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  Stand and Fight at Rorke's Drift

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Kopite



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PostSubject: Stand and Fight at Rorke's Drift    Mon Jan 26, 2015 1:27 pm

I have read numerous books on the battle of Rorke’s Drift, but could one of the members please help me on this issue who give the order to stand and fight rather than make a run for it?  One theory is a written command was received to stand and fight, if so who was it from, and the other option was that Dalton and Bromhead made the call, which one is correct? If any. Looking forward to the replys.
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old historian2

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PostSubject: Re: Stand and Fight at Rorke's Drift    Mon Jan 26, 2015 11:53 pm

I'm not sure a command of such was given. More of an agreement to say and fortify and fight.
Mainly based on Daltons advice.
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Kopite



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PostSubject: Re: Stand and Fight at Rorke's Drift    Tue Jan 27, 2015 7:57 am

Thanks Old Historian2, the vast majority of the books I have read on the subject agree with you, this Dalton was the right guy to have batting for the team.
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impi

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PostSubject: Re: Stand and Fight at Rorke's Drift    Tue Jan 27, 2015 8:05 am

Sad thing is, he was never recognised for his in put back in 1879.
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90th

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PostSubject: Stand and Fight at RD    Tue Jan 27, 2015 8:58 am

Hi Kopite
I have certainly heard of an order which came from Isandlwana written in Pencil by one of the following , Cochrane , Gardner or Essex from memory , to the commanding officer at RD , to hold the position , Chard mentions that when he got to the drift , ( he was down near the river when he first heard about the disaster at Isandlwana ) , Bromhead & Dalton had already put defensive plans into action . I do seem to recall that at the drift their first thought was to flee , I do believe it was Dalton who managed change their minds .
Impi
Dalton's input ( is that what you mean ? ) and his actions throughout the defence earned him the VC , I wouldn't say his input wasn't recognised .
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PostSubject: Re: Stand and Fight at Rorke's Drift    Tue Jan 27, 2015 11:09 am

Of course Dalton was recognised.

Chard's original account dated 25th Jan, 1879 praised Dalton and credited him with being instrumental in the fortification of the post. When he arrived from the ponts, Chard said he:-

"Held a hurried consultation with him (Bromhead) and with Mr. Dalton of the Commt. (who was actively superintending the work of defence, and whom I cannot sufficiently thank for his most valuable services) entirely approving the arrangement made."

We can see from the start Chad put the praise with Dalton. Regarding himself, he merely says he agreed with the plans.

In Jan 1880, when Chard submitted his more detailed account on the request of Queen Victoria, he again made a point of praising Dalton:-

"I held a consultation with Lieutenant Bromhead, and with Mr. Dalton, whose energy, intelligence and gallantry were of the greatest service to us, and whom, as I said in my report at the time, and I am sure Bromhead would unite with me in saying again now, I cannot sufficiently thank for his services."

At the end of his account, Chard noted the names of those who he said especially distinguished themselves. Again, he mentions Dalton - "whose energy much of our defences were due.."

During a speech in 1879, Chard said that if he was ever in a scrape similar to Rorke's Drift again, he would pray to God that he had Bromhead, Dalton and Reynolds there with him. *

(*Published in 'The Royal Engineers Journal, Dec 1879, reproduced in Rorke's Drift', by those who were there, by A. Baynham Jones and L. Stevenson)


Furthermore, in a letter to Commissary General Strickland, 20th Aug 1879, Chard expressed his admiration for the conduct of Dalton and that his services were of great importance.

To quote Chard - "It was owing in a very great degree to the exertions of Mr. Dalton that we were able to put the place in so short a time in the state of defence...."

There are numerous early accounts praising Dalton. (He is mentioned in Captain Penn-Symons account for one) And there are many, many more later accounts describing his importance and bravery.


Apart from Chard's second account (which was dated Jan 1880) all of the above is from 1879 (the year in which he was apparently not recognised)

He was also awarded the Victoria Cross that same year.

How is this "not being recognised"?



Neil
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PostSubject: Re: Stand and Fight at Rorke's Drift    Tue Jan 27, 2015 11:34 am

Kopite wrote:
I have read numerous books on the battle of Rorke’s Drift, but could one of the members please help me on this issue who give the order to stand and fight rather than make a run for it?  One theory is a written command was received to stand and fight, if so who was it from, and the other option was that Dalton and Bromhead made the call, which one is correct? If any. Looking forward to the replys.


From Gardner, who said:- "When I saw all was lost, I sent an order by a Basuto to the officer on Rorke's Drift, telling him to fortify and hold the house. I also sent a similar order to Helpmakaar.."


Neil
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Kopite



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PostSubject: Re: Stand and Fight at Rorke's Drift    Tue Jan 27, 2015 12:04 pm

Thanks all for your replies guys, and special thanks to Neil for all the details.

Kopite
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PostSubject: Stand and fight at RD    Tue Jan 27, 2015 10:38 pm

Hi Kopite
Part of Chard's report from ' Select Documents - A Zulu War Source Book ' by Keith Smith , pge 181 .
'' and at once rode to the commissariat store and found that a NOTE had been received from the 3rd Column to state that the enemy were advancing in force against our post , which we were to strengthen and HOLD at all costs '' ( The capitals are mine , to use for emphasis ! )
90th You need to study mo
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impi

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PostSubject: Re: Stand and Fight at Rorke's Drift    Tue Jan 27, 2015 11:00 pm

Statement by Captain Alan Gardner, 14th Hussars. Camp, Rorke's Drift, January 26, 1879.

I LEFT the force with the General about 10.30 A.M., and rode back to Isandlana Camp, with the order to Lieutenant-Colonel. Pulleine to send on the camp equipage and supplies of the troops camping out, and to remain himself at his present camp, and entrench it. Between twelve and, one o'clock I reached Isandlana, and met Captain G: Shepstone, who told me he had been sent by Colonel Durnford for reinforcements ; that his (Colonel D's) troops were heavily engaged to the left of our camp, beyond the hill, and were being driven back. We proceeded together to Colonel Pulleine. I delivered him my order; but the enemy were now in sight at the top of the hill, on our left Lieutenant-Colonel Pulleine sent out two companies about half-way up-the hill, and drew up the remainder, with the two guns in action, in line, on the extreme left of our camp, and facing towards the left, from which direction the enemy were advancing in great numbers. For a short time, perhaps fifteen minutes, the Zulus were checked, but soon commenced to throw forward their left, extending across the plain on our front. We had between 30 and 40 mounted men, and I asked permission to take them down in the plain, and check the enemy's turning movement. Lieutenant-Colonel Pulleine told me to do so, and I accordingly galloped them to the front, and lined the spruit running across the front of our camp. The Basutos who were previously retiring, formed line with us and the enemy halted and commenced firing from behind cover. Leaving the mounted men who were under Captain Bradstreet, I returned to Lieutenant-Colonel Pulleine who had previously told me to remain with him. Shortly afterwards, observing the mounted men retiring, I rode back to ascertain the cause. Captain Bradstreet told me he had been ordered to do so by Colonel Durnford, who soon afterwards told me himself that he considered our position too extended, and wished to collect all the troops together. But it was now too late. Large masses of the enemy were already in the camp and completely surrounded the men of the 24th Regiment. Numbers of these were also on the road to Rorke's Drift. The guns limbered up and attempted to retire to the left of that road, but were surrounded and overturned. The few mounted men remaining retreated up the small hill on the right rear of the camp, but were soon surrounded by the enemy advancing from the left and front. Many were killed. A few of us managed to escape by riding down the hill on the right, but many were shot riding along the narrow valley, and more drowned and shot in crossing the Buffalo. When I saw all was lost, I sent an order by a Basuto to the officer on Rorke's Drift, telling him to fortify and hold the house. I also sent a similar order to Helpmakaar.. We reached Helpmakaar about five P.M., and near a laager round the Commissariat Stores I endeavoured to obtain a messenger to go to Colonel E. Wood, as I feared the General's force would be cut off, and hoped he, Colonel Wood, might be in time to lend his assistance. No one would go, the Basutos saying they did not know the way. So on the return of the two companies who had started for Rorke's Drift, I decided on going myself, and riding all night reached Utrecht about four o'clock the next day. I then got a messenger to go to Colonel Wood and returned myself to Helpmakaar. On the road, learning that Colonel Glyn's head-quarters were at Rorke's Drift, I proceeded thither. I trust I may not be thought, presumptuous if I state my opinion, that had there been a regiment or even two squadrons of cavalry the disaster at Isandlana would not have occurred. The enemy's advance across our front which was requisite in order to turn our right was in extremely loose order, the ground was an open plain and could easily have been cleared by a determined charge. The enemy's shooting was so indifferent that our loss would .have been - very small. -The result moreover of a cavalry charge would have had a very different effect on the enemy's morale to the retreating fire of mounted skirmishers, and I feel confident we could have held our own till the return of the General's force.
(Signed) ALAN GARDNER,
Captain, 14th Hussars, Staff Officer, 3rd Column.
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PostSubject: Re: Stand and Fight at Rorke's Drift    Tue Jan 27, 2015 11:12 pm

Extract from Chard's report to QV

"I gave the order to inspan the wagon and put all the stores, tents, etc., they could into it. I posted the seargeant and six men on the high ground over the Pont, behind a natural wall of rocks, forming a strong position from which there was a good view over the river and ground in front, with orders to wait until I came or sent for them. The guard of natives had left some time before and had not been relieved. I galloped up at once to the commissariat stores and found that a pencil note had been sent from the 3rd Column by Captain Allan Gardner to state that the enemy were advancing in force against our post. Lieutenant Bromhead had, with the assistance of Mr. Dalton, Dr. Reynolds and the other officers present, commenced barricading and loopholing the store building and the missionary's house, which was used as a hospital, and connecting the defence of the two buildings by walls of mealie bags, and two wagons that were on the ground. The Native Contingent, under their officer, Captain Stephenson, were working hard at this with our own men, and the walls were rapidly progressing. A letter describing what had happened had been sent by Bromhead by two men of the Mounted Infantry, who had arrived fugitives from Isandhlwana, to the officer commanding at Helpmakaar. These two men crossed the river at Fugitives Drift, with some others, and as they have since reported to me, came to give notice of what had happened, to us at Rorke's Drift, of their own accord and without orders from anyone."

Chard doesn't say Gardner's order stated "fortify and hold the house" which adds weight to why, the thought of leaving was among the options. Until Dalton spoke up.
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Julian Whybra



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PostSubject: Re: Stand and Fight at Rorke's Drift    Tue Feb 10, 2015 12:06 pm

Gardner's message was delivered by Fletcher to whom it must have been passed by Gardner's Basuto.
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