicating men of the 24th were killed by cannon fire . The only instance of this being recorded is the supposed death of Lt Roberts whom was with his men ( NNC ) was killed on the ridge from memory .
Outside of Wolfe and his men who were killed near a kraal , where it's never mentioned that they were killed by Friendly fire
I dont know if this incident ever happened , Curling who was with the guns has never mentioned it ! . Also the guns didnt fire many shells before they attempted to flee . I'm confident if it happened it would have been seen by one of the survivors and reported later , especially as Curling was right there on the spot . Unless of course some of the conspiracy minded think he covered it up ! .
90th
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Drummer Boy 14



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PostSubject: Re: 24th Men Killed at Isandlwana near a kraal    Wed Dec 19, 2012 9:55 pm

Wolfe's section were out near the firing lines, in May the burial party on concetrated on the bodies in and about the camp.

Also the Guns were right next to the 24th companies, short of turning the gun and pointing it directly at the companies, there was no way they could have been hit by Cannon fire.



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John



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PostSubject: Re: 24th Men Killed at Isandlwana near a kraal    Wed Dec 19, 2012 10:20 pm

Was there an account by someone that states the cannons were firing over the heads of the NNC.
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Drummer Boy 14



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PostSubject: Re: 24th Men Killed at Isandlwana near a kraal    Wed Dec 19, 2012 10:25 pm

Brickhill mentions a shell almost bursting over some NNC, and Stafford records that he heard that Lt. Roberts was
killed on the Spur by cannon fire.



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John



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PostSubject: Re: 24th Men Killed at Isandlwana near a kraal    Wed Dec 19, 2012 10:28 pm

When you say heard! Is it just based on hearsay. Or confirmed. Who was with Roberts and what regiment was he in.
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Drummer Boy 14



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PostSubject: Re: 24th Men Killed at Isandlwana near a kraal    Wed Dec 19, 2012 10:31 pm

"heard" is all Stafford says and if you'd read mine and 90th's posts you'd know he was a Lt. in the NNH.


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John



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PostSubject: Re: 24th Men Killed at Isandlwana near a kraal    Wed Dec 19, 2012 10:43 pm

To many rapid fire posts, bound to miss some words.

OK, So Roberts wasn't actually confirmed as being killed by cannon fire.
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Dave



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PostSubject: Re: 24th Men Killed at Isandlwana near a kraal    Wed Dec 19, 2012 10:48 pm

Statement made by Captain Walter Stafford, 1st/1st N.N.C.

".The whole of our force had retired to this position, where they still were when we arrived. The one exception was Lieutenant Roberts, of Pinetown, who had managed to get his men into a cattle kraal on the ledge of the ridge. I heard later on that this little band had been shelled by our artillery, and that Roberts had been killed as a result of the blunder. ..."
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impi



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PostSubject: Re: 24th Men Killed at Isandlwana near a kraal    Wed Dec 19, 2012 11:00 pm

Came across this on another forum, posted by Peter Quantrill. 2006 but relevant I think.

The Killie Cambell visit proved negative (on the issue of Chadwick's map.)
We then visited the Amafa museum and records at Ulundi. A great deal of Chadwick's papers and publications were there, but not the missing map. So we are left with his description only that confirms that he, Chadwick, identified cairns on the ridge.
Next F.W.D.Jackson's "Hill of the Sphinx" (page 77,) states that the Witness of January 1880 dated 3rd and 13th read " On the left front the 'missing companies' of the 24th had been found by Hlubi's Basutos in a Kraal on the ridge."
A visit was made to the records office in Pietermaritzbug and the January 1880 edition found. Alas the first five or six days in January were missing in their entirety. However the 13th January report showed that
a W.E.Bales was tasked to take a working party to Isandlwana to report on the situation. Bales wrote:
" Suggest taking tents, picks, etc and work party of 20-30 men under supervision ----
Since writing the above, I have been informed by Hlobious' [ sic Hlubi] men they have found a kraal near Isandhlwana with the remains of a large number of the 24th and that the Zulus had told them these men had fought till their ammunition ran short and then were assegaied.[sic] Probably this was the company Colonel Pulleine commanded and which was never heard of."

Then another report dated 24 January 1880 was of even more interest.
The heading and report was as follows:
Heading:

" Complete internment ordered by the Legislature Pietermaritzburg."
Report:
" The Governor had selected a non-commissioned officer and with the assisstance of Mr. Fynn who is instructerd to render the non-commissioned officer every assisstance in the proper burial of the dead ----- He [Theo Shepstone] inquired whether the non-commissioned officer referred to had interred the company of the 24th that had marched out of camp and was never heard of since.In reply the Colonial Secretary said he [ the NCO] had not apparently proceeded beyong the [ battle] field."
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Chelmsfordthescapegoat



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PostSubject: Re: 24th Men Killed at Isandlwana near a kraal    Thu Dec 20, 2012 12:19 am

The Myth of the Missing Companies By Ian Knight.

 The disaster at Isandlwana was so swift and so comprehensive that, even today, more than 120 years later, historians remain deeply divided about aspects of the battle. The very intensity of the event, and the paucity of direct evidence relating to it, has led over the years to the rise and fall of a number of conflicting theories, as historians and enthusiasts alike debate everything from logistics to the character traits of those in command.
     One theory which has emerged in recent years is that of the ‘lost companies’- the idea that one or more of the companies of the 24th Regiment marched out from the camp, and was over-run in isolation, its fate still largely undetermined today. There are similar stories to be found in most wars, and the myth of the ‘lost command’ or the ‘lost patrol’ is as old as human conflict itself, evoking, as it does, many of the feelings of tragedy, pathos, horror and mystery, which are central to our view of death in battle.
     The question is, did anything of the sort occur at Isandlwana? The first suggestion that it might have is to be found in Lord Chelmsford’s despatch of 27 January, breaking the news of the debacle to the Secretary of State for War. After he had returned to Rorke’s Drift from Zululand, Chelmsford had ridden straight to Pietermaritzburg, and it was from there that he submitted a long report of the Isandlwana campaign, as he then understood it. After outlining his own movements, he commented significantly ‘As regards the proceedings of the six companies of British infantry, two guns and two rocket tubes, the garrison of the camp, I can obtain but little information’ 1. Then, intriguingly, he commented that ‘one company went off to the extreme left and has never been heard of since’ 2.
     That this might indeed have happened is apparently born out by a reference in arguably the most complete account of the battle from a Zulu source. Mehlokazulu kaSihayo Ngobese was the senior son of the important Zulu induna who lived on the Zulu side of the border at Rorke’s Drift, Chief Sihayo kaXongo. It was Mehlokazulu’s raid into Natal territory in search of his father’s runaway wives, in July 1878, which had been seized upon as a casus belli by the British. Mehlokazulu’s surrender was demanded in the British ultimatum, but King Cetshwayo had been unwilling to give him up, Mehlokazulu fought throughout the subsequent war as a junior commander in his regiment, the iNgobamakhosi. At the end of hostilities he was taken prisoner by the British, and sent to Pietermaritzburg to be tried according to the terms of the ultimatum. In the event, the case was dropped, but while in Pietermaritzburg Mehlokazulu was questioned about his role at Isandlwana, and as a result left one of the most comprehensive descriptions of the battle from a Zulu perspective. At one point, Mehlokazulu appears to confirm Chelmsford’s suspicions when he recalled that,
two companies, which went on the hill  ... never returned – they were every one of them killed. They were firing on the wings of the Zulu army, while the body of the army was pushing on, the wings also succeeded, and before the soldiers knew where they were they were surrounded from the west, attacked by the wings from the right, and the main body from the back. They were all killed, not one escaped ...3 
     If this incident did occur, and in the manner described, it is necessary to identify the troops involved, and the point in the battle at which this took place. And is it possible that the remains of men from one or two companies are still lying, undiscovered, and somewhere away from the main battlefield? 
     The question of who these men might have been is easily answered. Although detailed dispositions are still uncertain, the broad movements of the main elements of the British force are well known. Sometime before 11 am 4 on the morning of the 22nd, the camp commander, Lt. Col. Pulleine, sent Lieutenant Charles Cavaye’s E Company, 1/24th, onto a low ridge of hills to the immediate north of Isandlwana hill. This movement was apparently made in support of Col. Durnford’s sweep through the iNyoni range, which took place at about this time. Cavaye’s command ascended the so-called ‘spur’, and crossed out of sight from the camp beyond the skyline. Shortly afterwards, once the news of the discovery of the Zulu impi by detachments of Durnford’s men reached the camp, Pulleine despatched a further company of the 1/24th – F Company, under Captain William Mostyn – to support Cavaye 5. Captain Essex, who, as Transport Officer to the column had no particular duties to perform that morning, recalled the despatch of Mostyn’s men;
About noon a sergeant came to my tent and told me that firing was to be heard behind the hill where the company of the 1st Battalion 24th had been sent. I had my glasses over my shoulder, and thought I might as well take my revolver; but did not trouble to put on my sword, as I thought nothing of the matter and expected to be back in half an hour to complete my letter. I got on my horse and galloped up the hill passing a company of the 24th on its way to the front ...6 
As he passed, Mostyn, who was presumably on foot,
requested me, being mounted, to direct Lieutenant Cavaye to take special care not to endanger the right of his company, and to inform that officer that he himself was moving up to the left. I also noticed a body of Lieutenant Colonel Durnford’s Mounted Natives retiring down the hill, but did not see the enemy. On arriving at the far side of the crest of the hill, I found the company in charge of Lieutenant Cavaye, a section being detached about 500 yards to the left, in charge of Lieutenant Dyson. The whole were in extended order engaging the enemy, who were moving in a similar formation towards our left, keeping at about 800 yards from our line...7 
     In this description we find the main evidence to support Chelmsford’s view that troops were sent out to the ‘extreme left’ of the British line. The question is, what became of them?
     In some respects, the fighting on the ridge above the ‘spur’ remains the least understood aspect of the battle. At this stage – the very beginning of the Zulu approach – the fighting was still fluid, with both sides able to manoeuvre in a way which they could not once the Zulu net drew closer around the camp. To the right of Mostyn and Cavaye’s companies, and largely ignored by them, Raw’s and Roberts’ troops from Durnford’s command first retreated to the foot of the ridge, and then – supported by Vause’s troop and a company of NNC who joined them at the bottom – counter-attacked back up the slope. The extended position on the ridge was, however, in danger of being outflanked by the advance of the Zulu ‘chest’ along the length of the iNyoni escarpment further to the British right.
     It is Essex, again, who provides the clearest evidence of what happened next. In many ways, his accounts remain problematic to conservative historians, since he is not only unequivocal in his view that Mostyn and Cavaye retired safely down the ‘spur’, but he goes on to describe in some detail how he then organised fresh supplies of ammunition for the fighting line, giving the lie to the myth that ammunition failure was an important factor in the British collapse. Of Mostyn and Cavaye’s predicament he says;
About five minutes after the arrival of Captain Mostyn’s company, I was informed by Lieutenant Melville, Adjutant 1st Battalion 24th Regiment, that a fresh body of the enemy was appearing in force in our rear, and he requested me to direct the left of the line formed, as above described, to fall slowly back, keeping up the fire. This I did; then proceeded towards the centre of the line. I found, however, that it had already retired. I therefore followed in the same direction, but being mounted had great difficulty in descending the hill, the ground being very rocky and precipitous. On arriving at the foot of the slope I found the two companies of 1st Battalion 24th Regiment drawn up about 400 yards distant in extended order, and Captain Younghusband’s company in similar formation in echelon on the left. 8 
     This seems such a positive assertion that there seems little room for doubt that Mostyn and Cavaye did indeed retire from the ridge and join the main firing line. Is it possible, though, that the section under 2nd Lieutenant Dyson, which Essex recalled a detached to the extreme left, was somehow cut off, and gave rise to the idea of the ‘missing company’? Not according to Essex, who – along with an unidentified source – was quoted in the eulogy to Dyson, which appeared in Mackinnon and Shadbolt’s The South Africa Campaign 1879. Quoting a ‘private letter written to his father’, it states;
The last person who saw your son and escaped, that I can find, was Captain Essex, 75th Regiment, acting transport officer. He tell me that just before the Zulu horn got round our flanks and the last overwhelming rush was made, Dyson was with one section of his company, which was in skirmishing order to the left-front of the camp. He gave orders to retire, and I believe, from another witness, that he and all his company rejoined the main body without loss.  The five companies were then together in line ....9 
    It is, of course, unwise of any historian to rely entirely upon one source. Are there, then, any independent witnesses who corroborate Essex’s testimony? Nyanda, a senior man among the detachment of the Zikhali Horse that had first discovered the impi, described the fighting on the ridge in his official report;
One company of the redcoats and the remainder of our men then came out from the camp to support, and marched to the top of the hill on the left of the camp – we dismounted and mixed with them under command of Mr Shepstone – firing – our own footmen all came up the hill at this time (50 men) and supported us. The Zulus then closed on us notwithstanding our fire and we retreated to the bottom of the hill, mixed up with the Company of redcoats that had advanced with us.10 
     Of course, if Mostyn and Cavaye had not managed to retreat to the foot of the camp, the implications for the firing line were immense. Captain Younghusband’s company had apparently been deployed to anchor the British left, and Essex indicates that Mostyn and Cavaye had fallen in to Younghusband’s right, thus completing the line that stretched out to the guns. If this did not occur, it is difficult to see how the British could have maintained any screen to the north of the camp; the line at this point would have been wide open, and the Zulu would surely have been able to penetrate it. Indeed, if the two companies had been wiped out on the hill, then the Zulu would have accorded to the regiment who faced them – chiefly the uNokhenke – the honour of being first to overcome the enemy. They did not; Zulu sources acknowledge that it was the uMbonambi – who broke through the line on the British right, between Pope’s company of Durnford’s men – who were the first to ‘stab’ the enemy 11.
     Moreover, further tentative evidence regarding the fate of these companies is afforded by the subsequent burial detail. It must be admitted that this evidence is incomplete; although some of Lord Chelmsford’s officers made attempt to seek out the bodies of friends and colleagues when Chelmsford returned to Isandlwana on the night of the 22nd, it was of course dark, and the column moved on before daylight. The first attempt to bury the dead did not occur until May, by which time most of the bodies were unrecognisable, and most of the 24th were not interred until June. Further burial details were necessary for several years to come, because the summer rains regularly washed bones out of the shallow graves.
     Nevertheless, the evidence afforded by the position of the bodies does tend to confirm the impression that Mostyn and Cavaye’s men did indeed retire to the camp, and were overwhelmed below Isandlwana, and in the valley behind. It is, of course, impossible to trace where individual soldiers fell, but there are tantalising glimpses of the fate of the officers. According to the eulogy in Mackinnon and Shadbolt – based on eyewitness testimony – Cavaye’s remains were recognised on the return of the main body to the camp on the night of the 22nd’12. Clearly, given the limited time that Chelmsford spent at the camp, this would only have been feasible if Cavaye had fallen in the camp area, and his body was relatively conspicuous. It is true that there is no reference to the body of Cavaye’s subaltern, Dyson, ever having been found, but there is some evidence to the fate of E Company’s officers. According to the contemporary regimental history,
Many months afterward a diamond ring was picked up on the field of Isandlwana. By mean of an advertisement, the finder was enabled to identify the ring as having belonged to Captain Mostyn, and restored it to that officer’s family.13 
     Of course, it is not clear from this where on the battlefield the ring was found, but a ring is an intimate item – most people don’t remove them except under unusual circumstances – and it is reasonable to assume that Mostyn had been wearing it when killed. His remains had probably lain nearby.  If the finder of the ring had stumbled across a clump of skeletons lost in the hills above the camp, he made nothing of it; it is far more likely that the ring was found in the camp area. The fate of Mostyn’s Lieutenant, Edgar Anstey, is well documented; it was found on the banks of the Manzimnyama stream, surrounded by a cluster of men of the 24th. The remains were identified by his brother, Captain Anstey RE, and brought back to England for interment 14.
     The spread of the bodies in entirely consistent with Mostyn and Cavaye – and the men under their command – having retired on the camp, and been overwhelmed in the fighting below Isandlwana, and in the valley behind. It does not support the theory that these men were killed further out from the camp.
     Is it possible, moreover, that successive burial details failed to locate the significant concentration of bodies that two or even one company represents? They might have been missed during the May burials, when the search was largely concentrated in the camp area, but the expeditions in June took place over several days, and were much more thorough. Moreover, the site was searched thoroughly again in September 1879, and yet again in March 1880, when the officer in charge, Lt. O’Connell of the 60th Rifles, specifically made inquiries of natives respecting the kraal where it was said two companies of the 24th Regiment had fallen, but they knew nothing about it. Mr Johnson, the missionary, residing near the field, informed me that he had also made inquiries about this kraal, but that the natives had never heard of it. He believed the story to have no foundation.15 
     It is also significant that neither the early travellers to the battlefield – who arrived shortly after the war had finished, when much debris was still on the ground – nor modern tourists have found remains indicative of such heavy fighting in the ridge area. A preliminary field search conducted as part of the 2000 archaeological survey discovered nothing to support the ‘lost companies’ theory, although clearly much exploratory work remains to be done.
     How can one explain, then, Chelmsford’s remarks to that effect in his original despatch, and the apparent support offered by Mehlokazulu’s account? Both, it seems, were more than a little influenced by the ‘fog of war’.
     Chelmsford’s initial despatch was written on 27 January. At that stage, no attempt had been made to collect and collate the evidence of survivors from the battle, and Chelmsford had very little idea what had happened at the camp. Indeed, the purpose of the Court of Inquiry – convened at Helpmekaar on the 29th – was not, as is sometimes supposed, to investigate conduct of the campaign, but simply to provide Chelmsford with a clearer picture of the events surrounding the loss of the camp. It was only on this occasion that the testimony of Essex and other survivors became known, dispelling the rumours that had prevailed since the battle itself.
     And Mehlokazulu? Mehlokazulu’s regiment, the iNgobamakhosi, had been on the extreme left of the Zulu line, furthest away from events on the British left. Indeed, Mehlokazulu had been preoccupied with fighting against the stand made by the Colonial Volunteers and by Durnford, and he admitted that in its last stages the fight had been desperate and confusing. ‘Things were then getting very mixed up’, he admitted, ‘what with the smoke, dust, and intermingling of mounted men, footmen, Zulus and natives, it was difficult to tell’ what was going on.16 Clearly, any impression of events that took place beyond Mehlokazulu’s immediate vicinity was influenced by hearsay after the event. And here, perhaps, it is possible that he was responding to descriptions of the fragmentation of the British line that took place as it collapsed. Several witnesses on both sides recalled that different companies of the 24th retired in different directions, and that the Zulus rapidly drove wedges between them. Indeed, the account of ‘Untabeni and Uhlolwani’, two members of the British intelligence department who fought at Isandlwana, is strongly reminiscent of Mehlokazulu’s version, and probably reflects the impression of many who were there;
The company of the 24th, which was returning from the neck, got to within 200 yards of the NNC tents on the left, where they were surrounded and cut off to a man.17 


     That the 24th companies on the left of the line became separated during the retreat through the camp is supported by uGuku, a warrior of the uKhandempemvu regiment, who, referring to the same incident, recalled,
One party of soldiers came out from among the tents and formed up a little above the ammunition waggons. They held their ground there until their ammunition failed them, when they were nearly all assegaied. Those who were not killed at this place formed again in a solid square in the neck of Sandhlwana ...18 
     And it is in this terrible picture of the firing line breaking up, of companies becoming separated in the desperate retreat through the camp, of being swallowed up in the chaos, confusion, noise, smoke and horror of the camp’s last moments, that we find the true origin of the story of the ‘missing companies’.
     It is, in its way, romantic to imagine that the bones of hundreds of redcoats still lie out in the empty veldt, crumbling under the onslaught of the elements, undiscovered more than 120 years on. They are not; they lie, together with those of their comrades, in the hard soil along the foot of mount Isandlwana and in the Manzimnyama valley beyond, where they fell.


1 Despatch of 27 January, published in British Parliamentary Papers C 2252.
2 Ibid.
3 Mehlokazulu, interviewed on 27 September, 1879, reproduced in The Natal Mercury’s digest of reports on the war, published 1879.
4 It is notoriously difficult to ascertain correct timings in the study of any battle, and this is particularly true of Isandlwana, where the trauma of subsequent events makes the estimates given by survivors unreliable. Contemporary references to the time at which incidents took place are confused and often contradictory. All timings given here are therefore approximate.
5 The most detailed evidence of these movements comes from Captain Essex’s evidence to the Court of Inquiry, held at Helpmekaar of 27 January. Captain Alan Gardner’s evidence also confirms the general outline of these movements. BPP C 2252.
6 Essex, letter dated ‘Rorke’s Drift, January 26th 1879’, published in The Times, 12 April 1879.
7 Essex, evidence at Court of Inquiry.
8 Essex, ibid.
9 J. P. Mackinnon and S. H. Shadbolt, The South Africa Campaign of 1879, 1880.
10 Statement of Nyanda, 25 January 1879. WO 32.
11 Testimony of Mpatshana kaSodondo in C. De B. Webb and J. B. Wright (Ed), The James Stuart Archive. Vol. 3, 1982.
12 Mackinnon and Shadbolt.
13 Records of the 24th Regiment, by Cols. Paton, Glennie and Penn Symons, 1982.
14 Mackinnon and Shadbolt; Anstey family sources.
15 Lt. M. O’Connell, report dated Pietermaritzburg April 16 1980. BPP C-2676.
16 Mehlokazulu’s account, Natal Mercury.
17 Statement of Untabeni and Uhlolwani, WO 32.
18 Account of uGuku in History of the Zulu War and its Origin by Frances Colenso and Edward Durnford, 1880.
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90th



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PostSubject: 24th Men Killed at Isandlwana Near A Kraal   Thu Dec 20, 2012 7:00 am

Ctsg.
I'm willing to stay with Ian Knight thanks to your post . Until someone can prove to me or disprove the Knight comments in any evidential context , the assumption has no foundation .
90th.
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littlehand



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PostSubject: Re: 24th Men Killed at Isandlwana near a kraal    Thu Dec 20, 2012 9:07 am

Impi, CTSG. Thanks for the replies.
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Julian Whybra



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PostSubject: Re: 24th Men Killed at Isandlwana near a kraal    Thu Dec 20, 2012 11:35 am

The bones referred to in the Colonist (mentioned by Jackson p.77) do not refer to anything on the spur where it joins the escarpment - no 24th were killed there. In all likelihood they refer to the rocky ridge or mound where Wolfe's men were that may have been washed up by the late 1879 rains. There was a kraal near that point.
The only reference to 'remains' and a kraal where E coy had been (which I think promulgated this posting initially) came from Chadwick who in the 1970s claimed to have found a red jacket and some buttons and bones near a kraal in that position and posited the idea that it might have come from men of Dyson's section. Nothing further was done about this; nothing further came to light; and the kraal's remains have not again been found. Since the 24th men on the escarpment are known to have been brought down without loss (Essex's testimony) it may be that Chadwick's claim referred to the remains of dead Zulus, wounded in the battle and died later, being placed together under some stones. There were a number of Zulu burials by Boast who didn't record the locations. Those Zulus who had taken garments from dead soldiers and then mortally wounded would explain the jacket and buttons being with the bones.
This is all speculation of course and we simply don't know. I believe Chadwick made a note of what he found and I might still have a copy of it somewhere.
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barry



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PostSubject: Re: 24th Men Killed at Isandlwana near a kraal    Sat Dec 22, 2012 4:51 pm


Hi All,
The more I mull over the possibilty of missing companies and Sgt Wolfe and his men and their fate , the more I think there is some credence in the hypothesis that all the men were not at the "front" in the main defence line at Isandlwana on 22/01 .
I base this thinking on the statements of two or three eyewitnesses who survived the battle and who stated that the 1/24th companies were short on strength, ie varying from a minimum of only 250 men to 450 men, according to them. . So if full companies were 101 men each, and that x 6 = 606 men , then anything from 156 to 356 men were somewhere else.
Maybe the dead missing men were found later, their numbers not recorded, or tallied, and their remains collected and placed under various cairns. Some we know legged it and survived, but even accounting for those ,the head count still dosn't tally
Therefore the intriguing possiblity exists however, that the site of one or two last stands are yet to be found, a distance away from the battle ground , maybe on the slopes and spurs leading up to the northern escarpment .

regards

barry
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Drummer Boy 14



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PostSubject: Re: 24th Men Killed at Isandlwana near a kraal    Sat Dec 22, 2012 5:11 pm

Barry

Wolfe was found near the firing line, close to where H Company had been stationed, given that Wardle the Captain and
around 60 men of H Company managed to retreat 1,300 yards back to the camp, it most likely Wolfe acted
as a rear gaurd for the rest of the company.

Also read my other post, Pulleine ordered any man who could carry a gun to be marched to the firing line and
Wilson also records how the men on gaurd were taken to the firing line.

The 1/24th Companies average strenth was around 80 - 70 men.




Cheers
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PostSubject: 24th men killed at Isandlwana near kraal   Sun Dec 23, 2012 1:11 pm

LH.

Came accross this in Jackson's HOTS page 77. "On the left front, "the missing companies" of the 24th had been found by Hlubi's Basutos in a kraal on the ridge". However he adds further down the page "The story that two companies of the 24th had been found in a kraal was thought to be without foundation".

But if a story like this was floating around at the time, and is only "thought" to be without foundation, it does make you wonder if there might be a grain of truth behind the story. I will keep looking through my books, and if I find anything else I will post it up for you.
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Julian Whybra



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PostSubject: Re: 24th Men Killed at Isandlwana near a kraal    Sun Dec 23, 2012 2:50 pm

Martin
Jackson here was describing the content of a Natal newspaper report claiming that Hlubi had discovered this in a kraal on the left front. The later report from the same paper makes it clear that the story was without foundation.
This whole business of a 'missing 2 coys' is a red herring. All the coys' locations, whereabouts and actions that day are known. None are 'missing' with the sole exception of Murray's NNC, whose men must have been knackered and probably asleep until they were dragged out of their tents to assemble probably in front of their battalion's tents.
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littlehand



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PostSubject: Re: 24th Men Killed at Isandlwana near a kraal    Sun Dec 23, 2012 2:58 pm

Thanks Martin..

Julian do you know when this "red herring" story first came about?
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Chelmsfordthescapegoat



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PostSubject: Re: 24th Men Killed at Isandlwana near a kraal    Sun Dec 23, 2012 3:17 pm

The Good Lord Chelmsford, makes comment to a company, that were never seen again.
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Julian Whybra



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PostSubject: Re: 24th Men Killed at Isandlwana near a kraal    Sun Dec 23, 2012 4:50 pm

Lhand
I don't know for certain how it came about but I surmise it has something to do with Cavaye and Mostyn's coys going up on to the escarpment. For most of the time they would have effectively 'disappeared' or their backs would have been visible. When the other coys became engaged, Cavaye and Mostyn's swift retreat down the spur may have gone unnoticed by many in the camp - hence the fable of the missing coys. Alternatively it may relate to Roberts and Raw's two NNH troops who 'disappeared' on to the plateau and then weren't noticed on their return. In the immediate aftermath of the battle rumours, as we've already seen, were rife and would have spread like wildfire. None of Cavaye and Mostyn's men survived and were effectively 'never seen again', adding fuel to the fire's myth. As I said, how this story arose is supposition on my part, but, at the same time, every unit is accounted for, save Murray's, so the tale is obvious nonsense.
CTSG
Your sentence doesn't make sense. Perhaps you've mistyped.
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Mr M. Cooper



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PostSubject: 24th men killed at Isandlwana near kraal   Sun Dec 23, 2012 5:10 pm

Thanks for that Julian.

I wonder if the men that Hlubi's Basutos are supposed to have found could have been those of Wolfe's rear guard? They were found near a kraal. But again, I don't think Wolfes men were over there were they? Strange rumours can start and spread like wildfire, and before you know it, they can be given out to others as being factual and thus create a myth, and if myths are allowed to prosper, they can eventually become accepted as part of history, and eventually take over from the actual facts, and people start to believe the myths rather than the facts, and what a mess that can lead to.
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Chelmsfordthescapegoat



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PostSubject: Re: 24th Men Killed at Isandlwana near a kraal    Sun Dec 23, 2012 10:20 pm

Julian apologies for late reply, last miniute Christmas shopping.

I was referring to this..

Lord Chelmsford.

"regretted that the noble and gallant Lord (Lord Strathnairn) had not given any authority for the statements he had made regarding his (Lord Chelmsford's) conduct when in command of the South African Forces. The speech of the noble and gallant Lord had taken him completely by surprise; because he could not discover by the Notice of Motion that the noble and gallant Lord intended to reopen the questions that had so very recently been discussed by the House. When on a previous occasion he had endeavoured to give a full, true, and clear account of the Isandlana disaster, his narrative had been based, not upon information exclusively possessed by himself, but upon the evidence of eyewitnesses, whoso statements had since been published in the newspapers. His 1031 account had been taken from evidence published in The Times of March 17 and 22; and he now challenged the noble and gallant Lord to say whether all the details of his speech were not borne out by that evidence. The noble and gallant Lord had quoted authorities to whose words the House would probably not attach very great importance. The noble and gallant Lord had referred to the statement in an article by Mr. Archibald Forbes in The Nineteenth Century. But to show how fallacious some of the statements were, he need only point out the inaccuracy of the story related in reference to Colonel Harness. Colonel Harness had himself referred to the incident in an article in Frazer's Magazine, and had given quite a different account; and, as a matter of fact, the statement that he was in a position to afford relief to the camp was quite incorrect. He (Lord Chelmsford) was on his way to the camp—it must have been between 3 and half-past, the whole affair being over at 1 o'clock—when he saw Colonel Harness about 500 yards from him, moving off in the direction of the camp, being then 10 miles distant from Isandlana. Major Cosset, his aide-de-camp, asked him if he should go and stop the battery, and he said—"Yes; he could not understand why they were moving." And yet in the public prints there had been an accusation that Major, now Lieutenant Colonel, Gosset, prevented valuable reinforcements going on to the camp, and was almost accountable for the disaster. There was not a particle of truth in the story. Another important statement made by the noble and gallant Lord had reference to the number of messages which he asserted he had received from the camp on the day in question. In point of fact, he only received one message from the camp in the course of that day, which was that mentioned in his despatch, which had been sent to him at 8 o'clock in the morning, and which was received by him at 9.30, which merely gave the information that a body of the enemy had been noticed in a north-westerly direction. From half-past 9 o'clock until he reached the camp on his return not a single message, if any were despatched, had reached him. His statement on this point was fully corroborated by Lieutenant Colonel Croalock, his 1032 Military Secretary, in his letter recently sent to a London newspaper, in which he gave a distinct denial to the story that several messages had been received. The noble and gallant Lord, in referring to his despatch, had declared that he had reflected upon the gallantry of the 1st and 2nd Battalions of the 24th Regiment by stating that they had run away from the enemy. He had made no such reflection upon that gallant body of men. He wrote that despatch immediately after arriving in Pietermaritzburg, five days after the disaster. In it he stated that— One company went off to the extreme left and has never heard of since, and the other five, I understand, engaged the enemy about a mile to the left front of the camp, and made there a most stubborn and gallant resistance. So anxious was he that the Government at home should receive a true and faithful account of what had occurred that he wrote the whole of the despatch with his own hand; but he must confess that, on calm consideration, he should have altered the the paragraph in it to which the noble and gallant Lord had referred, because it was, perhaps, capable of an interpretation which he had no idea would be placed upon it, and which he did not intend should be placed upon it. He much regretted that it had given pain in some quarters. He never intended that the smallest impression should be left on the minds of anyone that he reflected on the conduct of the 24th Regiment. The paragraph said— When, however, the Zulus got round the left flank of these brave men, they appear to have lost their presence of mind, and returned hastily to the tents, that had never been struck. He would not have used the term "brave men" had he intended to have reflected upon their courage. What he had in his mind at the time he wrote that paragraph was that the men of the 24th Regiment, finding that the Zulus had worked round their flank, and that it was hopeless to remain where they were, had retired hastily with the view of taking up the stronger position which they should never have left. In his opinion, under the circumstances, it would have been better for them to have remained where they were, and to have fought it out on the spot without attempting to retire. They had been fighting an enemy outside their camp, 1033 and it was hopeless for the poor fellows to expect to get back."
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barry



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PostSubject: Move to kraal   Mon Dec 24, 2012 5:29 am


Hi CTSG,
A good post, Thanks for sharing it.
Nothing too new in it however, as all those details have been revealed by other good researchers before.
If anyone should have known how many men were available that day it should have been Chelmsford.
What was very interesting about the post is that it was calling a spade a spade , bypassing the normal ridiculous Victorian trait of glorifying quite horrible and distasteful behaviors and events, The article was quite explicit too about the rout and men deserting their posts. In saying that I am not been crticial, I would have done so too, with even greater speed, if I had run out of ammunition.

regards

barry
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