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 Men in camp sent to the firing line

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Drummer Boy 14

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PostSubject: Men in camp sent to the firing line   Fri Dec 28, 2012 8:19 pm

I thourght i'd start a new topic about this subject.

Wilson records how guards and others were sent to the firing line and i think he also joined them.
Higginson heard Pulleine order every man to be marched out of the camp who could carry a gun.



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Dave

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PostSubject: Re: Men in camp sent to the firing line   Fri Dec 28, 2012 10:24 pm

DB. Let's see if we can keep this on topic.. Salute


Quote :
Wilson records how guards and others were sent to the firing line and i think he also joined them.
Higginson heard Pulleine order every man to be marched out of the camp who could carry a gun.

Then we have Curlings account.

"At 7.30 I got the message to turn out at once and we got ready in about 10 minutes forming up by the 1/24th on their parade ground.  The companies were very weak no more than 50 in each and there were only 6 of them in all.  We congratulated ourselves on the chance of our being attacked and hoped that our small numbers might induce the Zulus to come on…I suppose that not more than half the men left in the camp took part in its defence as it was not considered necessary and they were left in as cooks etc"

So when Higginson heard Pulleine order everyman who could carry a gun out of the camp, was this aimed at just soldiers or did it include Cooks ect.
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PostSubject: Re: Men in camp sent to the firing line   Fri Dec 28, 2012 10:31 pm

Dave

Cooks were soliders i think, Hook was a cook at RD, Pulleine ordered every man, no matter what his job was.




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PostSubject: Re: Men in camp sent to the firing line   Fri Dec 28, 2012 10:57 pm

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PostSubject: Re: Men in camp sent to the firing line   Fri Dec 28, 2012 11:14 pm

Dave


Did you post in the wrong topic ?



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PostSubject: Re: Men in camp sent to the firing line   Fri Dec 28, 2012 11:18 pm

DB. I have deleted Dave's post. It was in the wrong section. But the thought was there! Salute
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24th

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PostSubject: Re: Men in camp sent to the firing line   Fri Dec 28, 2012 11:34 pm

Then we have two statements that contradict each other, and both from the same battle.
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PostSubject: Re: Men in camp sent to the firing line   Fri Dec 28, 2012 11:39 pm

Admin

Thank you Salute

24th

By the time Pulleine ordered the men onto the line, Curling was on the line and wouldn't have seen men being rounded up, read Wilson he specificaly states that men about the camp were taken to the firing line.



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Dave

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PostSubject: Re: Men in camp sent to the firing line   Sat Dec 29, 2012 12:13 am

Quote :
By the time Pulleine ordered the men onto the line, Curling was on the line
What time would that have been?
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90th

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PostSubject: Men in camp sent to the firing line    Sat Dec 29, 2012 12:39 am

Hi All .
It's well known at the start of the battle no-one is to worried about the attack , as it proves they had no clue on the number of zulus they
would be facing , or the ferocity with what the zulu would launch their attack . Clearly as things begin to look grim Pulleine then orders the '' others '' to the firing line etc etc . This is covered I think in all the books . It's difficult to give a time Dave because no-one had the time to write it down I'd imagine . Obviously some time near the end of the camp I'd suggest , as they ( the others ) werent ordered to the lines at the start of the battle . For instance was it Essex who was writing a letter in his tent and after hearing the firing for a period of time decided to go and see what was happening ? , he says he didnt take his sword just his pistol , therefore he wasnt expecting the camp to be overun or the zulu to attack in such numbers .
90th.
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Julian Whybra



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PostSubject: Re: Men in camp sent to the firing line   Sat Dec 29, 2012 2:42 pm

The two posts do not contradict. Curling's statement related to the first Fall In and Column Call in the early morning when they are still thinking the impi is facing Chelmsford (i.e. pre-Gardner's arrival); the Higginson-Pulleine exchange relates to the second Fall In and Column Call at 12.30 when they know that it isn't (post-Gardner-s arrival) and it might just be on the plateau (post-Shepstone's arrival). Both statements are perfectly compatible.
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PostSubject: Re: Men in camp sent to the firing line   Sat Dec 29, 2012 2:47 pm

Between the first call out and the second what were they doing.
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Julian Whybra



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PostSubject: Re: Men in camp sent to the firing line   Sat Dec 29, 2012 3:08 pm

impi
They fell out to get their dinners. Dinners were taken out to Pope's coy on picquet.
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PostSubject: Re: Men in camp sent to the firing line   Sat Dec 29, 2012 3:13 pm

Quote :
They fell out to get their dinners. Dinners were taken out to Pope's coy on picquet.

So apart from Popes company who else was out on picquet duty. Or was it just pope
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Julian Whybra



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PostSubject: Re: Men in camp sent to the firing line   Sat Dec 29, 2012 3:20 pm

Two coys of NNC - Lonsdale's got their dinner, Barry's did not.
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24th

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PostSubject: Re: Men in camp sent to the firing line   Sat Dec 29, 2012 6:02 pm

All seems a bit odd, that there were many sightings of large numbers of Zulu, enough for Pulleine to call the men to arms. Then they are stood down and sent for dinner. What time would that have been, and what time were they called to arms on the second occasion.
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PostSubject: Re: Men in camp sent to the firing line   Sat Dec 29, 2012 6:07 pm

even at the heart of the battle there where still men in the camp area. We know for a fact that Chelmsfords orderly was at the tents. We also know that Brickhill and Surgeon Sheperd where there plus its highly possible that the pioneers where there ( this you argued for Db in the disscusion about the ammo supply. Its also possible that men sent from the front to colect ammo where there. Its therefore incorrect to assume that all the men where on the firing line.

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24th

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PostSubject: Re: Men in camp sent to the firing line   Sat Dec 29, 2012 6:17 pm

So it could have been these men, that were seen running out of their tents,when the Zulu came through.
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PostSubject: Re: Men in camp sent to the firing line   Sat Dec 29, 2012 6:28 pm

24th
Yes anything is possible, but I think the balance of probabilities would say that rather than running 'out of a tent', they were running out of the 'tent lines". Sorry does that make sense? In other words I think they were either people employed in the tent areas and ran through the tent lines as a means of escape and where witnessed as they exited the tent areas or they were actually men retreating from the firing lines coming through the tent lines.
If you look at the line of the cairns ( not a 100% accurate I know but a good pointer ) They are in a line through the camp area and that would indicate that one of the escape routes from the firing line was straight through the camp area, ergo through the tents.
As allways though the accounts stand open to interpretation and if members would like to believe that with some twenty thousand rounds being fired some 40 shots from the cannons the screams from the wounded zulus etc that some soldiers where eating a bacon sammie or composing a letter to dear old mom while laying on their bed then so be it. Its a free world.

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PostSubject: Re: Men in camp sent to the firing line   Sat Dec 29, 2012 6:42 pm

springbok9 wrote:

I think the balance of probabilities would say that rather than running 'out of a tent', they were running out of the 'tent lines". Sorry does that make sense? In other words I think they were either people employed in the tent areas and ran through the tent lines as a means of escape and where witnessed as they exited the tent areas or they were actually men retreating from the firing lines coming through the tent lines. Regards

Yes that makes perfect sense.
The most plausible and simplest explanation (often the best) to the rather curious "men running out of their tents" during the battle reference in Curling's letter.


Last edited by tasker224 on Sat Dec 29, 2012 6:50 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Julian Whybra



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PostSubject: Re: Men in camp sent to the firing line   Sat Dec 29, 2012 6:48 pm

It was perfectly proper for those men whose duties involved being between the tent area and the line to be there - this involved the Pioneers on ammo duty, and the bandsmen, half as stretcher bearers and half as ammo carriers.
I agree entirely, as I said on another thread, that men were passing through the tent area in the withdrawal/retreat/rout and this was undoubtedly what was being referred to in the Curling quotation.
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PostSubject: Re: Men in camp sent to the firing line   Sat Dec 29, 2012 6:52 pm

24th this was Curlings take on what he thought and saw! Bearing in mind he was there.


"At 7.30 I got the message to turn out at once and we got ready in about 10 minutes forming up by the 1/24th on their parade ground.  The companies were very weak no more than 50 in each and there were only 6 of them in all.  We congratulated ourselves on the chance of our being attacked and hoped that our small numbers might induce the Zulus to come on…I suppose that not more than half the men left in the camp took part in its defence as it was not considered necessary and they were left in as cooks etc."..”

So even before Durnford arrived, Curling's observation is they wanted to be attacked.

Curling.

When we were turned out again about 12, the Zulus were only showing on our left [the Nqutu Plateau] and we only prepared to defend the approaches to that side of the camp.  All the time we were idle in camp the Zulus were surrounding us with a huge circle several miles in circumference and hidden by hills from our sight.  When the action once began we saw nothing but what was going on in our immediate front.  None of us felt the least anxious as to the result for although they came on in immense numbers we felt it was impossible they could force a way through us.  When the order to retire came and we trotted up to the camp to take up a fresh position we found the camp full of the enemy and you can imagine our horror: there was no time to think and we galloped right through the Zulus losing all the men except the drivers and one or two gunners."

Curling makes no mention of reinforcement coming down to the lines in the form of cooks ect.


Curling.

"We could form no idea of their numbers.  They advanced steadily in the face of the infantry and our guns...The Zulus still continued to advance and we began to fire case but the order was given to retire after firing a round or two...when we got the order to retire we limbered up at once but were hardly in time as the Zulus were on us at once and one man was killed (stabbed) as he was mounting in a seat on the gun carriage…"

Retiring to the camp.

Curling
"We trotted off to the camp thinking to take up another position there but found it was in possession of the enemy who were killing the men as they ran out of their tents.  We went right through them and out the other side losing  nearly all our gunners in doing so and one or two of the sergeants.  The road to Rorke's Drift that we hoped to retreat by was full of the enemy so no way being open we followed a crowd of natives and camp followers who were running down a ravine.  The Zulus were all among them stabbing men as they ran...and finally the guns got stuck and could go no further. In a moment the Zulus closed in and the drivers who now alone remained were pulled off their horses and killed.
.."

On arriving at the camp, he's the Zulus are already there, it's only now he mentions men coming out of there tents, again this proves that not all men were called to the firing lines. If it had been Popes company as suggested. I'm fairly sure they wouldn't be hiding in tents. Was only half the infantry deployed in the camos defence, and the the other half being inside the camp employed in menial tasks of disassemblement.

Curling.
"Two weeks after the disaster Curling still finds it difficult to believe that it really happened and in particular how quickly the camp was overrun:
"...The whole affair seems like a bad dream too terrible to be true.... The whole thing lasted such a short time, not more than ten minutes from the time we retired until the guns were taken that one can hardly realise what a terrible thing it was." 


Curling times his fall back not more than ten minutes, from the the time they retired to the guns being taken. He witnessed men being stabbed as he entered the camp, did these men retire before him.
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Julian Whybra



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PostSubject: Re: Men in camp sent to the firing line   Sat Dec 29, 2012 6:58 pm

LHand
Note that after the first alarm Curling thinks that the half-strenght coys would be sufficient to stave off any attack - and yes, even at that time they knew the Zulus were about - they just didn't know how many...
The men 'running out of the tents' can only refer to men running through the tent area. There would have been no-one left in tents themselves - witness Pulleine's order - except those with specific duties at the ammo waggon and carrying ammo, and at the hospital tent. It is not a serious contention that men weren't at the line.
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PostSubject: Re: Men in camp sent to the firing line   Sat Dec 29, 2012 7:50 pm

Good we on the same wave length.

The point I'm trying to make is Curling was present during the “Column Alarms” and stood in line with the infantry for most of the morning - and he was one of only five imperial officers to escape from Isandlwana with their lives. Of the four other officers three of them had briefly visited the firing line but Curling was the only one to have been in the firing line continuously until it broke and was ordered to retire. We could debate as to who was the men coming out of the tents, I'm arguing the point that no one would have hid, or gone into the tents to collect personal effects. Those Soldiers that fire there last shot and run through the camp the same a Brickhill and witnessed by Brickhill were in a state of panic.
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PostSubject: Re: Men in camp sent to the firing line   Sat Dec 29, 2012 8:28 pm

I'm sure there is a Zulu account in Zulu Rising that states some men did hide in tents.



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PostSubject: Re: Men in camp sent to the firing line   Sat Dec 29, 2012 8:59 pm

There is also an account somewhere from a warrior that he stabbed an officer who was sitting in a tent writing a letter; another of a man trying to escape under a wagon. One can imagine that in the final throes of the of the slaughter, a few panicked men did indeed dive into a tent or under a wagon in vain. Rather like a young child who is afraid of the dark, burying his head under the pillow, imagining a mad axe man entering their bedroon.
I think what IS unlikely however, is that men were malingering in tents, eating, until the final stages of the battle before, for some unknown reason, spontaneously deciding to sprint out of their tents into oblivion as Curling came along.
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PostSubject: Re: Men in camp sent to the firing line   Sat Dec 29, 2012 9:08 pm

All though we don't agree, and Julian gives his reasons as to why he doesnt think the artical exsitsts. The artical still mentions men coming out of their tents, surly these must be the same men Curling saw.

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Originally posted by LH.
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PostSubject: Re: Men in camp sent to the firing line   Sat Dec 29, 2012 9:42 pm

This unknown Zulu's account in this non existant article does apparently have certain similiarities with Pope's last diary entry; sadly, Pope's diary can not be checked either as no one knows where it is. Pope's final diary entry is quoted time and again, but does anyone know how reliable it is? How many and which historians set eyes on it before it vanished?
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PostSubject: Re: Men in camp sent to the firing line   Sun Dec 30, 2012 1:19 am

Tasker. This from another website..

""...I found rather an interesting relic in the shape of a diary kept by Lieut. Pope, who was in command of the company of the 2-24th that was destroyed. The following entry which I extract was evidently written very shortly before the final attack of the Zulus, and throws some valuable light on the proceedings of the day ; it is copied verbatim, but I have inserted in square brackets two or three words in explanation :--

Isandlana [sic], 22, Wednesday.
Relieved [from picket duty] 4.0 a.m. by [I Company] I-24th.
A. C. D. e. F. H. [Companies 2-24th] l-3, [Ist Battalion,
3rd Regiment] N.N.C., [Natal Native Contingent],
Mounted troops and 4 guns off--Heavy firing.

Alarm.--Three Columns Zulus and mounted men over hill e.--
Turn out--7,000 (!) more e.N.e., 4,000 of whom went
round Lion's Kop--Durnford's Basutos arrive and pursue--
Rocket Battery [accompanies them]--Zulus retire every-
where--Men fall out for dinner."

[I'm unsure of any significance for the switching between capital "I" and small "L" for the numeral one, whether it was the type-setter or Laurence's editorial instructions. I remember when my mother taught me to type (pre-computer days when there was no numeral "1" on a typewriter keyboard!) she said to stick with whichever you choose. It isn't an issue in the rest of the book.]

Judging by the way he reproduced the text under 'A. C. D., etc.' indented equally - '3rd Regiment', 'Mounted troops', in the first part and 'Turn out', 'round Lion's Cop', 'Rocket Battery' and 'where' in the second part, these, at least, would appear to be two separate entries. However I'm unsure if the long dashes between thoughts signify just that or time breaks. It would perhaps be easier to decide from the original hand-written document (pen nubs often providing an indication between a continuous sentence or a 'fresh start').

Either way, "Heavy firing." precedes "Alarm.--" and all the rest so it could be interpreted that the camp heard Lord C's firing before they ever saw a Zulu. This would jive neatly with Melokazulu's account (?) of the Zulus moving out temporarily in response to the firing they heard before realizing it was coming from the east, rather than directed at them and could perhaps explain a part of the 'There they are...no, wait...there they go...' reports. Which brings me to a pet theory.

Rorke's Drift, Isandhlwana, and Mangeni are each roughly ten miles from each other, east to west respectively. RD reports hearing some musketry from Is, Is reports some musketry from M, M only reports some artillery from Is, Is doesn't hear anything from RD (only sees the light and smoke of the fire). Curious. Terran alone wouldn't account for it. If the day was dead calm and cloudless that wouldn't account for it. However, loud sounds carry on the wind and are reflected off low hanging clouds as well as the terrain. If that day had predominantly westerly breezes and low flying, scattered, cumulus formations (pretty typical summer weather barring a front moving through) then the various reports make sense."


Mike Snooks reply... Salute



"Two minor points please. The firing at RD does seem to have been audible at Isandlwana. It was reported by Browne who was sharing a post supper drink with Black and Duncombe at the time. But it doesn't appear to have been very obvious. By this time it was dark (placing it sometime after 1915-1930 and a couple of hours into the fight) and everybody had settled down [in as far as it was possible to 'settle down' at that dreadful bivouac]. As an old soldier yourself you will know that inactivity makes a soldier more aware of distant noises, which can otherwise be lost in the bustle of campaigning. Of course they had the advantage of being on top of Mahlabamkhosi, where I imagine it was a good deal easier to hear a distant noise, than say in the mouth of the saddle. It was definitely faint - described as 'popping', or some such expression, I seem to recall.

The diary offers some sequential jumbling, in particular around the words 'heavy firing', which is why I assess that it is either:

1. A single entry written in a hurry.
2. Two entries in which it necessarily follows that 'heavy firing' was the first thing that Pope wrote when he picked up the diary for the second time. Having written those two words, by way of updating the earlier entry, he then began a new paragraph to describe the events of the morning at Isandlwana.

The vedette sightings were between 0715-0730, leading to the alarm being sounded at about 8.00 am. The heavy firing at Mangeni, though was at 0900, by which time the troops at Isandlwana had been under arms for an hour."



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Julian Whybra



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PostSubject: Re: Men in camp sent to the firing line   Sun Dec 30, 2012 11:02 am

There were of course 50 spare artillerymen in camp!
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PostSubject: Re: Men in camp sent to the firing line   Sun Dec 30, 2012 11:26 am

but there are a maximum of guys who were non - combatants or were part of the forces who were with the undefeated Chelmsford ...

Apart from those of another company (the company composite) of the 2/24 th, they remained in camp like sheep ...

Pulleine and Durnford did not even asked how they could use...

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Julian Whybra



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PostSubject: Re: Men in camp sent to the firing line   Sun Dec 30, 2012 12:09 pm

I'm aware that the RA camp lay in Curling's direct path as he made his way to the saddle. Artillerymen were all trained to act as infantrymen if the need arose but I know of no account that mentions artillerymen in the front line. Some of the 50 would have been taking ammo out to the guns in scotch carts but nowhere near all. Eight of them escaped on spare battery horses so must have been in camp near the horse lines at the rear of their camp. So, on balance I would think the bulk of the 50 would have been in the RA camp when Curling was passing through.
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PostSubject: Re: Men in camp sent to the firing line   Sun Dec 30, 2012 1:09 pm

Anyway with the gunners, there only a carbine for four men ...
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