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 20th January

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Frank Allewell

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PostSubject: 20th January   Mon Jan 20, 2014 6:12 am

Monday morning, the invasion had to proceed, time spent at Rorkes Drift was slowly eroding the supply base painstakingly built up by the commissariat. Despite concerns over the road Chelmsford gave the orders to move.
15 kilometres away was the camp site selected by Chelmsford as the next base. Isandlwana.
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The road was treacherous meandering through boggy areas in parts and hard shale in others. Crossing the Bashe and the Manzimyama streams was only achieved thanks to the intervention of the colonials, more experience in handling the oxen and bulky wagons. Still a large portion of the columns wagons did not make the camp area by nightfall and had to be guarded by a company of imperial soldiers. Strung out, not lagered, the guards peering into the black night, every sound a potential Zulu attack. By morning tired and dispirited they still had to move on, moving the wagons across the swamps with brute force. A tired force by the time they reached their new home.
A letter from Major Clery to Sir Archibald Alison in March informs that Chelmsford had usurped command of the column and was making all major decisions without reference to Glyn. Glyn himself had suggested forming a lager on arrival at Isandlawan but the idea was rejected by Lord Chelmsford saying: 'he wished to have the wagons free to turn back to Rorkes Drift and to lager would take to much time.'
Chelmsford in the meantime moved forward across the Isandlwana plain to investigate the way forward. He determined that a large scouting force would need to sweep the Malakathi and Hlazakazi area for any signs of hostile forces before committing his column to the move.
Colonel Durnfords column arrived at Rorkes drift and established camp on the Zulu side some 500 metres back from the river on the rising ground. Waiting didn't go to well with the Colonel and in a letter to his mother he spoke of the depression at being a rear guard.
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The impi was drawing closer, two columns separated but in sight, cutting a swath through the veld. Creating a path that would take a season to recover. Slowly, to conserve energy, but inexorably approaching the massive bulk of Isiphesi circling around the Isandlwana plain to approach the camp from the least suspected area of the Nqutu plateau.
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