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 Intombe Drift

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PostSubject: Intombe Drift   Mon Jan 05, 2009 9:40 pm

On the night of 11 March 1879, two sentries were stationed 20 yards from the laager, however their vision range was only 50 yards due to a rise to their front.

At 3.30am on 12 March, a shot was heard close to the camp, however the men returned to their beds after Moriarty decided that it was nothing.

An hour and a half later, a sentry on the far bank saw to his horror, through a clearing in the mist, a huge mass of Zulus advancing silently on the camp. 'He at once fired his rifle and gave the alarm,' Tucker recorded. 'The sentries on the other side did the same. Of course the men were up in a moment, some men sleeping under the wagons and some in the tents; but before the men were in their positions the Zulus had fired a volley, thrown down their guns... and were around the wagons and on top of them, and even inside with the cattle, almost instantly. So quickly did they come, there was really no defence on the part of our men; it was simply each man fighting for his life, and in a few minutes all was over, our men being simply slaughtered.'

Being one of the first to die, Moriarty was struck in the back with an assegai as he charged out of his tent, shooting dead three Zulus with a revolver. He was shot while trying to climb the laager. His last words were 'I am done; fire away, boys.' However, few managed to put up any resistance, sharing a similar fate. The few survivors fled into the river, the troops on the far bank providing as much covering fire as possible. Upon what survivors they could see reaching the Lüneberg side of the river, Lieutenant Henry Harward, Moriarty's second-in-command, gave the order to withdraw upon seeing several hundred Zulus crossing the river. No sooner had he done this, when he grabbed the first horse he spotted and fled, abandoning his men.

This left the survivors under the command of Colour-Sergeant Anthony Booth. For three miles, the Zulus pursued the group of around forty survivors. Whenever they drew closer, several of the bolder troops, along with Booth stopped to deliver a volley, which dispersed their pursuers. Four men who split up from the group were killed. The others made it to Raby's Farm, around two miles from Lüneberg where the Zulus broke off pursuit. The wagons were looted and all the ammunition and supplies were carried off by the Zulus or destroyed . Booth was rewarded with the Victoria Cross.
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PostSubject: Re: Intombe Drift   Thu Mar 05, 2009 5:40 pm

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PostSubject: Re: Intombe Drift   Thu Jun 10, 2010 7:00 pm

[You must be registered and logged in to see this image.] An ammunition box was found inside the caves on the Tafelberg Mountain overlooking the Enthombe valley. This is where Umbelini and his men were hiding away and from where they were observing the convoy approaching Lüneburg from Derby in the First week of March 1879.This ammo box is still in possession of the Filter Family, who are direct descendants of Pastor Heinrich Filter, the then Pastor at Lüneburg. The farm Tafelberg also still belongs to the the Filter Family.
The monument at the Enthombe River was recently enclosed with a new steel fence, after it had been badly vandalised.
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PostSubject: Re: Intombe Drift   Thu Jun 10, 2010 8:50 pm

From Commandant Schumbrucher to Colonel Wood, V.C., C.B., Commanding No 4 .Column, Zululand. Luneburg,23rd January., 1879.

1. At midnight last night I received news that Umbelini said to have a following of about 3,000 fighting men, was expected to move from Intombe mountains during that night to gain the place called Umbelini's Caves, of which I gave, you a description in my letter of 28th December last.
There he would collect such additional forces as he could. draw from this District, cross over in full force to the Pongolo Bush above Engelbrechts, and. from; there direct his attacks upon Luneburg and surrounding places. The information came through one of Umbelini's men, who had left the main force on Tuesday before daylight in order to warn a certain native family living on the Pombetrion, his particular friends, and it bore all the evidence of truth.

2. I immediately sent three men on horseback to the Pongolo Drift where Umbelini would most likely cross, near the confluence of the Tombe of Pongolo there to lay in wait; and hurry back should they observe any large party approaching. I likewise despatched the natives attached to my command to watch the Tombe Drift, half-way between this and Umbelini's Caves, with similar instructions ; and at daybreak I ordered a strong mounted patrol of German Burghers to patrol beyond the Pongolo towards Zungin's Neck.

3. All the patrols and' scouts have returned now (5 p.m.) reporting everything apparently quiet, and no Zulu force to be seen nor any spoor to be found of a large number of men or cattle, but a Zulu woman was met by Nkosana (a fat native constable). She says that she came from Umbelini's Impi; that an engagement had taken place on Tuesday which prevented Umbelini from carrying out his march upon Luneburg; that Umbelini's and Magolosini's forces had been joined at Zungin's neck, and were attacked by a small white force; the white men fired and retired, stood again and fired and retired, and repeated this several times; that each time they killed many Zulus, whereas the Zulu bullets fell all-short. She could not say how many, but she knew that very many Zulus were shot, and amongst the wounded she had seen with her own eyes a great Captain, Makukunesani, who belonged to Diligaan's people, and was the Captain of the whole Pongolo District; he was shot through the breast,-and was still living on Tuesday night. His being mortally wounded had caused great consternation amongst the Zulus.. The woman further states that she left Umbelini's force on Tuesday night, and that she heard all yesterday (Wednesday) heavy firing towards Zungin's Neck. The woman's statement seems to me very probably true, but under any circumstances I thought it well to give you a minute account. If true, it will give me all the more confidence in the sagacity and faithfulness of my own men in carrying out their reconnoitering patrol.

4. I have led the water close to the entrance of Fort Clery, and managed a sort of drawbridge, excavating the hitherto solid entrance to the depth of the ditch. All this, including wood for bridge and chains to draw up, involved an expenditure of five pounds, signature for which I request your authority of payment.

5. The laager here is now fully occupied, all the farmers having come in. I count amongst them 28 fighting men, armed with nine Winchesters,four breech-loaders of other pattern, and the rest muzzle-loaders, double barrels, all with adequate ammunition. They are very willing in doing patrol duty, and give me great assistance.

6. Seventy-eight (78) natives -of the tame description have enrolled themselves to join here I have placed them under command of Nkosana, and appointed their kraal to be above Mr. Filter's house, under the hill. They do also, cheerfully, duty as scouts and sentries all round, and cost nothing whatever neither pay nor rations. In case of attack, they will form a welcome addition, to my rather small force.

7. A supply of about 50 stand of arms with ammunition to be .kept exclusively in the fort for use to repel an attack would be extremely useful in order to arm such defenders as I may be able to draw to the fort in cases of emergency.

8. Colonel Rowland, V.C.,C.B., accompanied by Captains Harvey and Sherrard, and Commissary--General Phillips, paid a visit to Luneberg on the 20th, and returned to Derby on the 21st. I understood that Colonel. Rowland, having received despatches from Head-quarters whilst here, authorising the formation of a column, No. 5 will move as soon as possible to occupy Meyer's Station, and then move on to Makatee's Kop. I expect his advanced guard in a few days

9. Yesterday's partial eclipse of the- sun (between 3 and 4 p.m.) is looked upon by the natives as a sign of Umbelini's power, who is reported to have particular powers over that luminary. If he should have happened to get a thorough good thrashing on that day (which he most certainly did get, if it be true that he was engaged by you), it will have a most demoralizing effect upon all Zulu warriors, who looked to Umbelini's victory as certain whenever he should meet our forces.

10. The garrison here is well and in full fighting spirit. I have only had occasion to punish one man (Geo. Gibbs) for insubordination and inciting others to mutiny. I nipped the thing in the bud, by ignominiously dismissing Geo. Gibbs on the spot, and drumming him out of camp. Drink was, as usual, the cause. I have, however, succeeded in getting rid of the pest of liquor, by promising 50 lashes to any man, black or white, who would bring drink into the fort or laager.
Wishing glorious success to your armsI. am,
Yours obediently,
SCHUMBRUCHBR,
Commander.


* Frontier. Light Horse; 7 Officers, 75 N.C.O. and men. Dutch Burghers: 22, under Mr. Pict Uys.


Source: Northeastmedals.
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PostSubject: Re: Intombe Drift   Sun Jun 13, 2010 5:37 pm

Just out of interest. A friend of mine came across this. (A photo of the grave would be appricated)


There is steel cross-dedicated Heinrich Filter where he was killed. He is buried at the Luneburg cemetery along with a civilian by the name of Surgeon Cobbin, and Moriarty and another two gentlemen who were killed whilst blowing up Umbelini cave.
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PostSubject: Regarding Heinrich Filter Jnr Grave   Mon Jun 14, 2010 4:37 am

I do have photos of both the site where Heinrich was killed as well as of his grave in the Lüneburg graveyard. Just do not know how to get them onto this forum-sorry I am new to this!!! This site ( i.e. where Heinrich was killed on 6 June 1879, was pointed out to Missionary Wagner,who took over from Missionary Meyer at the Enthombe Mission Station after the end of the war). This site is about 3 km away from where the ambush took place, near the Lüneburg lager. An interesting question arises out of this fact, namely: Why was he taken across the Pongola River, i.e. south of the river, i.o.w back into Zulu Country before being killed? The story also goes that Memezi, Umbelini's younger brother was present and he insisted that Heinrich Jnr. be killed, because he was involved in the incident on 5 April 1879 when Umbelini was shot.
The site across the Pongola River is now marked by a marmor plate which we as his relatives put up in 2008 as part of the 150th anniversary of the arrival of Pastor Heinrich Filter Sen in South Africa.
The other graves you refer to , apart from Capt Moriarty and Civil surgeon Cobbin, are those of Sgt-Maj E. Smith and Cpl. Pomfret of the 2nd Bn 4th Regiment who were killed by fire coming from the caves on Tafelberg Mountain on 8 September 1879. The caves were subsequently blown up . These two casualties can certainly be considered the last casualties of the Zulu War, since they still formed part of Russell's Column operations in forcing Manyonyoba of the Khubeka clan to surrender.
The burial site of Umbelini is still a mistery to me! Huw Jones in "The Boiling Cauldron" on pg.293 states that a woman had seen Umbelini's body and had been present at his funeral at Hlobane. Recent discussions I have had with some Dlamini Princes from Swaziland, who claim to be direct relatives of Umbelini claim the gravesite to be closer to present day Paulpietersburg and that some rituals have been performed there recently!! scratch
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PostSubject: Re: Intombe Drift   Mon Jun 14, 2010 10:25 am

Johann. I have sent you a P.M
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PostSubject: Re: Intombe Drift   Tue Jun 15, 2010 10:27 am

[You must be registered and logged in to see this image.] Thank you for posting the photos. The mountain in the background is the Ncaka Mountain and Lüneburg lies at the foot of that mountain, about 3.5km from this site.
This is the mountain Henry Fynn mentions in his diary from where Shaka supposedly watched the Battle of Ndololwane in 1826 when the Ndwandwe people under Sikhunyana were finally annihilated! Any interest in that early Zulu history?
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PostSubject: intombe drift   Wed Jun 16, 2010 4:53 am

hi Johann.
Just a side story Sgt Maj E. Smith's zulu war medal has been offered for sale 4 times on ebay , the first time the asking price was
3.995 pound or buy it now 4,495 pound back in Dec 07 , The last time it was up for sale was 11/ 5 / 08 and the asking price
was 3,395 pound and there were no bids . Thought you may find it interesting .
cheers 90th.
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PostSubject: johann filter.   Wed Jun 16, 2010 5:16 am

hi Johann .
The following comes from " Who's Who in the Zulu War " by A.Greaves and I. Knight .

Filter , Johann Heinrich August .
Born 16th March 1862 , Son of Pastor Heinrich Filter of Luneburg . During hostilities of 1879 , Johann volunteered
to serve as an interpreter to the British forces stationed in the settlement . As such , he enthusiastically accompanied
a number of patrols and forays directed against zulu raiding parties operrating in the district . He was present in the
skirmish on April 5th when Tshekwane kaSihayo was killed and Prince Mbilini mortally wounded . On 7th June a large
zulu force raided the farm of a Mr. Niebuhr , close to the outskirts of Luneburg and within sight of the military camp.
Johann set out with a number of African Border Policeman and intercepted the raiders as they tried to retire across the
Ntombe . The zulus turned to fight , and Filter and six African Policemen were surrounded and killed . According to one story
Filter was recognised as the Pastor's son by some of his attackers , who were inclined to spare him , others recalled his role
in the death of Mbilini , and he was killed . A monument was erected to Filter in the 1930's on the road between Luneburg
and the Ntombe . More than likely Johann you are aware of these facts so this may be more beneficial to others on the Forum.
Thanks for sharing the photo .
cheers 90th.
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PostSubject: Re: Intombe Drift   Wed Jun 16, 2010 8:14 am

Hi 90th
Find it very interesting indeed! Would love to have it, but can not afford such luxuries.... I am only a poor farmer!!
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Cheers
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PostSubject: intombe drift   Wed Jun 16, 2010 10:24 am

hi Johann.
It could have been worse , you could have been a farmer in Zimbabwe !. Then you would be poor . Rolling Eyes
cheers 90th. :) . No disrespect intented to any Zimbabweans . Idea .
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PostSubject: Re: Intombe Drift   Thu Jun 17, 2010 8:59 pm

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PostSubject: Re: Intombe Drift   Mon Aug 02, 2010 9:38 pm

Hi
Ive just been thinking, when the shot was heard close to the camp Captain Moriorty made a decision,
He decided that it was nothing, how did he come to that conclusion, if it was obvious that it was a gunshot, how could it be nothing?

Any answers or information would be appreciated

thanks joe
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PostSubject: Re: Intombe Drift   Mon Aug 02, 2010 10:01 pm

Hi Joe.You say he done nothing. When the shot was fire all the men turned out. Don’t forget it was still dark, heavy with mist and raining.

Captain Moriarty decided that it was nothing and allowed his men to return to their beds, But only after warning the sentries to be extra vigilant.

The shot was heard around 3:30am nothing happen until 5am. When the Zulu’s attacked.
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PostSubject: intombe drift   Tue Aug 03, 2010 1:23 am

hi pete / joe.
Surely the question that should be asked is , Who fired the shot and why !. And was anything done in an attempt to
find the person who fired the shot !. I think not Suspect .
cheers 90th.
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PostSubject: Re: Intombe Drift   Tue Aug 03, 2010 6:46 am

Hi
Thanks for the replies :lol!:

Admin,
I said he decided that the shot was nothing but wanted to know how he came to that conclusion and who may it have been who fired it.

thanks joe
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PostSubject: Re: Intombe Drift   Tue Aug 03, 2010 11:54 pm

Quote :
Don’t forget it was still dark, heavy with mist and raining.
The question was most likly asked. But it appears that no one saw who fired the shot, and no one owned up to firing the shot. On the other hand it could have been a Zulu, just so they could see how many men were in the camp.
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PostSubject: intombe drift   Wed Aug 04, 2010 3:01 am

hi pete.
Valid point , it could have been the zulu in an attempt to see what numbers they were facing , then I'm sure I have read a
report which puts Mbilini and some of his followers in the camp earlier in the evening acting as friendly natives , I think
attempting to sell mealies and pumpkins to the convoy .
cheers 90th.
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PostSubject: Re: Intombe Drift   Tue Apr 26, 2011 1:37 pm

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PostSubject: Re: Intombe Drift   Sat Feb 14, 2015 9:33 pm

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PostSubject: Re: Intombe Drift   Sat Aug 19, 2017 2:18 pm

The raft being used to ferry the wagons at the drift. Do we know what this would have looked like? Would it have been made using logs much like the 'pont' in the film Zulu?
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PostSubject: Intombe Drift    Wed Aug 23, 2017 12:45 pm

Hi Roselier
I've never come across a description of the raft used at Intombe , I assume it would be similar to the one in Zulu .
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PostSubject: Re: Intombe Drift   Wed Aug 23, 2017 12:52 pm

I'm trying to figure out why they would use a raft? It was an established drift or ford. Shallow enough for the oxen to pull through.
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PostSubject: Intombe Drift    Wed Aug 23, 2017 1:10 pm

Hi Frank
Like all the rivers at the time it was much deeper and wider than normal , there had been plenty of rain in the days leading up to the attack on 12th March . The river was 40 - 50 yds wide whereas its normally 20 or so . The river did drop overnight which left the Laagar in a precariously open state . We all know what happened next !
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PostSubject: Re: Intombe Drift   Wed Aug 23, 2017 3:22 pm

Hi 90th and FA

Adrian Greaves' CTB states that it was a 'makeshift' raft suggesting it's emphemeral quality! Whether the raft was for men, wagons and oxen or indeed all is something I am not sure about. Apparently the bursting of it's banks meant the crossing assumed a 50 yard stretch as opposed to 30.

Im just trying to imagine an ox on a log raft and can't see it myself!
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PostSubject: Re: Intombe Drift   Wed Aug 23, 2017 3:32 pm

The 'African way' as used by the Voortrekkers was to fell a couple of fare sized trees and lash them to the wheels at around hub level and then float them over, possibly this would have been used. Would be interesting to know where Adrian gets the info from.
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