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 Isandlwana various eyewittness account extracts!

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impi

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PostSubject: Isandlwana various eyewittness account extracts!    Fri Oct 04, 2013 10:12 pm

James Hamer
 
     "we had very bad country to get over.....large boulders and stones.  Some distance from the camp is a small ravine which was hid by bushed, the greatest part of the fugitives fortunately went above it, but several (with myself) went too low down.  I met it at the centre, we could not go above as the Zulus were too near, and we had to go to the end of it before we could cross.  The Zulus saw this and large numbers tried to cut us off, I and four others were the last to get round, and we had to use our revolvers (pistols) very freely, for the Zulus followed us up quickly, this ground being very bad for our horses, and footmen had not the ghost of a chance. 
     Several men were stabbed on their horses.  My horse had a great deal of work that day with making over stones he got completely done and would not move a step further.  I was in a jolly predicament when (Thank God!) a man of the rocket battery (artilery unit) galloped up with a led horse and let me have it.  I had just taken the saddle off my horse when a bullet struck him (the horse) dead and the poor fellow who gave me the horse had only ridden ten yards when I saw him fall killed from his horse....."
 
Walter Stafford
 
     "  Shortly after that we came across Lieut. Erskine , who was lying against a rock with an assegai wound through the calf of his leg, quite exhausted and unable to proceed further, opportunely I was able to get Erskine up behind me just in the nick of time.  The scene now baffles description.  It was perfect pandemonium (crazy!).  The mules and pack horses and oxen, some with ghastly gashes, were galloping over the veld (plain) at will, some with saddles and other with only blinkers.  How sad to think what these noble animals are called upon to suffer in their masters' wars. 
     Fortune favored us now as a large white horse with a rein around his neck came alongside us, evidently instinct prompted him to seek protection, and we were able to catch the charger.  The rein was twisted around the lower jaw, as all youngsters who are brought up on a farm learn to do, and Erskine was placed on his brave back."
 
 
Walter Stafford
 
     "The bank of the river that we came to was very steep , rugged and bushy and to the best of my recollection there was a narrow flat on this side running into a krantz (       ) higher up.  The remnant of our men were gathered there.  I noticed the late Joseph Lister amongst them.  He was an old Pondoland trader from my part of the world, and he and I were well acquainted.  Old Lister was very excited and could not swim.  I advised him to go up to where the current was not so strong and that directly my horse got into the water I would slipp off its back and catch hold of it's tail, and be towed to the other side and advised him to do the same.  By this method all those who could not swim were safely brought across the river.  I think there were about thirty-three in all."
 
 
Walter Higginson
 
    "As we got to the river I met Lieuts. Melville and Coghill, the former officer (Melville) carrying the Queen's Colour in a case, as I overtook them, they were agreeing to stand by each other, if either were hurt; we got down to the bank at last and a frightful scene it was, men and horses all struggling together in the river.  I put my horse in behind Mr. Cochrane's but he made a bad attempt at swimming and getting on a big stone in the middle of the river, he turned over and threw me off.  I sank at once, as I had my rifle and ammunition with me, but on dropping them managed better;
     The current carried me downstream a goo0d distance , but I, fortunately, came on a large rock which I held on to; ............I then saw Melvill coming downstream towards me, he having also been thrown by his horse, he asked me to catch hold of the Colur.  I did so, and the force he was going pulled me off the rock into still water; Coghill who had got out alright then rode his horse down to Melvill to help him, but as he rode into the water the Zulus who were on the bank we had just left opened fire on us, and one of the first shots killed Coghill's horse; we were thus all three in the water, and also I think the last three to cross the river.  We got out alright......"  
     
 * Just a few moments later, both Melvill and Coghill were killed after they stopped.  They were both exhausted and could go no further.  The author kept moving and escaped to tell his tale.    
 
Private Samuel Wassall
 
     I reached the banks of the river and ..... drove my horse into the torrent (rushing river), thankful even to be in that, and was urging him to the other side, when I heard a cry for help, and saw that a man of my own regiment (unit), a private named Westwood, was being carried away.  He was struggling desperately, and drowning.
     The Zulus were sweeping down to the river-bank which I had just left, and there was a terrible temptation to go ahead and just save oneself.  But I turned my horse round to the Zulu bank, got him there, dismounted, tied him up to a tree - and I never tied him so swiftly.  Then I struggled out to Westwood, got hold of him, and struggled back to the horse with him.  I scrambled up again into the saddle, pulled Westwood after me, and plunged into the torrent again, and as I did so the Zulus rushed up to the bank and let drive with their firearms and their spears.  But most mercifully I escaped them all, and, with a thankful heart, urged my gallant horse up the steep bank on the Natal side...."
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Frank Allewell

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PostSubject: Re: Isandlwana various eyewittness account extracts!    Mon Oct 07, 2013 3:12 pm

Hi Impi
I dont know if you collected together that compendium or it was just like that but its a brilliant selection. Reading one after the other in quick succession gives a tremendous feeling of knowing what it was like. Good post.
agree Salute 
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Chelmsfordthescapegoat

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PostSubject: Re: Isandlwana various eyewittness account extracts!    Mon Oct 07, 2013 9:29 pm

I didn't see this. Good post impi.agree
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PostSubject: Re: Isandlwana various eyewittness account extracts!    Mon Oct 07, 2013 9:51 pm

yeah i agree, impi great post.
Higginson..we got out alright,
hmmm yes he made sure he
was alright. cheers xhosa
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PostSubject: Re: Isandlwana various eyewittness account extracts!    Mon Oct 07, 2013 10:10 pm

Some once said, Higginson shot both Melville and Coghill as they would have slowed him down? If he had left them, (which we know he was capable of doing relating to events after his escape) He wouldn't have known if they lived or died, if they had lived they could have pointed the finger of desertion at him. But if he made sure they were dead wounded ect, he could make good his escape.Question 

Of course I don't think so Suspect
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PostSubject: Re: Isandlwana various eyewittness account extracts!    Mon Oct 07, 2013 10:44 pm

Murder , Mystery !Suspect
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PostSubject: Re: Isandlwana various eyewittness account extracts!    Tue Oct 08, 2013 7:26 am

Higginson Hummmmm.
Left his Sgnt Major on the plateau to ride back to the camp to warn them.
Brave man.
Helped Coghill up the hill, he says.
Strong Man
Watched Melvill shoot zulus, funny that as the chamber had fallen out of the revolver.
Gifted man
Ran to the top of the hill to get help for M and C ( 25 metres )
Athletic man
Then borrowed a horse to ride for help, just forgot to tell the owner he was doing so.
Absent minded man
Then walked into a door and damaged his eye.
Blind bugger.
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PostSubject: Re: Isandlwana various eyewittness account extracts!    Tue Oct 08, 2013 8:21 am

springbok,lol,very funny that man.
and acurate. xhosa2000
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PostSubject: Re: Isandlwana various eyewittness account extracts!    Wed Oct 09, 2013 6:45 pm

springbok9 wrote:
Higginson Hummmmm.

Then walked into a door and damaged his eye.

Blind bugger.
I read somewhere that he was punched in the face back at Helpmekaar, resulting in his eye blackened by the man whose horse he'd "borrowed"!
Happy to be corrected!
Reading between the lines here, I am feeling that not many members of this forum place any credibility in Higginson's account?
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PostSubject: Re: Isandlwana various eyewittness account extracts!    Wed Oct 09, 2013 7:05 pm

Koppie
Back in the good old days when someone pitched up with a black eye the excuse was allways" I walked into a door"
Cheers
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PostSubject: Re: Isandlwana various eyewittness account extracts!    Wed Oct 09, 2013 7:21 pm

Sorry forgot to add, Greetings from Isandlwana, staying here for a couple of days.

Cheers
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PostSubject: Re: Isandlwana various eyewittness account extracts!    Wed Oct 09, 2013 7:33 pm

Hiya frank,so you have broadband there
at the lodge,thats pretty cool,what
would the people that we all talk about
make of that i wonder. cheers xhosa
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PostSubject: Re: Isandlwana various eyewittness account extracts!    Wed Oct 09, 2013 7:45 pm

springbok9 wrote:
Sorry forgot to add, Greetings from Isandlwana, staying here for a couple of days.

Cheers
PLEASE DON'T TELL US YOU ARE SOLO,
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ymob

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PostSubject: Re: Isandlwana various eyewittness account extracts!    Wed Oct 09, 2013 8:13 pm

kopie says wrote:

I read somewhere that he was punched in the face back at Helpmekaar, resulting in his eye blackened by the man whose horse he'd "borrowed
Bonsoir,
The "man" was trooper Barker of the Natal Carbineers.
This story of black eye is in some books on the zulu war ( from memory "Isandlwana" by A. Greaves), but in realty there is no source for the black eye.
Cheers
Frédéric
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Dave

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PostSubject: Re: Isandlwana various eyewittness account extracts!    Wed Oct 09, 2013 9:47 pm

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ymob

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PostSubject: Re: Isandlwana various eyewittness account extracts!    Thu Oct 10, 2013 5:54 am

Dave wrote:
http://www.1879zuluwar.com/t5681-higginson-s-black-eye
Bonjour Dave,
Thanks for that.
Can you give the source?
On an other forum, two authors well known had said that there is no primary source for the black eye.
Cheers.
Frédéric
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6pdr

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PostSubject: Re: Isandlwana various eyewittness account extracts!    Thu Oct 10, 2013 4:34 pm

springbok9 wrote:
Higginson Hummmmm.
Left his Sgnt Major on the plateau to ride back to the camp to warn them.
Brave man.
Helped Coghill up the hill, he says.
Strong Man
Watched Melvill shoot zulus, funny that as the chamber had fallen out of the revolver.
Gifted man
Ran to the top of the hill to get help for M and C ( 25 metres )
Athletic man
Then borrowed a horse to ride for help, just forgot to tell the owner he was doing so.
Absent minded man
Then walked into a door and damaged his eye.
Blind bugger.
Springbok...black eye or no, your characterization of Higginson is actually very significant because of what happened BEFORE all that.

If his later conduct implies that perhaps nothing he said can be taken at face value then it's QUITE UNFORTUNATE that Pulleine chose to send this particular man out for a look-see when he turned the camp out because Durnford subsequently seems to have relied on the results of his "reconnaissance" efforts.

Doesn't Durnford both question and "borrow" Higginson to look about from the heights of Isandlwana? Many find Durnford to be the lynchpin of the battle. Well, if Higginson was lying about what he saw (three columns...retreating...one headed toward Chelmsford's/Lonsdale's command) he provoked Durnford's decision (or gave him the excuse,) to sally forth in defense of the General.

He may have been the weakest link in the defense.

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PostSubject: Re: Isandlwana various eyewittness account extracts!    Thu Oct 10, 2013 4:54 pm

Pulleine, Durnford - neither would have reason to doubt Higginson's competence or honesty at the time. It was only his performance during and after Isandhlwana which shows him up to have been an unreliable, dishonourable man.
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PostSubject: Re: Isandlwana various eyewittness account extracts!    Thu Oct 10, 2013 5:41 pm

kopie wrote:
Pulleine, Durnford - neither would have reason to doubt Higginson's competence or honesty at the time. It was only his performance during and after Isandhlwana which shows him up to have been an unreliable, dishonourable man.
agree  We have the luxury of 20-20 hindsight so I am not blaming them. But it's possible they could not have chosen a worse man to rely on (and that's the problem for historians quoting him too.) The human factor is unpredictable. Bad luck has decided a lot more battles than bad tactics in my estimation.
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