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Posts : 2557 Join date : 2009-04-06 Age : 59 Location : UK
Subject: John Carroll Diary Log of H.M.S. Active Sat Oct 17, 2009 10:12 pm
H.M.S. Active ‘Iron case with wood screw corvette’ 10 guns, Commanded by Capt. Boxer was commission at Portsmouth on the 14th of April 1877 she embarked 2 Sergt. , 1 Corp. and 36 Privates R.M.L.I and 1 Bomber and 8 Gunners R.M.A. April 10th- went into dry dock. May 23rd- Prince of Wales inspected H.M.S. Shah Thunderer and Vernon. June 30th- Inspected by Admiral Sir G Elliott July 2nd- Up steam and went out to Spithead for trial of engines. Attained speed of 14 knots anchored again at 4.30. P.m. July 6th- Went around Isle of Wight for further trial of engines anchored at 6.30.pm, weighed anchor again at 10.30 p.m. for Plymouth 120 miles arriving Plymouth at 4.0.pm on the 7th and took in machinery for Jourmaline. July
8th- Left Plymouth sound for Madeira at 4.0.pm Sun. Passed Eddystone Lighthouse at 6.0.pm made plain sail on port tack. 9th- General Quarters fire quarters a shoal of porpoises in sight. 11th passed cape Finisterre Spain was made ships Corporal & captain of first gun- scrub hammocks wash clothes in middle watch dark as pitch water scarce served out in limited quantities magazine drill sighted Greek man of war. 15th Sun- Sighted St Michael’s Island and Madeira. Porte Santo and Lighthouse point. The scenery along coast of Madeira is very beautiful, rugged rocks Islands and mountains the tops of which seem lost in mist. Dropped anchor in the bay about noon. We soon had the Portuguese fruit boats in swarms around the ship also the doctor Government officers and Coal contractors. Fired off 21 guns to Portuguese Flag. Went ashore in the evening fruit- bananas, oranges, pineapples, peaches etc. are very cheap, wine 10/ per bottle, piped hands to bathe in evening, had fresh bread and meat from shore, took in coal. 18th Set sail for St Vincent passed canary islands saw many dolphins (flying fish) weather hot awnings spread, on the 20th had night quarters, on the 22nd passed the tropic of cancer clothing white drill, hot with light breeze. 25th- Saw many grampus (black fish) from 12 to 15 ft long, dropped anchor at cape St Vincent, found Jourmaline awaiting whom we are to relieve. Commodore Sullivan and officers now taking charge of our ship, while our Capt. and mostly all the officers goes home again on Jourmaline, the band and about 40 crewmen also came over to us We hoisted the Commodore flag and the band played during the evening which was rather a novelty to us. From the 25th to the 31st was occupied in changing officer’s baggage etc. and taking over Jourmalines stores. Left St Vincent on 31st. August
Anchored at Cape Coast Castle on the 7th on the 8th coaled ship by canoes manned by Negroes from a barge lying here. Set sail for Accra when finished arrived at Accra on the 9th at 6.0.a.m. after making communications with shore sailed for Lagos, We had meanwhile received information that King Dahomy was becoming troublesome again and we are now on our way to the river Niger after calling at Largos. We are making all preparations for landing, passing the doctor, making blankets quilts etc. On the 10th a crewman named Seabreese died and his body was committed to the deep. Arrived at Largos, on the 11th sailed again after taking in some bullocks from shore, on the 12th anchored at the Niger, where lays the gunboats Pioneer, Boxer and Danae. On the 13th still making preparations for landing, Aug 14th served out rum and Quinine for landing party, in the afternoon the consul came aboard bringing some news that altered the plans of the Commodore for after he went away we got ready for sea. In the evening the gunboats Avon boxer & pioneer went up the river with a small armed party from the ‘Danae’. Fired salute of 7 guns on consul leaving the ship. Men much disappointed at not going ashore after making so much preparation, on the 15th made sail for Fernando Po. 16th arrived at Fernando Po, fired salute of 21 guns for Spanish flag. 17th Spanish governor came aboard a guard called up to receive him, the band playing the Spanish anthem. Coaling all day. Served out quinine and rum, on the governors leaving ship salute of 15 guns fired. 18th- The Gunboat Swallow was laying here H.M.S. Industry and 2 mail boats arriving during day. Set sail for Simons bay Cape of Good Hope. 20th Crossed line 24th-Quarters fired 4 rounds each gun at target at sea. 28th- Boy received dozen lashes and a crewman 3 dozen for misconduct. September
1st- Shifting winds, our time is busily employed during day at various drills sail drill, shifting courses quarters etc. at 4.30. On the 5th the man at the mast head sung out land on the port bow, and we gradually rounded point bluff came in sight of table bay, dropping anchor in Simons Bay at 8.30.p.m. Shortly after mail came aboard all of waiting anxiously by while the letters were sorted, after dropping anchor the commodore went ashore to Admiralty house his wife and children being living there. Next morning out boats up anchor and went and picked up mooring on the bay, the 7th and 8th coaling. Sun 9th cleaning ship, no church. On the 10th mustered by open list. Paid 2 months money, 5 days leave to start watch.14th went ashore on leave had a walk through a place called the brook so called from a brook flowing from fissures in the mountainous rocks down to the sea, it is peopled by Africans houses built of stone and whitewashed looking very neat and clean out side but very squalid and dusty inside, their bedsteads are of stone, in one corner of the room is built a fire a large open affair without grates, wood fires are used, as we passed the houses some of the women invited us in but we declined with thanks, but as I looked through the open doors. I saw bluejackets inside some of them in bed from which I could discern the black curly head of a woman by their side. I walked a little further into the bush, and noticing a prickly pear bush I leaned over it to gather one of its fruit but losing my balance fell into it amidst the laugh of my companions, but I managed to scramble out without help but when I attempted to walk I found it very inconvenient, owing to the thorns penetrating through my clothes and flesh. Came aboard at night and kept morning watch. 13th- Went ashore again and took a ramble up the mountains which are very steep and hard to climb, cut a stick and placed a pocket handkerchief to it and fixed on the highest point of the mountain. Saw several monkeys of very large size also a few whip or grass snakes, on descending to the beach I found I could not get a boat to ship, so stopped at Willetts hotel for the night. 17th Port watch going on 5 days leave to which I belong so I went ashore, on landing I and Sergt Lewis took a car for Cape town 32 miles distant and started at a brisk pace along the beach from Simons town, our way for a couple of miles lay along a sandy beach, with the waves dashing against the horse feet after leaving this at a turn of the beach, we came into a rough road with huge rocks on either side, which had rolled down from the mountain the beach itself at this place was full of huge round stones against which the surf dashed with great force, indeed nearly all the coast of Africa is the same, making it impossible to land and when very windy throwing the surf and white sand to great distance, even to the mountain, covering them partly with this white sand which at sea resembles snow covered hills. After a few miles hard driving we again got into an extent of sandy beach, and then branched off into a road that led between green fields. We made a halt at a hotel called “ the Gentle Shepherd of Salisbury plain” here we got a bottle of English for 1/6, and
Last edited by John on Sat Oct 17, 2009 10:21 pm; edited 1 time in total
Posts : 2557 Join date : 2009-04-06 Age : 59 Location : UK
Subject: Re: John Carroll Diary Log of H.M.S. Active Sat Oct 17, 2009 10:13 pm
commenced our journey again, we were in excellent spirits and singing as we dashed along. Soon after we were overtaken by a car with 4 horses filled with bluejackets, shipmates of ours who were singing and shouting and mad with delight at being once more ashore, as they neared us they persuaded the driver to try and pass us, and they did so, but our driver seeing he was being outdone whipped up the horses and we dashed along in beautiful style, neck and neck for about a mile when we commenced gaining on them, but the driver of the other car seeing we were about to pass him threw his leaders across the road, and did so every time we tried to pass him, one time he did it so suddenly that our driver had nit time to check our horse before running against his wheels, scraping our horses sides, which at next halting place nearly caused the two drivers to fight. Our road as far as Wynberg lay along a fine avenue of trees nearly two miles long the trees were chiefly fur which lined and met on either side of the road at Wynberg we stopped at Mr Edward’s, Railway Hotel, the owner of the car we came up in Mr Edward’s we found was a warm hearted genial Englishman here we remained for the night. During the night I was insulted by a man to whom I gave a good thrashing, but I was brought before the Magistrate next day, but owing to some of our men who witnessed the fracas having gone on to cape town, I was remanded on bail. Mr Edward’s my landlord bailing me out for £20. I had to appear again two days after when not withstanding several witnesses in my favour I was fined £5.0. Which I paid, the courthouse was only a small room capable of holding about 20 people, a desk a form and a chair, with a few books was the only furniture it contained. I took the train next morning to visit Cape town, at the back of which is table mountain and in front Table bay, shipping and docks- visited the botanical gardens on which grows many fine specimens of tropical plants also visited museum, and went to theatre during the evening, Stopped for the night at the London Hotel returning to Wynberg next morning which place I explored and found it the prettiest place I have seen in all Africa, after dining at the hotel, I took the car for Simons Bay, but did not go aboard until next morning. My 5 days leave was rather expensive as it cost me £13.00 27th- For the past few days we had men at work on dockyard drill parties, gun and rifle practice etc. There is to be a ball tonight at commodores House, Hark! What is that I hear an unusual commotion on deck, I go to see what it is and find they have signalled from shore to get ready for sea at once. Everything is in disorder, a great part of our gear is being overhauled at the dockyard, and we have now to refit ship in a hurry. We are to carry soldiers to Kafir War. 29th-We were working nearly all day and night getting in stores provision for ship. Bending sails etc. on the 30th 200 men of the 88th C.R. came aboard and 10 R.A with their traps, tents, blankets ammunition etc. the soldiers were packed as close as herrings in a barrel our ship not being fitted for carrying troops. Commander read a letter of thanks to us for the goodwill and energy with which we worked to get ship ready for sea, soon after noon Commodore came aboard and put out to sea, sea rough and choppy. October
1st-A gale of wind blowing, ship rolling and pitching, the soldiers poor fellows are very sea sick and lay about the decks as if they were about to die. A good many of our sailors were sick but they did not care to own up to it but I saw several of them with their heads over the tubs, but I daresay they were only looking in their faces which the dish water reflected. I am happy to say that I have been free from seasickness as yet. The sea strikes the ship so violently at times as to make her shiver from stern to stem, and takes in great seas over her forecastle. 3rd- Dropped anchor at East London soon after some boatmen came off from shore bringing news of an engagement with Kafirs in which 300 were killed, the surf boats came alongside and the 88th landed with their tents etc. as they pushed of from the ship our band struck up “ Patrick’s Day” when they commenced cheering loudly, our officers and men waved their hats wishing godspeed and a safe return from the war. The Commodore has gone ashore to see the general, to see of there is any further orders or news, we do not know whether we will land or not yet, the ships company are all very eager to land and have a go at the Kafirs. 4th- We are not to land this time Commodore came aboard and got under way for Simons Bay again, saw a large whale as we were running down the coast we could see bodies of Kafirs now and again I gave them several shots from my 7 inch gun knocking a few of them over, on the 6th we arrived in Simons Bay again. 9th -Went Ashore for a walk and a bathe, while in the water five or six African women came to bathe in the same place, taking nit the slightest notice of my presence, and undressing within a few yards of me. I was rather unnerved but had to make the best of it. 21st-Went to chapel for the first time since leaving Portsmouth, an English priest officiated, on the 22nd H.M.S. Industry came in the bay having on board ‘Stanley’ the African explorer and his native followers, being their way to their native place Zanzibar, the afternoon we had ‘Stanley’ and about 100 of his followers aboard to visit a real man of war, as soon as they came aboard they ran all over the ship examining everything with the greatest curiosity, they were also much surprised as well as alarmed when we fired 2 or 3 rounds from our 6 ½ tons gun and fired a torpedo, they called them ‘very big guns’ make big noise and seemed highly delighted with everything, then our band began to ply and they rushed on deck and formed a circle around listening in silent wonder. They seemed to pay great respect to Stanley their dress was curious and varied some having only a shirt on other a singlet, or night shirt, given them by men and officers, having spent the afternoon aboard they went back well pleased with their trip. 26th- Weather rough no communication with shore about 40 of our men ashore 3 days, and cannot come aboard our launch attempted to bring them off one night but was driven ashore where she remained till morning with a boat crew of 18 men in her. On Sunday the 28th Stanley came aboard again and gave us an eloquent and humorous account of his travels, of his trials and hardships in his downward course of the Nyanza he had 37 battles with natives passed over 69 calasacts, he gave a humorous account of his intercourse with the natives, of their superstitions and traditions, he talked over two hours amusing us with his laughable incidents and sayings at the finish we gave him 3 cheers. November
Whole of Ships Company landed for drill field and Gatling guns and rocket tube taken ashore for practice, the Industry left on the 6th on the 7th we had a ball aboard a great many ladies coming. 22nd- Up steam slipped mooring and went to sea for prise firing we had some splendid practice making full points at every gun almost. I made the most number of points in ship winning £3.00. When finished we returned to harbour again, on the 26th two whales were seen in Bay. December
1st- Went cricketing to Wynberg playing a match with the 88th Regt. The band of the 88th playing throughout the match we won went to Cape Town in evening. 6th-A telegram that we are to take more troops to Kafir war and land ourselves has come aboard, There is 200 marines and bluejackets to land. 9th- We have now everything ready for sea and we slipped our moorings and sailed fir table bay to pick up soldiers, anchored same day in table bay. 10th- Troops came aboard and their band, sent letters home and then set sail for east London.
Posts : 2557 Join date : 2009-04-06 Age : 59 Location : UK
Subject: Re: John Carroll Diary Log of H.M.S. Active Sat Oct 17, 2009 10:14 pm
13th- Arrived at east London could not land troops surf too high. 14th-Troops got into boats to land wind was rising fast and soon after they left the ship the bar was too dangerous to cross the flag was hoisted ashore, a signal that there was no communication with shore. The poor soldiers in the boats had to remain all night tossed about in the surf boats, we could not take them aboard as our ship was rolling so heavily she would have smashed the boats had they come alongside, they were with out water or provisions. We tried to float provisions in barrels to them by means of a line but these got washed ashore then 6 men volunteered to man the life boat and take them some, which after some hard work they accomplished. 16th We were up early next morning as we are going to land today, at 7.0.a.m. we were all ready, got into surf boats and went ashore, sea running high at the time making the landing dangerous but it was done without casualty. When we landed at East London put our packs tents etc. on bullock waggons and marched to Panmere where we pitched tents for the night. Next morning a party went back to landing place for our guns 6 – 12pr Armstrong’s, 1 –7pr and 1 gatling after bringing them up to Panmuse we dismounted them at railway placing them upon trucks, together with ammunition baggage etc. we then rode to Kei road 44 miles distance beyond which the railway did not extend, our route was along a wild waste of country, very hilly and mostly covered with rocks. The number of cattle we saw was suprising, we came across a few ostrich farms too, saw some splendid birds also as parrots peacocks etc. on arriving at Kei road we found that our tents blankets and camp kettles had been and would not be up till next morning, So we had to manage as well as we could with out them, to make matters worse it rained hard during the night giving us a foretaste of hardships. 18th We found a large number of farmers here who have been driven from their homes by the Kafirs, to shelter in this place and band together for mutual protection they live in tents here with their wives and families. Our tents and stores came up today we were inspected by General Cunyingham today also Sir Bartle Frere the governor. The General said he was very glad to see the naval who were ever foremost in the field, and he had no doubt we should keep up the name we had always borne. Next day on the march with a portion of 88th and 24th Regt. We had 14 waggons each driven by a span of 16 oxen halted for night at Spring farm on the 20th on the march again the naval brigade dividing into two parties, one going to Heka, the other to Fort Cunnynhame, I was with the latter party about 100 strong we walked 30 miles that day under a scorching sun and over a mountainous country, seldom meeting with water to assuage our thirst. Many of our men had to fall out exhausted not being accustomed to marching. We reached the fort at 9.0.p.m. at night meeting with a hearty reception from a party of the 88th who we are to relieve we were all tired out and dead beat, the fort is only four stone walls with a gate to it, to retire into in case of numbers attacking us, it contains loopholes for firing out of and is built on a hill in a commanding position as we have a view of the surrounding country. Christmas day 1877- employed cutting water course for the past few days and storing fire wood in case of being besieged which we cut in a forest not far away while cutting wood here found some beautiful birds nests chiefly parrots deer also seen, behind on the tops of the Quinlana Mountains it is said Lions and Tigers are to be found. Snakes are very plentiful but the most common are green snakes and grass snakes. We killed a boa constrictor 14 feet long yesterday. I can hardly believe this is Xmas everything is so green and the sweet scents of blossoms are wafted through the still air and greet the senses at every turn, while the sun is baking me at about 100 deg., whilst in the deep shade of the wood resting for a while I get thinking of home and a yearning for home came over me for a while but soon threw it off hoping to see them at some future time. Christmas day magic words in England when friends and relatives meet around the festive board to renew their bonds of love and friendship. Charley, Billy and Betty is home from school turning the house upside down and making themselves sick with eating plum pudding and plaguing the life out of Pater to take them to the pantomimes. In the morning we had prayers our Christmas dinner consisted hard biscuit and meat that it would take the jaw of a lion to masticate. 28th- Escort to Kabousie for powder and encamped there for night during which we had a surprise by the enemy but soon drove them off. Next morning on the road back I had charge of advance guard saw a splendid buck and fired at him but missed and lost a good supper, on the 30th a portion of our men was attacked on their way from Komgha, the loss of our men was 2 killed while a 100 Kafirs went to visit their happy hunting grounds. January 78
Sandilli a chief who lives not a miles from us has broke into rebellion with 15000 men, about 200 English natives who are working a few miles from here on a railway have cut and run leaving about £20000 worth of gear to the mercy of the Kafirs they were afraid of the kafirs coming down upon them. 11th- For the past few days we have been very busy disarming Kafirs in the neighbourhood, we have had several skirmishes with them and took many prisoners, The men are tall muscular and as straight as an arrow, they wear only a blanket thrown loosely over them, their weapons (national) is the Assegai or spears but most of them also carry a gun. The women are strong and have good features they are fond of jewellery chiefly brass rings of which they wear 3 or 4 on each finger and of their right arm up to the elbow is covered in rings. They also wear them on the leg their dress is merely a bit of beadwork or sheep skin around the loins, there are several tribes who are distinguished by being a little paler than the other tribes and are not so well formed. The women have very large breasts carry their children slung on their back and can also carry heavy weights on their head. The women do all the work they live in huts made of wickerwork thatched with straw; outside a Kraal is built of wooden stakes in a circular form for their cattle sheep goats’ etc. Their amusement only takes place about once a month the night of the new moon when they sing and dance all night they worship the sun moon and stars, have no idea of a god they are very superstitious and great believers in witchcraft there are several chief who have not overthrown their allegiance to the government, and we called them and their tribes in to a grand palaver today with all their arms and to be sworn loyal, the number of men we assembled of the Gatka tribe was 1418 men 203 guns 2000 assegais to make sure they were all here we sent out patrols of men to search the huts for men and arms and we brought about 30 prisoners in and many bundles of Assegai. They all gave their arms up and registered themselves as loyal Kafirs, before they dispersed we fired several times our Armstrong guns also Gatling to show the folly of fighting against the English and such destructive weapons. 12th- Was patrol to night brought in prisoners shot two. 14th- 200 Volunteers came down today to assist us in our fight with Sandilli, we went over to his territory this morning and burned his place down, attacking him twice with great loss on his side and only 4 men being wounded on ours. Continued burning his Kraals down during the night, next morning returned to get our casualties being 4 killed wounded 6 whites 15 Fingoes, took 800 head of cattle. This sort of life is already beginning to tell on me. Never having my clothes off, only one sort of food, every moment expecting attacks, on your feet every other day for 24 hours as outpost or guard. 26th- A large party of volunteers came to relieve us today, we are going further up country as far as Kabousie, which we reached at 8.0.p.m. tonight. 28th- Some of our men had broken in commissary waggons last night for rum, got too much of it, was found out and flogged next morning, one running away but sentry fired several shots at him bringing him back.
31st- Struck tents and on the march for Kabousie, about 38 miles off. Marched 18 miles camping at Fort Wellington and was attacked during night raining heavy was wet through hard marching rain making the clayey ground soft several engagements had been fought just about here and the number of dead horses cattle and men along there was many and stinking horribly, Walked to Kabousie 16 miles with out breakfast, saw flocks of vultures all along the road we came. February
2nd- A private of the 88th shot himself today through having shot another man by accident. On sun 3rd went to prayers in camp, men fully armed and keeping helmets on to protect them from sun there is more respect and attention paid to these prayers said by some senior officer than there is in many an imposing edifice on peaceful England, where there would be a splendid display of bonnets of the newest fashion to distract your attention, the ringing of bells and singing and music to distract your attention. 6th- Struck tents for 7 days patrol around country. Patrol consisting of 70 Marines and Bluejackets, 50 of the 88th 29 mounted police, it commenced raining as we got on the march, we did not halt till two hours after dark. The grass was long and snakes plentiful, some of them crawled around our men’s legging as the walked through, I could hardly sleep that night though very tired, expecting every moment to fell a snake walking over me. Once I was going to the waggons for my blanket when hearing a rustling behind me and thinking it was a snake drew my sword made a cut which was followed by a sharp yelp at was a dog whom I had cut at instead of a snake. Next day we had to wait several hours for a few 100 armed Fingoes to join us, and while waiting had a look around, I found that we had halted at the entrance of a beautiful valley called Chichala Valley one of the most delightful valleys ever I saw, surrounded by mountains and the scene of many a fight with the Kafirs, I went down the mountain in the valley below, making my way carefully among rocks and stones. On getting to the bottom I was surprised at the dead stillness all around me, not a breath of air not a rustle of the leaves, not a bird chirped to brake the dead stillness I shouted; the sound of my voice echoed and reached around the valley as if in mockery the silence overpowered and awed me and I hastily clambered up the mountain again. After ascending I saw the remains of a fort built during the last Kafir war, I also found two graves with
Posts : 2557 Join date : 2009-04-06 Age : 59 Location : UK
Subject: Re: John Carroll Diary Log of H.M.S. Active Sat Oct 17, 2009 10:15 pm
inscriptions on them. At 2.0.p.m. the Fingoes came and we marched as far as waggons could go halted for night. And at 5.0.a.m. on the 8th leaving police and 88th to protect waggons we started to cross the Kei River, before getting to the Kei we had to descend a very high mountain into the valley below, before crossing river we had a couple of hours rest and then hiding our waterproof sheets and blankets in the thick bush (these being the only things we could bring with us having left our tents in waggons not being able to carry them with us down the mountain). We crossed the river marching for several miles beating the bush for Kafirs but failed to find any and returned dead beat to the place we had our blankets where we halted for the night, had eaten nothing since 5.0.a.m. during patrol of the valley saw the most beautiful plants Indian corn and tabacco growing bamboo’s and splendid scenery. Wild and rocky mountains looming up on either side of us from which we could see the gambols of 100s of monkeys on their rocky sides. Our food had to be lowered down the mountain by means of a sledge made of bushes and the provision placed in bags on the top and lowered into the valley after I had tea I fell asleep under a bush for the night thoroughly exhausted and not even was troubled by the mosquitoes. The next day the 9th sent out Fingoes to scour valley for kafirs, and we are watching river as we expect some of the enemy crossing tonight, we are now trying to hem them in in this valley, there are other troops on the mountains around with artillery shelling bush while we remain in valley to pounce on them as they come out. Prisoners brought in and Fingoes report plenty of enemy in vicinity. 11th- 5.0.a.m on the march to the hills on our right, artillery on hills were shelling bush driving them out, we killed a great many during day several of our men shot, took some 100 head of cattle, returned to our bivouac for the night, short of food our provisions are done, sent for more but has not arrived yet had nothing today but a piece of biscuit, would give anything for a drop of tea after heat and fatigue of the day. Digging trenches in cool of evening. 14th- Very little sleep lay awake listening to the howling of the jackals, varied at times by the screeching of owls and the croaking of frogs, amused ourselves next day shooting rabbits or monkeys which I managed by cutting up a bullet by a axe and using it as buckshot the monkeys are mostly seen in the early morning or in the evening when the rocks seem alive with them. Received news of an attack on IBeka by 8000 kafirs who were defeated with a loss of 400 killed. We have no tobacco and are smoking herbs, came on the rain during night the bush is no longer a shelter for us. We are thoroughly wet through and miserable. 17th- This rain has continued for 3 days have been wet through all that time today we have commenced making huts of bulrushes for shelter. 18th- Sunday broke on as miserable a set of human being as ever it has been my lot to witness wet through hungry and sick with exposure to this continued wet weather, all our provisions being done and no chance of getting more for present we got the orders to tramp again for Komgha, at 4.0.p.m. we commenced the ascent of the mountain with a bad heart, halting for the night at the top starting next day for Komgha 18 miles distant, with 10lbs of biscuit among 100 men for the march, we had a skirmish with the kafirs on the way killing and wounding several, we reached Komgha in the evening where we slept comfortably in our tents that night and had plenty of provisions, our rifles and swords were in a fearful state as well as ourselves with the wet weather. 25th Attacked with dysentery and very bad, nearly all our men are suffering same complaint no doubt caused by our late exposure to the weather- fighting going on in our rear at fort Wellington. March
3rd- 20 prisoners brought in this morning looking terribly pinched with hunger IBeka party of marines are expected down tomorrow, we are ordered aboard at once though the war is far from over it is thought we are going down the coast to give another lesson to King Dahomey. Received news of our ship being caught in a gale while conveying troops to East London had her netting stove in and she is now under repairs at dockyard Simons Bay. In the afternoon the other party of marines and bluejackets came in from IBeka, amid a terrible thunderstorm, the lightning striking and killing all bullocks in one of their waggons. Next morning we all got on the march back to our ship arriving at Kei road on the evening of the13th, where our Capt. got a telegram to send 26 sailors and all the marines to K.W.Town, the remainder going back to ship in Hymalaya Troopship we remained for the night, I was of the party to go to K.W.T reaching there on the 14th. 15th- On the march for the Amalola mountains, it was 3.0.p.m. before we got on the march owing to various reasons. We took provisions for 14 days. We had not gone over a mile before a thunderstorm overtook our road was up the side of a mountain with very thick bush on either side of the road or rather gully, when the rain came on and down this track came the rain in torrents from the mountain nearly washing us away with its force, we were nearly up to our waist in water, the bullocks and waggons having the hardest battle in fact one waggon lower down was washed away altogether. However soon after we left the bush and was able to get out of the roadway. The storm lasted about 2 hours but left its traces in swollen rivers and streams over which we had to cross. We halted at dusk at a place called Izela, here we were fortunate enough to find a deserted farm and we housed ourselves for the night among the clean straw of a barn and I slept easier and more comfortable that night than I have done since I have been ashore. Sunday 16th- Up at daybreak and got on the march for the Amatola mountains at which it is said there are concealed 15000 Kafirs in the dense bush which the mountain is covered with, about noon arrived at Perie bush at the foot of the amatolas and camped for the night. Here in this bush was to be the scene of our operations on the morrow, we could already see their camp fires in the thick bush, and hear the cries of children and the yells of the warriors. Next morning up at daybreak struck tents placed them on waggons for instant retreat should they prove too much for us, and went to foot of mountains about 200 yards from bush and ranged ourselves in skirmishing order to watch the bush and prevent the exit of the Kafirs. The operation was carried on by the general himself “ Thesiger” further up on our left was stationed a comp. Of the 90th on our right a comp. Of the 24th in fact the mountain was completely surrounded by our soldiers and artillery, Volunteers and Fingoes. About 9.0.a.m. the artillery on other side opened fire shelling the bush in every direction and in about an hour after we were hard at it, lasted 2 hours but Kafirs retreated to the bush again, we retired a short distance to cook our grub and then went back to our former positions for night determined not to let Kafirs escape from bush, but harass them until they surrendered. At night we sent rockets in bush so as to give them no rest next day storming bush again with guns, having several skirmishes during the day, driving the Kafirs over on other side of mountain where they were received with a storm of bullets driving them back to bush again, 8 of our men were killed and 10 horse shot, spies report women and children dying by scores in bush from starvation at daybreak on 19th retired to have breakfast and returned to our position again, about 9.0.p.m saw large body of Kafirs making towards where there was some fields of indian corn, but we were on the watch as we know they were on the point of starvation, fired several volleys at them driving them back to the bush in confusion. 20th- Rested all day, going to our positions at night fighting during night, one of our officers shot through mouth, the 3rd officer killed this last 24 hours fired good many rockets in bush during night. The general think of cutting way to top of mountain, this will take about 3 weeks. 22nd- Telegram came ordering us aboard at once. We started next morning leaving the soldiers to finish the Kafirs. Arriving at Kings William’s town at noon, we have to remain here for a few days to wait for mail boat to take us to Simons Bay. 25th- Visited town which is large the house are built in a shaggling fashion, of wood and stone saw 4 Kafirs hung at the prison which is merely a large wooden shed. The streets are not paved so that in wet weather are very dirty after dark all shops shut up so that the streets are dark and miserable at night there being no gas or street lamps and hardly anyone goes about after dark. 28th Struck going to East London the place where we landed crossed the Buffalo river in Pontoon bridge and pitched camp close to wharves, weather proved too rough to embark. Sunday 31st- Bar favourable but surf boatmen would not work today after prayers took a walk on the beach and sit on the rocks, watching the waves dashing against the rocks as they rolled in wave after wave and throwing its spray high in the air. Picked up many curious shells seaweed sponges etc. April
1st- Arose two hours before daybreak loaded boats, and got over bar in safety where we was picked up by a towing tug. Bringing us alongside the Stettin the ship that is to take us to our own in Simons bay. We were soon aboard and of course made ourselves at home at once, we were booked as 2nd class passengers and we lived first class on fresh bread and meat 3 times per day. 4th- Anchored at Port Elizabeth (Algoa Bay) from where we had a splendid view of the town built as it is on the slope of a hill, we lay here for a few hours loading wool and skins, and then set sail again and anchored in Simons Bay on the 6th where lay our ship, who soon had her boat alongside fir us and our luggage when we got alongside of our ship, the band was on deck and struck up the tune of “see the conquering heroes come” and we were welcomed aboard once more. 7th- How soundly I slept last night in my own hammock it was delightfully easy, no hard corners in it. 8th- Paid A.S.Money 10th- Went on 5 days leave to Cape Town. 22nd-Paid money today settling all accounts while ashore subscription got up for men who died and was killed belonging to our ship, Danae and Fawn also lying here.
Posts : 2557 Join date : 2009-04-06 Age : 59 Location : UK
Subject: Re: John Carroll Diary Log of H.M.S. Active Sat Oct 17, 2009 10:15 pm
1st- Got up entertainment ashore for the benefit of the widows and children of those lot in H.M.S. Eurydice who went down in a gale with 320 hands off the isle of Wight, active danae and Fawn took part in the entertainment, realising £100,00 to go to the widows and orphans. Hard at practice for regatta. 8th- Ball ashore for officers and friends. 10th- 10.a.m our annual regatta took place. The first race was a sailing match between our cutter and the Fawns, Danes and Floras our cutter winning taking cup and £4.00 the second for £5.00 was also taken by ours, the next race was a pulling match of the gigs of the fleet, Danes gig winning. Pulling race between cutters won by Floras cutter. Stokers race was won by ours, the dingys of the fleet pulled won by our dingy boy. The most amusing race was the copper punts, which are used for cleaning coppers on ship side, they were each manned by 4 men dressed in fantastic costume and armed with shovels to serve as paddles. The race was won by the punt of the Fawn, being the lightest and fastest, while pulling the men sing a sort of song or chant, which is sung by the natives along the coast, 14th- Sail drill. Boat race between our ship, Flora and Danae, our first took the lead keeping it throughout the race coming in easy winners. 17th- Quarters, fired 4 rounds from each gun, practice very good hitting target mile and half away almost every time. 24th- Queens birthday. Dress ship at 8.0.a.m. band played national anthem fired salute of 21 guns at 12 noon. 29th- The mail came in and soon after we got orders to prepare for sea under sealed orders, there is a rumour that we re going to sea on lock out for 64 Russian Privateers said to be fitted out on America to harass our mercantile marine, it is also said there is a Russian troopship cruising about St Helana, and all these ships are ready to plot on our possessions in Africa. May
3rd- Landed at dockyard for funeral of Commander Saltford who was drowned a few days ago, the crews and officers of all ships attended our band was also there. June
24th- Slipped moorings and went out to sea, as we rounded cape point had target practice, and then went on to Table Bay, dropping anchor. On 25th set sail for Saldanha Bay arriving on 26th here we are to have 3 days shooting there being plenty of game ashore, officers and a few of the men went ashore every morning returning in the evening with well filled bag. The skipper himself bought off 39 bucks at the end of 3 days. A woman (Dutch) came aboard to have her child vaccinated by our doctor. 30th set sail again for Table Bay arriving there at 4.0. in the evening. July
1st- Set sail for Simons Bay we went to target practice while out but sea was too rough we only fired 1 round from starboard broadside. Anchored in Simons Bay at 6.0.p.m. next morning put out to sea again to finish our target practice sea had gone down and we made good firing. Took up our mooring at noon out boats and gave leave. 11th- General Chelmsford came aboard, while he was aboard fired several rounds from our starboard broadside, the General was highly pleased with our good shooting and smartness of gun crews in coming in to action. We also had fire drill Quarters in a few seconds having about 2 jets of water shooting over ships side. General wondering at quickness with which it was done. A strong rumour is about that we are going to land again as they expect a war with the Zulu’s. On the 24th manned armed boats for practice. Australian Steamer came in today and we had plenty of visitors from her, chiefly English servant girls going to Australia. August
1st- Slipped mooring and went out to sea en route for Natal having on board General Chelmsford, a stiff breeze blowing. 7th- Anchored at Natal at midnight, General left ship next morning manned yards Marines Forming guard of Honour fired salute of 17 guns. 8th- 2 Barques washed ashore in the open roadstead where we lay. 15th- After dark orders came aboard to sail for East London for troops, and in about an hour was on the way there. 17th Passed East London this morning having lost our reckoning owing to strong currents we had gone 50 miles past it before it was found out. We about ship and came back again dropping anchor at 7.0.p.m. on the next day 18th 100 men of the 1/24th came aboard with their baggage, as soon as they got aboard we got on the way to Natal again. On the 23rd caterers of messes allowed ashore I went and got good wetting crossing bar after crossing which we got into a very fine Harbour, we landed along side a wharf the people eyeing us very much. The first place we saw as is generally the case was a hotel and the first place a bluejacket or marine pops into, we soon had a few bottles of beer on the table it being 2/- a bottle. We then went on to Durban but I have not much to say about it, remained ashore for night next coming aboard with provisions, also bought oranges, bananas, pineapples etc. for the mess. 26th- General came aboard hands piped to get up anchor, their was a heavy swell on at time, when we got a good strain on the capstan when the ship gave a heavy lurch, putting such strain on as to smash capstan bars like so many matches there was a panic for a moment as we jumped clear of the bars but some of them were bent so much, we were just rigging deck tackle to get up anchor when the cable snapped nearly carrying away capstan. Having lost our anchor we sailed for St Johns River, but soon came back owing to sea rising and let go one of our sheet anchors. Next morning we got up anchor with deck tackles after a few hours hard work to find that this anchor was broken which is now useless and we had to let go our port sheet anchor at St Johns River, where Commodore and General went ashore to find good place for landing troops. They soon came back again to ship that night it came on to blow, engines turning all night to take strain of cable anchor watch kept and leadsman in chains to see we did not drift any. 30th- Landed troops this morning the weather having abated and soon after that got ashore saw the British flag hoisted on a hill. 31st-Got up anchor and lay to waiting for General coming down the river but it came on rough and he could not cross bar at mouth of river, we had to lay to all night under steam. September
1st- Morning calm and beautiful and General came aboard and we started for Natal where we arrived next day but did not anchor merely laying to while General landed and then proceeded back to Simons bay, with a head wind now commenced our hardships again, we were almost without coal and will have to stop steaming. Next day we had stopped steaming wind blowing a stiff gale ship rolling and pitching heavily everything double secured, lifelines placed along decks. Heavy seas wash over us. The ship often rolls 3 ratlines (main) below water. For 14 days we were in this gale of wind, beating close up to it under reefed fore and main topsails. We had to wear ship about every 6 hours. On the 10th I slipped as the ship gave a heavy lurch cutting my eye severely. I was taken to doctor, as I was almost knocked insensible. Many others have received injuries by falling. We cannot do anything in the shape of work, about 2.0.a.m. this morning the storm raged fiercer than ever some heavy seas washing over her. On the 11th wind abated a little but sprung up again during night. 14th-Wind went down considerably and on Sunday 15th took up our moorings in Simons Bay. Having been 14 days coming 700 miles, which we have done before in 3 days. The waves rise higher and the storms and hurricanes more violent at the cape than any other part of the world, the wind or gale often blowing for weeks together, a south easter being the most violent. 16th Marine killed by a spar falling from above and fracturing his skull. 26th- Quarters, fired 4 rounds each gun. October
2nd- 48 hours leave to Cape Town. 15th- Went to Naval hospital ashore with hurt, discharged on 31st, ship going to Natal again. November
2nd- Set sail for Natal the weather was splendid and we run it in 3 days 17 hours. We lay to while we communicated with shore. On getting which we let go anchor. Everybody is making preparations of a war with the Zulu’s. 7th- We left Natal for Delagoa Bay arriving there on the 9th next day sending our steam punnace ashore to confer with Portuguese Governor respecting landing of arms in this place for Zulu’s by merchant vessels. Set sail again on the 12th back to Natal arriving there on 14th from 14th to 19th very busy preparing to land for Zulu war. 20th-Next morning we were on the march by 6.0.a.m. marched 5 or 6 miles and halted for breakfast, after which resumed the march, halting for the night at a small river called .This river afforded us a finer bathe, very refreshing after a hot days march. The place abounds in prickly pear trees. 21th-Up at break of the day next morning. Some time being taken up in rearranging baggage on waggons, when we resumed our march. As we advanced, civilised habitations became few and far between, here and there a solitary farmhouse or stores was seen. They got scarcer as we marched along, some fine landscape scenery met our view, this part of the route being very undulating and covered in many places with splendid vegetation, halted for dinner at another river and then marched till sunset, when we arrived at the river ,where we spent some time in finding a suitable place for camping, as the place was full of sugar plantations. However we managed to pitch tents among the sugar canes though in a straggling fashion. Orange and lemon trees, and banana trees were growing in the gardens of the natives. There was a sugar mill in the village for crushing the canes. It rained hard during the night. 22nd-Crossed the river which was wide but shallow, early in the morning, Merely pulling our boots off and tucking trousers up as we crossed. The day was very cool and marching pleasant, with the exception of the roads being a little heavy after the rain we had during the night. The scenery along the road was beautiful and very varying. 7 or 8 miles brought us to a river, here we halted to off boots and pants. I and several others went a little down the river to find a good place to cross. I went on very well till about half way over, when I slipped on a rock and nearly went over head. Luckily I stuck to my rifle with one hand while the other clutched the rock, or I might have been carried a little further down stream as there was a great force of water rushed between the rocks. However I managed to get to the other side, stepping from rock to rock. When I got over, hearing someone shout, I turned to see what was the matter, when I observed them pointing to some objects in the water that on close inspection proved to be crocodiles. This made some of the men rather timid about crossing and some waited for the wagons to cross on which they mounted and so got over dry footed. On reaching the other side we encamped, owing to the oxen being tired out. We took advantage of this to wash are clothes in the river as it was early in the day. Saw a few more crocodiles while doing so. 23rd-On the march again this morning, which after a few hours brought us to a place called Stanger, where we encamped, this being a very short march as it was only 10.0.a.m. when we pitch tents, there is a small river here, a hotel, stores and military barrack. 24th-Did not start this morning till 10.0.a.m. owing to the rain, it had continued raining since we halted yesterday. After a march of some few miles, we arrived at the banks of the river Tugela, our destination for the present. This river is very wide (about 300 yards) and deep in places, and after heavy rain little better than a rushing torrent, it empties itself into the sea about four miles from here. On the top of a hill in a very commanding position and overlooking the river from which it is inaccessible, is a fortification called Fort Pearson, its front and left face is almost perpendicular from the river, of solid rock. A detachment of the 3rd Buffs (about 170) were stationed here, who received us with cheers and when we had pitched our tents, they marched us up to their own canteen and regaling us with a pint of beer each, which we were by no means loath to drink after our march. We relieve them; they have been here three weeks but will now join their depot at Thrings post. 25th-Next morning we busied ourselves placing guns in the fort, storing the ammunition in magazines. We had bathing parades at 5.30.a.m., and again in the evening, this will continue while we are here. DECEMBER
1st-During the past few days we have not done much, we erected a camp oven, but it would not bake properly, and we preferred baking our own bread in camp kettle lids, one company of brigade manning fort. Large numbers of pondos are crossing the river from this side and returning to there own country. No doubt thinking it best to go now before the war breaks out. Their goods are well searched for arms etc., by the authorities, which they are not allowed to take with them. It is laughable to see some of the goods they are taking over to there country, fancy trunks, silk umbrellas of all shape and colors, there is nothing more odd than to see a naked savage triumphantly carrying a fancy sunshade over his head. These are men who immigrated from their own country and came into Natal to be employed by the traders and farmers, and these things were the products of their savings. At divisions, Capt. Larnplell said prayer, read articles of war; warned us about having connection with native women, who according to the laws of their country would suffer death for doing so. 3rd-Yesterday paid money, received 20/- at 6.0.a.m. This morning went down river in a boat with four others, for the purpose of laying a target on one of the sandbanks in the
Posts : 2557 Join date : 2009-04-06 Age : 59 Location : UK
Subject: Re: John Carroll Diary Log of H.M.S. Active Sat Oct 17, 2009 10:16 pm
centre of the river, after fixing the target we went to another small island covered with long grass in which were hundreds of what appeared to be canary nests, made of grass and woven in a wonderfully delicate and intricate manner to the tops of the long reeds, most of the nests contained eggs of a cream color with black spots. In one of the nests we found a beautifully colored frog, being white and marked with black lines like Chinese hieroglyphics intended bringing it to camp as a curiosity, but in reaching the nest down it jumped out and I lost sight of it amid the rushes. Guanos are very plentiful; crocodiles have also been seen on the banks of the river further down. After securing one of the nests we got to the boat again and pulled down stream, as we made the boat fast the bugle sounded for breakfast, which was welcome our pull up the river having given us an appetite. 4th-A large snake, eight feet long was caught this morning by several marines while bathing. He essayed to attack them twice but from the loose nature of the sand was unable to make a spring at them, our fellows had provided themselves with sticks before the snake could escape into the water, and beat it to death. It was brought to camp and given to Doctor Thompson who is making a collection, who pronounced it a Cobra di capello. A troop of twenty mounted volunteers encamped here this evening. The weather is insufferably hot. 10th-This is the day fixed for the reading of Sir Bartle Freres Ultimatum to the deputies of the King, but though everyone was waiting they did not arrive here today. A bodyguard of 20 Marines and 20 Bluejackets were held in readiness all day, receiving 10 rounds of ammunition extra. 11th-Early this morning the chiefs of the Zulus were observed coming down towards the river. I should say there was about 150 of them, boats were engaged to bring them across, about noon all the chiefs had arrived at this side of the river, and the high commissioners took their places under a large tree close to the river. Over the tree was spread a wagon cover as an awning, and underneath it were a table and a few chairs. The king’s deputies squatted down on the ground in front of the table, the bodyguard of marines and bluejackets being formed outside them. Then the proceedings commenced by one of the commissioners reading to them Sir Bartles award. The boundary lines were first spoken of the land this side of the buffalo and blood rivers was to belong to the British government, and other matters concerning the transvaal was spoken of, but to uninteresting to write of fully, suffice it is to say that the king was to disband his army, and send them to their homes and that soldiers were to be allowed to marry when they liked. That no acts of violence or aggression among his own people was to be committed by him, and that the king be fined 600 head of cattle, for detaining British subjects and acts of violence to others he was not to take the lives of any of his subjects, before being tried in his presence by a recorder. Who are for the future to be stationed in Zululand.At present he puts his people to death for adultery, stealing cattle, which-craft and many other offences. The ultimatum was interpreted to the kings deputies by Major Fynney the border agent it was after 4.0.p.m. before the proceedings terminated. Some of the chiefs shaking there heads and expressing their opinion that the king would never submit to the terms of the government An enterprising photographer named Loydd from Natal, photographed the proceedings under the tree, which no doubt will prove interesting, and on the following day took photo of brigade formed in the line four deep, two front ranks kneeling the other two standing and at the ready position, the marines being in centre of the brigade a gun on each flank. 24th (Christmas Eve)-Up to this date nothing of any consequence has occurred. I received a letter from mother on the 17th who writes me that all is well. We frequently march out of a morning for exercise and we have been practising during the past few days for sports, which our captain is about to get up on Boxing Day, including, tugs of war, running. Jumping, hurdle races, three legged races, throwing a weight, etc. this is Christmas Eve and I am busy stoning raisins, pickling current, etc. We obtained the materials from stanger about 18 miles off, my tent mates stopping up in watches till 3.0.a.m. on Christmas morning boiling it. There is every prospect of enjoying a merry Christmas. 25th (Christmas day)-Christmas day dawned upon us with every appearance of being a fine day, and it proved to be so, the sun pouring its burning rays on us pitilessly. We attended divine service after which the tents were inspected. Most of them being gaily decorated with branches of trees in blossom and with fruit. In my tent I had molloes cut out of paper and branches of trees forming an arch over the tent door, inside the tent we decorated with eatables, arranging them in such a manner with flowers and fruit as to look very nice. We had roast and corned meat for dinner, the meat we corned ourselves, plenty of plum pudding, which is indispensable to a Christmas dinner, and plenty of English ale procured from Natal by the canteen at 1/6 a quart. Capt. Campbell having advanced us 5/0 per man in the morning so that we could get sufficient for our wants. I was cook on this day and remained in the tent to arrange it for the officers inspection, to whom I wished a merry Christmas at the same time inviting them to have a piece of pudding, which they praised very highly considering it was made in the field. Christmas passed very jolly indeed far different from the last Christmas I had on shore during the Kafir war. 26th (Boxing Day)-Sport commenced at 2.0.p.m. the first race; a hurdle race was won by thos. Smith R.M who also won the 100-yard flat race. The three legged race was taken by Thos Smith and J.H.Cook R.M, half mile by Seanlon R.M, long jump and throwing the weight by P.Nagle G.M, tug of war by the marines pulled by companies of 10 in a team, consolation race by J.Smith, the sack race was very amusing as well as the chase after a pig which was caught by L.Warren. Everything passed of very well and a very enjoyable day was spent. The canteen being well patronised during the evening. 28th-Gear coming up every day for pontoon bridge, which we are busily engaged in preparing for the troops to cross-river Commodore and Sub Lieut. Heugh arrived here from Durban. 29th-Sunday, Inspection by General Lord Thesiger who spoke a few words to us " on the pleasure he felt to have us under his command once more, and that he wished to impress on our minds that when we crossed the river into the enemies country, we should always be on the alert when on outpost and that although the enemy might not attack us for the first, second or even the third week, we should not abate any of our watchfulness or become careless. For come they assuredly would sooner or later and that we should not be afraid if sometimes opposed to 10 or even 15 times our number for we should remember that they knew nothing of discipline and he was sure we should not fail to leave are mark behind us." The Commodore also spoke a few words " on the confidence he placed in us that we would not be behind in upholding the name the navy has always borne." At the close three cheers were given by the men for the General and Commodore. JANUARY
12th-This is the eventful day everything important seems to be done on a Sunday in the service. This is one of the Actives rope yarn Sundays.Today the troops cross the river, in the camp of the naval brigade the bugler sounded the rouse out at 3.30 long before it was daylight, the bluejackets and marines who have had all the hard work in placing the pontoons across the rapidly flowing river before the arrival of the troops have now got the hard but thankless duty of pulling the troops across working in two watches from 4.30.a.m to 8.30.p.m getting over during the day nearly 1000 men with their baggage and over a hundred horses. I was stuck at the baggage for a few 1000 men, such as provisions, clothing, blankets, picks, shovels, ammunition, etc. With this column alone it will take wagons enough to reach five miles long. Our brigade struck tents in the afternoon to cross, but owing to some misunderstanding did not cross till next day, after working hard all day I had to go on guard during the night getting but two hours sleep. 13th-our men were down at drift again at 4.30.a.m. working pont, struck tents at 8.30.a.m. crossed the river in boats pulling ourselves over. Pitched tents in Zululand, and then went to work at the pont again, which no one but the brigade can work and for which the General gives us great praise. Being now in the enemy’s country the greatest precautions are taken against surprise. Mounted troops doing outpost duty during the day and companies of soldiers during the night. 17th-Being now on the eve of a great campaign it may be well to know a little about the people to whom we are opposed, and I will copy a little from a small pamphlet published by the directions of Lieut. General Lord Chelmsford and compiled from information obtained from the most reliable sources. "There are 33 regiments in the Zulu army of which 18 are formed of men with rings on there heads being married men, called kushlas, and 15 of the unmarried men. Seven of the former are composed of men over 60 years old, and their numbers are not calculated, so that practically speaking there are not more than 26 regiments able to take the field, with a total of about 40,000 men. Of these 22,500 are between 20 and 30 years of age 10,000 between 30 and 40, 3400 between 40 and 50 and 4500 between 50 and 60, from which it would seem that the mortality in Zululand is very rapid, the following are the names;
The Zulu nation is a Kingdom well ruled as to native laws, order and discipline though it be a government by brute force and bloodshed a country of as considerable extent as England and Scotland. Communication is rapidly carried almost as telegraphy. We have an army to confront, stronger courageous and better drilled perhaps than any other savage nation in the world. An army formed originally by the uncle of the present King,who disguised himself and went into the old cape colony to see and learn our mode of drill, discipline and warfare,an army over 40,000 men and composed of finer men than many an English guardsman. Splendidly made and seldom much under six feet and armed with good rifles and guns in addition to the national weapon the assegai. They are a supple rapidly moving foe, active as panthers and well skilled in the art of bush fighting and concealment. 18th-Camp awoke at 3.30 had some hot coffee struck tents and were formed up ready to march at 5.0.a.m. There was some delay in arranging the order of March and in placing the wagons, the column be formed into two divisions the second division remaining behind while the following day. Lieut. Heugh with two-gun crew of navel brigade remaining behind in the rear of 2nd division. A and B company o f the brigade in front with rockets, Marines in rear with Gatling. In marching there was an interval of 4 or 5 miles between front and rear guard. The interval being filled with wagons and troops we halted for breakfast after a march of 6 miles and camped for the night at Inyoni River. 19th-Camped at the Umsimduse river and was joined by the second division. 20th-Spent the whole day preparing for the passage of the Amalakulu, the engineers and some companies of the buffs going forward for that purpose. The roads are very circuitous, the wagons taking the easiest gradient over the hills,no bush,grass in some places 6 feet high. Patrols out all day, every precaution taken at night to prevent surprise.
Posts : 2557 Join date : 2009-04-06 Age : 59 Location : UK
Subject: Re: John Carroll Diary Log of H.M.S. Active Sat Oct 17, 2009 10:16 pm
21st-On the march the whole column at 5.0.a.m. with about 150 wagons altogether. The whole day was heavily occupied in passage of Amalakulu River,no kaffirs seen yet except one old woman. It was nearly 2.0.p.m. when I breakfasted. Passed a great many Indian corn fields. Burning the enemy huts down as we advanced. An expedition composed of half-naval brigade two companies buffs and other troops, burned a large military kraal down about 4 o r5 miles from camp. 22nd-on the march at 5.0.a.m. passing along about 4 or 5 miles of a flat plane, coming upon the high land on which Eshowe is situated. When the head of the column had reached where the high lands commence, the wagons were parking and there was to be a halt for breakfast, when large numbers of Zulu’s were seen along the ridges in front of us, who had evidently been concealed in the bushes around us. The Zulu’s at once opened a heavy fire on the men who had shown themselves first in the open- who had 1 officer and four non-commissioned officers and 3 men killed as soon as the firing commenced,of the native contingent. The two guns of the artillery at once took up a position on a knoll close by, supported by the two rocket tubes of the N.B and A and B companies of the naval brigade and two companies of buffs, who opened fire on the enemy checking their advance. This knoll was the headquarters of the column during the engagement, the enemy had opened fire on our troops from a military kraal as well as from the bushes in front. The first rocket that was fired was directed at the kraal an d went right through it setting it on fire and expelling the enemy, though they still held there positions on the ridge. Capt. Campbell at length determined to storm the position and advanced along the ridge with the Actives men, under a heavy fire from front and both flacks, but gradually drove the enemy back step by step for some distance, finally storming the position upon receiving support from a company of the buffs. Thomas Warding O.S of the active being the first man in the enemy position, closely followed by the remainder of A Company under Lieut. Hamilton, it was not done without loss 4 men of the active having been badly wounded, another getting a bullet through his helmet stunning him for a moment-sub lieut. Fraser getting a bullet in a fold of his coat. The marines that were rear guard in charge of Gatling when the action commenced opened out in skirmishing order when the firing commenced getting among some thick reeds and bushes heavily fatiguing. Seeing there was no danger of an attack in rear and leaving two companies of buffs and engineers to protect the rear we went forward with gatling in a short time getting on the same knoll on which the artillery and rockets were placed, but the gatling took a little higher position on a ridge and opened fire on a clump of bush from which a heavy fire was directed upon us. The Gatling soon cleansed the bush by a well-directed fire. The marines then joined the remainder of the brigade who were flanking the enemy on the ridges, we were exposed to a heavy fire from our front and a high ridge on our right, for about half an hour, but succeeded in getting on the ridge on our right, flanking the enemy and driving them completely off. The artillery and rockets played great havoc with the enemy in the bush, finally expelling them. The action commenced about 8.0.a.m. lasting about 3 hours the enemy being completely defeated flying in all directions from us. The troops were heavily exhausted the day being suffocating hot. Both Col.Person and Col.Parnell had there horses shot under them, the number of killed was eight and 20 wounded, one of whom died soon afterwards, there was only about 1200 of our men took part in the engagement, the 2nd division being some distance behind the first division of the column. the number of enemy who attacked us, was between 5000 and 6000 said to be most chosen warriors of the Zulu army and their loss was over 300 killed. The number of wounded not known as they generally carry of their comrades. The Zulu’s who attacked us in their favourite formation- the form of a bullocks horns had a splendid position on the hills around us, which I believe is a favourite fighting ground of theirs, and it would have fared hard with us if they were only as skilled as we are in the use of arms. During the fight I over heard one officer remark "That he never saw British troops in such a predicament before" however the superior discipline and skill of British troops soon put them to flight, though they fought very bravely. There is no doubt but they are the most courageous and strongest tribe of natives in all Africa. The enemy succeeded in carrying off the six rifles of the Europeans of the N.C who were killed. After the engagement was over the troops assembled again and resumed the march, the men who were killed being buried by the N.C under the shade of a large tree. a simple inscription was afterwards placed over the spot they were buried in. The route now lay up the steep sides of the heights of Eshowe. The exhausted men dragging themselves wearily along the rising ground, thoroughly exhausted with the heat and fatigue of the day we crawled along as best we could for a distance of five miles,where we bivouacked on the ridge of a steep hill for the night. it was 6.0.p.m. before we tasted food, nothing passing my lips since 5.0.p.m. last night, everyone being on patrol or guard during the night, but it passed without alarm. During the day we all felt the want of water much, the day was so very hot, I had been very careful of mine on the march only wetting my parched lips from time to time and I was able to relieve the sufferings of several wounded men whose heartrending cries for water was more than I could resist and I gave them all the water I had. 23rd-Soon after daybreak the next morning, resumed the march, burning and destroying the kraal of the enemy as we went. Arriving at Eshowe about 2.0.p.m. where I believe we are to remain for a few days as we are going to establish a depot at this place, Eshowe stands on very high land, thought the place that we pitched tents is lower than the parts surrounding it. In the centre o f camp stands a neat little chapel belonging to the Norwegian missionaries and several little cottages at short distances away, which suprises me very much as I had no idea of seeing these marks of civilisation so far advanced in this wild country. However the church is to be so far desecrated as to be made into a hospital, and the cottages near it to be converted into stores for provisions, A fortification to be built around it. the same evening we were busily engaged in cutting the bush down in front of the camp, so as to afford no cover for the enemy. 24th-Site for fort marked out and we are busily engaged cutting down bushes and trees. orange groves,banana. coffee and other fruit trees soon fell under the ruthless blows of our felling axes, this was necessary as the cover of the bushes would afford cover for the enemy in case of attack, work eight hours a day under scorching sun. 25th-Two companies of buffs and two of native contingent with a few horsemen sent down to escort provisions up. Cutting wood and bush down. reports are going round camp tonight that the General has been defeated with great loss. 1lb of flour served out daily ,which we bake ourselves. 28thduring last day or two, very busy with fort, digging a deep trench around it 10 feet wide 8 feet deep. About 11.0.a.m. we were startled by news that the enemy were coming to attack us in large numbers, tenets were immediately struck and all our troops removed inside fort and every one was employed during the afternoon in making the fortifications more secure, officers as well as men handling the pick and shovel. Everyone was aware that his own safety depended on such a corse being taken against greatly superior odds. Everything in the shape of a bag was taken and filled with clay to form bastions for our guns. and to make stockades. Wagons, baggage, ammunition, etc. had to be stored in the fort, the greatest difficulty was what to do with the cattle and it was at length determined to put them in the trench outside. the parapet of the fort was further strengthened by placing biscuit boxes, bags, and blankets on the top. It was after dark when we had finished. At night the men were stationed all around the parapet, sleeping fully armed and with rifles in hand, what I can see of it now, tents will be abolished for the remainder of the campaign, being used at present for stockades to prevent any crossfire from the enemy. An alarm was raised during the night and several shots fired as usual - since we crossed the river we have been fully accounted, working or sleeping,we dare not go 100 yards from camp without our rifles. All available vessels in fort kept filled with water in case of attack. 29th-Still very busy with fort, I believe we are in a very hard situation, all the other columns have retreated to the borders, and the enemy can if they like cut all communication off from us with the colony. Happily we have received a large convoy of provisions in yesterday, all the horsemen and natives have been sent back to enable us to hold out longer, as to provisions we have plenty of ammunition, at noon large bodies of Zulu’s were seen on our left, on the move. 30th-progressing very well with fort, weather boiling hot, after breakfast went out of fort for a general clear up of rubbish, taking such of our traps as we required for cooking purposes, and got some bushes and leaves together to protect us from the heat of the sun. When just as we were getting dinner, the alarm bell rang, which is a signal for everyone to get inside the fort and fly to there post of defence, all was confusion for about five or ten minutes as we had a great part of our cooking gear, the days rations, outside and most of us had been washing, hanging our clothes up to dry. At the first alarm everyone sprang to his rifle, always close by him, but seeing no immediate danger we got are traps in fort as hurriedly as possible, knocking the bushes we had put up to protect us from the sun down as we did so ,as they would afford cover for the enemy. We waited patiently for an attack all afternoon but the enemy did not come, large bodies of them had been seen a few miles away, but they did not come near us, probably going to Inyezane the scene of action of 22nd to cut of convoys for us and prevent all communication from Tugela. several companies who had gone down from here of the buffs and 99th prevented from coming up again. They had gone down with wagons for more provisions. 31st-Last night another alarm and a few shots fired. FEBUARY
1st-During the past week had some exceptionally hot weather, but it came on to rain, every one feeling very miserable having no tents or shelter, but had to remain on their post on the parapet getting a thorough good drenching. Some sighting occurred between our vedettes and the Zulu’s. Several of the enemy killed. A native runner sent down to Tugela for news etc., put on 2/3 rations this day. 2nd-Sunday was miserable. Nothing but rain and fog, extra sentries put on, a private of the 3rd buffs received 50 lashes for quitting his post. This morning a runner came in from Tugela, the news he brought confirming the reports we had heard of the terrible disaster of our troops at Isandhlwana, it being read to the men at divine service this morning, it appears that the headquarters column in charge of the general himself was encamped at Isandhlwana about 12 miles from Rorkes drift, on the 22nd of January. The general taking the main body of the column 12 miles further on for the purpose of reconnoitring, leaving the camp in charge of 5 or 6 companies of the 24th Regt. a few artillery with two guns, a few other troops of different corps and some natives. About 11.a.m. on the fatal day the camp was attacked by about 20,000 Zulu’s and by some means cut of the troops from the wagons which it appears they left, going out to meet the Zulu’s. However they were all cut up after about 4 hours hard fighting, when they got short of ammunition. The Zulu’s came down upon them in overwhelming numbers, a few of those who had horses escaped, cutting there way through the enemy and crossing the river at Rorkes drift, leaving the enemy in possession of the camp. The loss on are side is not yet known but it is estimated at 6 or 7 hundred men and 230 officers together with the colors of the 24th Regt., beside the loss of the camp which the enemy destroyed, carrying off two guns 1000 rifles or over, 250,000 rounds of ammunition and 60,1000lbs of stores, over 1000 oxen and destroying the wagons, tents etc. also carrying off œ5,000 in money. Such is the statement of the terrible loss we have suffered. On the return of the general to the camp an awful sight met his eyes the camp destroyed, the dead bodies of our troops mingled with those of the enemy laying about in all directions, he bivouacked there for the night retiring to the borders next day long before it was daylight so that the other part of the column should not see the fearful condition of the camp. He has been greatly blamed as it is said he neglected the ordinary precautions to be not fortifying the camp before leaving it on the 22nd. The Zulu loss is estimated at 5000 showing that the gallant 24th fought bravely to the last, one of the Actives men named Ainsly, a servant of lieut. Milne who is aide de camp to the general has been killed, six Zulu’s lying around his body with the marks of cutlass wounds. The Zulu’s after attacking the camp at Isandhlwana, retired with their booty sending about 3000 men to attack Rorkes drift at which place a hospital and commissariat stores was placed, with a company of men numbering 80 and 100 were stationed under Major Sporlding left there for protection. These men had timely warning of the coming of enemy, and a temporary barricade of mealysacks, biscuit boxes etc. was made for defence. The Zulu’s came in overwhelming numbers but the little garrison held out during all that day and night, and finally the Zulu’s retired, with the loss of nearly 1000 men, while the losses on our side was only about 12 men killed,5 of whom was sick in the hospital and there had been no time to remove them inside the barricade, before the Zulu’s came upon them, they were killed by them and the hospital set on fire, which afterwards proved of good service to the garrison, as it enabled them to take aim at the enemy during the darkness of the night, the hospital being close to the barricade, such is the tale of a terrible disaster, and a gallant defence. Amongst our own men there is no feeling but that of revenge against the Zulu’s, for the loss of the gallant 24th and if only we had the power the enemy would feel us too, but are own position is disheartening enough, here we are only 1200 strong 37 miles in the enemies country. We could fight are way back but it is determined to hold this position while reinforcements arrive from England, the general I believe having sent for more troops, and does not intend to advance while they arrive. Our only fear is the water not holding out. We have provisions for nearly 3 months, we are still very busy strengthening fort. 5th-some firing heard last night supposed to be some fighting on the border with our troops and enemy. Still working vigorously at fort. 9th-Sunday nothing of importance has occurred to change are position, no news as yet what other troops are doing. Zulu’s seen lurking about fort a few of them shot, lookouts brought in news that some 1,000 of the enemy were seen a couple of miles away. All available vessels filled with water. Rations, half meal, half biscuits, another alarm during the night.
Posts : 2557 Join date : 2009-04-06 Age : 59 Location : UK
Subject: Re: John Carroll Diary Log of H.M.S. Active Sat Oct 17, 2009 10:17 pm
10th-This morning on our vedettes going on their post on a hill 2000 yards from the camp, they were fired upon by a large number of Zulu’s, and kept up a desultory fire on them for about two hours. 11th-two native runners arrived here safely this morning, from Tugela. The news they brought was very cheering. Several regiments having left England for natal, also that a large convoy was preparing for to relieve us, but this was wrong as it appears that the general has sent a message to Col.Person by the same runners, that he could not advance for six weeks yet, if then. I believe a meeting of officers took place today, and it was proposed to send Naval brigade, half engineers and 3 companies of 99th back to Tugela reaching there next morning going by a short cut which is being made to Tugela. In the event of anyone being wounded, should they have to fight, he was to be killed, so that the enemy should not torture him, as we were to take no wagons or carts with us. But several officers opposed this and it was determined to hold out as long as possible here, while the water and provisions last at any rate. We have about 350 rounds of ammunition per man. No more tents are to be pitched while on this campaign. This morning firing pretty brisk on our vedettes, the Zulu’s do not seem to care about attacking fort, another death in are brigade today, Charles Moore S.M. who had been suffering from dysentery for some time. Buried a few hours later in front of fort, many of are men suffering from same decease. The runners who came up this morning say that the road from Tugela is lined with the enemy, who are waiting for convoys whom they expect are coming to relieve us. 15th- Two more men died of the 3rd Buffs no news, enemy making towards heights of Eshowe to intercept convoys no doubt. We have entanglements placed around the fort the trenches having placed in them so that a few men can soon clear them. Zulu’s again in small bodies around fort, and some shots exchanged, all conspicuous objects around fort measured to ensure good firing. 24th--Since the 15th no news. On the 19th a lecture on Zululand given by Mr Robertson who has been 18 years a missionary here, was very entertaining, and in part relieved the dull monotony of our existence here. On the 21st three more men died. On 22nd strong patrols out in consequence of natives being fired upon while gathering mealies several Zulu’s killed and wounded. A terrific thunderstorm burst on us in the evening, and it continued raining very heavily till Monday morning the 24th. We were all washed out from underneath the wagons, under which we now slept, and spent the greater part of one night standing up holding a wagon cover over our heads. On the 24th patrols out burnt some huts down, no news, a few little skirmishes with Zulu’s, which keeps us alive, weather still raining. MARCH
1st-An expedition consisting of Marines, Buffs and a few mounted men in all about 700 strong, with one gun, and one rocket trough, started this morning at just before 2.0.a.m. to burn down and destroy a large military kraal 8 miles away. This kraal some years ago was the residence of Cetywayo. We marched silently off and got there just as day was breaking, when we halted, throwing our men out in skirmishing order, the Marines who were in charge of the gun, got the order to advance the native contingent being in front scouting. Just before we got in sight of the kraal, we were seen by a single Zulu, whom we observed coming from a hut on our left, he ran off and very soon we heard the warcry of the Zulu’s resounding through the valley. We ascended a small rise when we came in full view of the kraal about a 1000 yards in are front and we saw the already alarmed Zulu’s flying in all directions to the surrounding hills and bush, we sent a shell right into the kraal to make sure there was no one still lurking there, then sent the native contingent to set it on fire. The enclosure of the kraal contained about 70 huts and was very large. We then advanced with the gun in front of the kraal, and did considerable damage to the Zulu’s with the 7lb'er, killing and wounding many. The horsemen then advanced into the valley to ascertain the number of killed, but on reaching the foot of a high hill, a heavy fire was opened on them from the heights above, where the Zulu’s had made a stand, and they were obliged to retire, we still peppered them with our 7lb'er being out of range of our rifles, and knocked some of them over at every shot. Large bodies of the enemy were now seen all around us being no doubt attracted by the noise of the firing, we now began to retire, having accomplished our objective in destroying the military kraal, the enemy following us, and keeping up a desultory fire as we did so. Whenever they came to close we either gave them shrapnel or a volley from our rifles. We( the marines) went on the top of a knoll on the right of the main body, for the purpose of covering the retreat of the main body, and preventing the Zulu’s from getting on this knoll where they could have fired on the troops passing below. We ascended the knoll in skirmishing order and reached the top, when we were greeted by a volley from the enemy in a bush not 300 distant, the bullets whistled very close to our heads, happily without hitting any of us. We did not return the fire as they were hid away in the bush and it would only be wasting ammunition to do so, as soon as the main body got together in open we joined them, retiring slowly for several miles across country, the enemy following us by step, and keeping up a running fire on us till within a couple of miles from the fort, when they retired, we kept clear of all bush, giving the enemy a volley every now and again, when they came within range, killing many of them. We had not a single casualty amongst us, an ambulance wagon came to meet us from the fort, but it was not needed, we reached the fort about 10.a.m. having been out 8 or 9 hours. 2nd-Sunday. A divine service no work done today. Flashes of light probably from the heliograph, was observed in the direction of the Tugela this afternoon. This has raised great hopes that by this means , a system of communication will be open to us, as soon as the arrangements are completed to make it useful. Two rockets were sent up in the evening, but no notice taken, or they were not seen at Tugela, these were sent up to let them know that the flashes were seen. The next day the 3rd the flashes were again seen, and we made them out to be -1000 men on the way to relieve, with natives.- On the 4th more signals , large bodies of Zulu’s seen, skirmishing with the enemy. Signals to day -1000 men with natives under Col.Call, no convoy, we are to meet them on the 13th- also that if we hoist a flag on the spire of church they will be able to see it. We are making a heliograph so that we can communicate with them. Several companies out, cover for working party at road to Inyezane. 7th-Large numbers of the enemy seen yesterday making there way towards Inyezane, about 15 shots were heard on no.4 post, on looking in that direction observed two mounted vedettes galloping in, one of them being wounded in four places, the horse being hit also. He had been hit in the thigh, wrist and back and two of his fingers shot off. He galloped in bravely though suffering severely.- He was afterwards made sergeant for gallantry-. No signals. 9th-Yesterday a gale of wind and rain, hardly able to cook our food, lasted till noon to day. 10th-Morning broke fine and warm, work commenced vigorously again. A strong party out cutting road, soon after heavy firing was heard in their direction, glasses were soon directed all around and it was soon observed that the enemy were encircling the working party in 40's and 50's gradually. The retreat was immediately sounded, the enemy keeping up a heavy fire upon them as they retreated. We brought one of our guns from fort, and fired several shrapnel at them, doing considerable damage to them, and I observed them several times looking round wondering where the bullets came from, which they could not understand, the shrapnel bursting fifty yards from them and the bullets flying about their ears, it is no wonder they were startled, for to see a volley sent in their very midst and not knowing where it came from was enough to startle the bravest of them. They very soon retired again with a loss of many men. In the afternoon a strong party of about 700 men, went out and scoured the adjoining hills and valleys but without meeting any opposition, burning several kraals while they were out. Signals today same as before, meet Thursday with 1000 men. Tried to signal back at night, by building a large fire, and putting a bottle of paraffin on it, but if was a failure. I was main guard to day. 11th-Breakfast at 6.30.a.m. A strong party of 7 or 8 hundred men going out as covering party for road, returned in the afternoon with one officer of the Buffs wounded. Signals from Tugela, we made out the following had arrived from England here- 91st,57th,21st,77th,8th,94th Regt. and 17th lancers with 1st dragoons. 12th-went 600 strong road making this morning saw about 3000 of the enemy making their way towards coast. When we returned got orders to be ready to on the march at an hours notice, we are to take 3 days provisions, 100 rounds ammunition, big coats on back, gatling gun with only the drum full, several mule wagons and ambulance wagon going with us, the Buffs and a few others to remain behind to man fort, we were to go and meet our relief, go back to Tugela and return with convoy of provisions. 13th-On this date we were busy loading and packing the wagons with the baggage we are going to leave behind us, while we return, again paraded in marching order at 9.a.m. About 11.a.m. the weather which had been dull cleared up, the sun shinning bright and warm. Soon after they commenced signalling from Tugela and the news that we received altered our plans for the present, the signals was that all arrangements for our relief postponed until first of April when those regiments just come out from England would come up to our relief 4,000 strong. I believe the reason for this was that Col.Person had signalled to them that about twenty or thirty thousand of the enemy waiting for them at Inyezina. We have succeeded in making a heliograph so that we can now let them know how we are situated. Having had very buoyant hopes of soon being relieved for the past week or so , this news of a further delay rather damped or spirits. Our situation is very miserable, not enough to eat, the ounces of biscuits we get daily being maggoty and mouldy( 4 ounces). We make porridge of no vegetables we have been exposed to all weathers for the past seven or eight weeks, having had no tents pitched during that time, sleeping under wagons at night, with a wagon cover to protect us from the rain. Often having to sit up all night holding it when raining hard sometimes being completely washed out. We wear our accoutrements with seventy rounds of ammunition in them, night and day, being severely punished if anyone is found with them off at night. The health of the troops is very bad, nearly half are sick, the number of little mounds, fenced around with the staves of barrels, and bearing a rude wooden cross at the head on which is cut a simple inscription are becoming more numerous every day in front of the fort. The horses and cattle are dying every day in large numbers. Tobacco is very scarce amongst us it is eagerly bought at 3/- or 4/- a stick or ounce, an old dirty clay pipe I have seen bring 2/6- six biscuits I saw bought by a soldier for 18/6. On some wagons being overhauled the other day some gear of the mounted volunteer was found in them, greatly in excess of the baggage they were allowed to carry on the wagons, am officer being allowed only 40lbs baggage. These men who were sent down to Tugela as escort soon after we came here and who were not able to come back again, communication having then been cut off between here and Tugela by large bodies of the enemy. They had among there baggage, bags of sugar, hams, case of jam, pickles, milk and numerous other articles which of course if it had been known they would not have been allowed to bring, as the wagons was only to be filled with the articles they wanted in the shape of cooking utensils, big coats, blankets, tent etc. However the commander ordered these articles to be put up for public auction, among the troops, the proceeds to go to some fund for the benefit of the friends of those killed in action. Some of those articles brought enormous prices: 1 box of sardines 27/- worth about sixpence at home, bottle of currie 27/-, small tin preserved herrings 13/-, 1 pot jam 24/-, tin of milk 22/-, a ham about 12lbs weight œ6.50, bottle of pickles 26/-, bottle of ketchup 20/-, a packet of matches 5/-, 6 cigars 9/- 10 ozs tobacco 24/-, two common wooden pipes 25/-, a small bottle of ink 10/- and many other articles being eagerly bought at these fancy prices. Signals today 4000 coming to our relief on April first, 15 transports on their way out from England with 8000 troops of all arms, several regiments already landed 60th Rifles to relieve us, we are to retire back to Tugela with all wagons and baggage to regain health. 14th-Strong covering party out at road. having now perfected the heliograph, we are able to let them know how we are getting on. Signalled to them today" to hurry up as quick as possible, half the men are sick in the camp, provisions getting very short". Mealy meal stopped today we are now mainly employed in cattle guards, making a short cut to Inyezina, saves five or six miles and avoids a large bush. Cutting turf to make stockades to release wagons and further strengthening fort generally. Mealies are largely bought off the native contingent, who go out and gather them, by the troops who roast them or boil them. Signals today 13th-Commodore Sullivan to the active made admiral. H.M.S S.Shah has landed 300 men who are at Tugela. Thousands of the enemy seen today in the direction of Inyszina. 16th-Sunday divine service and a collection was taken for the families of those killed at Inyezina. 17th-Signals today were. -Commodore Sullivan has turned the command over to Commodore Richards, the Bodicea being at natal, Active gone to Simons bay. 60th Rifles have left Durban. I am sorry to say two more deaths have occurred in our brigade today Midshipman Coker, and Stagg both dying of fever, also two of the 99th one of whom was killed this morning while on vedette duty, the Zulu’s crawling up to him in the grass and assegaid him dragging his body for some distance, until pursued by a few mounted men who recovered the body fearfully mangled, having 18 assegai wounds about his, the enemy succeeded in escaping taking his rifle and ammunition with them. 1 oz of tobacco I saw sold for 18/6 today, a few days ago an ounce was selling at 10/6. I am happy to say that I have enough to last me while relief comes, as I brought several pounds with me and have been very careful with its use. Terrific thunderstorm in the evening lasting the night and following day. On the 19th two runners came in from Tugela, they brought a couple of bottles of medicine as we had signalled that the doctors had none left to give the sick. They brought some dispatches and a note from Admiral Sullivan, who wished us all goodbye and good luck, hoping to meet us again. The dispatch ran thus -From Col.Hall to Col.Pearson 18th March. Your message received: the
Posts : 2557 Join date : 2009-04-06 Age : 59 Location : UK
Subject: Re: John Carroll Diary Log of H.M.S. Active Sat Oct 17, 2009 10:17 pm
force which moves to your relief consists of the 57th, 3rdBat. 60th Rifles the remainder of the Buffs and the 99th, 360 naval brigade, 2 battalions native contingent, 2 guns, 2 rockets, 30 days supplies for Eshowe will be taken. Garrison to be relieved by 3rd/60 Rifles and a few mounted men. You no doubt will advance again on resuming operations after bring relieved. Later in the day the following was posted up on a board for the general information of the men. - Rising of Basutos Quashed, 35 marines from Bodicea coming with 91st Regt to Tugela tomorrow. Great excitement in England about Isandhlwana, the scene of the massacre of the 24th- Disraeli, although suffering from gout, was observed to run from downing street to horse guards- Sir Stafford Northcote was beset by a mob, anxious for intelligence, Afghan was not though of, all attention centred here, several naval officers coming out as beach masters Generals Newdigate, Crealock and Marshall coming out to command forces in south Africa. 22nd-Signals yesterday- Wise Howser broke at Tugela. A battery R.N. arrived at Simons bay. Raining very heavily during the night and morning. Sale of Staggs effects consisting of a few articles of clothing and 6 ounces of tobacco which brought the unheard of price of œ5.10/0. it was sold in separate lots or ounces, the first ounce or stick brought 18/-, the second 18/6, third 19/-, fourth 20/-, fifth 22/6, sixth 21/-. Chas.May had two at 38/- W.Smith two at 42/-, the sale, with clothing, realised œ9.8.6 it will go to his friends. 23rd-Sunday service at 6.45.a.m. Signals from tugela-Lieut Dowding to be made musketry instructor at home, Vice Montgomery promoted. Working parties and cattle guards as usual getting wagons out of fort ready for going down as soon as relieved. two Zulu’s brought in today bearing a white flag. Blindfolded they while going into the fort- it appears they are messengers from King, to tell us that he did nit want to fight and that we should leave the country peaceably. A very likely story to get us out of fort when no doubt they would pounce upon us- the messengers will be detained until the arrival of General. Some firing on cattle guards today. 26th-Signals from Tugela, Convoy probably start on 28th-will we meet convoy at Inyezane, with all men we can spare. -will we are ready to leave on 4th- had we enough oxen to take all wagons, down half span. -they will fire two guns as signals when they arrive at Inyezane. We answered them, that men could not be relied on to meet them , nearly all sick. Not enough oxen to bring all wagons back. Tea leaves being smoked in the camp in lieu of tabacco, many devices have been made by the men to grind mealies one of which is a piece of tin, in which holes are pierced by the point of the bayonet, making a grater on which they grate mealies and make it into porridge to appease the craving of hunger. 29th-Another thunderstorm yesterday rained all night. Two more runners in, they brought some more medicine, a few private messages and several newspapers. Signals- Commander Campbell made acting Captain of Active. The Commander coming up with naval brigade consisting of 390Shah, 190Bodicea, 60Tenedos. 30th-The joyful sight of are relief bring on the way has imparted new life to us, they were seen at dusk last night pitching camp forming up wagons, and can see them on the way this morning with the glasses. Everyone is in eager anticipation of what they will bring how many letters from home. Wether any tabacco will br brought us, or not and so forth. In the evening a newspaper brought up by the runners yesterday was read to the men by the paymaster of the Buffs rather a novelty to us. At precisely 5.0.p.m. everyone not on duty congregated together, the reader mounting a wagon and commenced. He read some paragraphs on the war giving the details of the massacre of the 24th which we had already known but it appears that their loss is greater than was first supposed the number killed being near 900 men, beside natives altogether amounting to about 1500, the following are the numbers- First and second 24th 22 officers 575 men- Artillery 2 officers 64 men- Engineers 3 officers 3 men- Mounted infantry of different corps 13 men- Army medical department 1 officer 1 man- The colonial forces including mounted police, mounted rifles etc. with the officers and non-commissioned officers of the Native Contingent, had a loss of 20 officers and 112 men on that fatal day, the first Zulu force appeared about 6.0.a.m., two companies of the 24th were sent out after them. The Zulu’s seemed to retire and there was firing kept up at long ranges. At about 1.30.p.m. the Zulu’s were seen over the hills in thousands, they were in the most perfect order, and seemed to be in about 20 rows of skirmishers one behind the other. They were in a semi-circle around the flanks and in front of them, and covered several miles of ground in half an hour, they were in the midst of them assegaing right and left. They fought well, but were overpowered, everyone who had horses fled, the road to Rorkes drift was cut off but those who escaped cut their road though the enemy, many falling in the attempt, those who did so had to swim the Buffalo river, many of those who got this far being drowned in the river which was little better than a rushing torrent. The colors of the 24th regt. were found trapped around the bodies of Lieuts Melville and Coghill who had cut there way though the Zulu’s and crossed the river where they were discovered dead from there wounds. A signalman named Ainsly of the Active was observed to place his back against a wagon keeping the Zulu’s off laughing all the time, with his cutlass. Another disaster is reported 'A' company of the 80th about 104 men while on the road with convoy, had encamped near a river for the night when they were attacked in the mist of morning by about 9000 of the enemy the sentries not observing their approach till within about 15 paces from them. The enemy rushing upon them before the camp could be alarmed. About 20 escaped by swimming the river the remainder were cut up. The Zulu’s taking possession of camp, rifles and ammunition, cattle and a deal of stores carried off by them. The gallant defence of Rorkes drift was next read, where a few men (100) kept 3000 Zulu’s at bay by a temporary barricade of mealy sacks and biscuit boxes. Nearly 1000 of the enemy being killed by them, their loss was about 17 men killed having fought all evening and night of the 22nd Jan. He read- a massacre of the native women and children by Umbeline and Manyonyolba took place on Feb 11th. The Zulu’s crossed the Pongola, passed the fort at Luneburg at a safe distance and pounced in thousands upon the huts of friendly natives, murdering old men, women and children and burning the houses down. A patrol was sent out from the garrison at Luneburg, who came up with about 400 of them, Killing 20 and put the rest to flight. On the 16th Feb, Col.Buller attacked the positions and strongholds of Manyonyolba killing 50 of them capturing 400 head of cattle and many sheep. Many other engagements with the enemy, another paragraph says; Great consternation in England at the loss of the 24th an hour after the news reached them, a council of war sitting and decided on sending more troops out immediately. APRIL
2nd-Convoy not reached here yet heavy rains have impeded their progress. The General signalled today that we were to stand by to evacuate fort, as he intends building another one nearer coast, roads to this one being so bad, if no more rain falls he will be here tomorrow evening, he was attacked this morning by ten or twelve thousand Zulu’s, gatling opened fire at 1000 yards on them- 5000 of the enemy came within a few yards of the camp, he says he has already buried 470 dead Zulu’s, many more lying about in all directions. News has also come from number 4 column Col.Wood, he had an attack at Venters drift, Umidoosi, by 5000 Zulu’s- he repulsed they with a loss of 300, the loss on our side being only one man killed 4 wounded- On the 28th of March he attacked the Zlobane mountain and took it but 20 000 Zulu’s surrounded it and recaptured the cattle after great loss on our side, Weathelys horse being nearly all cut up. The next day 29th, the Zulu’s attacked Woods camp and fought four hours, when they were driven off, the loss on our side was 70 officers and 70 men. The enemy lost over a thousand. The attacking force of the Zlobane mountain was only 400 mounted men and 400 natives. Another death in our Brigade, Alf Smith died this morning. 700 men held in readiness to go out and meet our relief. Biscuits all done also sugar, nothing left now but a little flour and coffee. 3rd-Signal from relief, the casualties in engagement yesterday, one officer four men killed, 3 officer’s twenty-five men wounded. Anxiously waiting for relief all day but it was, 8.0.p.m. before they arrived and nearly midnight before the last party came in. As soon as they hove in sight we all manned the parapet and heartily cheered them in, many of are relief expected to see alot of skeletons in the fort, but thank god we were not so bad off as all that. The 91st Highlanders first came in playing a lively tune on the bagpipes followed by the rifles- about 100 marines and a few bluejackets from Shah and Bodicea following with mounted men and natives. The remainder of the column had remained behind at the Inyezane, only a few miles from here by the short road we had cut there and by which they came only having a few carts with them, it not being necessary for the whole column to come, as it was now settled that this fort was to be abandoned, and one nearer the coast built, less difficult for the wagons to get to. They brought fuller particulars of the engagement on the 2nd, 1170 dead bodies were buried beside large numbers still laying about some distance from the camp, and some having crawled away to die in the bushes. Everything and everyone was unable to rest during the happy night, little notice was taken of the bugles to put lights out, or anything else, puffs of tabacco smoke rose like the smoke from a furnace, till everyone had satisfied their craving to the full. Tobacco which a few days ago was eagerly bought at a guinea an ounce had now fallen down to zero, as we could now get plenty from those who came up today. The part of the naval brigade who came up, brought our letters with them, a wagonload nearly. We were terribly busy for a few hours sorting them out by the light of a lantern, some of the men walking off with at least two dozen. I had half a dozen and spent the greater part of the night reading them by the flickering light of a lantern, in one of the letters from mother, she mentions having heard of the terrible disaster to our troops, and that it was creating great excitement at home. She always mentions how they missed me at home at Christmas ah! how many of us on that night of Christmas, but did not think of home, we who are out here know full well. In our camp on that eventful night, many a gay song was sung sometimes one being sung bringing thoughts of home and friends forcibly to are minds, making a tear visible on the weather beaten bronzed faces around the camp fire, how many of them did not think of wives, mothers or friends wishing that god would spare them once more to see, and picturing to himself a pleasant dream of his return and how the loved ones would welcome him. 4th-The portion of our relief who had come up had encamped on the rise of a hill a short distance from the fort, Barrow horse going this morning and burned down the kraal of Maquendi, one of the Kings brothers about 12 miles from here. During the day we had been very busy getting wagons out of fort and packing them with baggage, that had not to be done till the last moment, about 11.a.m. the first wagon left the fort on the way to Tugela, but it was 3.0.p.m. before the last wagon left, the Naval brigade being rear guard. we had a great many wagons filled with the sick and those unable to walk. We had nearly 150 wagons with us, and we left some behind us for the other party who had relieved us, to bring down with them as we had not enough oxen to take all down. The other party remaining behind to destroy the fort, coming in are wake tomorrow morning, we bivouacked that night in the same place where we encamped the night before reaching Eshowe. it was 9.30.p.m. before we reached there as we were the last in, then we had to dig trenches light fires and have supper it being then midnight- almost wet though during the night with the dew 5th-Arose at daylight not much refreshed commenced baking bread in the lid of a kettle, flour being the only thing we had, with the exception of Australian tinned meat and coffee. Before we had time to bake the bread the other party hove in sight, and the oxen inspanned and we got on the march, some mounted Basutos going in front scouting- the Naval brigade were advance guard down the steep height leading from Eshowe, passing the place of are first engagement with the Zulu’s, the place seeming very quiet and peaceful now, also passing the graves of our men who were killed here, the Zulu’s not having meddled with their graves. we had brought down a piece of board, on which was inscribed their names, ages and Corps they belonged to put over the place they were buried in. The day was very hot and our progress slow, owing to the oxen being so weak, we encamped about 3.0.p.m. for the night. The whole column of the General remains behind at Gininlouo to build a fort, and I believe they will hold it as an advanced position, until operations commence again. A special artist of the Graphic was busy taking sketches since arriving at Eshowe, being the first man of we saw of are relief as he galloped in ahead of them on the 3rd. Two runners sent down to Tugela, to tell them to send us a days more provisions. 6th-On the march at 7.0.a.m. a few miles bringing us to the Amatikulu river which took three or four hours to cross, another 5 miles march bringing us to the Umsumdusi River, where we halted for dinner it being them 5.30.pm. the wagons still going on crossing the river. We being rear guard were last in , the first wagons and Companies having reached this place five hours before we did, were now ready to go on, and a half hour after we got in the first wagons and advance guard commenced crossing the river. While we were having are dinner a funeral procession passed us, bearing three of the 99th to their last resting place, their bodies merely folded in there own blankets, and in a grave hurriedly dug they were all put. A few prayers said and it was all over. They had died while on the march and all three belonged to one Company. It was after 10.0.p.m. before the last wagon crossed the river and we started, halting for an hour’s rest at 4.30. next morning. We had marched all night and since we started yesterday morning at 6.0.a.m. had only two meals. However when we halted we had a little rum and biscuit, which had been sent to meet us, and was very acceptable. There was a rumour that several thousand Zulu’s had followed us as far as the Amatikulu, had they only come a little further they would assuredly have cut all our little band up ( the naval brigade) as we were miles in the rear of the remainder of the column. Who had gone ahead with the front wagons, leaving us in rear to bring up the remaining wagons. 7th-Sunday marched into Tugela having commenced the march at 7.0.a.m. this morning. When we arrived there, we found we were to pitch camp on the other side of river Tugela near our old place. B Company to occupy Fort Pearson we could not cross the river till evening as our wagons is to go across first. I met several chums of mine, whom I had picked up in the other campaign in the old colony. 88th men and 24th who brought me up to their camp, and I had a regular blow out with them, plenty of beer from the canteen of which I drank very sparingly knowing that in my present state it would easily overcome me. Crossed the river in the evening and pitched tents for the first time since Jan,24th nearly three months ago. 11th-We have now had a few days rest after our late hardships, and I have had time to write several letters home. Writing paper is not to be had for love or money. It is something pleasant to be under canvas once more and have plenty of good food to eat, we shall all soon, I hope, regain our health, we are in a very healthy position overlooking the river, I have throughout the campaign always had good health- thank God-. I suppose I have been one of the lucky ones, but I have been very careful of what I have eaten and drank, never drinking bad water unless very parched indeed with thirst. Sgt. Blackman and Pr. Melluish have been invalided. Plenty of English papers awaited our arrival here. All full of Zulu war, we start working on pont today. River getting very low, winter or dry season set in. 13th Had the pleasure of receiving a letter from Underwood, dated Gallipoli, Turkey. He is well, expects going home shortly. Answered his letter. 16th-Very little going on at present working pont every day. The people of Natal seem to be extremely frightened at the very low state of the river. They seem to think that the Zulu’s have now a good opportunity of crossing into Natal. They are making every preparation to receive them by fortifying the town. The Active has lent them 3 guns, convoys of provisions leaves here nearly every day for Ginginlouo.( our relief column). 21st-Divine service yesterday, Sunday. Everything very lively down here at present, mountains of provisions going across river. Another convoy of 100 wagons, 800 men starts tomorrow. 24th-Mquendi, the Kings brother, has given himself up here with about 50 followers. Meny came back sick from fort Chelmsford today, with empty wagons. Tobacco and soap served out- 3lbs of each. 27th-Sunday. The weather continues very hots, no rain, nights cold. A couple of days ago a detachment of A.S.C arrived here with wagons and a great many English horse, also some mules. 300 men are reported to be sick at Fort Chelmsford. Causes, Dysentery and Fever. One of Col. Weatherlys horsemen, supposed to have been killed at the attack on the Zlobane mountains, and whose name is Grandier'a Frenchman' is now said to be in the camp of Col. Wood, having been taken prisoner and brought up to the Kings Kraal, from whence he was sent down to Umbelines people to be killed for his sake, Umbeline having been killed in that action. While being conveyed there he managed to escape, wandering about the country till picked up by two Mounted troopers, who brought him to camp, he was in a pitible state being complety naked and emaciated with hunger and hardship. He stated to Col. Wood how he had escaped assegaing one of his conductors, and further stated that Cetywayo had plenty of Natal papors ot his kraal, by which he is informed of our movements, that the two guns taken at Isandhlwana were there having been spiked before the Zulu’s took possession of the camp, he tried to have them extracted but found it impossible, that the king asked him how many men were engaged at Kambulu and he said 3000. The King told him he had sent 25 000 men against Wood and 11 000 against Col. Pearson( our column). It was said that only 20 000 returned out of the 25 000 sent against Woods column, to the Kings kraal, Grandier said also that the
Posts : 2557 Join date : 2009-04-06 Age : 59 Location : UK
Subject: Re: John Carroll Diary Log of H.M.S. Active Sat Oct 17, 2009 10:18 pm
of the 25 000 sent against Woods column, to the Kings kraal, Grandier said also that the king nearly cried on hearing of this defeat by Woods column. 30th-Tenedos's party came down here from Ginqinlovo. They are ordered aboard. MAY
Another month has just dawned upon us. Plenty of work has been done during the past month, in supplying each column with provisions and stores for the final campaign. No movements yet on the part of the enemy. H.M.Gunship Forester while taking soundings with the idea of landing troops and stores at point Durnford 30 miles from the mouth of Tugela, and 15 or 16 miles from the camp at Ginqinlovo, on the 24th of march, when close inshore with boats, and the men were quitely getting dinner having anchored, when suddenly a volley was fired at them from a bush ashore, it was the work of a moment to up anchor returning the fire, also, another volley was then fired from the beach at them, but without harm to men or boat although very close to them. The Forester then commenced shelling the bush, but they had not the means of ascertaining how many were killed, but out of 40 cattle that were seen 36 were killed by the shots. It is very evident that if they succeed in this object, it will be a great saving in transport. 6th-160 men down from fort Chelmsford sick. Paid money today left it behind. 8th-Brought a letter from Punkhurst, together with a book, paper and envelopes, He says in it that the letter I wrote him on the 7th April after out retreat from Eshowe, in which I gave him a detail of everything " he has sent home to have printed". A pont bridge has been made to span the river in its low state. Another one is being made to span it at high water. 18th-During the past few days nothing of importance has occurred. At divine service this morning, Sunday. The Bronze medals of the Royal Humane Society was presented to Revd.Perrin L.S, and Ino.James.ord for gallantiy attempting to save the life of Daniel Martin A.B Active, From drowning. Very large convoys leave here every day, for Ginqinlovo, Dubulamanyi has been shot by his own people. 19th-Sale of Mr. Corkers, Pearces and Walsh's effects took place today. 23rd-A letter directed to General Lord Chelmsford, from Secretary of state, was read to us this morning in which is expressed the gratification at the success of Lord Chelmsford and the safety of Col.Pearsons Column. Wrote letters to ship and home. When Admiral Sullivan left Natal, Lord Chelmsford spoke to him, praising in the highest terms, the Naval Brigade as a field force, both in point of discipline and their remarkable adaptability and power to make the best of circumstances. New blankets drawn, A and B company of Brigade formed into one company, B company having evacuated Fort and joined a company on Euphorlia hill, men not going to front again going into fort. Everything ready for going on the march. 27th-We had made all arrangements for leaving here, but for some reason or other the advance is still delayed for a few weeks longer. On Saturday 24th we captured a young boa-constrictor, measuring 9 feet in length, paid money took up 10/- 29th-Served out blankets. JUNE
1st-No signs of making a move yet, I saw a paragraph in a colonial paper to the effect; That the Naval Brigades of H.M.S' Active, Shah and Bodicea will shortly be ordered aboard- too good to be true. A telegraph from Commodore yesterday asking how meny spare arms we had, he is going to send up fresh drafts from different ships for to fill up the gaps Cetywayo still feels confident that he can kill all white men. One of his chief Indunas is reported to be at fort Chelmsford with a message from the king. 5th-The sad news of the death of Prince Napoleon is telegraphed today. It appears he had obtained leave to go out sketching some distance from camp (about 8 miles) and a small party of horse was told off to escort him. They rested for about an hour near an apparently deserted Kraal, the prince was finishing a sketch when a volley was fired at them from a mealy field close by. Everyone made for there horses but the Princes ran away with the others, who thought the prince was with them, but it was found that him and two others were missing. His body was recovered the next day , 18 assegi wounds in it. 7th-The Princes body is embalmed and is to be sent home in the troopship Orentes- this will no doubt be the death of his mother the Empress Eugene and a severe blow to the Bonapartist party who built all their hopes on him. The Second Advance In Zululand. 17th-We made the second advance in Zululand, crossing the Tugela at noon and joining Detachments of Shah and Bodicea on the other side. Naval Brigade advance guard with three gatlings two rocket tubes and one 9pr, followed by 88thRegt and detachments of 99th and Rifles, took boats and materials for making pontoons, Bivouacked for the night at Ino.Dunns Laager. 18th_ Crossed Amatakulu and laagered for the night at Fort Crealock. Naval Brigade in advance all day. 19th- Laagered at Fort Chelsmford 88th Relieved 3rd Buffs at Fort Crelock who came on here. 20th- A days rest No.1 Division gone on to make road today. 21st- The whole column on march at 9.0.a.m consisting of Naval brigades of H.M.S. Active, Shah and Bodicea the Actives and Bodicea being joined together, all the marines under Capt. Phillips. Actives and Bodicea marines forming one company the Shahs another company, the 2/3rd Buffs 91st Regt. 3/60th Rifles 57th Regt. and 88th Regt. Mounted Infantry Lonsdales Horse DeBurghs Horse and a battery of Royal Artillery with 6 guns. One company of engineers. A wagon train of English horses in charge of A.S.Corps –also a large train of bullock waggons. A march of about 10 miles brought us to the Umhlaagi River. As it was wet we pitched tents for the night. (I borrowed from Shah) Most of our tents we had left behind and we had now to sleep 15 and 16 in a tent. Marine Artillery of the three ships are formed together and sleep in one tent. After waiting for some time for our waggon containing our gear provisions etc. We had the vexatious news that our waggons were several miles behind and was nit able to get any further today. The Buffs and many more was placed in the same predicament as the marines, however we had to make the best of a bad job. A party of marines were then told to go and stop with waggons where they had halted. The rifles and 57th having to laager also as their waggons could get no further till the following morning. The night being wet the Shah lent us their tents, over 50 men cramming themselves into them. Having no provisions we had to beg and borrow to get something to eat. Luckily we carried our big coats with us or we would have fared worse the night being wet and cold. During the afternoon the bush was shelled at the other side of the river expelling a few of the enemy, there were several Kraals here in which were left several old women. 22nd-Remainder of column came in this morning with waggons. Pontoon bridge put across river Naval Brigade covering party, 91st, Natives and mounted troops out all day scouring country other side of river. 23rd- Empty waggons gone back to Chelmsford in charge of 3rd Buffs. Mounted men and natives out all day. Brought in 250 head of cattle sheep and goats and a few prisoners. A fort is to be erected at other side of river to be called Fort Napoleon; the hill on which it is built is to be called Napoleon hill. We await another convoy before proceeding further. 25th- yesterday more cattle captured. Today the captured cattle, sheep and goats were sold by auction. The cattle bringing from £4.00 to £6.00 per head. Sheep and goats was bought by officers for private use. Convoy came in with 3rd Buffs, sent three letters away to Mrs C, F.N.U and L.J.P two marines and about 10 bluejackets from Tugela also came in with convoy. 26th-A party of horsemen and troops out all day brought in some 100 head of cattle and a few more prisoners chiefly women. At noon the naval brigade Buffs and 88th crossed Umhlaagi, marching 4 miles and laggard remainder of column follow tomorrow. 88th mans Fort Napoleon. 27th- Very difficult marching only got 6 miles over today roads bad. Beautiful scenery close to sea. Remainder of column came on today and laagered about 4 miles behind us. 28th- Marines and one company of Buffs went on in advance for purpose of road making at 9.0.am. Marching for about 6 miles over umhlaagi plain the largest plain of level land I have seen in south Africa it is a little boggy in places but very fertile and covered here and their with dense patches of bush, it would make a splendid park. We reached point durnford and waited several hours there for convoy coming up and then pitched tents and dug shelter trench on the plain. Marching was very heavy through the long grass. A hill separates us from sea. 29th- Naval brigade engaged in making road to point durnford. Sweet potatoes fields are very numerous as there are a few kraals here but only a few old women left in them now. Banana trees are also very numerous but not ripe yet. 30th- left wing of naval brigade down at beach this morning and succeeded in landing loads from the two surf boats safely. The transports natal and Tom Morton being here also the Forester a steam tug and two surf boats. July
1st- Landed mules and stores during the morning but surf rose too high in the afternoon had to knock off for the day. 2nd- Surf again very high H.M.S. Shah arrived this morning having Sir Garnet Wolsey aboard. The surf rose very high today so that he was unable to land several officers and bluejackets of the brigade went aboard the surf boats yesterday in company with some sick men who were going aboard the transports, the surf afterward raising so high that they were unable to land again and will have to remain aboard until the surf abates. The right wing of naval brigade was down on beach all day but as there was no landing or work done we had a very pleasant time of it, almost as good as picnic party as we cooked our meals on the beach. We had many games on the sand and occasionally had a bathe. The high surf now and again catching us unawares and landing us high and dry on the soft sandy beach without harm. All were in good spirits and thoroughly enjoyed the strong fresh breeze from the sea. We go down fully armed in case of surprise. 3rd- Brigade down at beach al day no work done surf too high. An attempt was made to land Sir Garnet and staff. Who left the Shah in the tug fir to get aboard the surf boats, but it was found too dangerous to try and a gun was fired from Shah recalling the tug again. 4th- it was found this morning on Capt. Campbell going down to beach that the ships had all gone only leaving the two surf boats. The ships were sighted again the evening coming in. I suppose they had only gone out during boisterous weather. A report is going about camp that a telegram has come in here stating that Lord Chelmsford has surrounded the Kings kraal. Cetywayo is inside. The general gives him until noon today to consider whether he will surrender and accept the terms proposed by Lord Chelmsford. Our mounted troops and artillery out since 1.0.amthis morning burning a military kraal down they brought between seven and eight hundred head of cattle in at dusk they saw large numbers of the enemy but they made no attempt to oppose our progress. Indeed I believe they are very much disheartened now and will make no attempt to oppose our forces. 5th- As I sit writing this on a small hill near the beach wither I have gone for a ramble. The distant strains of music are borne to my ears on the soft breeze. I look in the direction of the camp and see bodies of moving troops, all moving in the same direction the front of camp. Now they form into line and unfurl their colors, what is it? A black mass is approaching the line of troops. Now they halt and some of them approach still nearer to the bright gleaming bayonets and swords. They stop and place something on the ground and retire again quickly. Now I understand it is a large body of Zulu’s surrendering and laying their arms down at the feet of our troops. They brought in about 2000 had of cattle. The troops then marched back to their respective camps. The band of the Buffs playing in the naval brigade the pipers of the 91st sending the notes of their music throughout the plain. The bellowing of the captured cattle the shouting of the natives and all the noisy bustle of a large camp falls upon the ear also. While the eye falls upon several camps the two principal ones being the first and second brigade about 400 yards apart presenting to the eye in the distance two vast cities of canvass tents, while several smaller camps belonging to native contingent and officers and volunteers are scattered around. Looming in the distance as a background is a chain of very high hills and mountains covered in dense patches of bush in which its said are hidden many of the enemy with their cattle. A party of 25 men of Active and 25 of Bodicea with 1 gun and 1 gatling and a party of mounted and other troops left camp three days provisions with them. Sunday 6th- Working parties of brigade down at beach landing six surf boats. This is no light work as we have to dash in amongst the surf to the boat while unloading and consequently we are wet through all day. A royal salute of 21 guns was fired in camp this morning to celebrate the fall of Ulundi the kings kraal. The news is that the general attacked the kraal which was occupied by 12000 of the enemy and captured it inflicting a loss of over 800 killed of the enemy. The king is said to be one of the last to leave the kraal on horseback, the kraal was destroyed. The general idea prevails here that the war is almost over and that there wont be much more fighting many are giving themselves up here. The naval brigade are in high hopes of soon going aboard and it is …. The next pages have been lost
…… address of thanks signed by the people of natal in recognition of our services ashore. The mayor and several other gentlemen made short speeches thanking the naval brigades for their services ashore and that he only expressed the feeling of the people of Durban when he said it was with the feelings of deepest gratitude he thanked
Posts : 2557 Join date : 2009-04-06 Age : 59 Location : UK
Subject: Re: John Carroll Diary Log of H.M.S. Active Sat Oct 17, 2009 10:19 pm
brigades for their services ashore and that he only expressed the feeling of the people of Durban when he said it was with the feelings of deepest gratitude he thanked officers and men of the brigades for their services ashore he further said “ that to sudden departure of admiral Sullivan prevented their thanking him, as they would wish for the gallant services rendered by him and the brigade of the ‘active’ “ as the party left the ship they gave us three cheers and we soon after weighed anchor and on our way to Simons Bay. 27th- Divine service Capt. Bradshaw spoke a few words to the crew, thanking them for the brave and gallant way in which they had done their duty ashore he was sorry to see so many of them come back sick, but he hoped that climate of England to which he hoped he would soon reach would get them all around again soon. He also said he had great pleasure in having the honour of taking the officers and men of the Active around to their own ships, who had seen such long and varied service ashore. 29th- Tues.- Arrived in Simons Bay went aboard our own vessel and in the afternoon got leave till the following Saturday at 7.0.pm only paid hand lying money. I found the rats had been playing great havoc with our gear, bags, hammocks etc. August
Fri-4th- General Lord Chelmsford came aboard, gave us a speech praising us very much for our services. Remarking that our conduct at Inyegina was beyond all praise and he stated that it was his opinion that it was the best fought engagement that had ever taken place during the war. He praised our conduct at Eshowe and various other things he spoke of including our services in the late Kaffir war and rebellion of 77-78. 5th- The blue peter was hoisted this afternoon and the gun fired- we were moored to our own anchors and we had a hard job with them it was nearly dark when we got under weigh for “ Old England” again. As we passed Shah and Bodicea they manned rigging and cheered us on our way. The wind was stiff and we felt it going out to sea, pitching very heavily. 10th- Sun-Service on lower deck weather wet. A large whale measuring about 120 feet has followed us since yesterday morning he got foul of our screw last night several times and were afraid he might do it some injury, so a small gun was brought to bear on him, it hit him but only to make him stick closer to us, he also had some hard knocks from the screw, I never saw such a monster whale, he kept close to ship till this evening when we lost sight and sound of him, probably being tired out with his chase, mustered by the open list today. I forgot to say that our ship looked extremely well and everything very clean, she too has had pretty hard work while we have been away. Soon after we landed she in company with Tenedos visited Zulu coast for a survey and to make sounding at point Chelmsford with an idea of landing troops stores etc. then while at that place the Active got on a reef she at once signalled to Tenedos to keep clear of reef and to post her helm, but Tenedos paid no attention and she got fast on reef, she the Active soon got off reef but Tenedos was fast and Active had some very hard work for 5 or 6 hours trying to pull her off which they did eventually by means if hawsers. After pulling Tenedos off the hawsers got foul of the Actives screw doing some damage, the Tenedos was severely damaged and had to put back to Simons bay at once, the Active also to have her screw repaired. The remainder of the time the Active stayed in the bay. Her crew working very hard all the time chiefly at dockyard and in coaling the numerous transports that now called here for coal. She was instrumental in assisting at the wrecks of the “City of Paris” and the “Clyde” transports, the city of Paris striking on the roman rock all hands were saved by Lamar troopships who brought them around to Natal the two ships was full of troops but with the exception of the lost of a deal of stores etc. there was no loss of life. 17th- Sunday, After a very pleasant voyage of thirteen days we dropped anchor at St Helena at 11.pm today, gave 4 hours leave in afternoon to stand and watch. The weather during our voyage has been very fair, we sailed most of the time we have had plenty of drill every day, fire quarters, general quarters man armed boat, sail drill man overboard life buoy let go, ship brought to life boat out …. More missing pages.
Weather beautiful but hot, crossed the equator at 12.45.pm today. 31st-Sunday weather melting light breeze expect to reach sierra Leone on the night of 1st, on account of the wind failing us Sierra Leone was not reached until Sept. 2nd at 6.pm were we found H.M.S. Dido & Pioeer at anchor the Dido having lost her captain by fever were it sages frightfully and is rightly named the white mans grave. Left Sierra Leone Sep 4th at 5 in the afternoon and were all very pleased to get out of it being such a sickly place we proceeded under steam until the 9th as the weather was very calm and very hot the glass standing at 98 to 105 on the 9th a fine breeze sprang up and we made sail heading to the Northwest. I will here explain why a ship bound to England goes over toward America during the greater part of the year the wind invariably blows from the North east and is called the North east Trade Wind and as it blows too strong for ships of the heavy class to steam against they head over toward the American coast taking the Western Islands for the general bearing on course to steer as near as they can and when in a certain latitude there is generally a west wind to be found which takes the ship up the English channel, but I am sorry to say we found very little west wind and the north east wind was heavily north the whole time which drove us away to the westward and instead of finding the Azores or Western Island we did not get near them and when we found the westly wind we were nearly 500 miles to the westward of the Azores but still the old motto never despair we picked up a bit of a fair wind on the 17th of Sept. We steamed 18th we made sail again having a fine fair breeze carrying sails on both sides on the 23rd of Sept. we were taken aback the wind suddenly shifted right ahead of us which caused us a lot of work but by good seamanship and hard work we got the sail off the ship and had to brace out yards up again the wind then veered around to the south west and blew a hard gale during the 24th there by preventing us from carrying sail as we had used nearly the whole of our coal and was very crank, 25th wind fell to light and shifted to the east which was a head wind we then started steaming again now there was very grave doubts if our coal would last us home or have to go to Figo for more, but as success attends the brave it did us as on the 30th a nice fair WIND sprang up which stuck to us all the rest of the way. October 1st at 3.30 p.m. we sighted Old England being away 2 years and 3 months and this log will prove a little we have passed through during that time, still this is only half. At 6 in the evening we sighted the famed lizard lights there are not 2 finer lights in the world than them. We passed the lizard at 11.30 up steam again to help us along. October 2nd- at 3.0.am sighted the far famed Eddystone lighthouse passed it at 4.30 then at 5.30 sighted the start point lighthouse and passed it at 7.30 the start point is a very dangerous place for a vessel that are not under steam as there are to many different currents which jet around it that it unsafe for ships to approach very near to it unless a nice fair wind is blowing. At 9.0.am sighted the bill of Portland so named on account of its resemblance to a ducks bill this also another very dangerous place to get too close to for the same reasons as At the start point at 11.30 am passed the bill of Portland at a flying pace we were going 11 knots or miles an hour steaming and sailing at 12.30 we sighted the needles point so named on account of there being a number of sharp points of rock or chalk sticking up near the lighthouse this point is the western extreme of the isle of Wight there is a passage between the Wight and the mainland but large ships seldom take it on account of the great number of shoals and the reef of rocks across its mouth, at 3.30 p.m. we passed the needles and many were them thinking of how soon we were to meet those near and dear to us and many there were that thought of the sad fate which overtook the Eurydia near were we then were. At 5.30 p.m. sighted the Nab lightship and at 7.45 the anchor was let go at Spithead, then there were many enquiries as to weather the Shah had arrived. October 3rd- Admiral Fanshaw inspected the ship and expressed himself very well pleased indeed with the ship and ships company. October 4th- At 1.pm proceeded up harbour to dismantle and pay off, October 25th- ship payed out of commission being 2 years 6 months 12 days and one of the most eventful commissions (although a short one) that ever any one ship went through her motto was Active and ready and she proved it to be true FAREWELL