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 James Hamer map of iSandlwana

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Frank Allewell
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gardner1879

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PostSubject: James Hamer map of iSandlwana   James Hamer map of iSandlwana EmptyThu Nov 11, 2021 5:11 pm

Another official/unofficial map in  my collection to add to the discussion.
This one by James Hamer:-

[You must be registered and logged in to see this image.]

Inky note the position of the Zulu herdboys that Raw and Roberts run into and the Zulu army all in one place.
Its a shame his scale is poor/ no existent.
Also the RB is in a strange place but this could be its position when Hamer saw it before he left the camp.

This map is not identified to Hamer  in the NAM archives (NAM1968-07-386-8-12) and is believed to have been annotated by Surgeon-Major Nathaniel Alcock with the initials N.A. on the back. It was donated by Lord Chelmsford through the Royal United Service Institution.
After discussing it with Ian Knight he rummaged through his vast collection and found a tracing of a map sent to him by Jackson who was a good friend of his and which, overlaid, exactly matches the map above. Jackson told Ian the map was by Hamer.
The ascension number with the 12 at the end also I believe  matches a file containing  a letter Hamer wrote to his mam.

Not a great map but I have compared it with a modern 1:50000 and there are two dongas of sorts that run north to south on the plateau which could tie in with Hamer's drawing.

If anyone has a copy it can be found in Ashes and Blood by the NAM. Page 231

Enjoy
Kate Very Happy
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Frank Allewell

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PostSubject: Re: James Hamer map of iSandlwana   James Hamer map of iSandlwana EmptyThu Nov 11, 2021 6:02 pm

Ashes and blood is the heaviest book in existence, makes a great door stop at around 2 kilos
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Frank Allewell

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PostSubject: Re: James Hamer map of iSandlwana   James Hamer map of iSandlwana EmptyThu Nov 11, 2021 6:09 pm

Kate Hamer has drawn the zulu as he saw them but not necessarily all of the army. Im not convinced he shows two donga, those could easily be two ridges. Ive been looking at this for a while now. I think theres more to it than meets the eye, for instance surely Hamer was already on the ridge when the Rocket Battery arrived?
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gardner1879

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PostSubject: Re: James Hamer map of iSandlwana   James Hamer map of iSandlwana EmptyThu Nov 11, 2021 6:35 pm

I was just wondering Frank as Hamer went out with Sheptone's lot, he would have known the RB would eventually arrive in camp but perhaps be unaware that they would be ordered out with Durnford.
That was the only reason I could think of of placing the RB there.
Open to other suggestions though.
Hamer's undated letter to his father about the battle appears to come from the same file (6807-386-8-14) as the map
Kate
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Frank Allewell

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PostSubject: Re: James Hamer map of iSandlwana   James Hamer map of iSandlwana EmptyThu Nov 11, 2021 7:30 pm

Thers also another map missing from the same file Kate. Hamer says in his letter that one was incorrect. As this is item 12 and the letter is 14, could the other letter be number 13? if so would it be the ammended map?
Lots to think about, more questions and answers surface
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Frank Allewell

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PostSubject: Re: James Hamer map of iSandlwana   James Hamer map of iSandlwana EmptyThu Nov 11, 2021 7:44 pm

Kate interestingly the map seems to reinforce the disussion we have been having over the path of the reserve. But if that is so where I wonder is the left horn? Or conversley if that stream on the left is indeed the left horn then we dont have a reserve.
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gardner1879

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PostSubject: Re: James Hamer map of iSandlwana   James Hamer map of iSandlwana EmptyThu Nov 11, 2021 8:02 pm

Hmm yes where indeed is the left horn scratch Good point.
I wonder Frank if he just drew what he saw and was told.
Perhaps he did not realise that Durnford was attacked where he was (to the east of Ithusi)
Perhaps he thought the iNgobamakhosi came down from the Nyoni ridge and hit Durnford on the plain which would tie in with his map.

What is really interesting to me personally though about the map and gets me quite excited is that he shows survivors going either side of Mahlabamkhosi.
I have been working on a theory that Alan after failing to get to Chelmsford is pushed back over the saddle to the south of Mahlabamkhosi not via the traditional Nek route.
I walked that ground in 2018, climbed the saddle, timed and recorded my research and took numerous photographs.
The route matches Alan's description of his escape.
Its only a little thing in the grand scheme of things but it is important to me.
Kate Very Happy


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PostSubject: Re: James Hamer map of iSandlwana   James Hamer map of iSandlwana EmptyThu Nov 11, 2021 10:41 pm

Hi Kate
Ive wandered over that route as well, the barbed wire was a bit of a negative. I cant see any reasoning to dispute Hamer. There would have been people flying of any way they could.
An issue with the map i have is the two black lines obviously represent Raw and Roberts. Traditionally Roberts rode left and Raw right. Nyanda being with Raw..

"Before this, my troop had been joined by Roberts’, with a company of Lonsdale’s footmen. Lonsdale’s men at sight of the enemy at once ran back to the camp, leaving their officers with us. "

So the meeting point on their ride would be more to the East of the advance. And the point that they chased the cattle along that eastern side. Yet Hamers map clearly shows the cattle on the west and Roberts and Raw still divided.
The 'X' marks the spot on the Henderson/Wood/Official/Unofficial map also seems skewed to the east some what.
If I can get the owners permission I will add further to the mystery but a question in General for the forum: What was the date of the letter written home by Hamer?
Cheers


Last edited by Frank Allewell on Thu Nov 11, 2021 11:24 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Frank Allewell

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PostSubject: Re: James Hamer map of iSandlwana   James Hamer map of iSandlwana EmptyThu Nov 11, 2021 10:49 pm

Contrary to the above, the black lines represent lines of hills or ridges, as do the two cross lines, definitly not donga.
Cheers
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PostSubject: Re: James Hamer map of iSandlwana   James Hamer map of iSandlwana EmptyThu Nov 11, 2021 10:54 pm

Hi Kate

I am having trouble reading the map its very faded to my understanding he has not even mark Mabaso and that is the key location in all of this.
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Frank Allewell

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PostSubject: Re: James Hamer map of iSandlwana   James Hamer map of iSandlwana EmptyThu Nov 11, 2021 11:20 pm

Morning Aussie
The map (s) were drawn very soon after the battle and he only saw the area once and then briefly. Why this map is so important is it hasn't been seen since around 2000 or so and was thought to be lost.
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PostSubject: Re: James Hamer map of iSandlwana   James Hamer map of iSandlwana EmptyFri Nov 12, 2021 3:08 am

Morning Frank

Julian mentioned some time back of a map which Jackson was in possession is this the same map ?
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PostSubject: Re: James Hamer map of iSandlwana   James Hamer map of iSandlwana EmptyFri Nov 12, 2021 4:39 am

We believe so Inky.
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PostSubject: Re: James Hamer map of iSandlwana   James Hamer map of iSandlwana EmptyFri Nov 12, 2021 7:50 am

Kate 

It seems awfully close to the Nqutu escarpment and to the notch
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Frank Allewell

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PostSubject: Re: James Hamer map of iSandlwana   James Hamer map of iSandlwana EmptyFri Nov 12, 2021 8:17 am

This is a print from The Globe, 6th March 1879. A couple of differences with the number 12 Kate posted. There are no cattle indicated and the lower short black line is omitted.
The print seems to clear up the black lines as being ridges and not lines of advance or donga. There are two ridges in the plateau leading from Nyoni down to Mabaso so these could be the ones indicated, or one of them could be Mabaso. A point to consider is that Hamers limited time on the plateau was for the most running like hell from a huge impi. That he has collected so much data as he has is incredible.
There are lots of issues that he doesnt show, Durnfod etc. but he was already on the plateau when Durnford launched his own venture .

[You must be registered and logged in to see this image.]

Its brilliant that a small part of the history and story has been located, well done Kate and Fred Bomy.

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Frank Allewell

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PostSubject: Re: James Hamer map of iSandlwana   James Hamer map of iSandlwana EmptyFri Nov 12, 2021 8:19 am

[You must be registered and logged in to see this image.]
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PostSubject: Re: James Hamer map of iSandlwana   James Hamer map of iSandlwana EmptyFri Nov 12, 2021 10:25 am

Smashing map Frank thanks for posting it up Salute
The description is also very interesting especially the bit about ammunition (though I am not going to smash open that box of worms on this thread)

Morning Inky
No he doesn't mention Mabaso probably because he didn't know it was called that but he also doesn't mention any other features apart from iSandlwana probably because he didn't know their names either.

These are my thoughts and assumptions (easy Julian)  on the above:-

First up they are not accurate maps but just roughly drawn plans.
Upon sitting down to draw the plan he would have drawn the mountain and camp first. You would wouldn't you. Its the most important point and it is named and fixed. Look at the priority he gives it in the order of the scale.
I believe that as the drawing got bigger he simply ran out of paper at the top hence the lack of detail and the way it is all squashed in.

Most importantly he shows on the first map only two groups of Zulus. The 30 herd boys (I am combining the map and account with that) and the main body 12 -15000 (Raw, Hamer, Nyanda.)
So we have to ask ourselves can the dead area on the plateau hold 12-15000 warriors without being seen from Itusi or Mkwene? 12 -15000 that is a hell of a lot of men!

Regarding the ridges Frank. From the map it seems they rode over  two large ridges before encountering the Zulus further on. Looking at the 1;50000 scale map these appear to be the only two areas that could be used to hide a body of warriors (if they were hiding). But, according to the plan they weren't there, they were further on...in the Ngwebini perhaps?
We have to assume they weren't seen by anyone. 12-15000 men manoeuvering not seen by anyone all morning? Hmmm

If they had been seen would you with 100 men ride towards 12 -15000?

If it is only part of the army why were so many not in the Ngwebini when it is the natural rest area with a good water supply. After all the Zulus went back there on the night of the 22nd to rest.

Looking at the description Frank posted up, note Inky, he writes:-
"The Zulus, it will be seen, adopted their almost invariable manoeuver of advancing both wings simultaneously (my underlining)"
Simultaneously... which sort of puts to bed the idea the right wing moved so early if we believe the journalist.

As I say the plan/map is not a good one and without any scale I fear will be open to any number of interpretations and cause more problems than it solves. Interesting discussing it though Wink
Kate Very Happy
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Frank Allewell

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PostSubject: Re: James Hamer map of iSandlwana   James Hamer map of iSandlwana EmptyFri Nov 12, 2021 10:33 am

Kate my immediate thought still stands. He was on the ridge for the first time, first time in possible combat. Hes on the plateau for arguably 25 minutes then gets sandbagged by a LOT of rough looking chaps. Turns belts for home guts churning flatulence let loose to the ether. Im suprised he remembered anything at all, except the need for a stiff drink.
I think its all peripheral vision stuff and its value is that its a missing artifact thats now been rescued, even if its only in second hand form. But as evidence for anything, not worth to much Im afraid.
Just the humble opinion of a tank driver.
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PostSubject: Re: James Hamer map of iSandlwana   James Hamer map of iSandlwana EmptyFri Nov 12, 2021 10:38 am

Kate, did I just read "if we believe the journalist?" To much port to early me thinks. Shocked Joker
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PostSubject: Re: James Hamer map of iSandlwana   James Hamer map of iSandlwana EmptyFri Nov 12, 2021 10:44 am

I can, I believe, confirm that this is the Hamer map having seen FWSJ's sketch of it on one occasion.  (I hope to be in possession of this soon.)
A couple of things which have a bearing:
Three maps are referred to in Hamer's undated letter, only one of which was included with his letter in the NAM.  Of the other two there is no trace.  
The Hamer map is not meant to be viewed in isolation.  It should be seen in conjunction with the letter which it was meant to illustrate.  Only then does the map become clear.
I wonder if a copy of the back can be shown on the forum? NA is awfully similar to NH. Before something IS ascribed to Alcock by default, it would be well to have a look at those initials.
David Jackson did not put much store by Hamer's map.  There was no scale and he didn't think it added anything new to the battle.  That's why he never bothered getting a photocopy; instead he just made a quick sketch of it in his notebook.  I don't necessarily agree with David in this but I do respect his opinion.  Having discussed many things with him both face to face and in a voluminous correspondence I've found that he often turned out to be right in his opinion.
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PostSubject: Re: James Hamer map of iSandlwana   James Hamer map of iSandlwana EmptyFri Nov 12, 2021 11:27 am

So I now see (thanks to Frank) that the Alcock attribution comes from Ashes and Blood - a misattribution in fact. The NAM accession nos. match Hamer's account. From the wording on the back this is almost certainly Hamer's own note and his initials (NH). A comparison of handwriting would settle the matter.
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PostSubject: Re: James Hamer map of iSandlwana   James Hamer map of iSandlwana EmptyFri Nov 12, 2021 12:48 pm

Frank
Hamer's letter was undated but from the content it must have been written soon after the battle.
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PostSubject: Re: James Hamer map of iSandlwana   James Hamer map of iSandlwana EmptyFri Nov 12, 2021 2:30 pm

I'm inclined to go with Frank and Kate here. Hamer wasn't a professional Soldier. He seems to have acquitted himself well, but his map is the product of his own brief perspective of the battle and his own military training (or lack thereof). Appropriately depicted terrain features, Troop deployments etc aren't necessarily reflected here.

I also agree with Kate that 12-15,000 personnel weren't hidden in the Nqutu dead ground. There were too many roving eyes; Capt. Barry's Coy on picquet for one. While it's true they were deployed to overwatch the trail leading down from the high ground, clearly at some point during the right at least some of them were reoriented to overwatch to the north. Would they really have joined Capt. Barton's squadron with their leadership and half their main body if they knew of such a large enemy presence? This was the Contingent, not George Custer and the 7th Cavalry or Lord Cardigan and the Light Brigade...
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PostSubject: Re: James Hamer map of iSandlwana   James Hamer map of iSandlwana EmptyFri Nov 12, 2021 2:37 pm

One issue thats permanentlu overlooked is that the top of Mabaso is visible from the top of iSandlwana. There is then always the potential that some of the more distant troop movements relate to that.
Just saying
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Julian Whybra




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PostSubject: Re: James Hamer map of iSandlwana   James Hamer map of iSandlwana EmptyFri Nov 12, 2021 2:41 pm

Frank
Are you thinking of Chard's sighting through field glasses here?
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Julian Whybra




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PostSubject: Re: James Hamer map of iSandlwana   James Hamer map of iSandlwana EmptyFri Nov 12, 2021 4:00 pm

Mike
For what it's worth I also agree about Hamer. I think that's a reasonable assessment.
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aussie inkosi

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PostSubject: Re: James Hamer map of iSandlwana   James Hamer map of iSandlwana EmptySat Nov 13, 2021 5:50 am

WeekendWarrior wrote:


I also agree with Kate that 12-15,000 personnel weren't hidden in the Nqutu dead ground. There were too many roving eyes; Capt. Barry's Coy on picquet for one. While it's true they were deployed to overwatch the trail leading down from the high ground, clearly at some point during the right at least some of them were reoriented to overwatch to the north. Would they really have joined Capt. Barton's squadron with their leadership and half their main body if they knew of such a large enemy presence? This was the Contingent, not George Custer and the 7th Cavalry or Lord Cardigan and the Light Brigade...

The numbers being 12-15,000 is wrong it was around 5-6,000 and of these the Zulus only revealed around 600 screens to Barry and his picquets
Higginson reported 5,000 Zulus going behind Isandlwana the true figures there was around 3,500
remember at the time these where educated guesses, but large numbers just the same.
Well the roving eyes { Capt Barry } did spot them and the report went to HQ. And HQ did nothing.


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Frank Allewell

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PostSubject: Re: James Hamer map of iSandlwana   James Hamer map of iSandlwana EmptySat Nov 13, 2021 7:57 pm

Kate I have quite a series of maps that emanated from Noggs.
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Julian Whybra




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PostSubject: Re: James Hamer map of iSandlwana   James Hamer map of iSandlwana EmptySun Nov 14, 2021 11:42 am

Though it's unrelated to the Hamer map content, Norris-Newman's map is interesting and useful in its own right.  Particularly pertinent is the 'untraditional' position of the RB, as per mine and Frank's suggestion, and the fact that it shows the NNC/NNH skirmish line in the hollows before the plateau's edge.


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gardner1879

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PostSubject: Re: James Hamer map of iSandlwana   James Hamer map of iSandlwana EmptySun Nov 14, 2021 12:33 pm

Also interesting is the positioning of the two kraals and the placement of the artillery directly north of the camp.
I've seen the guns placed here on other maps and wonder if perhaps they were deployed here briefly to support Mostyn and Cavaye up on the ridge before being moved further east to support the firing line.
I will look at the relevant accounts again and see if this is a possibility.
Kate Very Happy
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ADMIN

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PostSubject: Re: James Hamer map of iSandlwana   James Hamer map of iSandlwana EmptySun Nov 14, 2021 12:47 pm

Some posts have been removed from this discussion. If you wish to continue with the Off topic debate, you can find deleted posts in the Ring.
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https://www.1879zuluwar.com
Julian Whybra




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PostSubject: Re: James Hamer map of iSandlwana   James Hamer map of iSandlwana EmptyYesterday at 9:52 pm

Hamer's map measures just twelve by seventeen and a half centimetres. It's not surprising that the detail is limited. It's about half the size it is reproduced in the first post on this thread when enlarged.
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