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 Chelmsford's Orders to attack Hlobane

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Arthur Wright



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PostSubject: Chelmsford's Orders to attack Hlobane   Sat Aug 18, 2018 2:48 pm

I am not sure if anyone can assist? Being prone to questioning things, I have noticed that it appears to be generally believed that Wood was acting on Lord Chelmsford's orders when he chose to attack Hlobane.

I would like to verify this.

Does anyone perhaps know where I can obtain a copy of such an order? If, that is, such was actually given.

Many thanks in advance for any assistance in this matter.
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PostSubject: Re: Chelmsford's Orders to attack Hlobane   Sat Aug 18, 2018 5:07 pm

Bonjour,
I don't know if it's useful but LC wrote in a letter to Wood, Durban 17 March 1879: "If you are in position to make any forward movement the 27th of this month, so that the news of it may reach the neighbourhood of Ekowe about the 29th I think it might have a good effect".
Quoted in "Lord Chelmsford's Zululand Campaign 1878-1879", Alan Sutton Publishing Ltd, 1994, pp.127-128.
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PostSubject: Re: Chelmsford's Orders to attack Hlobane   Sat Aug 18, 2018 5:12 pm

Hi Arthur
Wood had been thinking of Hlobane as early as the 3rd March and Buller had been chomping at the bit to attack Hlobane for a while and even had a go without orders

"...and I did attack it one day without leave but I had only 70 white men and had to leave the strongest part untouched. There are now about a 1000 Zulus there and they are getting cheeky"

on the 12th March Wood writes to Chelmsford and states:-
"...I may possibly go forward for a few days to the Temguin, and thence assault Hlobane but this depends of course somewhat on Cetywayo and his movements.."

In a letter to Wood dated the 17th March Chelmsford writes:-
"If you are in a position to make any forward movement about the 27th of this month, so that the  news of it may reach the neighbourhood of Ekowe about the 29th I think it might have a good effect'

To the best of my knowledge I don't think there was a direct order (unless anyone else on here knows any different) from Chelmsford to Wood telling him to  specifically attack Hlobane.
Kate
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ymob

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PostSubject: Re: Chelmsford's Orders to attack Hlobane   Sat Aug 18, 2018 5:32 pm

Huw Jones in "The Boiling Cauldron" has a similar opinion.
In addition of Kate's quotes, please take a look pp.253-258.
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Frédéric
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PostSubject: Re: Chelmsford's Orders to attack Hlobane   Sat Aug 18, 2018 6:04 pm

In particular, LC enjoined Wood in a note dated 14 March, to "do anything you like with your column, and if you would like to attack the Inhlobana pray do so" (p. 254).

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Frédéric
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PostSubject: Re: Chelmsford's Orders to attack Hlobane   Sat Aug 18, 2018 6:08 pm

Just checking Blood on the Painted Mountain by Mr Lock (page 127)
On the 19th March Chelmsford once more wrote to Wood saying:-

"I write to say that you are perfectly free and unfettered, and that any offensive operations which you think fit to undertake will not only meet with my approval, but will be heard of by me with pleasure"

Kate Very Happy
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PostSubject: Re: Chelmsford's Orders to attack Hlobane   Sat Aug 18, 2018 6:36 pm

It seems you are right in your opinion even if Wood when he returned to Britain, "maintened that he had attacked Hlobane on Chelmsford's orders".
Very Happy
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PostSubject: Re: Chelmsford's Orders to attack Hlobane   Sat Aug 18, 2018 7:07 pm

mmmm .....now I wonder why Wood claimed that Frederic?
Rolling Eyes
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PostSubject: Re: Chelmsford's Orders to attack Hlobane   Sat Aug 18, 2018 7:57 pm

Kate,
Minefields...
I suppose that the answer to your question depends if you are a supporter of "conspiracy's thesis" for the Hlobane's disaster...
For example, Cecil Russell, a scapegoat?
Cheers.
Frédéric
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PostSubject: Re: Chelmsford's Orders to attack Hlobane   Sun Aug 19, 2018 10:36 am

For such a short war - it seemed to produce a lot of scapegoats.......Chelmsford, Durnford, Russell, Weatherley, Quartermasters (with or without screw drivers), Moriarty, Carey......


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Arthur Wright



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PostSubject: Re: Chelmsford's Orders to attack Hlobane   Sun Aug 19, 2018 12:18 pm

Many thanks for these replies. I shall be going through them over the next few days.
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PostSubject: Re: Chelmsford's Orders to attack Hlobane   Sun Aug 19, 2018 1:10 pm

Stephen Manning in "Evelyn Wood VC Pillar of Empire" wrote (p. 111):
"Yet one of the these battles was to be a crushing defeat and would reveal a side to Evelyn's character, that of the political survivor, that had not yet been seen before".

He also wrote (p. 127), "Evelyn was also fortunate in that Chelmsford himself was wrilling to accept his share off the blame for the Hlobane defeat. The General was to write to the Duke of Cambridge that, 'I am quite sure that General Wood never have allowed the attack to be made had I not asked him to make a diversion in favor of the column moving forward to relieve Eshowe'".
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PostSubject: Re: Chelmsford's Orders to attack Hlobane   Tue Aug 28, 2018 4:52 am

From Zulu Frontiersman writings of C G Dennison by Ron Lock and Peter Quantrill

Umbeleni was the Induna or chief who with his men wiped out the convoy (at Ntombi River). It was stated that Umbeleni was living, or had moved, on to the Hlobane Mountain, and it appeared that Col. Wood, although instructed by Lord Chelmsford to act purely on the defensive, allowed himself to be persuaded by Col. Buller and Commandant Uys, to attack Umbeleni. Uys had a bitter score to settle against the Zulus for in earlier days he had lost many friends by Zulu treachery. In addition to this his father and two brothers had all been killed by the Zulus. His tent was next to mine in the Kambula camp and shortly after our arrival he told me how he had joined the column, not for love of the English, but rather for an opportunity to avenge those of his family and friends he had lost by the assegais of the Zulu. It would have been better for him had he remained on his farm.
As I have stated, Col. Wood was persuaded to attack Umbeleni at Hlobane and here again is the instruction as given in the regimental orders, and signed by our Acting Adjutant B. H. Lys.
March 26th 1879
EXTRACT FROM BRIGADE ORDERS
All available men of the Frontier Horse, Border Horse and Bakers’ Horse will parade at 8 a.m. for patrol.
Each man will carry seventy rounds of ammunition, a blanket and two days’ rations, one day to be of preserved meat. Spare ammunition to be carried by the corps.


This was the type of material that Dennison left out of his original "A Fight to a Finish", 1904 - presumably because Wood was by then "Field Marshal Sir Evelyn Wood, a father-figure of the British army" as stated by Ron Lock
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