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 Shepstone's last stand

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Drummer Boy 14

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PostSubject: Re: Shepstone's last stand    Mon Nov 06, 2017 3:15 pm

Hi Frank

I agree that it seems very possible. Could also explain why the order on Durnford's body had to disappear if the only other copy was being suppressed. Provides a clear motive which i'll admit was lacking before.

Indecently 14 year old me also bought 3 notebooks wrote Durnford's last order in it and left it in different places in my garden for 6 months. 2 were glued together and useless but the 3rd was legible Very Happy

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Sam
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rusteze

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PostSubject: Re: Shepstone's last stand    Mon Nov 06, 2017 4:00 pm

If you are dashing off a note in the field in 1879 you are much more likely to use a pencil. Less or more durable than ink do you think?

Steve
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Frank Allewell

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PostSubject: Re: Shepstone's last stand    Mon Nov 06, 2017 11:41 pm

You do have a point Steve, Pulleines note was in pencil. But there was ink in the camp, the report of the Zulus drinking it, so it cant be discounted. I assumed at the time that Crealock being the snob he was would have preferred the more formal. I am however sure that a pencil note would not fare any better under the elements, but must try it.
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90th

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PostSubject: Shepstone's Last Stand    Tue Nov 07, 2017 10:20 am

All
there was certainly ink in the camp but in those days it'd probably be in a bottle , no fountain pens I believe back then ? . Pencil much easier to use , and it can sit in one's pocket , no desk required ! lollll
90th Very Happy
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Frank Allewell

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PostSubject: Re: Shepstone's last stand    Tue Nov 07, 2017 11:05 am

Morning Gary
Funny you should say that, I have a mate who collects antique fountain pens. Seems they date back to the 1700s. Earliest one he has is an 1870. But I agree with you that its more likely the dip and write sort of thing. I was trying to find a sample of pen and ink in the field, the orders from Spalding to Durnford on the 19th Jan seem to be such.
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Frank Allewell

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PostSubject: Re: Shepstone's last stand    Tue Nov 07, 2017 11:10 am

Have a look at this Gary.
"Samuel Pepys, English naval administrator, mentioned in his writings a metal pen "to carry ink" in 1663 while Maryland historian Hester Dorsey Richardson also wrote about fountain pens that existed in 17th century. In the 19th century, standard pens were improved with mass production of cheap steel pen nibs which also influenced fountain pens. On May 25, 1827, Romanian inventor Petrache Poenaru received patent from the French government for a fountain pen which had a barrel made from a large swan quill. In America in 1848, Azel Storrs Lyman got a patent for a fountain pen with “method of supplying ink to pens from a reservoir in the handle”. These were not the only patents for fountain pens of that time but these pens needed three inventions to become popular: iridium-tipped gold nib, hard rubber, and free-flowing ink (early fountain pens didn’t understand the role that air pressure plays in the operation of pens). First fountain pen to have all this was made in 1850s. Duncan MacKinnon and Alonzo T. Cross invented in 1870 a variant of fountain pen called stylographic pen which used a wire in a tube as a valve for ink. All these pens were filled with an eyedropper. First self-filling fountain pens were invented in the early 20th century. They were crescent-filler pens (which had a rubber sac and a crescent button which pressed it) and twist-filler pens."

Always plenty to look at on this forum : You need to study mo
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90th

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PostSubject: Shepstone's Last Stand    Tue Nov 07, 2017 11:24 am

True frank , but I was meaning using the easier to use variety of fountain pens , I knew they had some type there as they did have bottled ink available , I'm thinking it was a nib attached to a length of wood or similar , Ok if your at a desk , not overly practical anywhere else . Hopefully you know what I'm attempting to say ! ? scratch scratch Joker Joker Joker
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rusteze

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PostSubject: Re: Shepstone's last stand    Tue Nov 07, 2017 11:37 am

The question of the location of written orders in the camp is an interesting one. Chard went up to Isandhlwana on the morning of the 22nd to see whether he had any further orders. He tells us that there were no staff officers around and so he went to the HQ tent to find out. There must have been a list of orders kept there - probably by the clerk (who no doubt used ink!). Whether they were just orders for the day or a comprehensive set including, for example, Crealock's orders to Durnford, I do not know. Presumably that is also the location where the battalion records were kept such as pay lists and muster books. It is really quite surprising that none of that material seems to have survived.

Steve
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Julian Whybra



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PostSubject: Re: Shepstone's last stand    Wed Nov 15, 2017 11:06 am

Just to return to the original question for a moment...my personal belief is that Shepstone, as has been said, should receive more credit for having kept open one side of the nek open. I put to you the following:
There is no report of Roberts's troop (with or without its officer who might or might not have been killed by 'friendly fire') returning down the spur. Suppose someone in that troop used his initiative and retreated down the western side of Isandhlwana to monitor/slow down the progress of the right horn.
Suppose that when the situation became dire a message was conveyed by one of Roberts's native troopers back over the nek. To whom would this native have made for to deliver that message? Isn't Shepstone the likely candidate? And what would Shepstone have done, realizing how serious the situation might become?
He would not have gone to Roberts's troop's aid alone. The only reserve that I know of without any specific assignment is Murray's coy - probably tired and exhausted after its night march - but probably lined up in front of the NNC tents. I believe Shepstone took Murray's coy and went to Roberts's aid and the bodies lying around him were those of Murray's NNC.
Speculative, yes, but not entirely.
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PostSubject: Re: Shepstone's last stand    Wed Nov 15, 2017 11:42 am

Hi Julian
The one thing against your theory is the terrain. When 'the situation became dire', the line had been pushed back, the reserves would have as well. With the line at the edge of the tents would be I assume your dire point? That would put the NNC in a position of having to do a serious uphill over the foothills below the cliff face to the Northern end, and most probably toward the enemy. Not something the NNC was keen on doing.
I think it was Nyanda that says the last time he saw Shepstone was in the tents. At that point the situation was worse than dire as the line had literally collapsed. It would have been impossible for Shepstone to move around the North of the mountain. That would leave the Southern approach and as that time frame approached the right Horn was already in the camp, again Nyanda. I would believe that for Shepstone it was then more of a fighting retreat and the only clue we have to that is Brickhill, the Basuto, rather thn the NNC. Brickhill knew the difference.

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PostSubject: Re: Shepstone's last stand    Wed Nov 15, 2017 11:51 am

Damn, that may put a spanner in the latest diorama I am working on....Shepstones Last Stand....I have him with a few NNCI.....oh well....
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PostSubject: Re: Shepstone's last stand    Wed Nov 15, 2017 12:25 pm

Frank
I was thinking more of the moment when the situation became dire for Roberts's troop.
I never anticipated that Shepstone would have moved 'north' of the mountain with reinforcements - a clear impossibility. Only ever south.
Nyanda did see Shepstone but when exactly that was is open to interpretation.
Nevertheless, I am grateful for the points raised.
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PostSubject: Re: Shepstone's last stand    Wed Nov 15, 2017 12:34 pm

Question : « When you saw George Shepstone return to the camp, do you know what he came for ? »
Answer : «  I don't know but I heard him rallying the people and saying they were wanted at the front. They were soldiers and others left in charge of the baggage. The only time I saw Captain George Shepstone was when I went the second time to the wagons to get a gun...He was saying this – 'Why are you men not at the front ? Do you know that every man is wanted there ? [I.E : Indication of the order already given by Pulleine to rally the firing line???] - t those men who had been left in charge of the baggage. Captain Barton was also there trying to get ammunition [I.E : Important indication for the timeline] which however, he did not get, the man refusing saying that all the ammunition there was for the military and not for the contingent. Immediately after this the Zulus rushed into the camp... ». quoted in « Zulu 1879 », ed. Leonaur, by D.C.F. Moodies
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PostSubject: Re: Shepstone's last stand    Wed Nov 15, 2017 12:36 pm

Fred
Thank you.
It is not open to interpretation.
And was not when the situation IN THE CAMP became dire.
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PostSubject: Re: Shepstone's last stand    Wed Nov 15, 2017 12:39 pm

Je vous en prie (sorry in French).
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PostSubject: Re: Shepstone's last stand    Tue Nov 21, 2017 12:59 pm

Is it known why everyone believes the men who fought with Shepstone were NNC men when there doesn't seem to be an account of the bodies being found or the stand they made?
Is it just there were no other men available so he must have fought with NNC men?

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Sam
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PostSubject: Re: Shepstone's last stand    Tue Nov 21, 2017 2:58 pm

Sam
There is a further alternative. from Younghusbands last stand, not his cairn but the backs to the wall position. Upwards from there is the 'last survivors cave' but also above that position to the west is a small ridge. On the ridge is a cairn and just below it another cairn. On the western side of the ridge is also a cairn, and then below quite a string going to the North ( behind the mountain) including Shepstones.
I put forward a theory some time back that Shepstone could quite possibly have been forced up the lower slope of the mountain by the three pronged pressure of the right horn, the chest and left horn. All three converging on the saddle. IF that were feasible then Shepstone could have joined forces or just been part of Younghusbands stand and retreated backwards over that small ridge. Or yet again he was in the tent area BEFORE Younghusband retreated along the mountain incline and got to that location first, drawing the Zulu right horn after him thus stopping Younghusbands retreat.
I quite like that idea, it does tend to explain why Younghusband stopped where he did.

Something for you to explore.

Cheers
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PostSubject: Re: Shepstone's last stand    Tue Nov 28, 2017 6:03 am

Ive sent Pete a map to post. It was a survey of Graves/cairns taken in 1933. It shows the Shepstone graves rather well.

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PostSubject: Re: Shepstone's last stand    Mon Dec 04, 2017 5:34 pm

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This is a survey done in 1933 showing all the cairns in the area.
Photo by Frank
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PostSubject: Re: Shepstone's last stand    Mon Dec 04, 2017 5:56 pm

Frank
In which archive is this map kept? Campbell Collections?
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Frank Allewell

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PostSubject: Re: Shepstone's last stand    Mon Dec 04, 2017 5:57 pm

Nope
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PostSubject: Re: Shepstone's last stand    Mon Dec 04, 2017 8:43 pm

Hi

It isn't until you see the plan/map that you really 'see' where the cairns were.

Looking at the photos (supplied by Frank & others) you think the cairns and line of retreat/last stand are closer to the hill.

Either argument of Franks, seem perfectly valid and feasible, that the cairn line indicates a line of retreat away from the hill or a holding action back towards the hill.

I wonder if there is any significance (assuming all the cairns are Sheptone's men) about there being a clump near to the hill and scattered ones further out - but this could fulfil either argument.

Does anyone know the position that the right horn appeared in relation to the map?

ta

Sime
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PostSubject: Re: Shepstone's last stand    Mon Dec 04, 2017 10:59 pm

Google Earth is now pretty high resolution. I have orientated this shot to match Frank's 1933 map and you can see the current distribution of cairns pretty well. Some co-incide with the 1933 survey. The scrub above Isandhlwana serves to mask others including, I think, Shepstone's.
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Steve
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PostSubject: Re: Shepstone's last stand    Tue Dec 05, 2017 3:25 am

Sime
The cairns we are looking at are indeed on the side of the hill. The map seems to be a tad misleading but its spot on, Yes either argument would prevail if the cairns themselves are isolated from the statements, taken as a whole there is a story to be told. Speculation meets conjecture meets deduction and logic.
Steve
I will send a couple of photos taken back in 2012 when the scrub was very thin, you may like to post for me? I still cant get the hang of the new system

Frank

PS Steve have a look at the cairns towards the East and the firing line, that's when it starts to get interesting.
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PostSubject: Re: Shepstone's last stand    Tue Dec 05, 2017 10:56 am

Posted for Frank.
I’m sending these shot in full resolution. If you enlarge the first you will see the Shepstone cairns low down on the mountain slopes with more cairns to the right, towards the saddle. Then look higher up on the ridge or shoulder and you will see a single white cairn. In the next the cairn is shown from the Eastern side just above the Younghusband stand area. And then the position relative to the massive can be seen. The Shepstone stand is below to the left of this shot. Keep in mind that although it’s a single cairn there cold be 5 or 6 bodies under it.
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PostSubject: Re: Shepstone's last stand    Tue Dec 05, 2017 11:20 am

Some more shots and enlargements from Frank. More commentary Frank?
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PostSubject: Re: Shepstone's last stand    Tue Dec 05, 2017 11:30 am

Thanks for that Steve. More of the same sort of angle. The last shots were taken in 2012 when there was very little bush coverage so the cairns stuck out very well.
The top left shot was taken just above the Manzimyama stream and is most probably the line of attack of the right horn moving from bottom left to top right. In the previous photos the width of the saddle is shown rather well. I would believe that the right horn would possibly have split with a portion moving to the left, North, of the saddle and a further portion moving to the South to try and link up with the left horn around about Mahlabamkosi. The fugitives would initially have headed straight to were I'm standing taking the photos and then the later escapees moving diagonally of to the right. There are 14 genuine cairns in what is known as the Shepstone group with another 5 visible to the right of them.
Hope that illustrates the situation.

Frank
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PostSubject: Re: Shepstone's last stand    Sun Dec 10, 2017 1:44 pm

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PostSubject: Re: Shepstone's last stand    Mon Jan 15, 2018 3:08 pm

this from Gordon's.. Shepstone.. not adding much.

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