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 Source for faulty revolver

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DrummerBoy 16



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PostSubject: Source for faulty revolver   Sun Mar 23, 2014 12:08 pm

I've read in many books that Melvill's revolver was useless because the cylinder had fallen out of it.

But can someone help me find a source for this ? Its in many books but no source is ever given as far as i know.

Higginson says that Melvill shot a Zulu when he shouted a warning to him indicating his revolver was working.

Cheers for any replies.

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PostSubject: Re: Source for faulty revolver   Sun Mar 23, 2014 3:47 pm

But when Melvill finally pulled out his own
sidearm, he found that the cylinder had
fallen out, probably when he was re-
loading it at the beginning of the flight.
TWOTS page 386
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PostSubject: Re: Source for faulty revolver   Sun Mar 23, 2014 3:51 pm

sorry meant to add..Fynn (Henry Francis jnr)found
it in Chelmsford's bivouac on the forward slope of
the saddle.
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impi

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PostSubject: Re: Source for faulty revolver   Sun Mar 23, 2014 3:52 pm

His cylinder was found back at Isandlwana. Higginson can not be taken Seriouly!! He said all manner of things. All lies.
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DrummerBoy 16



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PostSubject: Re: Source for faulty revolver   Sun Mar 23, 2014 5:49 pm

Can someone post the account by Fynn of finding it ?

I mean a revolver cylinder would look just like any other, how could it be identified as Melvill's ?


Cheers
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littlehand

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PostSubject: Re: Source for faulty revolver   Sun Mar 23, 2014 6:42 pm

I don't think revolvers were issued, one had to purchase one's own. Happy to be corrected.
Melville's may have had some identification markings which showed it to be his.
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PostSubject: Re: Source for faulty revolver   Sun Mar 23, 2014 11:27 pm

DrummerBoy 16 wrote:
I've read in many books that Melvill's revolver was useless because the cylinder had fallen out of it.

But can someone help me find a source for this ? Its in many books but no source is ever given as far as i know.

Higginson says that Melvill shot a Zulu when he shouted a warning to him indicating his revolver was working.

Cheers for any replies.


Bonsoir Drummer Boy

Do you have read this answer by Ian Knight on this subject? ("Question to Ian Knight" on this forum / October 2013)
Extract:
"I think he [Higginson] is quite detailed and reliable - in so much as it can be tested against other accounts - in his general report on iSandlwana, which of course was given shortly after the event. We can reconstruct something of Melvill and Coghill’s story from other witnesses - Smith-Dorrien saw them during the flight, for example, and Brickhill saw Melvill in the river - but we are largely dependent on Higginson for the last part of the story, the unsuccessful attempt to get out of the Mzinyathi valley. My own feeling is that he is evasive on this - I think his claim that he left them to look for horses was probably an excuse to cover the fact that [strike]he abandoned them somewhere in the valley, perhaps because Coghill’s injury was slowing them down. I think, in fairness, most of the survivors were much closer to exhaustion and panic by the time they had crossed the river than they cared to remember. Perhaps Higginson thought they were all safe anyway by that stage, being on the Natal bank, so he needn’t in any case have stayed with them - perhaps he only needed to think of an excuse later, after he found out they had been killed. Either way, I don’t think he was around when they were killed, so we really don’t have any eyewitness testimony of how they died (apart from some second-hand evidence from a Zulu source"
Regard
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impi

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PostSubject: Re: Source for faulty revolver   Sun Mar 23, 2014 11:48 pm

The survivors were really in an awkward position. In that they had left men fighting at Isandlwana, that alone must have been a cross to bare, with Fearfull thoughts of repercussions, especially in the Millitary system in 1879. I'm fairly confident in saying most of the survivors stories all had bits added on. Once on the Natal side no doubt Conversations took place on the way to Helpmarkar get the story right.

Ymob wrote:
"I think, in fairness, most of the survivors were much closer to exhaustion and panic by the time they had crossed the river than they cared to remember."
Totally agree! Everyone was looking after No 1
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ymob

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PostSubject: Re: Source for faulty revolver   Sun Mar 23, 2014 11:58 pm

Bonsoir Drummer Boy

Do you have read this answer by Ian Knight on this subject? ("Question to Ian Knight" on this forum / October 2013)
Extract:
" I think his claim that he left them to look for horses was probably an excuse to cover the fact that [strike]he abandoned them somewhere in the valley, (...), so he needn’t in any case have stayed with them - (...) I don’t think he was around when they were killed"



So, Higginson couldn't seen Melvill shot a zulu with his revolver.

Regard

Frédéric
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Julian Whybra



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PostSubject: Re: Source for faulty revolver   Fri Apr 18, 2014 2:51 pm

Nothing can be said with certainty. Suppose Melvill found a revolver. Suppose he was given one by a brother officer or by Coghill. Who can say with certainty that Higginson didn't see Melvill shoot a Zulu? It is certainly possible that Higginson was somewhat 'careful' in his comments where he might be called to account but there are too many statements in Higginson's account which can be corroborated by others to dismiss the whole thing. Blanket dismissal is simply unacceptable and unwise.
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PostSubject: Re: Source for faulty revolver   Sat Apr 19, 2014 1:25 am

Apart from Higginson, who else could corroborate the shooting of Zulus by Melvill. As far as I'm aware the only witness to what happened in the last stages of M & C lives was Higginson. No revolver was ever recovered near the bodies. It possible it was taken by the natives who killed them. But why would they not have taken Coghill's sword.

If Melvill had, had a revolver albeit found or given, would he have not used it during his 12 mile ride from the camp to the river.

With refrence to a brother officer giving him a revolver, are we saying before the battle, during, or along the trail. Not sure anyone would have given up a weapon under the circumstances.

Whatever Melvillhad on his mind, it certainly wasn't weapons, did he have his sword when he left the Battlefield, because it appears he lost that as well.
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PostSubject: Re: Source for faulty revolver   Sat Apr 19, 2014 9:53 am

As I wrote, nothing can be said with certainty.
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90th

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PostSubject: source for faulty revolver   Wed Apr 23, 2014 2:29 pm

Impı I'm sure you know there ıs conjecture who actually kılled Mel & Cog , I tend to belıeve ıt was the zulus who lıved on the Natal sıde , whıch would certaınly explaın why hıs sword wasnt taken , after all , you wouldnt want to keep ıt , especıally ıf the brıtısh came across you wıth ıt . It's well documented that some , or one of the zulu commanders on the zulu sıde of the rıver , told the natal sıde zulus to kıll the brıtısh once they crossed the rıver or they would come across and kıll them ! , but I assume you've read or know of thıs already ?.
90th
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PostSubject: Re: Source for faulty revolver   Wed Apr 23, 2014 4:25 pm

Not to sure how the question of M's sword been taken cropped up, but: Brickhills records that during the flight he caught up with Melvill and was asked by him if he had seen anything of his sword, 'back there'. That conversation took place after the chasm and before the stream. So the sword was lost within the first 500 metres of the saddle. At that point Coghill was behind in the line waiting to descend into the stream bed. So within 20 metres of Melvill. Slightly earlier Brickhill puts the two of them together with Inspector Foley.
That wasn't the last Brickhill saw of Melvill, he witnessed him crossing the Drift and makes mention of Foley immediately behind. Coghill must have already crossed as Brickhill makes no mention of him then. Melvill was virtually across when he came a cropper: Mr ms horse seems to have had some difficulty in getting up the bank. Our impulse was to go to his assistance but his horse gave a plunge and I thought was climbing out." He later mentions that he saw the colors with Melvill, "to the last." So it was around then that Melvill was dumped into the river, NOTE: Not in the middle.

Cheers
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PostSubject: Re: Source for faulty revolver   Wed Apr 23, 2014 6:50 pm

What's always struck me as been odd about Brickhills statement is this!

He says the Melvill was riding infront of him when the sword conversation to place. They both then followed their comrades on the trail. Now we know Coghill was was in front of Melvill so how did he end up behind Brickhill this was at point when the conversation regarding " This is no place to be riding a horse took place. So how did Coghil end up behind Melvill ?
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Julian Whybra



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PostSubject: Re: Source for faulty revolver   Wed Apr 23, 2014 7:09 pm

CTSG
I'm sure that on the trail in flight the riders became constantly mixed up, overtaking, then falling behind. It's all very well Brickhill writing that AT ONE FIXED POINT a certain situation arose but five minutes later, the situation must have changed, and five mins after that, changed again. Think of the Grand National!
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PostSubject: Re: Source for faulty revolver   Wed Apr 23, 2014 7:32 pm

What confuses is that word 'trail', it wasn't a path or track but a wide, 5 to 600 metres wide route. Some went round the bog to the south others above to the North and some through the middle. Melvill was carrying the colors, must have been a real hinderance, whilst Coghill was free to ride. So yes CTSG you have a valid point, but we do have testimony that places them at the stream Melvill in front, then together, then Smith Dorrien saying Coghill was well ahead and then Higginson putting them together at the drift. So a very fluid procession over a very wide front.
each making there own way.

Cheers

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PostSubject: Re: Source for faulty revolver   Wed Apr 23, 2014 7:38 pm

Agreed. But how did Coghill end up behind Melvill. Brickhill does not mentioned Coghill until he came from behind saying get on you horse?
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PostSubject: Re: Source for faulty revolver   Wed Apr 23, 2014 7:48 pm

Earlier they were together with Foley. Then, for whatever reason Melvill got to the crevas before Coghill. Cant answer your question im afraid, other than to say it did happen, would it be possible that Coghill went back? Or possibly he stayed to have that conversation with Curling. Ive tried for years to fit everything together on a time line, no luck though. Even now with the new software we have developed to do the virtual tours I still cant make sence of it. I have the capacity to place the known facts in time and space visually, but it still doesn't work.
Cheers
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PostSubject: Re: Source for faulty revolver   Wed Apr 23, 2014 7:52 pm

This was mentioned before somewhere on the forum that account showed that Coghill must have at some stage gone back to where who knows.

It was something to do with curling and smiths account perhaps even Essex?
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PostSubject: Re: Source for faulty revolver   Wed Apr 23, 2014 7:55 pm

If nothing else it would keep the Rainman busy chunnering away for a few years.  Shocked 
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PostSubject: Re: Source for faulty revolver   Wed Apr 23, 2014 8:18 pm

Always had a question mark over Coghill? Time will tell?
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impi

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PostSubject: Re: Source for faulty revolver   Thu Apr 24, 2014 6:43 pm

Is it not possible Coghill took another route. Until Springbok pointed out that the trail was a lot larger than we thought!
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Julian Whybra



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PostSubject: Re: Source for faulty revolver   Thu Apr 24, 2014 7:03 pm

impi
I think a few Zulus might have got in his way if he'd taken another route! That was the point of the Fugitives' Trail - once the RD track was pinched off it was the only route open to the south-west and not one open by choice!
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PostSubject: Re: Source for faulty revolver   Thu Apr 24, 2014 7:17 pm

But it was extremely wide, not a trail in the normal sense. If you look at Google Earth the most Southern Cairns are very close to the drop of to the Mzinyathi. The Northern are just about on the edge of the cliff leading down into the re entry. That measures close to 600 metres. Which could alos account for some of the differences in sightings: an example would be Smith Dorriens sighting of Coghill being " some half a mile ahead". If SD was on the Northern side, and there is support for that, and Coghill was on the Southern side then they were half a mile apart, therefore if Melvill was in close proximity to SD then that statement makes sense. But then if you can track both routes they would converge to a degree.
My point Im trying to make is you cant look at the statements without taking into account the ground conditions and also the conditions the riders were operating under.
I would also make the point that the 'trail' was only 'pinched of' when they descended onto the flood plain of the Mzinyathi, not going over Mpethe, the danger there was the pursuit from East.

Cheers

Cheers
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PostSubject: Re: Source for faulty revolver   Sun Apr 27, 2014 3:51 pm

Found this on the web. A map showing Melvill and Higginson taking one route and Coghill another although meeting at the point where they cross. Is it possible this could answer one Coghill appears behind Melvill. Just a thought ?

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Source [You must be registered and logged in to see this link.]
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DrummerBoy 16



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PostSubject: Re: Source for faulty revolver   Sun Apr 27, 2014 8:34 pm

So the original question i asked about the source for the faulty revolver - basically just another one of the rumors ?


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Julian Whybra



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PostSubject: Re: Source for faulty revolver   Mon Apr 28, 2014 11:20 am

DB
The fact remains that Higginson as an eye-witness recorded that both men had revolvers and he saw them use them.
He would have no reason to lie about this.
Much as some would like to, a good historian doesn't tamper with primary-source testimony until he can positively disprove or discount it.
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PostSubject: Re: Source for faulty revolver   Mon Apr 28, 2014 3:01 pm

Ulundi
The map was produced by George Chadwick but cannot be considered accurate, there is no testimony pointing out the exact crossing points. Brickhill probably comes closest. But even then, those two crossing points are a matter of 20 metres apart.

Cheers
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Julian Whybra



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PostSubject: Re: Source for faulty revolver   Mon Apr 28, 2014 3:04 pm

springbok
I agree. Chadwick's map is based on what exactly? Wishful thinking?
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PostSubject: Re: Source for faulty revolver   Mon Apr 28, 2014 3:27 pm

I believe its loosely based on Brickhills comment that Coghill 'crossed higher up'. No other reasoning that I can see at all. The whole crossing area is a mystery on its own, from the so called Smith Dorrien pool to the sand bank to the rapids. Ive sat on those banks for hours trying to visualise it all, and all Ive achieved is falling asleep !!!!!!!!!!
Cheers
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PostSubject: Re: Source for faulty revolver   Mon Apr 28, 2014 3:47 pm

Ah well! Some good came out of it then!
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PostSubject: Re: Source for faulty revolver   Mon Apr 28, 2014 5:37 pm

Who can corroborate apart from Higginson, they both had revolvers?
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Julian Whybra



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PostSubject: Re: Source for faulty revolver   Mon Apr 28, 2014 6:16 pm

John
No-one. No-one else was there apart from the Zulus.
That's the point.
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PostSubject: Re: Source for faulty revolver   Mon Apr 28, 2014 7:01 pm

So how can we take the word of a proven liar. That it happened?


Last edited by John on Mon Apr 28, 2014 7:14 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Julian Whybra



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PostSubject: Re: Source for faulty revolver   Mon Apr 28, 2014 7:13 pm

John
For goodness' sake, where's your historical perspective! For what reason would Higginson state that Melvill and Coghill had revolvers if they didn't? One can't cast doubt over every detail of his entire testimony - that would be unreasonable in the extreme. Something about baby and the bathwater?
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PostSubject: Re: Source for faulty revolver   Mon Apr 28, 2014 7:15 pm

To show they were able to defend themselves, without his help!
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Julian Whybra



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PostSubject: Re: Source for faulty revolver   Mon Apr 28, 2014 7:17 pm

For what purpose?
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John

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PostSubject: Re: Source for faulty revolver   Mon Apr 28, 2014 7:29 pm

So he could give himself the off, on the pretence to find some horses.

Odd how Brickhill doesn't mention Higginson, although he was with Melvill right up to hitting the river?

Eitherway, we only have Higginson's word for what took place, based on his conduct after the event, it would be of personal preference what one thinks about his account.
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Julian Whybra



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PostSubject: Re: Source for faulty revolver   Mon Apr 28, 2014 7:55 pm

If he was lying, he was taking a hell of a risk in case someone saw the events he described - as you mention Brickhill was nearby but must have ridden off very quickly.
Lots of survivors abandoned others on the trail - like Richardson and Gamble - it was a matter of sauve qui peut and to be honest, Higginson was in no position to help either.
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PostSubject: Re: Source for faulty revolver   Mon Apr 28, 2014 8:06 pm

JW wrote:
Higginson was in no position to help either

But he led Coghill and Melvill to believe that he was helping, by going to find some horses. It's what he done after the event. He took some blokes horse, and left him. Just as he did M & C.

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PostSubject: Re: Source for faulty revolver   Mon Apr 28, 2014 8:10 pm

Just going of track, didn't someone ride into a town on M or C horse? Or is that someone else! On another officers horse!
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Julian Whybra



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PostSubject: Re: Source for faulty revolver   Mon Apr 28, 2014 8:26 pm

Yes, he did try to find horses and DID take Barker's promising to send it back for him by which time it was all up with M & C - that's very true.
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PostSubject: Re: Source for faulty revolver   Mon Apr 28, 2014 8:39 pm

Come on Julian. Next you be saying Higginson assisted in the endeavours to save the Queens Colours.

Do you have Higginson's account which states he saw them with revolvers.

The text I read says Higginson heard shots, and on looking round saw M & C surrounded by Zulu's
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PostSubject: Re: Source for faulty revolver   Mon Apr 28, 2014 9:08 pm

John wrote:
Come on Julian. Next you be saying Higginson assisted in the endeavours to save the Queens Colours.

John I think your find, Higginson's mother did receive a letter from the Military Secretary acknowledging just that.
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PostSubject: Re: Source for faulty revolver   Mon Apr 28, 2014 9:42 pm

John,

John wrote:
Just going of track, didn't someone ride into a town on M or C horse?


William Calverley rode into Khambula Camp on 24th February 1879 to negotiate the defection of Prince Hamu.  He was mounted on Nevill Coghill's horse, he also carried a Martini-Henry rifle and water-bottle both - allegedly - marked to the 24th Regiment.

John Y.
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PostSubject: Re: Source for faulty revolver   Mon Apr 28, 2014 10:11 pm

Thanks John, that's the chap. Do we know how Coghill come to loose his own horse at Isandlwana!
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PostSubject: Re: Source for faulty revolver   Tue Apr 29, 2014 12:47 am

scratch  Wasn't the horse Coghill esacped on his own! Which was shot dead as he cross the river?
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PostSubject: Re: Source for faulty revolver   Tue Apr 29, 2014 7:40 am

SAS1,

Most officers had more than one horse with them on campaign.

John Y.
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PostSubject: Re: Source for faulty revolver   Tue Apr 29, 2014 9:14 am

But I think in Coghill's case it has been mentioned on here before, the he was riding an unfamiliar horse, along with a injured knee. So it appears he found one and made good his escape.
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